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Every Summer Amy and her “summer sisters” reunite on Pawleys Island for their annual family vacations. Multiple generations, young and old. Sun soaked days, sand between your toes, barbecues and chasing ghost crabs by the light of the moon.
It wouldn’t be summer without the annual family visit to Pawleys, celebrating coastal summer traditions.
Pawley’s is an island steeped in local legends and lore. There’s the story of the Gray man, who protects you from storms. Keep an eye out for this ghostly figure, holding a lantern, when foul weather rolls in. He’s often seen near the bridge leading onto/off the island. Amy and her summer family like to tell each other the stories about the time their Grandma saw the Gray man, and compare what he looked like when he appeared to them.
But the story that Amy and her friends were most drawn in by, was the story of Alice Flagg. Alice was a young girl who died with a broken heart, over a hundred years ago. Every year, Amy and her friends would pile into cars and make a pilgrimage to visit Alice. This visit got even more intense, as Amy and her friends reached the age of engagement.
The way the story goes, Alice was secretly engaged to a man in the turpentine industry. She was quite young, only 16 or 17. Alice lived with her brother and mother and enjoyed an upper class existence. This turpentine industry was decidedly lower class, and a suitor with such a profession was unacceptable for a girl of her social standing.
So Alice hid her engagement, wearing her ring around her neck, out of sight. Her mother and her brother had no idea that Alice was engaged.
When Alice suddenly fell ill and was brought home to be treated, the ring was discovered on a chain around her neck. In anger, her brother threw the ring out the window of their home, and into the sea. Local legend has it that the ring still is out there somewhere. And Alice is too. Looking for her ring. Most days she doesn’t have to go too far. Her spirit lingers near her grave, where she is known to take rings that don’t belong to her, in the hopes that they are her lost ring.
The story is quite famous and Alice’s grave is often visited. People often leave trinkets and jewelry for her.
There’s a very specific ritual that Amy and her friends performed when they would visit Alice’s grave, however. It involves placing a ring on the headstone, then walking backwards, 13 times around the large grave. This is the proper way to summon Alice, and offer her a ring for consideration. She won’t take any old ring though. It’s said Alice doesn’t care for junk jewelry. So don’t expect your ring to move if it’s a fake!
Here’s what happened when my friend Amy Askin performed this ritual, late one night at All Saints Cemetery, at Alice’s grave.
You can find out a little more background on Alice’s Grave at the Only in Your State site. Please also check out Amy’s site at Beloved Atmosphere Amy has wonderful travel advice and stories. She’s a stay-up-late and talk all night soul sister that I am so very grateful to have met in my travels.