Happy, Happy, Live Out Loud

Last week we took a family trip down to Charleston, SC.  In the 10 years I’ve been in Atlanta, I’d never been to Charleston before.  Ridiculous!  We had so much fun!  It’s a beautiful, clean, historic city ON THE WATER.  Seriously, it doesn’t get much better.  Why have I not been there every long weekend and vacation?  Why don’t we live there????  I could be a horse carriage tour guide and Jason could run a bicycle taxi!   There.  It’s all figured out.

While it’s beautiful and classical, it’s also totally haunted.  I know that all the “Ghost Tours” are ways to suck a little more money out of tourists, but a town with so much history is bound to have a few apparitions hanging around.  On Tuesday night, Jason and I took our friends up on their offer to take the kids for the night and we went on a ghost tour at the Old Jail.  I think the offer was actually made so we could go out and have a fancy, romantic dinner, but…well…we wanted to see ghosts (and we didn’t want our kids tripping us or slowing us down if we needed to run).  The Old Jail was built on the site of an old pauper cemetery, across the street from a hospital that had been used as an insane asylum.  Spooooky!  We actually never saw any ghosts or super-natural activity.  In the basement, I DID smell flowers about 3 seconds before the guide mentioned that people sometimes inexplicably smell roses in that room.  The flowers I smelled weren’t roses, and it very well could have been somebody’s perfume, but I sniffed around afterward and never smelled it again. 

Oddly, the ghost tour was NOT the creepiest thing that happened to us in Charleston.  The Sunday before the tour, our first full day in Charleston, we’d been exploring the Historic District when we stepped into the cemetery behind St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.  We were looking around at the gravestones and trying to find the graves of John Rutledge & Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 2 signers of the US Constitution. It’s a very old cemetery (obviously) and many of the stones are hard to read, so it requires a bit of effort & concentration to get all the information.  While we were there, I was pushing Z in his stroller.  The paths were all loose and uneven stones, so I was moving a bit slower than Jason & Amelia. 

When I skipped a few rows and caught up, Jason was reading a gravestone and Amelia was a few stones down.  She was being quiet & was fairly calm, so I didn’t worry too much about her (before entering, we’d had a talk about how she HAD to be respectful or we’d have to leave).  While Jason & I were talking, Amelia was slowly approaching us, still looking at the graves.  When she got closer, we both realized that she was stopping in front of each stone, folding her hands in front of her, bowing her head and saying something under her breath.  It wasn’t COMPLETELY out of the way, she’s had babysitters who say grace before each meal and every so often she asks to do it at home.  When she was done, she’d raised her head and move on to the next stone.  Jason & I exchanged puzzled glances.  When we were within earshot of her, we both heard her say, tenderly but with conviction, “Happy, happy, live out loud”. When she moved to the next monument, again it was “Happy, happy, live out loud”.  She did this a few more times before she looked up and saw us staring at her.  Then she just said “what?”, as if this was the most natural thing to do. 

Neither of us were really sure what to say.  It was really the sweetest, kindest thing to see.  Still, it was weird.  Finally Jason asked her what she was doing.  Amelia just shrugged her shoulders.  He asked where she’d heard that saying, thinking that maybe she’d heard it on a TV show or movie.  She looked at both of us and said “Oh, brother told me to say it.”

Um….excuse me?

As always, Z just gave us his Cheshire Cat smile.


Here’s how it looked.  Notice Jason frozen beside her, not quite sure what the hell to do.  He actually may be reading something,  it’s just funny to imagine him frozen in terror by his 4 year old daughter.  (btw, I just noticed that J appears to be standing on a grave…that can’t be good) 


I tried to get video, but Amelia got all self-conscious and wouldn’t do it. 

So, are our kids possessed?  Maybe…but probably not.

Was it completely weird and creepy?  No doubt.



BTW, if anyone DOES know of somewhere Amelia could have seen or heard that, please let me know.  I googled it, but didn’t come up with anything.  And let me tell you, a little girl giving a seemingly random blessing in a cemetery is creeeeeeeeepy.


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