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  • Writer's pictureNancy Rogers

Did Alice Die of a Broken Heart?

One of the most famous ghost stories every to come out of South Carolina, is the story of Alice Flagg. Alice was born into an old-line Pawleys Island/Murrells Inlet family possibly in the mid-1830s. Her family lived in a beautiful mansion on the marsh called the Hermitage. Alice’s brother was the head of the household during Alice’s childhood and she had everything she could want, that is until she turned sixteen and fell in love with a young man who was far beneath her on the social ladder. He might have been a common laborer; some say he worked in the lumber business.

No one knows for sure, but considering that this a ghost story, it’s supposed to have missing parts.

Anyway, Alice’s love for the young man was eventually discovered, and her horrified brother whisked her off to boarding school in Charleston, but not before she and her young man secretly became betrothed. During her stay at boarding school, Alice because very sick—possibly from malaria, but again, no one knows for sure.

Regardless, she was brought back to the Heritage to be care for by her family. Once there, a betrothal ring was discovered suspended on a ribbon around Alice’s neck. The bother became so enraged, legend has it that he ripped the ring from Alice’s neck and threw it into the nearby marsh.

Alice begged to see her young man, but her pleas were denied and soon after, she died. Alice was buried at All Saints Church in Pawleys Island, but her family was so angry with her that the cryptstone covering her grave only contains the name Alice. Her last name isn’t there neither is the date that she died.

What makes it a ghost story? It is said that if you start at the lower right corner of her cryptstone and walk counterclockwise six times and then six times clockwise stopping at the “A” in Alice, leave a remembrance AND make a wish, your wish will come true. Diehards say that if you do this at midnight during a full moon, Alice, herself, will appear and thank you for visiting her grave. She will be clutching her neck as if remembering her lost betrothal ring.

I’ve walked around her grave many times (not at midnight during a full moon), left flowers and shells and made wishes, but I can’t say for certain that my wishes were granted.

You should try it, though. Her grave is very near the Greek Revival chapel on the cemetery grounds and you can’t miss it, because there is a pathway made by those who visited before you. Her grave always contains mementoes: shells, flowers, coins and costume engagement rings.

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