City view at Night

Who's Whistling in Charleston

Perdita - Whistling Ghost (59 Church Street). The exquisite Perdita, a beautiful and talented European actress, made her debut in Charleston and became the darling of all. At one time, she was the mistress of George IV. Dr. Joseph Ladd who lived on Church Street was completely taken by Perdita -- she had won the heart of most of the men in Charleston.

Ladd was an affable young man, well liked in Charleston. He always walked down the streets of the city whistling on his way to tend his patients. One night a young man from Rhode Island, Mr. Delancy, made crude remarks about the actress at a tavern.

Ladd overheard the remarks and demanded a retraction. They argued and Delancy slapped Ladd in the face with his gloves -- the challenge of a duel. The two young men met at dawn the next morning in the mist, squared off and shot. Ladd was shot and died several days later. They say you can still hear him whistling as he goes along the streets of Charleston.

The gardener at the Church Street House told me recently that he asked if they heard the ghost and the owners asked him not to mention "ghost" as they did not want the children to know it was a ghost they heard whistling. For many years there was a restaurant here named for Perdita.

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