#45 The gruesome graveyard & other real ghostly tales: Paranormal storyteller extraordinaire Jonathan Phoinex tells all

In this episode, we explore REAL ghostly experiences from South Carolina told Jonathan Phoinex: The grey man in spirit who foretells of hurricanes, the dancing spirit, the pirate captain in his friend’s bedroom and his own face to face experience with a ghostly graveyard caretaker who was not happy! So join us to hear these … Continued

In this episode, we explore REAL ghostly experiences from South Carolina told Jonathan Phoinex: The grey man in spirit who foretells of hurricanes, the dancing spirit, the pirate captain in his friend’s bedroom and his own face to face experience with a ghostly graveyard caretaker who was not happy!
So join us to hear these enthralling tales of ghostly apparitions still walking the Earth.


#45 The gruesome graveyard & other real ghostly tales: Paranormal storyteller extraordinaire Jonathan Phoinex tells all



Today we’re talking with Jonathan Phoenix from his Let Me Tell You A Story podcast. Jonathan is an ex firefighter who now spends his time as a paranormal storyteller, and he shares local stories from where he lives in the United States.

He’ll be telling of the grey man who warns of impending hurricanes, the dancing spirit lady, the pirate captain, a helpful spirit of a British soldier, and the graveyard that he will never forget. So get comfortable and here we go into the realm of spirits and the unseen goings on around us.

Timestamps for stories :
2:31    The grey man who warns of impending hurricanes
6:46    The dancing lady spirit
10:37  The pirate captain in my bedroom
11.:47 The helpful soldier on the stairs
14:41  The graveyard scream
23.16  Strawberry Chapel true and horror story


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me. I’m a writer and podcaster. I host, uh, Let Me Tell You a Story with Jonathan Phoenix. I’m the Carolina storyteller is what I go by.

I have two books already published: Through the Flames and Red Coats, which is a horror novel set in Georgetown, South Carolina, where I grew up. And where I had a interesting childhood with the paranormal, I don’t know if you know anything about Georgetown, but it’s actually on the coast, on the Atlantic coast, so during the Revolutionary War, it was held by the British, so it is probably one of the most haunted areas in the United States of America, from basically Charleston to Myrtle Beach, that entire coastline is You can throw a rock and hit a ghost.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)         

Sounds amazing. I bet you’ve got lots of stories to tell us about that area.


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

Oh, yes. Yes, I definitely do. We have some really famous ones that everybody hears about. We have:

The Gray Man story

I grew up in Pawleys Island, about four years there when I was a child. The story of the Gray Man, of course, is that a sailor back in the 1800s went off to sea and left his wife and child there on Pawleys Island.

He was lost at sea due to a storm. Well, a couple of weeks later, said storm was making its way to South Carolina. And one day the wife sees her lost love that she’d heard had died on a ship standing on the beach as the waves are coming in. And she goes up to him and he just doesn’t look right. And he just kind of tells her to get out, go, leave, and then walks into the water and disappears.

Some people think she’s hysterical, some people think she’s crazy, but everybody that she talked to, two days later, they get hit by a hurricane, and their homes miraculously survive without damage. And ever since, the Gray Man has always been seen before a major storm hits Polly’s Island. And it always tells you, one, how bad the storm is going to be.

And two, if you’re lucky enough to find out that he’s there before the storm hits, that you’re going to be okay as long as you kind of take the proper precautions, because the storm is going to be bad in that area. A friend of mine’s father, who, right before Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989, saw the grey man.

And came and told everybody that he had seen this man walking beside Polly’s Island pier, and he kind of walked towards the water and just vanished. And he’s positive it’s the Gray Man. And, you know, that pier was destroyed. But everybody he told and all of his friends and everybody who heeded the warning, their houses were perfectly fine after the storm went through.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)      

That’s amazing. It’s amazing to think that he actually is still here and wanting to help people, wanting to let people know when these Where there are anomalies are going to happen.


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

Yeah, it really is. It’s something that’s really amazing to think about is that every time we hear about a ghost, you don’t normally hear the good stories, but the grey man, even though he is a harbinger, or he’s kind of unique in the fact that if you listen to him, you’re going to make it through because he stands out, especially among harbingers, because you’ve got the moth man and others that show up and they mean doom and gloom, but he shows up.

