While researching some Edisto ghost stories I came upon one that was truly haunting. It wasn’t the one about the haunted tomb at the Presbyterian Church or the Gray Man, or any of the number of tales that go around about haunted plantations and slave houses. Instead, it was just an article written in 1986 by a journalist with the Chicago Tribune about Edisto Island.
The author suggested that the island was at risk of becoming another ‘glitzy’ coastal town ready to lose all traces of what it was due to development. Things have certainly changed since the late ‘80s, but for the most part, Edisto is very much like it always has been. However, it does seem like memories of what Edisto was linger in the air like happy memories of a time that was long ago swept away by the tides.
The article brought up how visitors can stay at the cabins located in the state park for $30 a night (1986 prices), head out to the Pavilion to play at the arcade and buy soda or a hot dog, and trek out to Cassina Point to go horseback riding.
I remember doing all of those things. We used to go to the arcade at the Pavilion every summer to play games. Well, my brother played games, I didn’t even enter grade school until the tail end of the 80s, so I spent my time tagging along and picking up loose change on the floor.
We also went horseback riding at Cassina Point while I sat with my grandparents in the room they rented when the old plantation house was still being used as a bed and breakfast.
The article went on to say that if visitors wanted to get a taste of the resort life they could head out to what was then Fairfield Ocean Ridge to stay in a condo for up to $300 a week. Tennis and golfing opportunities were the biggest selling points of the resort at that time. Kids got their thrills with the on-site pool and miniature golf course, both of which are still there.
To jazz up the nightlife, renters could even check out VHS tapes to take back to the VCRs that were available in the finer units.
Again, not much has changed, except most units have DVD players in them now.
The author said that Fairfield Ocean Ridge represented the best and worst of what could happen to Edisto. It was the best because it was well-kempt and kept to the natural surroundings. It was the worst because it was a major development on the island.
As we all know, Fairfield Ocean Ridge has grown and was bought out by Wyndham years ago, but it certainly hasn’t taken anything away from Edisto. If anything, it’s just as much a part of the Edisto experience as anything else on the island.
Other than that, the article said there really wasn’t much else to do other than hunt for sharks teeth and enjoy the beach.
What is most haunting about the article is that it seems as though it could have been written today, with just a few minor tweaks (after all, none of us will ever rent a place on this island during high season for just $300 a week and Fairfield was long ago bought out by Wyndham).
The things people did back in 1986 are the same things we do today. Plus, many people, just like the journalist in 1986, still worry that the fundamental feeling of Edisto will somehow get destroyed somewhere down the line.
Luckily, it seems as though whatever ghosts there are on Edisto have managed to prevent that from happening all these years, and they don’t show any signs of stopping.