In towns as old as Conway, South Carolina, there are bound to be some ghost stories.
Visitors can enjoy these spine-tingling tales each year during the Conway Ghost Walk, an annual event taking place just before Halloween that takes advantage of the historic nature of Conway and some of its more colorful tales. Professional storytellers will walk participants through the dark streets of downtown Conway, weaving ghost tales from history that are sure to have your heart racing.
What kind of stories? For one, there's the tale of Brookie Beaty, a local favorite.
Mary Elizabeth Brookman Beaty was the wife of Horry County pioneer Thomas Wilson Beaty and mother to five children. Tragically, all five children died at young ages in the mid 1800s, two of the girls having drowned in the lake behind their home on the same day, two girls dying of diphtheria, and the youngest child, a boy named Brookie, becoming the subject of an enduring Conway ghost tale.
The story goes: Mary Beaty was sitting in the parlor of the historic Beaty home with a sick Brookie upstairs when she heard beautiful music drifting through the air. Appearing before her were four angels, her deceased daughters. She then heard a discordant note in the music, and asked what it meant. The girls told her that they had come for their brother. Mary went to Brookie's room and found him dead.
Mary Beaty often told this tale to the people of Conway, and it was taken as true, Mary being an intelligent and capable woman, an upstanding citizen of the community. All five of her children are buried in the Kingston Presbyterian churchyard in Conway, in the section known as the Beaty Burying Ground. Mary Beaty died in 1901.
Now imagine this heartbreaking but scary tale being told by a professional storyteller as you walk the shadowy streets of historic downtown Conway.
Conway Ghost Walk tales place from 7:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 23 through Oct. 25. This Halloween event features seven storytellers sharing tales that are always spooky, sometimes humorous and guaranteed to become part of your family's Halloween tradition, according to promoters. Reservations are suggested, but tour-goers may also visit the box office at the Conway Visitors Center on tour nights to purchase walk-up tickets for the next available tour (but be warned, tours sometimes sell out). Tickets can be purchased in advance by visiting ConwayAlive.com or calling the box office at 843-248-6260.
Tours begin each evening at 7 p.m. and leave the box office every 15 minutes until 8:30. The Ghost Walk takes just over 60 and covers about one mile. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children 12 and younger.
Conway is one of the oldest towns in South Carolina. Originally named Kingston, the town was laid out on a bluff above the Waccamaw River in the center of what became Horry County. Conway flourished as the county seat of Horry County, becoming one of the largest tobacco-producing regions in the nation. Today, Conway is a pleasant, riverside town of quiet neighborhoods, historic structures, and moss-shrouded live oak trees, according to a history of South Carolina. Many of the buildings in the downtown area are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the beautiful City Hall. Full of true Southern charm, Conway is a living example of easy, Lowcountry living with a rich history.
Is it any wonder its ghost stories are so enduring? Enjoy the annual tradition of Conway's Ghost Walk — but don't blame us if you have to sleep with the light on.