Although Hilton Head Island is largely thought of as a playground for the rich or a great area for water activities like boating, fishing and all that is considered "Low Country" in Southern lifestyle, it also possesses a history of ancients, Indians and perhaps most notable in terms of a surviving culture -- The Gullah. Depending on when or where one utters the word "Gullah", the facial expressions range from blank stares to elation from those who grew up watching the Nickelodeon program "Gullah Gullah Island." Which to the latter thought, it should be noted that this show was a very strange and poor reflection of the Gullah Culture itself. But for all intensive traveler purposes, the only things you need to know until you arrive, is that the Gullah and or the Geechee (from Georgia), are direct descendants of former slaves who since Emancipation, have largely defined most of what is considered "The South." In terms of food, art, craft, music and just about every other aspect of life here, the Gullah have been the authors, artists and spiritual underwriters. Furthermore, when one gets down to the roots of the South's gothicness or mysticism, the Gullah have also been the resident poets of regional spiritual concepts like "haints", "hants", "root doctors", "goofer dust", "hags" and other terms relative to evoking fear and concern for one's safety! In addition, their language merits more surprise as they speak a dialect that the U.S. Government identifies as "indigenous" to the United States! Which turns out is a playful mix of European, Nigerian and even odd bits of Gaelic! Perhaps most surprising is that most people have no concept that 750,000 Gullah-Geechee live right under everyone's noses inside of the United States! Hopefully your own eyes raised at that one! Okay, so now that their mysteriousness has been established, might it further intrigue the reader to know that a mere handful of them reside on Daufuskie Island and that they are in so many words, the oldest "Keepers" of this complex and sacred culture? Or better yet, that one could not only see and experience their land, but that one could have access to them through the story presentation of an islander who is counted by them as a friend and surrogate? Well hold one's breath no more because this previously unavailable opportunity is now a daily and nightly program and your storytelling island host is a man known to the Gullah as Low Country Joe.
In many respects, visiting Daufuskie Island during the day proves to be a very transporting journey. For one, its only accessible by boat and that by itself smacks of adventure and anticipation. Cruising the visually stunning waterways for an hour continues to add to the excitement of reward for the tourist. But in most cases, people arrive to discover that as an outsider, their options are rather limited in terms of satisfying true discovery. Meaning? Typically one arrives to find that they have option to rent a golf cart and a map but are generally left to one's own devices. Which yes, appeals to everyone's internal sense of wanderlust. But to those that wish to go deeper with the place, to come away with up close understanding and knowledge, Daufuskie can leave one feeling a little left out and emptyhanded. In reality, the majority go home never knowing or caring that there was a difference to be found. But for those who have advance knowledge that the island has secrets to be revealed, it can be kind of a bummer. There are some advertised touring options for Daufuskie, but they are either above the budgets of most or are vaguely offered by existing companies who it might be argued, have less interest in unveiling the island's greater mysteries and are more motivated by...well just letting you figure it out. Sad but true. Which is why Low Country Joe's Excursions is the best possible elixir for the truth seeking romantics drawn to Daufuskie's shores. Not only does he have this very special stature on the island as keymaster to all of the storytelling rooms, he's willing to help the thrillseeker do what no one else does or would even conceive of doing - daring the island at night.