And basically, if you see him. Or if you hear from someone who’s seen him, you can survive the storm.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host) asks:  When did you actually start having experiences from childhood that have led you on this lifetime of wanting to learn more and more about paranormal folklore and also sharing your own experiences?


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

I mean, I’d heard the ghost stories. Yeah. And you know, when you’re 10 years old, you actually start going out. I’d start going camping with friends and we’d tell ghost stories around the campfire. And I moved into downtown Georgetown in the Historic District, and I remember hearing about all these old houses, these houses are two, three hundred years old, and there were stories of, well, in this house, such and such happened, and in this house, such and such happened, and now when there’s a light on in the attic, even though there’s no electricity up there every night, because she’s signalling her pirate lover that’s out to sea, and you can hear the man falling down the stairs because he fell down to his death, and you heard all of these stories, it was what I was surrounded by, from the age of 10 until I was in my twenties, I grew up in it, constantly surrounded by it,


Just to give you another story: The Dancing Lady Spirit story

Where my house was in Georgetown, it was on Prince Street, and directly behind that, of course, is Front Street, which is the waterfront of Georgetown, where the harbour is. And back in, you know, the 1800s, ships just kind of sailed right up there and port, right into port. So there is a house that is right behind where my house was.

It was owned at the time by the governor of the state of South Carolina. And. His wife was the daughter of the second vice president of the United States of America, Aaron Burr, Theodosia Burr. And after Aaron was vice president, He got into some bad run-ins. There was an issue where he was considered a traitor at one point in time.

The War of 1812 happened. We’ve got everything going on. And finally, Aaron gets back in the good graces of the United States, and he asks his daughter to come and see him in New York. She goes to the house on Front Street, which was right behind the house I grew up in, and spends her last night in Georgetown dancing.

At this house on in the next morning, she boards a ship known as the Patriot with her doctors and a couple of handmaidens. The reason her doctor was going is because she had told her husband that she had a bad feeling that she did not have long left in the world and it was also why she wanted to see her father so badly.

Because she wanted to see him before she thought she was going to die. The Patriot sailed out of Georgetown, South Carolina and was never seen again.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)      

Wow, that’s, that’s pretty amazing that she had that premonition.


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

Yes, and now here’s the spooky part, is that ever since, people say when they visit the house, they can hear her. They can see, they’ve seen her dancing in the ballroom in the house. They’ve seen her coming down the stairs. And they can hear her playing with her dogs outside.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)   

So when she’s dancing in the ballroom, is she dancing by herself? Or does she have other spirits with her?


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

Now, see, I’ve never actually seen her. I did hear the dogs because like I said, the house was directly behind mine. Yeah. And I always thought they had dogs. Um, and it wasn’t until I was much older that I found out that the person that lived there at the time I was living there was allergic to dogs and cats. So they had no animals. So I had no clue about what the dog noises were that I always heard because it always messed with my dog.




Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)

So you’ve spent a lot of time, you’re like me, you spend a lot of time around spirits, probably around some of the other, the heavier energies that can be in homes. We just get used to them being there. And like you said, it feels really strange or odd when they’re not there.


The Pirate Captain story

Well, now I have a difference to compare it to because even my best friend, the house that he stayed in, he lived in this house that was supposedly owned by a pirate captain, supposedly somewhere on his property treasure is buried somewhere. We never found it at night. We would sleep in his room and he had this rocking chair in the corner of his bedroom. And you would sometimes see what looked like someone sitting in the rocking chair at night. And he was the protector of the house. He protected whoever was in the house, and never caused any problems, but you’d see him sometimes just sitting there in the rocking chair.

It was like an almost invisible shadowy figure you couldn’t make out, but you knew, it. Had the full pirate hat shape. It was the weirdest thing to see when you’re 12 years old and you open your eye and you’re looking over and Chairs moving, a weird shadow there, and you’re smacking your best friend. It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s here all the time. We don’t know what his name is. ‘ And goes back to sleep. Yeah.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)      

That is so funny. I love it. I absolutely love it. So it’d be interesting to know what the pirate spirit is in that home. I wonder what he thinks. Why, you know, why does he think about people actually being in that property?


