Arts & Culture

5 Minutes with author Sherman Carmichael

Submitted Photo

Sherman Carmichael has seen a ghost. Maybe.

To say the least, he's had a few close encounters with the supernatural. In his latest book, "Legends and Lore of South Carolina," the Johnsonville author once again culls some spooky tales from the history of the Palmetto State, including a few from Beaufort County.

Carmichael, who's also been a photographer and talent agent, explains the unexplained.

Question. How did you get involved telling these sorts of stories?

Answer. I've followed the supernatural since I was 16 years old. I started doing serious research a little later in life. A production company approached me about doing some research for a potential TV series. But the executive producer got ill, so we didn't do the show. I had file cabinets full of research. I told myself, "I could write a book." So that's what I did. I didn't think it'd get published, but History Press took a liking to it. ("Forgotten Tales of South Carolina" was published in 2011.) There's so much of these unusual tales in South Carolina, you could probably put out 10 books on it.

Q. Do you believe in ghosts?

A. People seem to think that the things they see or hear are the spirits of dead people. What if it's not that? These scenes that they see usually happen over and over and over. What happens if that incident is a rip in time? What if people are actually seeing glimpses back into history? Nobody will be able to answers these questions really.

Q. Have you ever seen a ghost?

A. I've seen something. It was in the Crescent Hotel in Arkansas. We were on vacation, and we didn't know it was haunted. We just went in for a tour. I was propped up on one of the posts at the bottom of the stairs, and there was a figure standing there in old period clothes -- the long black coat and high boots. I looked a second and looked off and it was gone. I asked one of the ladies if the place was haunted, and she said she'd heard stories just like that one.

Q. Any stories like that around here?

A. We were doing an interview with a lady in Georgetown. We were in her sitting room and all the doors were closed. Her ghost is Morgana. She said, "Morgana, if you're here come meet these gentlemen." About 30 seconds later the door opened. There was nothing there.

That was interesting, to say the least. I've seen a handful of things. Nothing I can prove though.

Q. Just a bunch of stories.

A. Oh yeah, a lot of good stories.


History Press