Many people, after spending a long weekend being stealthily seduced by this grand dame of the South, mistakenly think that they have gotten to know her: they believe (in error) that after a long stroll amongst the rustling palmettoes and gas lamps, a couple of sumptuous meals, and a tour or two, that they have discovered everything there is to know about this seemingly genteel, elegant city. But like any great seductress, Charleston presents a careful veneer of half-truths and outright fabrications, and it lets you, the intended conquest, fill in many of the blanks. Seduction, after all, is not true love, nor is it a gentle act. She whispers stories spun from sugar about pirates and patriots and rebels, about plantations and traditions and manners and yes, even ghosts; but the entire time she is guarded about the real story. Few tourists ever hear the truth, because at the dark heart of Charleston is a winding tale of violence, tragedy and, most of all, sin.
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Every town has 'THAT house': the one that once held dark secrets. You know the house... the one no one will purchase? The one whose walls have seen blood? The one that even birds avoid, and the darkened windows resemble empty eye sockets? There are furtive, yet insistent, whispers about 'that' house, murmurs that perhaps the house is best left alone, lest the dark stain left upon that abode's history seep into our own present-day.
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There is a unique bond between the land and the people in the Crescent City. Everyone here came from somewhere else, the muddy brown current of life prying them loose from their homeland and sweeping them downstream, bumping and scraping, until they got caught by the horseshoe bend that is New Orleans. Not so much as a single pebble 'came' from New Orleans, any more than any of the people did. Every grain of sand, every rock, every drip of brown mud, and every single person walking, living and loving in the city is a refugee from somewhere else. But they made something unique, the people and the land, when they came together in that cohesive, magnetic, magical spot; this sediment of society made something that is not French, not Spanish, and incontrovertibly not American.
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