The Castle and its spectral French dwarf are among Beaufort’s haunts: The Castle, located on Craven Street in the Point Neighbourhood of downtown Beaufort, is one of the city’s most well-known and renowned historic homes. There are many legends based there, and a ghostly 500-year-old French dwarf even calls the Castle home.
It is also referred to as the Joseph Johnson house and is allegedly extremely haunted. The Huguenot settlement of Charlesfort was established in 1562 by Jean Ribaut and his French settlers on what is now Paris Island. It is reported that Ribaut travelled with Gauche, a dwarf who makes his living as a jester. Gauche allegedly compensated for his short stature by being a difficult customer.
He is said to have perished in battle far from Charlesfort, impaled on a pike on the spot where, some 300 years later, Dr. Joseph Johnson would build his house. Even Dr. Johnson himself has reported seeing Gauche’s ghost both inside and outside the house.
The Castle & its spectral French dwarf are among Beaufort’s haunts
Visitors to The Castle have spotted him while on tours, and the ghost frequently had tea party with Dr. Johnson’s daughter Lily when she was a little girl.
The ghost is reported to move objects, open and shut doors, tap out messages in 16th-century French, and leave red handprints on windows.
He purportedly typed messages in dated 16th century French. In one of Nell S. Graydon’s translations, the restless ghost had a strange chat with a house guest and revealed his identity in Tales of Beaufort. Since it reminded him of his residence, which he would never again visit, it made the claim that it was residing there and going by the name Gauche. When the guest asked to see Gauche, the jester said, “No, I do not show myself to fools.”
Some people assert that you can hear the bells on his outfit clanging when he is nearby. Visitors to the house have related how they saw a wisp of fog transform into a small man before vanishing into the night. The rich history of the Castle, which includes that of a French dwarf, adds to the legend.
Union troops used the house as a hospital before it had finished construction. Later that year, after the Johnson family had moved there, Union forces quickly seized possession of Beaufort.
During the rest of the Civil War, the house was used as a hospital and an outbuilding behind it was used as a morgue, and also the hiding place for some of Johnson’s valuables.
It’s said that even today, Gauche still makes his presence known, and the legend of The Castle continues on….ghostly French dwarf and all.
Facts about The Castle Beaufort’s haunts
Locals call this house “the Castle.” It was built in 1859, before the Civil War began. It was made for Dr. Joseph Fickling Johnson, whose family moved in while the manse was still being built. Because Union siege ships were in the area, decorative ironwork and fences could not get to the builder, J.S. Cooper. Before the Union took over the town in December 1861, the Castle was the last house to be built there.
The Johnson home was used by federal troops, first as a place to stay and then as a military hospital. During the war, the brick outbuilding, which was probably built as a kitchen, was used as a hospital.
Beaufort still hears stories about how the Johnsons hid goods under the floor of the small building before the British took it over. Other stories say that ghosts are often seen in the house and on its grounds. Dr. Johnson himself is said to have seen a ghost walking through his gardens.
The Castle got its name either because of its fancy wall or because it was near the Beaufort River, which made it look like it had a moat. The Greek Revival house with 23 rooms and plastered bricks was owned by the Johnson family until 1981.