Low Country Joe
So who is this bold and unusual character and why is he so determined to freak people out? Joe Yocius, aka, Low Country Joe has been a "Daufuskian" for over 10 years and has been visiting the island off and on for two decades. He and his wife Mary reside in their own 1880's haunted lighthouse known as Bloody Point Lighthouse, named for one of the Indian massacres that occurred in the island vicinity. Low Country Joe by profession is a successful realtor but to meet him and experience his aura, one quickly realizes he more resembles the look and conversational stylings akin to a spiritual guru than does he businessman. Which to no surprise, his persona and unique lifestyle has brought him into the company of fellow Daufuskie kindred like song master Jimmy Buffet and novelist, Pat Conroy. Buffet penned his famous tune The Prince of Tides about the dying, dwindling Gullah culture. In addition, on Low Country Joe's lighthouse property, one finds the Silver Dew Winery mentioned in Pat Conroy's novel, The Water Is Wide. Which as a story was devoted to Conroy's year of teaching Gullah children on the island. The Silver Dew Winery is the oldest winery in the state and is a mystical stop exclusive to the Gullah Gullah Ghost Tour. Joe and others are entirely convinced that the winery is intersected, or perhaps better said, "undersected" by subterranean ley lines. According to Joe, to stand inside or around the winery one finds themselves restored or invigorated with new life and can make one's head abuzz with strange understandings of the universe or grants one certain powers of greater spiritual awareness. Of which he's only too happy to demonstrate to his guests! Often found at the winery, is Joe's Gullah sidekick, Freddy, a huge man that brings to mind Michael Clarke Duncan who played John Coffey in The Green Mile. Freddy was one of Pat Conroy's students and speaks in a heavy Gullah dialect. If his stories of recently burying a friend inside of a secret cemetery doesn't irk the tour taker, his impromptu appearances along the island's pitch black, forested paths will. Freddy's unpredictable arrivals prompts one to wonder if in addition to freaky stories, he might also be in possession of real life shape shifting power!
Silver Dew South Carolina’s oldest winery,
The Silver Dew Winery
During the bulk of the 2 hour "Gullah! Gullah! Ghost Tour!", between secret Gullah cemetery and decrepit haunted house stops, Low Country Joe does an amazing job at keeping one's senses and imagination primed for the next ghostly rendezvous by telling personal ghost stories along with those of his friends and other Gullah neighbors. Yet they're also more than dryly narrated. Joe is an extremely passionate storyteller and one feels like they're privy to an ongoing performance being conducted at times by a madman. It isn't unusual for Joe to become overwhelmed by the spiritual environs around him and guests are stunned to say the least when they find him suddenly speaking in "tongues" near hallowed Gullah sites and then performing Indian chants respective of those sacred spots. At certain points in discussing friends buried here and there it isn't strange to find him in tears. Joe is never content with just scratching the surface of his subject matter as he talks. He very much takes the onlooker inside of Daufuskie's spiritual living quarters. Whether they like it or not. But can he be blamed?Afterall, hundreds of Gullahs have lived and died on the island. Thousands of Indians were massacred on it's sands. Joe it would seem not only feels every bit of this spirit energy, but for his guests he becomes a full fledged living conduit! Quite simply? There is no more of a dedicated storyteller or thoughtsperson on the whole of Daufuskie. When one buys a ticket to this experience, one is granted access to not just an island, but to a story telling dimension. One full of spirits who for some reason cannot leave Daufuskie and have chosen Low Country Joe to be their spokesperson.
This tour should also be considered a "Mature Audiences" experience with parental discretion advised. Which isn't to say its not for kids, but just like its for the "right" adults, it should be considered for the "right" children. The tour departs from Hilton Head, SC at the Daufuskie Island Embarkation Point at 5:30 and returns there at 9:30 each night. Parking in the lot is $3.00 paid at the parking lot and the tour itself is $95 all inclusive. The tour has a 25 person minimum and maximum and reservations are reserved by credit card only. There are certain discounts for Daufuskie Island residents so please inquire if you're a resident or staying on the island. Low Country Joe also operates a daily history tour of Daufuskie called "Daufuskie: The Lost Island" and look for its separate article soon.
Tour is limited to 25 People
CALL NOW TO RESERVE!
Ticket Info: $95* per person
(Parental Discretion Advised)
Things You'll See, Hear & Feel:
Secret Gullah Cemeteries!
An Undertaker's House Eaten By A Bird!
Speaking in Tongues & Indian Chanting!
Decaying Haunted Houses!
Spirit Ley Lines of the Silver Dew Winery® noted in Pat Conroy's novel "The Water is Wide"
Tour Includes Gullah Debbil Crab & Silver Dew Wine Tasting!
* Arriving on Hilton Head Island via Route 278, take left at first traffic light and proceed to parking lot.
