Lands End Light – Frogmore, St. Helena Island, South Carolina
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This article and the photos that accompany it were contributed by Barry Gooch, a native of Port Royal in Beaufort County. In his free time, Barry enjoys studying local history and exploring our state. He is a valuable resource on the backroads and hidden treasures of South Carolina.
History of St. Helena Island's Lands End Light
This old oak tree is a popular landmark for adventurous investigators of the paranormal. If you park on the right side of the road facing the tree, you may see the ghostly "Lands End Light." What first appears the be the headlights of an automobile approaching in the distance may materialize into an eerie orb of soft white light floating several feet above the highway – drifting slowly towards you. If you panic and crank your vehicle, the light will disappear.
By the light of day, this old oak appears so innocuous and uninspiring, the unsuspecting traveler would never consider spending an evening in the shade of the old tree waiting on the pall of night to transform this rural scene into an enchanted forest. Wait awhile, traveler, and ghostly images will soon dance in the fleecy shadows of the Spanish moss swaying innocently and gently in the moonlight. Then your imagination will weave a magical vista of manes and hags.
So it happened in the fall of 1966 when I first sat under this old tree in my '57 Chevy. With my arm curled around my favorite girl, the promise of a ghostly encounter only made her want to snuggle closer. We joked about the faces peering from the Spanish moss and laughed at the old tales we knew about the island hags and headless ghosts and it only made us hold each other tighter.
When we saw the car approaching from the distance we were certain it really was just another car, probably coming to join us. As we watched in amazement, it came toward us much too fast, and then seemed to slow to an almost imperceptible pace. Transfixed by what we were witnessing, the car headlights transformed into an ethereal ball of soft white light that slowly drifted in our direction until it hovered over the right front fender of my Chevy. Released from an almost trance-like state, Kathy screamed and startled me back to reality. "Scared" was not the appropriate way to describe my mental state as I prayed my old Chevy would crank. When the starter caught, that ghostly ball of light disappeared into nothingness faster than the tires on my old Chevy would spin.
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