This Greek Revival architecture stands - with a tall and somber spirit - as a reproach to post-modernism and all things new. The sheer scale of its brick walls and solid cement columns cannot be contained in pictures. The atmosphere of the grounds - not to mention the surrounding area - is thick, and full of the history of the South.
Spirits do not rest here - and it is easy to see why. Salem Black River Church, located on Highway 527 near Mayesville, South Carolina (a town of just over 1,000 in Sumter county), was the first brick church built in the state (in the year 1846). The worship hall even includes a slave gallery. Who knows what evils may have been committed against men on, or even, near the church grounds...
The church is still in public use, so please be respectful to the grounds.
I have visited the church and graveyard many times, with many people. There are inexplicable cold spots that seem to never be in the same place twice. A deep sense of fear comes over everyone who approaches this testament to days past. It is also not uncommon for the temperature at the back of the graveyard to be far lower than at the front.
On a very warm night in late December, I took another trip to Salem Black River Church. All was quiet in the area - quite unusual, even in the winter. There are often many owls and insects making their nocturnal noises. Suddenly, a bird was disquieted, and it fled the tree it was occupying. My guest and I were, of course, surprised and distracted by this - but not before she noticed the shadowy end of a lady's skirt moving ahead of us to the far right. This was the only glimpse caught before its otherworldly form disappeared into the darkness - and oddly, it was only as we drove around the church that the motion sensor lights behind it activated.
This was the closest I have personally been to having witnessed one of the other spirits active at Salem Black River Church. She seems to be commonly referred to as the southern belle, as she wears an antebellum style dress - perhaps Civil War era.
Another active spirit is the little boy - who appears to be 6 to 8 years of age. He is often seen near the front gate of the graveyard and is described as being very sad.
This story is copyright © Owen Johnston all rights reserved. For more information about Salem Black River Church, please visit: South Carolina Haunted Places
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