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)  He’s not the only one in Georgetown that did that.


The helpful soldier spirit

There is a famous story from the Revolutionary War about a soldier who was woken up in the middle of the night by a raid conducted by Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. This soldier was staying on the fourth floor of a nice, one of these nice, you know, colonial homes. And he awoke and started rushing to try and get his belt buckled and everything and as he was running, he caught on the railing for the stair on an uneven step, went over and fell three stories to the bottom of this grand staircase where he died.

And ever since, he has basically protected that stairwell. The stairwell’s very rickety, it’s uneven. With it being a historic home, it’s not like you can tear the stairwell out and build a new one. You kind of have to just restore what’s there. But plenty of people do lose their balance, it seems, and they all say that they can feel like someone kind of catches and steadies them when they do.

And it’s, you know, again, a ghost that has just decided that he’s going to stick around and help the living instead of, uh, you know, torment them, which is what we normally hear.

Yeah. And as a child, you know, we always pictured the British soldiers as the bad guys, but when you come to think of it, you know, a soldier is a soldier, they are just doing a job and their job is to fight for their country. And yes, he was here fighting against our country. To keep our country under the control of Britain, at the same time, he was just doing a job.

That doesn’t mean he was a bad guy. It didn’t mean he was a horrible person. He was here to do a job. He woke up in the middle of the night to go do his job because there was an emergency, and he lost his life because of poor craftsmanship on the stairs. So he stuck around for 250 some odd years, keeping other people from suffering the same fate he did.

I think that kind of says something when you think about soldiers.



Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

I did have a story for you. So in Georgetown, dead centre of Georgetown, there is this graveyard. This graveyard has been there since the late 1600s. So this graveyard is now almost 500 years old.


The Graveyard Scream story

And when I was 13, my best friend, his cousin, his brother, me, and his dad. Decided that we were going to go and explore the graveyard at midnight. Now, his dad’s, of course, leading us around, telling us stories about the graveyard, and there are a couple of good ones. For one, the church itself was actually built in one location, and I believe it was actually originally built in Ireland, and then it was moved brick by brick to the United States of America and built there.

It was built somewhere, and then parts of it came from different places, and the church was basically much older than the land that it sits on now. So he was telling us the story about that. It was a barracks during the Revolutionary War, and there was a mysterious fire, and the inside of the church was completely burned, but the outside stood.

Nothing harmed the brick facade. It was just the pews and the wood. There’s also the story of a young woman who was walking past this graveyard at night when something pulled her into the graveyard. Her scream was heard, the police were called, and when the police came they found the groundskeeper holding her body.

They shot him, but later evidence proved that he wasn’t the one who killed her. And he’s telling us these stories as we’re travelling the graveyard, and then he points to this big mausoleum over there and he says oh yeah he’s buried in that and then he challenges us to walk through the entire graveyard by ourselves now Of the four of us, I was the runt, and after the other three went and didn’t even make it a quarter of the way, I had a chance to be the bigger man.

So I walked the whole thing. But as I was walking the whole thing, the first corner, the reason everybody left at the first corner, they all jumped the fence and ran back, is because that’s where that mausoleum was. So you had to walk past that mausoleum, and then down all the way to the next corner, and then back down towards the church.

And I made it past the mausoleum, I made it to the second turn, and I was making my way back to the church when I heard something behind me. It was a shambling noise, and some kind of almost like a growling, moaning. And I looked back, and I could see this form of a man, very large, broad shoulders. He just kind of walked towards me pointing at me like he was yelling at me or something And I assumed they were trying to punk me because I was showing them up So, I continued walking, and I got mad.

So, whereas everybody else who would have thought, you know, maybe this isn’t them trying to punk me, I’m gonna run and hide. I turned around and screamed at it. Basically roaring. And then just continued walking. And I walked the entire graveyard around to the backside of the church and was coming back to the gate.

And my friend’s dad came running up to me and grabbed me by the shoulders and he was like, are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay? And I was like, no, y’all thought y’all were funny. Couldn’t stop me. And he’s like, that wasn’t us. And so we went outside and sat across the street and they’re all no, John, that wasn’t us.

