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The story of Lavinia Fisher has become somewhat of an urban legend, shrouded in rumour and superstition. A lot of historians will tell you she and her husband John were an early version of the very infamous Bonnie & Clyde, and were both executed for one count of highway robbery. However, it is widely believed among the folk of Charleston that she is America’s first female serial killer- and a gruesome one at that.

Reportedly, she would seduce lone travellers into her inn known as the Six Mile Wayfarer House. She would cook them a large meal and give them plenty of wine, all while asking them questions about their careers, trying to figure out if they owned enough money to rob. As night fell, Lavinia would show them to their rooms and leave them with a hot cup of tea, with a little extra ingredient; A strong sedative that would render them unconscious. Once the men drank their tea and went to bed, her husband John Fisher, would rob them in their sleep and slaughter them with a dagger.

At the time, Lavinia was considered to be truly evil and was hanged at the Old Charleston Jail in 1820. As if she wasn’t creepy enough, her last words were: “If any of you have a message for the devil, tell me now- for I will be seeing him in a moment.”

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Mermaid Street - Rye by Bob Radlinski
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The Battery Carriage House Inn is located in Charleston, South Carolina. This beautiful hotel is known for being one of the most haunted hotels in the United States. Guests and employees alike have claimed to witness very paranormal activity inside the house. One of the ghosts is said to be of a young “gentleman” who had committed suicide for unknown reasons by jumping off the roof of the house many years ago. Another is said to be a headless torso of a man from the Civil War era - the house was once an active artillery installation during the siege of Charleston. 

On Innkeepers

The way we talk about the inkeepers in the Christmas story has always rubbed me wrong. Often we use language that makes them seem callous and unsympathetic to Mary and Joseph’s plight. Even the final innkeeper in the story gets this treatment before being depicted as having a change of heart.

This month, however, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a local event that recreated the Nativity in the form of a tour. As our group left the Wise Men and approached the inn, we were greeted by a young women’s sextet humming Christmas hymns and a couple generously inviting us into the room, apologizing for the limited space. They assured us that though they’d had many travelers come to their inn that night, they’d do their best to find some room for us. They proceeded to tell their perspective of the events from that Christmas night; the innkeeper man explained how when he saw the pregnant Mary, he knew they had no room for her, but couldn’t abide the thought of sending her away. His wife reassured him that what he’d done sufficient, but he said that if he’d known that the baby would be the Savior of the world, he would have offered Mary his own room.

I feel strongly in my soul that this is a perspective we don’t acknowledge often enough. There is certainly a lesson to be had in not rejecting the Savior when He comes to each of our doors, and that’s well and good. But it’s equally, if not more important for us to acknowledge that sometimes the best we may have to offer the Savior is a humble manger, and that’s okay.

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