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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

The Ghost That Brings Us Together

The cemetery where Alice Flagg’s grave lies

An island ghost and a family birthday make for an interesting beach adventure 

Any native, and many visitors, of Pawleys Island, South Carolina have heard of the infamous Alice Flagg.

Alice is one of the island’s two notorious ghosts. Her story, in short, is the plight of a star-crossed lover who fell in love with a man who didn’t win her family’s favor. Nevertheless, her lover secretly proposed to her. Alice wore the engagement ring around her neck, tucked into her neckline, so as not to alert her family of her clandestine engagement.  

To her misfortune, Alice was sent off to boarding school—an effort by her family to separate her from her suspected lover. The cards were continually dealt against her, as she soon contracted a fatal illness at school. She was retrieved by her family, but not in enough time to save her. Her father discovered her engagement ring hanging delicately on her neck while she was bedridden and disposed of it before her untimely death.  

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Alice’s father and family were so appalled by their daughter’s engagement that they buried her in a tomb marked only “Alice”—no last name, no dates, no other inscriptions. 

Today, folks visit Alice’s presumed grave—located in the cemetery of All Saints Church, 3560 Kings River Road, Pawleys Island, South Carolina—to honor her memory and lament her untimely, and besmirched, death. It’s become customary for visitors to leave Alice a memento—which ranges from gum wrappers to bottle caps—in addition to circling her grave 13 times and leaving a ring on her gravestone.  

So, when my family and best friend were in Pawleys last summer for my mom’s birthday, and she felt compelled to visit Alice’s grave, the rest of the crowd complied to the birthday girl’s wishes…naturally. 

Much to my dismay, the five of us—my mom, dad, brother, Alexa and myself—piled in my dad’s Tahoe and set out for the cemetery. The thing is, I’m not a fan of graveyards…in the least. Despite the fact that I was a part of this adventure against my will, I was also the one charged with the responsibility of directing us to the graveyard…the exact location I DIDN’T want to find.  

To add to the chaos, my brother—who needs glasses to drive in the dark—was driving. In the dark. Without his glasses.  

After driving up and down I-17 for half an hour (keep in mind, the island is only four miles long, so we managed to get way off target), with my anxiety rising, coupled with my mom’s insistence that we find the grave, Alexa’s hysterical laughing, my dad’s smart-aleck comments and brother’s squinty-eyed driving, we arrived. Kinda.  

There’s not exactly premier parking at this particular cemetery. 

My dad directed my brother to a path to the right of the cemetery, which we thought would lead to…actually, I’m not sure why we thought this unpaved trail was promising. Despite overhanging limbs, and a shrinking path, my brother continued on, laughing to himself as my dad fervently instructed him to back out of the trail. At this point, I was sitting in Alexa’s lap, certain that death via haunted trail was imminent.  

My brother eventually backed out of the trail and proceeded to pull into a long driveway on private property. And parked there. On private property. In the dark.  

I was sure we were going to be met by a shotgun-wielding property owner.  

The trauma continued as we traipsed into and through the graveyard. In the dark.  

Someone in our misfit group decided it would be a good idea to split up to locate Alice’s grave. In the dark.  

I held onto Alexa with the death grip, slid my iPhone flashlight on and crept around the graveyard hesitantly. I was the last person who wanted to find Alice’s grave. Naturally, I was also the first one to spot it. 

Her name rose from my stomach, through my throat, out of my mouth.  

We didn’t even do the ritual, we just stared at the grave—adorned with trinkets rather than words—laughed and left.  

And I’ve just learned that the driveway belongs to my upstairs neighbor. And that’s life for ya. Happy Halloween. 

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