The Unitarian Church sits on Archdale Street. It is the oldest Unitarian church in the South and a National Historic Landmark.
While the history of the site is important, it’s the story buried in the graveyard we’re interested in.
Known as The Lady in White, Anna Ravenel has been seen standing behind ghost tour guides in her wedding gown as they share the story of the church with wide-eyed visitors. Or maybe you’ve seen her sitting on one of the benches positioned around the spooky site.
Maybe you’ve never heard of her at all.
Anna was born into one of Charleston’s most prominent families. She met and fell in love with a young man her father, Dr. Ravenel, didn’t approve of. Edward Allan was in the Army, stationed at Fort Moultrie on Sullivans Island. Although she was forbidden to see Edward, Anna would sneak out of her house to be with him. (Dear young readers, that will never work out in your favor!) Upon learning of Anna and Edward’s secret adventures, her father had the soldier transferred to an Army base in Baltimore.
Anna was heartbroken and became very ill. Sound familiar? Remember the story of Alice?
Edward heard of Anna’s illness and left Baltimore hoping to see her. As you might guess, he didn’t make it in time. Anna died before her lost love reached the southern coast.
Dr. Ravenel blamed Edward for his daughter’s death. The family wouldn’t even allow him to attend her funeral. Can you imagine?
They dug six graves, filled them in and didn’t mark Anna’s with a headstone. Edward wouldn’t have an opportunity to mourn her passing. No wonder her spirit is unsettled.
That’s the story of The Lady in White.
But our story doesn’t end there. We couldn’t help but wonder what happened to poor, heartbroken Edward. Actually, you might recognize his given name.
Edgar Allan. That’s right.
Edgar Allan Poe lived quite the disturbed existence following his brief romance with Anna. Insomnia, drugs and alcohol were cast a starring role in the screenplay of this writer’s sad life. He died at the very young age of forty. We don’t have time to go into the mysterious lack of details surrounding his death, but we will leave you with his last known poem.
By Edgar Allan Poe