COLUMBIA, SC — Anyone who has walked after dark in the Vista, with its flickering faux gas-lights and shadowy alleyways, will not be surprised to hear the area is haunted – at least according to some who live and work there.
Perhaps the most famous of the haunts is the historic mill building at 301 Gervais St. that now houses the S.C. State Museum. Among several ghosts purported to roam the museum is a man wearing coveralls who enjoys riding the elevator. Affectionately named “Bubba,” this ghost has been known to disappear after being spotted by patrons.
Another haunted Vista locale is the historic Adluh Flour Mill, at 804½ Gervais St. According to legend, the ghost of Jerome Busbee – once a longtime employee rumored to practice voodoo – still watches over the old warehouse.
After Busbee died, it is said a cart he used to load and unload goods could not be moved. When workers tried to move it, it remained frozen in place, pinned by Busbee’s spirit. When a supervisor who didn’t believe the story tried to move the cart, it tipped over and still could not be moved. To this day, it is said the cart can be found lying on its side in the old warehouse.
Other reports of hauntings come from the historic Dupre building, at 807 Gervais St. Tenants have reported strange sounds, including footsteps and doors shutting in office suites. When tenants call out or look to see who is in a suite with them they find the suite’s doors are locked but no one is there.
Building owner Rosie Craig is not surprised to learn the structure, built in 1919, is haunted.
Craig says her former building at 911 Lady St. is also rumored to be haunted. Tenants there late at night have reported seeing a “cleanup” man wearing matching shirt and pants carrying a push broom.
The staff at Mad Monkey video production agency say they often hear strange noises coming from their office space, at 808 Lady St. Sounds include footsteps, typing and chairs wheeling across the floor. Occasionally, they also hear “things that go bump in the night” coming from the large subterranean level beneath the building, which also houses Vista Studios.
“We’ve even heard this weird thing that sounds like something being dragged across the floor,” says one of the agency’s partners, David Johnson.
Johnson says he’s not shocked to learn of other haunted locales in the Vista, given the number of old buildings there.
“Your imagination can’t help but go a little wild.”