The Brentwood Restaurant and other haunted tales of Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand

Halloween is pumpkins, trick or treat, and, for many, prime time for ghost seeking and sightings.

Many “Haunted House and Ghost Shows and Tours” pop up at Halloween, and some “fright sights” year round. However, Horry County is no slouch when it comes to places where actual ghostly apparitions have been sighted and documented by paranormal specialists.

Local legends of ghosts abound from the south to the north end of the beach, and in Conway and nearby Georgetown county. All Saints Church graveyard in Pawleys Island is said to be haunted by the spirit of Alice Flagg. She died of malaria after a love affair thwarted by her controlling
brother. Also on the south end of the beach, (Litchfield area) if a “gray” man, slightly “phantasmic” in appearance, approaches and tells you to leave, then do so. He is regarded as a good ghost,  harbinger of serious hurricanes. His documented warning appearances before Hazel and Floyd and other major storms in the area are credited with saving lives.

Huntington State Beach park harbors a legend of treasure in Atalaya Castle and offers tours this time of year.

A table full of gold disappeared—not a ghost, but certainly an ephemeral treasure. North Myrtle Beach’s Brentwood restaurant is located in a house said to be haunted by several spirits. There are also rumors that the headless ghost of Blackbeard the pirate haunts the waterways of Little River, looking for his head, which was separated from his body when he was defeated in battle—body thrown overboard, head hung from a mast by one Captain Maynard.

The Horry County Museum in Conway will be offering a showing of a South Carolina EETV documentary on local ghosts in the afternoon of October 25 and will sponsor the appearance of Elizabeth Huntsinger Wolf on October 28 at 1 p.m. Call 843.915.5300 for reservations to hear this leader of Georgetown Ghost Walks tell legends and talk about her three books of low country ghost tales and legends, which are “Georgetown Mysteries and Legends,” “Ghosts of Georgetown,” and “More Ghosts of Georgetown. The museum carries some of her books.

Conway held its annual Ghost walk early but the Conway Visitor Center (428 Main St, 843-248-1700) may be able to give you some information about ghostly legends of the area. The most storied paranormal happenings in Conway are said to occur at Terror Under the Bridge, which holds annual events for the benefit of charity each Halloween. This year the event will not be held under the previously mentioned bridge, but at the X Sports Mall in Myrtle Beach, 568 George Bishop parkway. Check the website for times and tickets, $14 regular and $20 for fast pass.

This event bridges the gap between “for fun” haunting shows and real exploration of the paranormal.

Local fire departments and other groups often advertise seasonal “haunted houses” with roadside signs. However, there are also a number of tours and some year-round “fright” spots to visit for the price of a ticket. Here is a sampling:

  • If what you want is a bit of a fright and local lore for Halloween, Miss Chris Inlet Tours (843-655-4470) meets visitors in front of the Lazy Gator from Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm to give a one-hour tour of local legends and lore. People do have to call to reserve.
  • At Barefoot Landing, Dr Scream will be setting up again this year in parking lot each night from Oct. 19-31 offering a haunted house experience in parking lot of House of Blues at 4640 U.S. 17 South in NMB. The fright fun starts at 7 p.m. No reservations taken unless you want
    to combine dinner and a visit to the fright area with a “Fright and Bite ticket.” Call 843-272 3000 box office. (Tickets 20/person)
  • Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, open from 2-7 p.m. daily is one of three Ripley’s properties in the 900 block of Ocean Blvd. The other two are the Odditorium and Mirror Adventures. Call 843.916.8971 for tickets for any one of these spots and discount tickets on combination visits.

However, known legendary spirits are not the only ghostly presences joining golfers and residents in daily enjoyment of the Grand Strand. Two area professional paranormal researchers agreed to share insights about the Strand’s active paranormal locales with Myrtle Beach Life readers.

Kelly Brosky and her husband Michael, Strand residents for more than two decades, own Phasma Paranormal. They investigate reports of paranormal activity on request. The other is Stephen Lancaster who for the last nine years, has made the Brentwood Restaurant haunting his special work.

