Famous Serial Killers , Lavinia Fisher

Only known picture known to exist of Lavinia Fisher
Only known picture known to exist of Lavinia Fisher

Lavinia Fisher who was born in 1793 is believed to be the first American woman serial killer. Along with her husband John operated a boarding house in Charleston South Carolina named the " Six Mile Wayfarer House " in the early 1800's. They preyed upon their guests killing many of them. The boarding house was located six miles north of Charleston and that is why it was called the Six Mile Wayfarer House.

Lavinia was a very beautiful woman and she used her charms to help her husband to kill and rob many male travelers. Over the years in the early 1800's many reports were filed saying that the last time the person was seen was in Charleston South Carolina. And the reports were many. It is believed that the Fishers killed several hundred travelers and most were killed for money or other trade goods they were carrying. If the Fishers saw you with a large sum of money you did not leave the Six Mile Wayfarer House alive.

After their arrest by the Sheriff of Charleston the Six Mile Wayfarer House was searched and the grounds were dug up. The Sheriff said the house had many hidden passages and the only way into the attic was by a hidden passage. It was in the attic that the Sheriff reported finding items that could be traced to over a hundred travelers that the Fishers had killed. In the basement and grounds of the house over a hundred sets of remains were found.

The couple was tried in Charleston South Carolina and found guilty of multiple murders and robberies. John Fisher accepted the consul of a local priest and is said to have begged the priest to save his soul if not his life but Lavinia Fisher would have nothing to do with the priest.

On the morning of February 18th 1820 the Fishers were hung on the gallows just behind the Charleston Jail. John Fisher went quietly praying with the priest. Lavinia had made the request that she be hung and buried in her wedding dress and she was allowed to wear the dress but she had to be picked up and carried to the gallows. She screamed and yelled as she was being prepared to be hung. When she was asked if she had any last words she said hell give me your words and I'll carry them straight to the devil. And with that she leaped off the gallows actually hanging herself.

It is now widely accepted that Lavinia Fisher was the first female serial killer in America. Though most people don't even know that she existed.

People now claim to see the ghost of Lavinia Fisher all the time in the old Charleston Jail. Some people have described her exactly as she died in a bright red and white wedding dress. These people may in fact be seeing Lavinia because for years the color of her wedding dress was not widely known. Its interesting to note that no one as far as we know has ever made the claim that they have seen John Fisher.

Lavinia was buried in the Unitarian Church Graveyard at 150 Meeting Street in Charleston South Carolina. Believe it or not but her grave is only a few feet from the grave of the Judge that sentenced her to death. Her ghost wearing the distinctive wedding gown is also spotted quite often there in the graveyard.

Please feel free to post your comments about Lavinia Fisher below. And thanks for reading my hub page.

The old Charleston Jail. Lavinia Fisher and her husband John died on the gallows behind the old jail.
The old Charleston Jail. Lavinia Fisher and her husband John died on the gallows behind the old jail.

Feel free to post your comments about Lavinia Fisher. Please note that deragatory or negative comments will not be approved. 36 comments

crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 2 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

It is in the old Charleston jail in Charleston South Carolina. They will even let you spend the night for a fee.

patrick king 2 years ago

I am planning a trip to the prison where she was locked up at

Shannon 3 years ago

I was at the charlston jail and kept calling her. Before long a colorful orb appeared and followed me down the hall. I took several pictures, and the orb was in them all.

emma 3 years ago

She is burried in potter field. She haunts the grave of the judge who sentenced her. He is burried at the unitarian church. She is not. She also haunts washington park which is where the gallows used to be. They single men can see her ghost walking around the center. Creepy!! I highly recommend the ghost hunt ghost tour!! The tour guide was amazi g and the stories are very informative!!

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crazyhorsesghost 4 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

No she is buried there at the Unitarian Church. I know the exact location of the grave. I have visited many times over the years. But I have been asked by the current minister not to reveal the exact location of the grave. I found a map to it in an old Bible I purchased in Charleston. And sorry but no I won't reveal its exact location.

Chris 4 years ago

The only problem with your story is the bit about where she is buried. There is no record of her being buried at the Unitarian Church. Most likely she was buried at the prisons potter field.

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crazyhorsesghost 4 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

It's the old city jail in Charleston South Carolina and is still open to the public.

