The Premature Burial of Julia Legare

legareIf you ever find yourself driving through South Carolina along Highway 17, maybe heading from Charleston to Savannah, and you’re itching for some shivers, head south on Highway 174 in Adams Run and go about fifteen miles onto Edisto Island, a tiny place of less than 70 square miles and maybe 2000 souls, as of the latest census.  Stop at the old Presbyterian Church there, one of the oldest in the country, and search the old graveyard for the mausoleum of the Legare family. Shouldn’t be too hard to find, it’s the one with no door. If you’re wondering why, you’ve come to the right place. The legend goes that in 1852, a young woman named Julia Legare succumbed to diphtheria and was quickly interred in the family tomb, both to prevent the spread of the disease and because the heat and humidity are so bad down there that corpses rot in a matter of days. Two years later, Julia’s son Hugh died as well (many versions say it was her brother, but he’s buried elsewhere in the cemetery). To everyone’s great horror, when they re-opened the tomb to inter young Hugh, they found poor Julia’s bones behind the door in a position that made it clear she was buried alive. (According to this site, you can still see her desperate scratch marks today.) As for the missing door, the story goes that every door they tried to put on that tomb thereafter has been found moved, broken, or ajar, so now they leave it open and let Julia’s ghost come and go as it pleases.