* Arrive 30 min early to park and board.
* Parking is $3.00 (Pay at Lot)
* Boat leaves from the Hilton Head / Daufuskie Island Embarkation at 5:30 pm sharp. 421 Squire Pope Rd., Hilton Head, SC 29926
* Boat returns at 9:30 pm to the Hilton Head / Daufuskie Island Embarkation.
* Standard Ticket Agent Fees Apply. Special Rates for Daufuskie Island Residents.
Shannon S. Scott
Jones Street Productions, Inc
Darkness on the Edge of Town Radio Show
Darkness On the Edge of Town | Paranormal Radio Show
David Schrader Originally from Illinois Dave has been a resident of Minnesota since 1988 when he attended Winona State College and fell in love with the beauty and people of this great state.
With the growing interest in the world of the unknown on TV, the movies and literature building each day, Dave and Tim decided to bring their unique views and experiences to the radio. Dave has had an active interest in the paranormal since early in his childhood when he was visited by the spirit of his deceased grandmother. Continued activity and experiences has kept this passion alive. He is a contributing writer to TAPS Paramagazine and now he hopes to explore and learn with you each week as we delve deeper into The Darkness On The Edge Of Town.
ALSO SEE: 20 QUESTIONS WITH DAVID SCHRADER
Tim Dennis - Co-Host/producer a life time resident of Minnesota, he grew up in Blaine and attended Winona State University where he studied Mass Communication and Radio Broadcasting. He later graduated from Brown College in 1993. Tim has continued working in radio behind the scenes as Operations Manager of KLBB/KLBP radio and his voice can often be heard in commericals.
Tim's interest in the paranormal also stems from his youth with dream visitations from dead relatives. Although the more skeptical of the 2, Tim remains open minded and willing to explore many possibilities. His grounded nature helps keep Dave in check. Tune in weekly to share in their experiences in The Darkness on The Edge Of Town.
Every weekend join hosts David Schrader and Tim Dennis as they lead you on a journey into the world of unexplained phenomena with their weekly program; The Darkness On The Edge of Town.
Based in the Minnesota but streaming their show all over the world they cover every aspect of the paranormal; from ghosts to UFO activity and more. Each week they speak with experts in every field to bring you the latest and most up to date stories and dig deeper into classic and familiar tales and urban legends. Darkness on The Edge of Town promises to deliver interesting and thought provoking topics each week. The show will be available in its entirety every Monday morning to download so you can replay the show on this site to listen to at your leisure.
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The Other Side: A Teens Guide to Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal
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It used to be you needed a crystal, a psychic, or a Oijia board to make contact with the spirit world. So who would think science would make it possible for just about anyone to experience a ghostly connection? Cameras, recorders, computers, magnetic field readers and other scientific means are now the tools of the trade. But there’s so much available, how does the average teen weed through it all to create the best possible ghost hunting team? Here to help sort it all out are three of today’s leading investigators of the field.
Together, Patrick Burns, Dave Schrader, and Marley Gibson have more than ten years of experience. They’ve put together this guide to impart their knowledge and wisdom on to the next generation of ghost hunters.
How to set up a ghost hunting team
The equipment needed and how to use it
Where to look for spirits
Safety, safety, and more safety
Ghost hunting is equal parts science and belief. Patrick, Dave, and Marley are here to help with science part.
About the Author
Marley Gibson grew up in a southern town very much like her fictional Radisson. She never saw any ghosts growing up--that she knows of--although she has been on a few ghost hunts recently with the famed New England Ghost Project and has gotten some very interesting pictures. Marley is a member of the New England Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She is the Creator and Founder of Chick Lit Writers RWA, and was twice named to "Outstanding Young Women of America." She lives in the Boston area with her best friend, personal webmaster, and hubby, Mike. She can be found online at www.marleygibson.com or at her blog www.booksboysbuzz.com.
Patrick Burns is the star of TruTV's Haunting Evidence. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dave Schrader hosts KTLK FM's Darkness Radio. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.