Kate 4 years ago

I'm from Australia, im a highschool student very interested in this story, if i were to travell to america where could i find this jail, where she washung etc

Jenna 4 years ago

I found this page when I needed to find Lavinia's quote for a Ghost Adventures artpieces. I learned a lot from this article

Jack 4 years ago

They were not hung on the same day because at that time when when a woman was married she was treated like property. You couldn't kill your neighbors cow so you couldn't kill a married woman. The wife went to the judge and told him of this law. He said he was well aware of that but if we he hang your husband on Friday you'll be a widow by Monday so we well hang you on Monday. So she went to a guard an asked him if she could have one last request and she asked to be hung in her wedding dress. They thought she was crazy but said yes. This was clever on her part because she wanted a man to feel sorry for her and marry her but this did not work people even threw food at her when she went to her hanging. When she was a bout to be pulled up yes up by this certain type of gallows the man asked her if she had any last words and she looked down at the crowd and then proceeded to say " if any of have any words for the devil speak now" no one spoke the man smacked the heavy cylinder down in to a well and lavinia died.

Dana Secrist 5 years ago

I can see why she is the one listed as the first serial killer. She was the one out of the two who had no remorse for her victims or her own soul. That along with the fact that she was a woman. In those days they didn't believe a woman was capable of such evil doings and it was a shock.

melody@shwagart.com 5 years ago

Does anyone know the location of where the hotel that ran was? Sounded like one person said Daniel Island? Any way to find out exactly the location?

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belles sloths 5 years ago

Lavinia's last words were actually "if any of you have a message for the devil tell me now for i shall be seeing him soon."

laica 5 years ago

i read it about ten times i cant believe how cruel this beautiful and seem to innocent woman1

pam 5 years ago

I would also love to see the pics... please send to my email address:

marshembritt at yahoo dot com

thanks in advance!!!

Lacey Adair 5 years ago

I want to know more about her! I also would like to know about my dads suicide. Does anyone know any hauntings in Greenville?

Lacey Adair 5 years ago

I'm from Downtown Greenville and very happy to be from South Carolina but I've never heard of her. It's a great story and I will visit again!

bradley 5 years ago

The legend of Lavinia Fisher had probably already started but her (true) last words to the crowd at her hanging guaranteed her immortality:

"If you have a message you want to send to hell, give it to me—I'll carry it."

Written stories of Lovinia Fisher are usually accompanied by a painting—at the top of this post— alleged to be a portrait of Lavinia. It begs the question, when did she pose for it? During her life as a highwayman in the squalor of Six Mile House, or in the year she spent in Charleston jail?

The Fishers were buried in a potter's field, not the Untitarian Cemetery Lavinia supposedly haunts.

Bradley 5 years ago

The Musical features modern day music but it's creepy and eerie and we are so excited about it. We been researching them awhile, but when it's complete we will post more...... The Lavina story is very popular where I grew up in Charleston SC.. I have a Picture taken in her cell of a female ghost we believe is her.

Bradley 5 years ago

Me and my companion are currently working on a project based on the Fishers, we have done many countless hours of research including articles etc from the hangings.. We hope to have it done soon . A musical based on The Fishers as told through Johns eyes. Also we have spent time in the Jail in her cell... We have a lot of facts and stuff we dug up through research, We can't waitt o get the story produced and onstage. Then maybe a novel

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Baker53 5 years ago

My daughter has to do a report on some one who was born and died before 1900, and she loves misteries, when she came across the First Woman Serial Killer, she went crazy, but she is having a big problem, she can't find out anymore information that what you have printed here, does anyone have anything more that she may use in her report, it has to really be indepth, this history teacher she has is very hard and to get even a C from him is an act of god, lol, so any help will be really grateful, e-mail me please di_cakes@yahoo.com

Shelia 5 years ago

This story was covered on "Paranormal State", Sept. 1, 2011. Chanel Very interesting!

Susan 5 years ago

I went on a jail tour last week in Charleston and took many pics. I've never seen so many orbs in my life. Don't know if any were Lavinia, but there are plenty of ghosts there.

Candice 5 years ago

Hi Chelsea. Me and my family go to Charleston every year and will be going again in about a week. I have been looking at this tour and would like to know if you enjoyed it and also I would love to see the pics or video if you don't mind. I will include my email address if you would be so kind to send those. Thanks and hope to hear back soon!

