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Brown leaves lay on the ground of the historic Horseshoe.

Haunted history

Ghost stories of the university's past

Happy Halloween, Gamecocks!

With a university as old as the University of South Carolina, there is a rich history that includes a few legends and other stories that get retold, especially at this spooky time of year.

To help get in the spirit of the season, we thought we'd share some of our favorites from the University Ambassadors' ghost tours, which are given each year around Halloween. 

  • Have you seen Ms. Black? During the Civil War, South Carolina College, as USC was called, was closed and some buildings were used as hospitals. Popular legend says a Confederate nurse poisoned occupying soldiers from the U.S. Army then drank the tainted wine herself. The ghost of this nurse is now said to haunt the Horseshoe, offering glasses of wine to people she encounters.
  • One of USC's most beloved presidents, J. Rion McKissick, died in 1944 while still serving as president. The Board of Trustees allowed for his burial on campus and his grave can be found to the left of the front doors of the South Caroliniana Library. Some folks have reported seeing his spirit around the historic library. We'll have to see if he returns to his haunt after the library's recent renovation.
  • A network of service tunnels underneath Columbia and the USC campus is home to a legendary creature called Mr. Third Eye. He has mostly been seen around Longstreet Theatre but uses the tunnels to get around the city. Students in the early 1970s reported seeing him one night and said he charged at them with a lead pipe. 

Keep an eye out for spooks and spirits this week and remember to stay safe.