Saturday, July 1, 2017
Poogan's Porch - Charleston, SC
My wife and I made our first trip together to Charleston in February 2009, and took our first ghost tour on a Saturday evening. I don’t recall which company it was, but we left from a location on Market Street and started with the regular places, St, Philips, the Circular Church, and of course, Poogan’s Porch. Being our first tour and not having heard these tales before, it was very exciting to say the least, and actually quite eventful. While in the graveyard at the Circular Church, during our tour guide’s discourse on tombstone symbolism and the etymology of certain phrases associated with graveyards and death, the tour came to a screeching halt – literally. Just as our tour guide paused, we heard the most dreadful piercing sound that I have ever heard. What we later determined must have been two cats fighting just beyond the graveyard fence, gave us all quite a start. In the still and darkness of the night, standing amongst centuries-old tombstones with winged skulls etched into the marble and concrete, we all thought it was more than just coincidence that such a thing could occur at just that moment. The guide could not have set it up any better herself, if she had tried.
The startling effect of the cats had already made this a tour to remember, but there was more to come. When we made the obligatory stop at Poogan’s Porch on Queen Street, we stopped in the small parking lot adjacent to the two-story house that once was the residence of Zoe St. Armand and her sister. Of course, the restaurant is now reported to be haunted by Zoe’s ghost who is said to move things around, break china, and other mischievous pranks. (Check out our website, ghostlycharleston.com, in the near future for more details about Zoe and others.) And of course the restaurant is also supposedly haunted by Poogan, a scruffy little dog that was left behind by the owners who lived in the house prior to it becoming a restaurant. Well, before the guide got to the story about Poogan, I happened to catch movement out of the corner of my eye, skittering across the parking lot and behind a parked car. At first, I thought very little of it, but at the same time, out of curiosity about what it was, I continued looking, so that I could determine what it was when it came out on the other side of the car. It never emerged, and when we proceeded through the lot and past the house, I saw that there was literally nowhere for the small animal to go without being seen, or without still being in front of the cars, which it clearly was not upon our departure. This something, just disappeared. It was about a minute or so after first seeing it, that our guide told us about Poogan and how guests at the restaurant have reported the sensation of a small dog brushing by their legs beneath the table while dining. Poogan looking for table scraps perhaps?
I didn’t say anything at the time, but my wife and I began talking about the tour when we got back to our hotel room, and much like our potential ghost sighting of the man with the lawnmower in the Unitarian Church graveyard, we came to a sudden realization. What I didn’t know at the time was that my wife had seen the small animal as well, and she too kept an eye out for it to reemerge from behind the car, and given that it didn’t, she – much like me – assumed that she had imagined it. But once we began talking about it and describing what we saw, it was clear we both saw the exact same thing, but there was no plausible explanation for it.
We have been back through the lot on several occasions since, both day and night, but have not seen anything like it since. We’ve also eaten at the restaurant, a fine choice I might add, and were not lucky enough to encounter Zoe or Poogan. But to this day, I am convinced, that we saw Poogan that night in the parking lot and I hope to one day encounter him once more.