Ghosts of the Horseshoe

Screen capture of Ghosts

Ghosts of the Horseshoe

Ghosts of the Horseshoe (Ghosts) is a mobile interactive application that endeavors to bring into view--literally, on mobile micro screens (iPads and iPhones at present)--the largely unknown history of slavery at South Carolina College. It deploys game mechanics (i.e., ludic methods), as well as Augmented Reality (AR) and GPS functionality to generate awareness of and questioning about what otherwise seems ordinary: a grassy space at the center of a university campus. It organizes content into distinct but overlapping themes: (1) architectural ghosts (e.g., razed outbuildings); (2) human ghosts (e.g., un/named enslaved persons); and (3) the historic Wall delimiting the Horseshoe grounds.

Ghosts was designed and programmed by the three leads and by the students in two classes at the University of South Carolina.

Acknowledgement of Funding

Ghosts of the Horseshoe was supported by the College of Arts and Sciences and an ASPIRE II grant from the University of South Carolina. We thank Dean Mary Anne Fitzpatrick for the bridge funding from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Vice President for Research for funding from the ASPIRE II program.

Publicity and Recognition

Ghosts has been the subject of local news reports

and of publicity by the University of South Carolina.


Dr. Heidi Rae Cooley, Media Arts/Film and Media Studies, USC
Dr. Richard Walker
Dr. Duncan Buell, Computer Science and Engineering, USC


The Ghosts app is largely the work of students, to whom we are are very grateful and of whose work we are highly appreciative.

Dr. Richard Walker made the code for Ghosts and its procedural rhetoric the centerpiece of his doctoral dissertation, co-supervised by Dr. Buell and Dr. Cooley.

In addition, two classes team-taught by Drs. Cooley and Buell focused on Ghosts:

Spring 2014


Fall 2012

Olga Agafonova   Mary Spieth   George Akhvlediani   OK Keyes
George Akhvlediani   Joanne Stoner   Andrew Ball   Geoffrey Marsi
Shareef Akram   Jess Tompkins   Brian Brewton   Amanda Noll
David Allen   Greg Uszkay   Chase Daigle   Ian O'Briant
Connor Bain   Richard Walker   Renaldo Doe   Mike Hughes
Renaldo Doe   David Warren   Itamar Friedman   Jessica Tompkins
Robert Ellis   Kathryn Wiggins   Brian Harmon   Richard Walker
Jeremy Greenberger   Jordan Young    
Kathryn Simmons        

And we have had the generous support of a number of faculty, staff, graduate student, and former graduate student colleagues:

Dr. Jenay Beer   Dr. Susan Courtney   Dr. Chris Holcomb   Professor Simon Tarr
Dr. Lydia Brandt   Dr. Bobby Donaldson   Celia James   Elizabeth West
Dr. Mark Cooper   John Hodgson   Professor Laura Kissel   Dr. Robert Weyeneth


Dr. Duncan Buell, Computer Science and Engineering, USC