Thursday, September 8, 2016

Gullah Lore - Plat-Eyes

While visiting Charleston, we were introduced to one very interesting and unusual culture found within the boundaries of the Lowcountry called Gullah.   Gullah is a language as well as religious ideas and superstition similar to voodoo for many descendants of the African slaves.  (As a background note, the Gullah culture came to be as a result of many tribes coming together as they made their way across the Atlantic in their efforts to combine languages and beliefs.)
Once they arrived, some of these folk traditions were carried over to the other Charleston inhabitants and even included in the architecture.  On our walks through Charleston, we noticed that even some doorknockers reflect Gullah roots.  Plat-eyes are mysterious creatures that most often resemble a familiar animal - usually a dog or a cat with glowing eyes.  If you have committed a crime or even an unjust deed against another person, you can expect a visit from a plat-eye who will chase you and torment you until the evil deed has been rectified.  They are scary creatures that you most want to avoid in the dark.  The doorknocker seen here in this photo is from the front door of a very nice home around Church Street.  Placing the Plat-Eye on your front door is sure to dissuade any other plat-eyes from bothering you I'm sure.


  1. No, it doesn't work that way -- apocryphal exaggeration to be sure. A plateye has no moral directive, a plateye is malicious and captious -- it takes whatever is in its path or at a whim. A plateye will appear like a mist, get between its victim's legs, then swell up into a huge black dog and carry its rider into the swamp... A plateye loves to steal the breath from a sleeping baby… The only protection against a plateye is to sprinkle water - not holy water -- around the sleeping baby or around your self as you walk out at night. I know this first hand and from 5 generations who have lived in the low country swamps near Charleston.

    1. Yeah your version matches what I heard too. Never heard they punished people for bad deeds

    2. Thank you for the clarification! Learning more about this culture is very interesting.

  2. I read a plat eye was the ghost of a person who had not been given a proper burial, especially a murder victim. In "Gone With The Wind" Margaret Mitchell wrote about "hants," which Prissy was scared of. Scarlett O'Hara's son was more scared of Yankees than hants, though.