As with many ghost stories, South Carolina’s tragic tale of the Baynard Crypt is about love lost. An incurable disease, a broken heart lasting a lifetime and a warning those who would desecrate the dead. But all in all, this tale has a ghostly happy ending.
On the highest bluff of Hilton Head once stood a magnificent house. As the boats would near the island the passengers would gaze at the house in awe. It was built by William Baynard in anticipation for his upcoming wedding. He loved her and she truely loved him. After the ceremony the newlyweds were taken to the house for the reception in a beautiful carriage. Along the way they vowed devotion to each other until the end.
While dancing, William noticed his new wife sweating a great deal. Worried, he ushered her to a chair but she collapsed before reaching it. He then picked her up and carried her upstairs while someone fetched a doctor. As he watched her struggling to breath on the bed, the doctor confirmed his worse fears. She had contracted the deadly fever. That night, with her husband by her side, the died.
Devastated, her husband commisioned an elaborate mausoleum. Taking many men and a long time, it was finally constructed and her body was placed inside. For the rest of his life, her husband visited the crypt every evening sitting on the bench just outside the door. People saw him sobbing at times, other times just moaning into his hands. He died a few years later. Many people say he died of a broken heart. The crypt was opened just long enough to place his coffin beside hers and it was closed up again.
Years later, after the Civil War, grave robbers tried to break into the vault. those who tried regretted it, or didn’t live long enough to do so. One was killed by a tile that fell from the ceiling. One robber gained access to the inner vault only to have the door lock behind him. His body was dicovered by yet another robber who had the corpse fall on him when he opened the door. He suffered a heart attack and never recovered.
Years later a group of teenagers decided to try their luck at opening the crypt. As they approached, they saw an elderly couple sitting on the bench in front of the tomb, arm in arm. As the teens got closer, the couple vanished.
I guess love does conquer all…