The Hampton-Lillibridge House

If a house had the legend to have a suicidal sailor, a creepy burial crypt in the basement and a shadow man wandering the hallways (who was perhaps the workman who got his head smashed in the attic), then it must be the most haunted house in Savannah, The Hampton-Lillibridge House, and the perfect place for a Paranormal Freak Out!

The Hampton-Lillibridge House was originally built in 1996 on Reynolds Square by Rhode Islander, Hampton Lillibridge. When Hampton Lillibridge died his wife sold the house and it continued to be bought and sold a number of times. When it was a boardinghouse rumor has it a sailor hung himself on the third story. (Believe it or not)

The house remained vacant for awhile until 1963 when it was purchased by Jim Williams. Yes, the very same Jim Williams from The Book (Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil). Williams purchased the house and, the house next door, with the intent to move them to Washington Square and restore them. However, a laborer was crushed to death during the move of the second house and that freaked everyone out.

And then everyone freaked out even more when, during the relocation, they unearthed an ancient crypt under the house. (Some say it was empty and some say human bones were found). Since Savannah is city built upon its dead, and everybody in town knows its best to leave the dead alone, they naturally quickly reburied the tomb.

But some believe the digging up the dead is what started the paranormal activity in The Hampton-Lillibridge House because soon after, workers’ tools began to disappear or were moved to a different location. Mocking laughter and the sounds of footsteps were heard. Neighbors reported seeing shadowy figures in the windows dancing or walking aimlessly around. They heard eerie music, unearthly singing, creepy laughter, and sometimes they heard a woman screaming. Often the lights would turn on and off randomly when no one was home.

In 1963 Jim Williams, freaked out when he saw a shadow man go up the stairs and then disappear through a locked door. He decided to call in the big Ghost-Buster guns and invited an Episcopal Bishop to conduct an exorcism. Unfortunately, when Savannah’s dead folks are having a good time haunting an old house in the Historic District, it will take more than a sprinkle of holy water move them over to the otherside. The exorcism didn’t work and they say there is still paranormal activity going on.

That’s to say everyone says there is freaky weird ghostly activity going on in The Hampton-Lillibridge House, except the current owners who say they haven’t heard or seen anything freaky weird. And that “no trespassing” sign at 507 East Saint Julian Street on Washington Square is for the living to stay away, not the dead.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The Kehoe House

The Kehoe House on Columbia Square in Savannah Georgia is a huge, four story, 1892 Victorian Renaissance Revival mansion. It’s most distinctive and unique feature is the “exclusive” use of cast iron for the exterior trim. And the other unique feature is the legend that it’s haunted by Kehoe’s twin boys that got stuck in a chimney and died.

A visit to the Kehoe House will show that all the chimneys are sealed up and little statue angels watch guard over the fireplaces just so nobody else gets sucked up into ghost smoke.

How could this have happened? Or a better question would be… Did it happen ?

Here’s a bit of history:

William Kehoe came from Ireland and grew up poor but apprenticed as an iron molder. He worked his way up the ladder of success until he owned his own Iron Foundry; Kehoe Iron Works.

He married the love of his life, Annie. He built a big house on Columbia Square and they settled into a happy family life. They had ten children, but two of their children; Anna Louise Kehoe (4 years) and Mary Elizabeth Kehoe (almost 2 years old) died from the childhood disease roseola, within days of each other. They were buried in Bonaventure and not stuffed up a chimney, but some believe the spirits of the two girls (because they look similar with blonde hair and blue eyes) are misidentified as being the twins who haunt the house.

The little girls are playful friendly spirits and appear at the end of beds giggling, whispering to each other, and are heard running up and down the hallways.

But it’s not just Anna Louise and Mary Elizabeth who’s spirits remain in the house. It seems mom and dad are also regular apparitions.

William Kehoe’s presence is sometimes detected up in the study in the home’s room with a cupola. During the evening hours, an unexplained light is sometimes seen in this unused room. Mrs. Anne Kehoe is known as the Lady in White seen mostly on the second floor. She is spotted writing at a desk in room 203 or floating around in room 201.

The Kehoe family sold the home in 1930. After this it was used as a funeral home and the downstairs front parlors, and the second story bedrooms were turned into viewing rooms. The basement was converted into embalming, prep, and cold storage for the dead. They say, if the deceased were too long for the coffin, the staff would cut the lower limbs off and when the place was renovated in the 1990s, they found hundreds of sawed-off feet. Of course it’s not true, but it makes for a creepy diabolical Savannah story that everyone loves to hear and tell.

In 1980 The Kehoe House became a private residence for quarterback Joe Namath (who, God forbid, was going to turn it into a nightclub). He sold it and in 1990 it opened as a Bed and Breakfast.