Chelsea 5 years ago

I took the last tour of the night at the Charleston City Jail a few years ago, and my boyfriend and I had a digital camera. We were in the room where Lavinia was housed, though only half the room was safe to walk, the rest was roped off. Anyway, my boyfriend pointed the camera off into the corner, and about 30 seconds later, the camera died. It wouldn't come back on until we went outside. When we did, we noticed there was a video. On the first 4 seconds of the tape, there is a shadowy female figure that shows up halfway across the screen, she walks towards the left, looks back over her shoulder, and then out of frame. It took me about 50 times watching to see it, but when I did, I was amazed. Its worth noting that the camera was pointing at a small corner...nobody would fit into the space he was aiming at. Another thing, and this is the part that I don't think anyone would believe, before the tour I took some pictures of the front facade of the jail, with the wardens quarters all lit up. Upon reviewing the pictures, there were cursive "L"s on the panes of glass in gradually fading light. In all honesty, I believe Lavinia haunts that jail. I've never seen anything like it in all my life. I wish I still had the proof.

Bobbi 6 years ago

I also would like a photo sent to sealadybj@aol.com. I believe I captured her on a photo at the jail tour. I know that sounds wild, but the day after we got home, we googled her name and the photo we seen resembles the image on my camera (presuming the photo on the www is her). I know the skull won't tell me anything but it's become an interesting trail!

Keith Schroder 6 years ago

I would love to see the skull of Lavinia Fisher as I am a ghost hunter and been doing research on graveyard and this one I would love to see if you can please send photo to me! thanks


Stories Inc. profile image

Stories Inc. 6 years ago

Creepy. I never heard of her. This material would make for a great horror story/movie, too bad Halloween's already come and gone...

Carlyn Kane 6 years ago

My great-grandfather, Dr. JLB Gilmore, Sr., born in 1816 in Goose Creek, SC, said that he dug up the corpse of Lavinia Fisher for med school. My father (dentist) told me when I was a child the story of the 6 Mile Inn, where Lavinia and husband John had their trap doors to sneak in and kill guests, and also to dispose of the bodies. 6 Mile Inn, on an 1823 map was directly across the river from JLB Gilmore's grandfather's (he was a judge, tax assessor, surveyor, Dennis Gilmore) at Cainhoy on Daniel Island. The skull (which has a marking in the eye socket "SCMC" (South Carolina Med. School) hung for a time at the Charleston Med. College (which also housed the first museum). The skull, some neck vertebrae, scapulae, then went to JLB Gilmore, Jr., also a doctor in Holly Hill, SC; then to an uncle; my father gave the skull to my cousin, Dr. William Dennis Gilmore, who practiced in Greenville, SC. After his death a bit over a year ago, Lavinia came to stay with me. I have a picture of the skull, etc., for anyone interested. She will likely be returned to SC, but if this is indeed Lavinia Fisher, she isn't in the Unitarian graveyard anymore.

misstress C. 6 years ago

I think, she is amazing..

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Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

okay wow, this is incredible, how did you get this info? Nice work on this one, and the irony is sweet with the graves..

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Deni Edwards 6 years ago from california

hmmm...interesting story. Thanks.

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palmerlarryray 6 years ago from Macon, Missouri

Awesome and informative hub. I had heard the story but never with so much detail. Thanks for sharing.

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Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Whoa! Very interesting story. I had no idea and I've studied serial killers for years because I always wanted to be a homicide detective. I had only heard of Aileen Wuornos as an American female serial killer. Some detective I would have been, huh?

Nice work on this one!

crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 6 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

No I am going to do a Hub about him in the future. She was the first known female serial killer in America.

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ZarkoZivkovic 6 years ago from Serbia

Didn't know she existed like you said! Incredible, but I have one question, it's either somewhere in your other hubs, but I don't see much about her husband here. he was a serial killer as much as she is, so why does the title have only her name, because she was the first serial killer. That doesn't make him any less of a predator, nor does it make her!

Just a comment out of pure curiosity :)

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    (C) July 2010 by Thomas Byers aka Crazyhorsesghost
    (C) July 2010 by Thomas Byers aka Crazyhorsesghost

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