Haunted Charleston History: Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Old Exchange and Provost Building Charleston

Old Exchange and Provost Building Charleston | Photo by: @young_preservationist

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Given that Charleston was founded in 1670, it isn’t surprising that there are several well-known ghost stories within the last 300+ years.

Since Halloween is officially less than a week away, we’ve decided to take a deep dive into one familiar landmark that is prevalent in the city’s haunted history: the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. 🕷

Located at 122 E. Bay St., this landmark dates back to 1771 and was originally constructed to serve as a commercial exchange + customs house. During the building’s 250 years in existence, it has also operated as a museum, city hall, military headquarters, and post office. The building’s underground dungeon, however, held pirates, enslaved people + war criminals. Upon entering the dungeon today, building visitors claim to be met with screams, dancing orbs, and other figures. 👻

Provost Dungeon in Charleston

Provost Dungeon | Photo by: @ellekhaye_

One individual in particular, Colonel Isaac Hayne, was among the countless individuals kept locked away in the provost dungeon before his execution. Hayne was charged with treason + was hanged in August of 1781.

Shortly before his public execution, Hayne was kept in what is now known as the Colonel Isaac Hayne room in the upstairs level of the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon building — where some still believe his spirit remains.

Legend claims that en route to his execution, Hayne passed his sister’s house, who cried out + begged him to return to her — which he said he would do, if possible. Some claim to still hear the sound of his boots pacing down that street at night, returning to visit his sister as she had requested.

This is just one of many spooky stories that are part of the Lowcountry’s history. If you’re looking to embark on your own adventure learning more about each ghost story + haunted landmark in Charleston, we’ve got a roadmap that will give you pumpkin to talk about. 🎃