Embassy Suites Investigation
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Date: October 12-15, 2004
Moon Phase: New
Date Solar Geo
10/12/2004 Normal Unsettled
10/13/2004 Normal Storm!
10/14/2004 Active Storm!
10/15/2004 Normal Quiet
Investigators present: Hillary M., Robert H., Paul M.
Equipment: Olympus C-3000 digital camera, 2 Sony digital video cameras with Nightshot and infrared extenders, Extech EMF meter, Olympus 2000 Digital Voice Recorder, Extech IR thermometer, Olympus C-4000 Digital Camera, Trifield EMF meter, Olympus D-370 digital camera
History: The fortress structure at Marion Square
in Charleston, currently owned and operated by Embassy Suites as a hotel, is the
restored original building for the South Carolina Military College, known today
as The Citadel.
Before 1822, a small peaceful state tobacco inspection station stood on that site. For years before 1822, the ratio of blacks to whites grew steadily more disproportionate, with the white population growing slowly and the black population increasing rapidly because of demand for slaves.
In June of 1822, city leaders discovered a plotted slave rebellion. The city accused Denmark Vesey, a slave who had purchased his freedom through winning a city lottery, of organizing a potentially violent and bloody slave revolt. Vesey and his alleged conspirators were found guilty of the plot and hanged.
This event motivated South Carolinians to desire greater armed security in Charleston, leading to building a greater arsenal fortress. Completed in 1829 and first garrisoned by U.S. Troops from Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island, the new building held South Carolina state troops from the 1832 Nullification Crisis until the opening of the Citadel in 1843.
The Citadel Academy opened on March 20, 1843, providing an education for "poor but deserving boys of the state." Other cadets could attend at their own expense. The Citadel operated there until it moved to more expansive grounds near the Ashley River in 1922.
The Old Citadel building served different municipal government functions over the course of the twentieth century. In the 1990's a local Charleston real estate development firm called Bennett-Hoffman bought the property and painstakingly restored the building, transforming it into an Embassy Suites Hotel. I remember being stunned by how well it was done, especially given the state of disrepair the place exuded in the 80's and early 90's.
This and other efforts contributed to a revitalization of Charleston's Marion Square district that continues to this day. Not long ago the area was a ratty, unattractive spot. Now Marion Square is a social and tourist second city center, a real jewel of pride for Charlestonians and more visual proof of the renaissance of a beautiful city that remained economically dead for over a hundred years after the Civil War.
The above historical information was provided courtesy
of Julian Buxton of TourCharleston.
Investigation: We arrived at the Embassy Suites on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 12, 2005. The staff seemed excited that we were there, and the manager and staff made it known that we would have access to any rooms that were not occupied. They also began telling us their stories and giving us the names of the staff members who have had the most strange experiences there. We were fortunate to be able to arrange interviews with these individuals.
Upon checking in, we were told that room M113 (on the mezzanine) was the most active, being haunted by an apparition affectionately known as "Half Head". It was unclear if he actually had only half a head, or if it appeared that way due to his headgear; however, "Half Head" was an apparition of a Citadel cadet whom often made his presence known to female guests by appearing at the foot of their bed in the middle of the night. This room is so active, that it is the last room to be assigned to weary travelers. Therefore, it is unoccupied unless the entire inn is full. We were very excited at the prospect of staying in "Half Head's" room until we found out that it is a designated smoking room. Being non-smokers, we didn't think that we could hack staying in the room for four nights, so we took two of the other rooms, which were rumored to be haunted. We were promised access to M113 though. In the end, Paul and I took room 105, and Robert took room 231. Apparitions of children have been seen by guests in both rooms.
We began our investigation of the Embassy Inn on Tuesday night (10/12) by walking each floor of the hotel. We wanted to assure that we were familiar with the entire building. We took several control shots of the huge atrium and every section of the hotel that we could get into.
At 11:00 p.m., we sat down and interviewed Wayne, a bellhop who previously worked in the restaurant. At 12:17 a.m. we began our investigation of room 105. In that room, I got an EMF spike of 3.9 on the far side of the bed. The reading quickly dropped back down to a background reading of 0.7. No other EMF spikes were recorded in this room.
On Wednesday afternoon (10/13) we interviewed Don, a former maintenance man, then later that night began our investigation in room 231. In this room I got an EMF spike of 2.3 in the living room which I could not trace, and another spike of 7.7 in front of the air conditioning unit (AC). At first we thought that this could be explained by the AC, but the AC had been turned off before starting the investigation, and the EMF detector quickly dropped back down to the 0.7 background reading, where it stayed. We then moved into room M113. No untraceable EMF readings were recorded, but we did get several anomalous photos. While we were in this room Wednesday night, we moved the hospitality folder from the table to on top of the TV.
On Thursday (10/14) we decided to try investigating M113 in the daytime, to see if there was any difference in activity. Upon entering the room, we immediately noticed that the folder was once again on the table, opened. Nothing else in the room was disturbed though. Did "Half Head" move the folder while we were gone, or was it just the cleaning staff? We attempted to obtain the electronic security log for that room for that day, but were unable, so we'll never know for sure. We did get several positive photos and some positive video during this time, but ultimately, the daytime proved to be too noisy for EVP recording. Before we left the room, we moved the remote to the top of the entertainment center in the bedroom.
At 9:30 p.m., we returned to room M113. This time, the remote had not moved. However, we did have one strange experience in this room at this time. I got a quick EMF spike of 8.2 in front of the bathroom. Robert tried to take a picture, but got a formatting error on his card. Paul took a picture, and got a moving orb.
At 10:00 p.m., we moved into room M109. The former maintenance man, Don, stated that he never felt comfortable in this room. We did obtain one picture of a pink orb in this room. At 10:45, we moved into room 231, but did not obtain any positive results.
We checked out of the Embassy Suites the following morning.
Conclusion: Unfortunately, we did not see any
apparitions during our stay at the Embassy Suites. We did obtain a few EVP, a
few video clips (all in room M113), and several anomalous photos and unexplained
EMF readings though. We found the rooms to be very comfortable and inviting.
Most of the rooms (with the exception of M113) did not have the usual heavy
feeling that's associated with hauntings. Personally, I felt that the most
active part of the entire building was the atrium. Our evidence indicates that
the most active parts of the building are the atrium and room M113.
We would love to return to the Embassy Suites in Charleston to investigate it further. The Embassy Inn management and staff welcome ghosthunters, and you are sure to hear a good story or two regarding the haunting. The Embassy Suites is highly recommended by the PRSNA whether you are just looking for a relaxing place to stay while visiting Charleston (one of the PRSNA's favorite cities), or you are looking for a place to hopefully see a ghost. If you do visit the Embassy Suites, tell them that the PRSNA sent you!
We wish to thank the management and staff of the Embassy Suites for their incredible hospitality and cooperation. We'd also like to send out an extra special thank you to Julian Buxton of Tour Charleston and to Stephanie Massey, Corporate Sales Manager of Embassy Suites for helping us gain access to this site.
Submitted by Hillary Murdoch