Why No Snakes in Ireland (It’s Not Saint Patrick)

This presentation lays out the rich and complex archaeology of Ireland, perhaps the most recently inhabited part of the planet.  Discussion will begin with when the first colonizers arrived, where they came from and where they landed.  The presentation will include slides, music, video and requires no previous knowledge about archaeology. And yes, it will … Read more

Legends and Ghost Stories from the South

The South has a rich tradition of folk literature that draws upon oral tradition and colorful language for its substance. Legends, folk history, songs, foodways, customs, and unique dialects permeate the ghost stories of South Carolina and other Southern states. Dr. Williams draws upon the numerous collections of ghost stories and scary tales to create … Read more

How A Mule Kick Killed Eight People: A True Story

Tom’s habit of photographing old gas pumps at country stores had him cross paths with the grandson of a man killed for $500—murder for hire. The mayhem that ensued made history, involved Strom Thurmond, and led to eight people’s death, all because a mule kicked a calf in the head. The sole electrocution of a … Read more

A Comfortable Murder: British Detective Fiction of the Golden Age

The 1920s and 30s were the highlight decades of the British “cozy”: the relatively bloodless type of murder mystery that one can read curled by up by the fireplace with a strong cup of tea. This talk will trace the development of the genre of British detective fiction from its antecedents such as Wilke Collins … Read more

Historic South Carolina Ghosts and Legends

Dozens of tales of ghosts and haunted places have found their way into South Carolina’s mainstream media. Many have their origins in the 19th century and most in historic places. Some places have only one or two supernatural stories while others like Charleston, Columbia, Beaufort, Chester, Darlington and Edgefield have numerous sightings and unexplained phenomena. … Read more

Edgar Allan Poe in South Carolina

Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie in 1827 and 1828 under the assumed name of Edgar Perry. While there, Poe was gathering material for the first detective stories in the English language, including The Goldbug, which was set on Sullivan’s Island. He also created the first American detective—C. Auguste Dupin, who was the … Read more

Lincoln’s Assassination and the Escape of John Wilkes Booth

Even though President Lincoln had premonitions that he was going to be assassinated, he was sitting in the unguarded President’s Box at Ford’s Theatre when he was shot by John Wilkes Booth. Controversy erupted in 1907 when witnesses said that the man who was shot in the Garrett barn was not Booth and that he … Read more