10 urban legends in South Carolina

State - Regional

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Got Bigfoot? South Carolina does. Or so the stories say.

South Carolina is full of the creepy, the crawly, the curious and the cryptid. 

Here are 10 urban legends in South Carolina, in no particular order:

  1. Bigfoot

Does Bigfoot live among us? Maybe.

There’s been claims of Bigfoot sightings in South Carolina — and practically every other state in the nation — over the last few decades. This hairy bipedal has also been spotted in North Carolina, and the Greenville Police Department posted on its Facebook page in 2017 not to shoot at the creature, “as you’ll most likely be wounding a fun-loving and well-intentioned person, sweating in a gorilla costume.”

  1. Lizard Man

Some cryptids are hairy, some are scaly…and some are rumored to live in the swamps around Bishopville. 

The Lizard Man apparently has the munchies for car parts, according to Discover South Carolina. It was first spotted by a teenage boy on June 29, 1988, when he blew a tire near Scape Ore Swamp. The seven-foot monster attacked the boy, ripping the car’s mirror and destroying its roof. Two weeks later, another car was attacked, and once they started, they didn’t stop for the rest of the summer.

A photograph of the rumored beast appeared in 2015. There was also a suspicion that it’d appear during 2017’s solar eclipse. Are you a believer? It might be wise to avoid swamps, just in case….

  1. UFOs

What’s that light in the sky? It could be a star, or a drone, or visitors from another world.

Horry County is among the top places for UFO sights per capita, according to 2020 data. Surfside Beach ranked third on the list, with 671.44 sightings per 100,000 people. Myrtle Beach was sixth, at 507.26 sights per 100,000 people, and North Myrtle Beach was ninth, at 380.14 sightings per 100,000 people, according to TruePeopleSearch Insights. 

  1. The Gray Man

If you spot the Gray Man in Pawleys Island, go home!

The story of the Gray Man starts in the 1820s. The legend goes that he’s a cloaked figure who wanders the beaches ahead of major storms. One woman claimed she saw the ghost in 1954, right before Hurricane Hazel. Another rumored sighting was before Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and then 2018’s Hurricane Florence.

Like most ghosts, the Gray Man’s story is one of young love lost. The man is rumored to have been traveling from Charleston to propose when his horse got stuck in the mud. He was thrown off, trapped and dragged under. 

Heartbroken, the woman would walk along the beach. One day, she saw her late beau, dressed in all black, who warned her that a serious storm was coming, and then vanished. As the story goes, a hurricane made landfall, and her home was the only one still standing.

He’s a friendly ghost, and if you’re lucky enough to spot him, your home might be untouched in the next storm.

  1. Boo Hag

You might want to leave your lights on tonight!

As far as scary stories, the boo hag might be as terrifying as it gets. This creature will sneak into your house while you’re sleeping, steal your breath…and then wear your skin and masquerade as you.

According to legend, when you wake up, you won’t know that you were visited by the monster. Instead, you’ll feel out of breath and tired. 

  1. Catawba River Runner

This monster lives in the river, which also becomes the Wateree and Congaree rivers. Rumor has it that three middle school students were on Camp Canaan Island when they saw the monster and its baby. It could have been a snake or an alligator, but what’s the fun in that?

  1. Third-Eye Man

Is it really a university if it doesn’t have its own ghost story? The Third-Eye Man dates back to 1949, when students claimed to have spotted him in the University of South Carolina’s tunnels. The tunnels, dubbed the “catacombs,” are supposedly haunted by the university’s own Phantom of the Opera. The Third-Eye man is reportedly — you guessed it — a person with a third eye. The university has since sealed its tunnels so students can’t get into them…perhaps for their own protection.

  1. Hound of Goshen

Now here’s a contradiction. The Hound is also referred to as the “Happy Dog,” but don’t try having it smelling your hand. The dog supposedly prowls Union and Newberry counties, tracking down those who killed his owner. Just in case, you might want to avoid Old Buncombe Road in Sumter National Forest. 

  1. Thunderbird

Tales of the thunderbird originate from the Santee. The powerful bird looks like a pterosaur, and supposedly appeared in 2004 in Myrtle Beach. Five years later, it was reported to appear in Pickens.  

  1. Chupacabra  

Was a chupacabra spotted in 2017 at the Santee Cooper Country Club? According to a Facebook post that was shared more than a thousand times, yes. The vampire-like creature could be a dog, but if you have goats, you might want to keep an eye out.

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