For those not familiar with your Charleston Explained Instagram account, can you give a quick rundown?
Charleston Explained is an account that uncovers myths, facts + stories about Charleston. We dive into everything from facts you may not be familiar with, history, unsolved murder mysteries, and even paranormal activity at different establishments around the city.
How did you get started with this account? Where did you get the idea from?
I have always been fascinated with Charleston’s history, and I’ve spent a lot of time in front of the camera while creating content for our real estate brokerage, Debbie Fisher Hometown Realty, with my brother/videographer, Nick. Throughout the years, we discussed how fun it would be to create a YouTube channel or something dedicated to the history and stories we’ve heard. The idea for the account began once short-form content became so valuable. As a business creating content, viewers frequently feel like they’re being sold, but we didn’t want that to be the case with these videos. Through consuming other content, we came up with our method of how we wanted to shoot each video, and we started off the account with the Charleston Single video.
I’m excited and grateful for how well the account has been received. Our goal is to continue to share Charleston’s history and folklore in a new and unique way and also create additional subsidiary accounts that shine a light on other aspects of Charleston. Our latest addition is Charleston Grubs, which will take viewers into restaurants and display some of the best dishes created by local Charleston chefs.
What is your favorite myth or fact about Charleston?
My favorite myth (now turned fact) would have to be the secret underground tunnels that are under Broad Street. During prohibition, bootleggers needed a discreet way of transporting alcohol to speakeasies, or “blind tigers.” The term blind tiger described illicit gambling and drinking establishments and was used as a slang word to point out the locations of these speakeasies throughout the city. Underground tunnels provided a low-risk option logistically, and more alcohol on hand meant more money for the business owners. There are said to be several tunnel systems in various locations throughout the city, and you can visit our very own Blind Tiger Pub, located at 36-38 Broad St., where there is still an access point to a tunnel that was used during the prohibition era.
What’s a fact that someone may not know about Charleston?
We don’t have any native stone in the Lowcountry except for phosphate. While many associate Charleston with our cobblestone (ballast stone) streets, the stone you see was imported from Europe during the colonial period. However, it’s believed that our cobblestone streets, such as Chalmers Street, are not colonial-era pavings. During the colonial era, the stone was used as waterfront fortification along East Bay Street and The Battery. After the Revolutionary War, we no longer needed the ballast stones for fortifications. In the early 19th century, Charleston constructed its first “paved” cobblestone street, which was East Bay Street in 1819. Today, Chalmers Street is a preservation of what Antebellum-era Charleston would have looked like.
Since it’s almost Halloween, what’s one of the scariest stories you have shared?
The Battery Carriage House has been the scariest so far. For those who don’t know, it’s one of the city’s most historic hotels, but it’s also one of the most haunted establishments in Charleston. Two rooms are notorious for paranormal activity — Room 8 + Room 10. The reason this takes the top of my list is because of Room 8. It’s said that guests have experienced a paranormal spirit standing at the end of the bed while they sleep. Allegedly, guests have been awakened by strange animalistic growling noises in the night, and when they look to the edge of the bed, they see a headless torso. Speculation is that the ghost is a Confederate soldier from the Civil War or possibly a pirate, which would make sense given the history of White Point Garden directly across the street but is still unknown.
Can you give us some updates or a sneak peek at anything you may be sharing in the future?
I’m currently working on a two-part video covering what I refer to as “The Halloween Murders of 1933.” Two unrelated murders took place the day after Halloween within just blocks of one another and at almost the same time. Keep an eye out for part one coming out this week.
Is there anything you want to add to this conversation?
We enjoy the sense of community that has been created around the account and even within each video across the platforms. It’s fulfilling to see the engagement around the different subjects — whether it’s debates over the noises at Berry Hall or the true culprit of the broken window in the Wagener Building. We appreciate how much our content has resonated with people and look forward to much more in the future.