We don’t know what’s in that wasn’t us. Like, you were in danger. You, you, you should have ran. Why didn’t you run? And I’m like, that was you. You were trying to make a joke on me. And so I said, well, if it’s not you, I’m going to go back in there and look. And I go to cross the street, and to this day, I remember the sound, because when I set foot.

In front of that gate to walk back into the graveyard, this scream erupted out of it, and everybody started running. I took a second to realize that everybody was running, and then I started running. And I ran faster than everybody else. I was in the house, up the stairs, and in the room, before most of them made it back to the house.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)      

That’s a pretty cool story. Have you ever been back to that graveyard since?


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

Yes. Yes, I have in evening time. I’ve never been back in the middle of the night. At one point in time, there was talk that there was some kind of spirit or something that could be seen in the windows of the church, and I used to walk my great Dane, we walked several blocks, and as I was walking him past this churchyard, I would look up and see this thing kind of, you could almost see, like, look like a shadow just kind of flitting through the rafters, and it almost looked like it was having fun, and I kind of thought about it, I never had any other bad feelings from the graveyard, I never, Had any reason I didn’t cross the street.

I didn’t run from it. I’d walk the dog past it all the time Never any problems, you know, we played out in that area all the time We’d go in during the day and uh do rubbings of the tombstones Especially the ones the older the tombstones like 1695 things like that. We do charcoal rubbings But I never had a feeling of danger Like I did that night when I heard that scream But none of us knows what that scream was.

It could have possibly been one of them, but also to the caretaker, like you were saying about, the soldier being dutiful and caring for people on the stairs. Makes me wonder whether the caretaker in the graveyard was simply continuing to do his job and maybe he felt that. You and the other boys and the, the father shouldn’t have been there of a night time, so he could have been trying to scare you away.

That’s exactly the take that I’ve got on it. Redcoats combines all of the stories that I have about that graveyard for my book. I combined those stories and a lot of other elements. And that graveyard is actually in Redcoats, and it’s a central part of Redcoats. It’s part of my book because that was a moment where I could say, you know, there was no denying what happened that day.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)     

I think some of these things are unexplainable. I mean, I’ve been in graveyards in the middle of the night as well, occasionally, with some friends of mine, and I’ve had electric shocks, ran up my legs. I’ve been poked in the back, pushed in the back. I’ve had something whisper in my ear, turn around. And I’m like, no, I’m out of here. So I mean, these are things out in the middle of nowhere. There’s no electricity in the middle of a graveyard. You know, I mean, who’s going to push me and poke me when my friends are sort of roaming around on the other side of the graveyard with their gadgets, looking for someone to communicate with.


There’s a place here in Monks Corner where I live now. It’s about 10 miles outside of town. It’s a place called Strawberry Chapel. And during the day, it is absolutely beautiful. This is a little chapel that has been there since the 1800s. There was a town that was planned for the area, and this was part of it.

Strawberry Chapel horror story

There’s an abbey on the next property over where monks still live today. They raise chickens and sell eggs and you can have your wedding there on the banks of the canal with the monks. Uh, and then this chapel is just behind it and it’s got a graveyard in it. At night, it takes on an entirely different aura.

And there are several ghost stories about it at night. I won’t go on the property at night. I don’t know what it is. People say, oh, well, this place is haunted But I go there and every alarm goes off. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.  I don’t know what that is. And I don’t want to know what that is.

Strawberry Chapel has a darker story. A much darker story. This was, uh, around the 1830s. Before Civil War, a young girl who lived with a very prominent family was sent down to Childsbury, where Strawberry Chapel was, to live with her uncle.

And to attend the school that was being held there in Strawberry Chapel. And the schoolmaster was a very strict, very cruel individual. And she was a very open and free spirit who basically got everything she wanted. She wasn’t mean, she wasn’t bratty, but she did have slight problems with authority. Well, she decided she wanted to go outside.

And he decided she couldn’t, and she went outside. Now, you would think typically a punishment for that might be go sit in the chair for five minutes with a dunce cap on your head. No, the schoolmaster chained her to a large tombstone in the graveyard outside of the chapel, whipped her, and then left her there.

Now, his intention was to leave her there for half an hour. Still not good. And she’s left there through the night. In the middle of the night, whatever happened to her, she became so terrified that she actually, at 7 years old, suffered a minor stroke. And though she lived to the ripe old age of 80, she was never right after that night in the graveyard.

