Dark has fallen, and even with the glow from street lights and businesses nearby, there’s an eerie feel to the place. Weeds grow unchecked around broken gravestones. This is the cemetery of the Duncan Chapel Methodist Church in Greenville, SC.
A small mesh fence has been trampled to the ground. Many of the stones are unreadable, and many are minuscule, giving the feel that a child lies in the untended grave below.
The church, established in 1847, no longer stands, but the graves remain, dating back to the mid-1700s. The cemetery itself stands on a fenced-in hill inside the Walmart Neighborhood Market parking lot on Old Buncombe Road, less than five miles south of Travelers Rest, SC.
For locals, this place is better known as “the haunted children’s cemetery,” though there are also many adult graves to be found here. While cemeteries naturally lend themselves to ghost stories, what is it about this one that makes our imaginations conjure up spirits?
Maybe it’s this . . .
Besides the broken and neglected gravesites, overgrown with unwanted weeds, there’s also the fact that people have often left toys for the spirits to enjoy. One grave, for example, sports a dilapidated baby doll with a plastic face and cloth body, worn by the elements.
Many have reported a feeling of unease or disorientation while on-site. One ghost hunter even mentioned feeling that his emotions were overwhelmed, and that he felt a strong sense of anger toward the conditions in the cemetery.
Visitors have reported hearing the laughter of children playing, as well as seeing black mist and glowing red eyes at the Duncan Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery. Others have noted a feeling of being touched or hearing footsteps and feeling sudden drastic changes in temperature.
This haunted cemetery is most certainly on the list of strange and scary places to see in the Upstate South Carolina area, a list that also includes Poinsett Bridge (Our post “The Unexeplainable Happenings of Poinsett Bridge at Night” will definitely change the way you think about this oldest surviving bridge in the state.), Herdklotz Park, and fellow graveyard Springwood Cemetery.
Interested in finding out more about the haunted and spooky places in South Carolina at large? Sherman Carmichael, who lives in Johnsonville, SC, has been writing books about the unusual aspects of our state for years now.
“I was doing research on South Carolina ghosts for a production company that was going to film a series in South Carolina,” Sherman remembers.
After starting the series, however, the production company shut down, leaving Sherman with a repertoire of unneeded material on the tales of spirits and ghouls.
“I had a file cabinet full of research. I was thinking, ‘Trash all of this, or I could write a book,’ Sherman explains. “I decided to write a book. All I had to do now was research the history.”
Out of all of them, what’s his favorite South Carolina ghost story, you might wonder:
“There are so many interesting and unusual things in South Carolina,” Sherman says. “It’s hard to pick a favorite.”
You’d probably say the same thing if you’d written as many books on the subject as he has.
Sherman began learning about haunted places at the age of 18. He has studied mysterious locations all over South Carolina and the United States, including in Roswell, NM. His books focus on the Palmetto State, though, with titles like Strange South Carolina, Legends and Lore of South Carolina, UFOs Over South Carolina, Forgotten Tales of South Carolina, and even Eerie South Carolina.
If you get up the nerve to be like Sherman and explore Duncan Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery, then you’ll want to wear good, sturdy walking shoes and bring a flashlight. The terrain is quite uneven.
Remember to visit with respect; this is, after all, a place where the dead have been laid to rest.
Writer: Melinda Long
Editor: Celeste Hawkins
Photographer: Melinda Long
“Children’s Cemetery Paranormal Investigation, Greenville SC” by SCSupernatural.com
“Duncan Chapel Cemetery” by William Bates
“Haunted Echoes: The Children’s Graveyard” by Haunted Echoes: South Carolina
Interview with Sherman Carmichael
“The Children’s Cemetery, Greenville, SC” by GhostPro.org