Kelly Brosky said, “We became interested in ghostly exploration after watching “Ghost Adventures” on the Travel Channel.”

In May of 2011 on a bright Saturday morning, she and husband Michael went to a local cemetery with a recorder. They stopped by each grave to ask, ‘How did you die?’ and waited a minute before moving on. One of these was a civil war soldier.

When reviewing the recording at home, they discovered that a voice had answered from this gravesite! The voice had called out, “fever.” Recounting the incident to her co-workers at her day job with Horry County, Brosky discovered that the soldier was a co-worker’s ancestor and had died of fever. After that auspicious start, the Broskys began to hone their skills, joining professional organizations such as the Paranormal Warriors of St. Michael. Ever since, they have worked with those who upon to use their talents to contact and/or substantiate the existence of “ghosts” in various locations. She and her husband believe that ghosts have a voice and just want to be heard.

She notes that the majority of sightings are not as depicted on television. “A typical haunting leaves subtle clues such as voices, footsteps, odd noises, and sometimes odors such as cigar smoke or perfume. Not as frequently, there are shadow figures. If a place is well and truly haunted, the person residing there will know.”

Brosky adds that the most important thing about seeking out truly haunted places is “never trespass.”

“Cemeteries close at dusk. We heard our Civil War soldier’s voice on a sunny Saturday morning, Private property should never be entered without permission. Brosky stresses that a haunted place is just as haunted in daylight." She went on to say that many graves are vandalized by nighttime thrill seekers and emphasizes that she and her husband respect and pray for the dead when they go out to a cemetery or any place where spirit lurking is suspected.

When asked if ghosts make themselves known more often at Halloween. when tradition says the veil between this life and the afterlife is thin, Brosky said, “Many, including clergy, believe this. We’ve also found more sightings during thunderstorms and at the full moon, during solar storms, and just before and after the recent solar eclipse.”

Their book of poems, “Voices of the Dead” describes their ghostly encounters, along with photographs. While she cannot reveal the private locations of many of the haunted places she and her husband have authenticated, Brosky notes that if you suspect a lingering spirit on your premises, you can contact her at phasmaparanormal@gmail.com to request a visit.

Brentwood Restaurant

Stephen Lancaster has made documenting paranormal presence in the house that is the current location of the Brentwood Restaurant his special project. He has been working with Kim and Eric Masson for nine years. He says Kim was seeking validation and further research into the strange phenomena at the building, Lancaster was intrigued because the Masson family had no prior knowledge of the sightings that had occurred in the building. Nine years, two novels, television programming and one film later, Lancaster still finds the Brentwood a fascinating case. He notes that  it is one of the more haunted places he has ever encountered.

Lancaster stresses that the Brentwood is only open for dinner and is not open to the general public for “sightings.” The restaurant does hold Ghost dinners during October, and the calendar is on the website, (www.thebrentwoodrestaurant.com). So, the best way to see the paranormal phenomena at this location is via his film, now on YouTube.

The film will be available to watch while Lancaster and his crew visit festivals. A link to the work is also available on the Brentwood’ s web page.

Lancaster also advises respect when doing any ghost hunting on your own: “Do not mimic what you see on television. This is not a game. These spirits were once people, our friends and family. Ask yourself why you want this experience in the first place. I cannot stress enough that searching begins and ends with respect and empathy.”

If you want to read more about ghostly phenomena, the Horry County Memorial Library system has more than two dozen books dealing with South Carolina ghosts, several of which include Horry County.

South Carolina Ghosts from Coast to Mountain by Nancy Roberts, South Carolina Tales of Terror by Carole Marsh, Coastal Carolina Tales and Truths by W. Horace Carter, and Haunted South Carolina: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena by Alan Brown. Brown has a number of other books about haunted places. Enter his name into Amazon and about a dozen will show up.

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