A lot of people contribute her being able to survive that night to the fact that a slave… I hate saying that. Slavery is one thing I can’t stand, and it just happens to be part of the history here. A slave from a neighbouring plantation had gone on his way to see his lover, who was at another plantation, and he was sneaking back.

His name was Moni, and Moni came across the young girl. At first, he thought he was seeing a demon, but then he realized it was the young girl. And Moni spent the rest of the night risking his life, literally, to stay with her. And in the morning, he told people that the girl was there, and the schoolmaster realized he’d left her there and went to set her free.

And the schoolmaster was literally drummed out of town. They kicked him out of his house, gave him all of his stuff, and drummed him out of town for leaving her there overnight. But… She never really recovered. And of course, Moni was actually not punished, even though he had gone against his master’s rules.

His master felt that it was more important that he put his needs aside for the young girl. And Moni was actually rewarded for staying with the girl.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)     

That was a beautiful thing that he did for her.


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

It really was, and the ghost story is different from the true story. What I’ve told you is the true story.

The ghost story is, is that when Moni found her, he ran and told people, and the schoolmaster got there first to set her free, and apparently she had made a deal with a demon to free herself. And when they found her, they found her free, curled up kind of in a ball at the bottom of the tombstone. And the schoolmaster was smouldering as if it had been struck by lightning.

People that had been in the area say they heard lightning. That’s not what really happened. What really happened is, is that he was caught and drummed out of town. He, he didn’t die. I like the ghost story better because it seems like there’s some kind of righteous vengeance. And you don’t find out that the poor girl was so horribly affected that she had to live her entire life with the effects of that night.

But the ghost story doesn’t tell you how a young man stayed with her, risking his own life to protect hers. Because he literally, you know, back then they could have killed him for that. Because he was out and because he stayed with her, even though he was doing the right thing. I feel like the true story is the better version of that story because it’s equally horrible.

But whatever happened that night has apparently left a, it’s left its mark, is what I would say. I don’t like that place at night, and I can’t imagine that that young girl did either.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)      

Well, I mean, it’s a graveyard. Graveyards aren’t… Happy places, you know, they’re places where there’s lots of despair and sadness. And of course, there are people buried there that, you know, may still be present, maybe roaming around the graveyard, you know, and that would, that would be frightening for a child to be there of nighttime, cold, hungry, tied, chained, you know, to a gravestone. That’s, The teacher should have got a flogging for that.

Like seriously, you can’t treat children, let alone anybody else in that way.


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

It’s one of the many stories from this area, you know, I’ve told some happier stories from this area, but growing up in, in this part of South Carolina, there are so many stories that don’t have the happiness in them. There’s just so much that when you, when you peel back the layers on it and you’re just like, oh, yeah, wow, no wonder there’s a ghost there.

And, you know, the thing with telling stories is, is now I’ve told you the story. Now you have the story to tell to somebody else, and that’s the great thing about storytelling, is that it gives everybody the opportunity to become a storyteller because they can take that story and pass it on to the next person.


Speaker 1: Anna Schmidt (Host)

Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. Well, Jonathan, I want to thank you so, so much for coming on today and sharing your paranormal experiences, sharing some of the paranormal folklore from where you live. I’ve really enjoyed listening. Thank you so much.


Speaker 2: Jonathan Phoinex (Guest)

Again, thank you so much for having me. It really was a pleasure. I really appreciate it. And,  to your listeners, TheCarolinaStoryteller. com is the website and blog. My books are available there, got some merch going up and of course, you can catch all episodes of’ Let Me Tell You a Story ‘ and any other podcasts I might be working on.

Jonathan Phoinex contact details:

WEBSITE: https://www.thecarolinastoryteller.com/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/johnphoinex79

PODCAST: https://open.spotify.com/show/4mA4ityCbqjadlvL5urugZ

Want to share a paranormal experience? Send me your paranormal questions and your stories to:
spiritual being44 @gmail.com

For information about paranormal house clearing, you can visit the service section:
House, business and property clearing:

I look forward to sharing this spooky space again with you next week,
And remember, life is perfectly paranormal.




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