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College of Arts & Sciences
Maritime Research Division


Hobby Licensee of the Quarter: Bruce Orr

Hobby Licensee Of the Quarter: Bruce Orr

Recognizing one of the Lowcountry's finest Tale-Thumpers

By Nate Fulmer, MRD

Halloween has passed, but the South Carolina Lowcountry is steeped in legend and lore every day of the year. And Hobby Licensed Diver of the Quarter Bruce Orr is on the hunt for the facts behind some of these legends.

Licensee No. 5246 adamantly insists that he’s not a Ghostbuster, but he does know how to get to the bottom of a good mystery.  When he retired as a Lowcountry law enforcement officer in 2002, Bruce turned author. Over the past decade, he has combined his love for investigation and research with his love for history and writing through his organization, Lost In Legend.

Have you ever noticed that the folklore surrounding a person, place, or event often overshadows the facts to the point that they are quite literally lost in legend?  Well, Bruce certainly has, and he has harnessed historical research and various investigative methods to uncover and report the history behind haunting tales, the people behind the places, and the facts behind the folklore.  His first effort for the The History Press Publishing Company, Six Miles to Charleston, remains a personal favorite of mine.  Six Miles provides an in-depth look at the facts behind the legend of John and Lavinia Fisher, who were accused of robbing and murdering their guests at an Inn outside of Charleston in 1819.  Bruce’s other titles include Haunted Summerville, SC,  Ghosts of Berkeley County, SC, and maritime-themed The Ghosts of the USS Yorktown - the Phantoms of Patriots Point. In each of his investigations, Bruce interviews witnesses, examines locations, delves into the archives, and he also manages to relate some entertaining experiences in the process.  

Bruce has been a good friend to SCIAA and the Maritime Research Division over the years, and this isn’t the first time we’ve recognized his many contributions to the program.  When he’s not investigating legends or writing books, Bruce is a Master Diver who has used his license and involvement with the Hobby License Program to help us protect and preserve the vast maritime history of our state. Bruce is a regular at our Charleston Wing Night events, occasionally sporting a pirate-like eyepatch.  He has been on and under the water with us on several field projects as a volunteer diver and has participated in a number of independent archaeological investigations on land and underwater. Bruce has also been a frequent participant in our Artifact Identification Workshops and Field Training Courses.  Bruce deserves recognition for his fossil donations to the South Carolina State Museum as well. He recently recovered a fine example of a prehistoric canine jaw while diving with his license, and graciously donated it to their paleontological collection.   Bruce's enthusiasm for maritime archaeology and participation in the Hobby Diver Program is admirable, and I appreciate his dedication to teasing some incredible tall tales out of the shadows with historical records.  

So, if you see something strange in your dive boat, who ya gonna call?  

If it’s not an artifact or fossil – or if it goes bump in the night and isn't a gator - I recommend you give Hobby Licensed Diver of the Quarter Bruce Orr a ring.  

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Each quarter, this award is devoted to the hobby diver(s) who goes above and beyond the call of duty.  He/she has submitted excellent reports, been an exceptional volunteer, has gone out of their way to preserve cultural heritage and/or natural history in the state, or has been a general inspiration to other licensees, the public, or us.  Four times a year, we pick a licensee that resembles one or more of these noteworthy traits.  Do you know a current licensee who you would like to nominate for future recognition?  Please send a brief email to us at mrd@sc.edu and tell us why you think they should be Hobby Diver of the Quarter.