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For a comparatively small place — 40th of the 50 states by area — South Carolina looms large in American history. Whether it’s Francis Marion’s wild guerrilla campaign in the American Revolution, Fort Sumter and the secession that started the Civil War, or civil rights luminaries like Jim Clyburn and the Greenville Eight, South Carolina is rich in history — light and dark.

As is only proper for the spooky season, this article delves into the dark. Here are four of the most haunted roads in South Carolina, beckoning for a rain-shadowed, kudzu-draped Southern Gothic road trip.

The ghost of a young woman allegedly haunts Crybaby Bridge in Anderson, South Carolina

Haunted roads South Carolina; Main Street, Anderson, South Carolina
Main Street, Anderson, South Carolina | Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As a proud Southerner, this writer can confirm that in the American South, wherever there’s a bridge, there’s at least one ghost story about it. Somebody plunged off it, dealt with the Devil on it, or engaged in otherwise tragic and/or supernatural chicanery in its vicinity. It’s a requirement. Consult “Ode to Billie Joe” for details.

That said, Crybaby Bridge in Anderson, South Carolina, is one take on a nationwide campfire classic. Anderson’s version goes thus: A young woman — destitute, abandoned by her husband, or otherwise persecuted — succumbed to desperation, casting her child and herself off the bridge. Since then, travelers claim to have heard weeping, singing, or a motherly voice gently shushing a baby on this stretch of haunted road in South Carolina.

The tale of Booger Jim involves another South Carolina bridge

See? Bridges! Never trust them (or tunnels). 

The tale of Cherokee Falls Bridge, a rusty old truss bridge outside the small town of Blacksburg, goes for quantity and quality in its haunted lore. Locals have numerous takes on the story of “Booger Jim.”

Reportedly, the unfortunately nicknamed man went violently insane while crossing the bridge. He attacked everyone within reach before a desperate victim shoved him over the edge. However, some accounts make Jim the victim, with his wife hanging him from the bridge using a set of jumper cables. Another version is even grislier, with Jim killing his family before hanging himself.

Most stories agree on two points: He met his fate on Cherokee Falls Bridge, and travelers on that span can say “Booger Jim” three times to hear his ghost’s tortured moaning. For more sensible screams, visitors can stop at Booger Jim’s Hollow, a haunted house themed on the legend.

Dead Civil War soldiers stalk the haunted Old State Road in Columbia, South Carolina

Haunted roads South Carolina; ruins in Columbia, South Carolina, 1860s
Ruins in Columbia, South Carolina, 1860s | George N. Barnard/Heritage Art via Getty Images

There’s much to recommend Columbia as a stop on a road trip. The state capital and the home of the University of South Carolina has a thriving culinary scene, rich local history, and, of course, ghost sightings.

Old State Road, south of the city proper, hosts several of the area’s finest putatively paranormal phenomena. Sounds of the Battle of Congaree Creek — where General Sherman defeated a Confederate force with over 1,500 casualties — echo along the street at night. Sometimes, Union lanterns gleam in the dark.

In addition, a more mysterious spirit, “Ole Redeye,” reportedly races alongside motorists in the dark, peering through the windows with, yep, glowing red eyes. Storytellers describe harrowing encounters with all of the above.

Creepy clowns plagued Fleetwood Drive in Greenville, South Carolina

Haunted roads South Carolina scary clowns
A creepy clown mask | Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images

Clowns. Why did it have to be clowns?

Fleetwood Drive runs through Greenville, a town in upstate South Carolina. It became one of the epicenters of the 2010s killer clown phenomenon. Around 2016, random clowns, invariably horrifying and often armed, appeared in unexpected places. It was a real experience. 

The first sighting in the area, and one of the first creepy clown incidents nationwide, came from a woman near Fleetwood Drive. She got a cheery wave from a clown digging through a dumpster, which she promptly reported to the police. According to CNN, further reports came from the nearby Fleetwood Manor apartment complex. Children described a person in clown makeup offering money to take them into the nearby woods. The apartment complex called for a curfew and police protection.

Ultimately, the 2016 creepy-clown phenomenon had a simple, if unexciting, explanation: part mass hysteria, part crowdsourced practical joke. When national media reported on a single clown sighting in Green Bay, Wisconsin, it turned out to be an attempted viral marketing campaign for the short horror film Gags. So, pranksters in various parts of the country decided to play along. People dressed as creepy clowns plagued unusual places, so witnesses understandably freaked, and a handful of scares took on the appearance of a nationwide phenomenon.

Of course, that’s just the official explanation. For a traveler seeking spookier solutions to the clown-sighting craze, Fleetwood Drive might be just the place.

A polite reminder

For anyone inclined to explore these stories, consider this a reminder to do so responsibly. Visit, by all means. But please remember that, campfire tales aside, these places are full of real people. Treat locals respectfully, stay off private property unless given permission, and stay within the law. Happy hunting!