In Savannah, under 9 W York Street, is the burial place for Alice Riley. But apparently, according to local tour guides, Alice doesn’t always stay put and rises up from the dead to haunt Wright Square. She was hanged on Jan 19, 1735 in the gallows for her participation in the murder of William Wise, of which she naturally claims her innocence, and that is the reason for her unrest.
The murder of William Wise was carried out by Alice and her boyfriend Richard White. Alice and Richard were poor Irish immigrant servants who worked for old sickly William Wise (the villain with the long white hair) on Hutchinson Island. They were tired of tending to his bathing needs and decided to steal his wealth and run away to Charleston. Richard strangled him with a handkerchief and Alice finished the job by drowning him in the bathtub, but they discovered that William Wise was poor and instead of making it to Charleston, they ended up in jail.
Richard White was hanged almost immediately, but Alice was pregnant and the judge decided she would be executed after the baby was born. She gave birth to a son, and even as she claimed her innocence, she was hanged. Her son died six weeks later and is buried beside her.
So, why does Alice Riley’s ghost haunt Savannah?
They (ghost specialist) say she is searching for her lost baby (buried beside her) and her ghostly form appears to pregnant women and mothers with infants because she wants to steal their babies.
They (ghost specialist) say it took her three days to die hanging in the gallows, and when she finally did die, her body mysteriously disappeared (under 9 W York Street).
They (ghost specialist) say Alice Riley cursed Savannah because she was innocent and Spanish moss won’t grow on a tree where innocent blood has been spilled. I’ve been in Wright Square many times and there isn’t one tree without Spanish moss on it! Which makes me thinks she might not be so innocent.
I love Savannah ghosts stories – I’ve even made up a few of my own.