The William Kehoe House was built for a large family, (apparently a ghost family) and now it provides 13 rooms for guests. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and on one of the top ten haunted hotels to visit before you get stuck in a chimney and die list.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The Savannah Cotton Exchange

The original Savannah Cotton Exchange was built 1872, but the structure has been added too and renovated a few times so who knows who was doing what, when and why. The current two-story building is a combo construction of ballast stonework on the lower River Street level and brick on upper Bay Street level. In the olden days the ships unloaded the shipped merchandise from the river and moved it to Factor’s Walk where factors (buyers) made purchases at the exchange.

The Savannah Cotton Exchange was a symbol of importance of the cotton industry in Savannah and was originally called King Cotton’s Palace and by 1880 the area was known as the Wall Street of the South. In the 1920’s the boll weevil did some weevil-evil-cotton-eating devastation to the cotton industry and the old exchange closed.

Today the building serves the tourist industry with retail stores, antique shops and a tavern. The living people enjoy shopping, dining and drinking in the Cotton Exchange, but the dead folks also seem to like hanging around.

Renovations were done after a fire in the building and it sort of stirred up some ghostly trouble. Now people hear footsteps when no one is there and the sounds of crying babies. In the tavern there are reports of flying bread loaves, deadly ice-cream scoopers, unexplainable falling objects and the volume on the radio randomly changes.

A ghostly woman in a long white dress has been seen descending the staircase and another ghost is thought to be Oompah, an old clockmaker who liked to visit the tavern for his morning coffee. The strong smell of coffee sometimes fills the tavern before anyone has turned on the pot.

On Bay Street the impressive old Savannah Cotton Exchange has a beautiful red terra cotta winged lion fountain in front surrounded by a fence with medallions of poets and presidents.

The original terra cotta lion, which dated to 1890, was shattered by a car that sped north on Drayton Street, jumped the curb at Bay Street, knocked down a section of wrought-iron fencing, obliterated the winged lion, snapped a lamppost in half, soared over a pedestrian walkway and came to a grinding halt at the front steps of the Savannah Cotton Exchange.

The most amazing part of the accident was that the driver was a native Savannahian, not a tourist and nobody died, which was fortunate otherwise there might be more ghosts haunting the old Savannah Cotton Exchange.

 

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The General’s Daughter

Located in Savannah Georgia at 432 Abercorn on the east side of Calhoun Square is a big o’l creepy southern mansion rumored to be inhabited by multiple ghosts.

Reports include ghostly figures, strange sounds, children’s laughter and sightings of a little girl in a white dress tied to a chair looking out the window. Other restless spirits include a trio of sisters from Florida who were reportedly murdered in 1959 while visiting with their family.

The house was built in 1868 for Civil War veteran General Wilson. His wife died of yellow fever and he raised his two daughters alone. One was a good child and the other was not so good. The bad daughter wanted to play with the poor kids at Massey School across the street. As the legend goes, General Wilson did not like his daughter associating with the “lower class”. For punishment he tied his daughter to a chair and she sat for days facing the window, watching the children play, but not permitted to join them. After a couple days baking like a hot sweet potato in the blistering Georgia sun with no water, she died from dehydration. Her father, upset with his bad parenting supposedly killed himself in the house.

Apparently, as a ghost child, she’s still sitting there waiting for revenge, freedom or perhaps a glass of water. And Dad is wandering around feeling sorry about the whole extreme punishment torture thing.

Unfortunately that’s not quite what happened because records indicate that General Wilson died in Colorado in 1896. Both daughters, the good and the bad, grew into adulthood, got married, moved away and lived happily ever after.

As to the supposed triple homicide of Florida tourists, in the late fifties or early sixties, there’s no solid information on that either.

But typical of Savannah (the city built upon its dead) the house at 432 Abercorn is built on top of not one, but two overlapping cemeteries. So, perhaps there are restless spirits in the creepy big o’l southern mansion on Calhoun Square looking for the stairway to heaven.

 

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Fort Pulaski’s Dead

Fort Pulaski was built in 1847 east of Savannah on Cockspur Island where it guards the mouth of the Savannah River. Some people believe it’s haunted by soldiers who died at the fort. Entities of Union and Confederate soldiers have been seen in and outside the walls. Perhaps they’ve decided to reenlist in the afterlife.

An unseen presence is often felt standing near the living, calling a person’s name. Feelings of sickness, fear, despair and misery overcome ‘sensitive’ people. Visitors have reported hearing odd footsteps in a stairwell, strange unexplainable sounds, and the disembodied sound of a little girl crying. There seems to be an unusually large amount of spooky orbs captured by cameras.

Fort Pulaski must’ve been a government oversight because it wasn’t really equipped as a serious fort and, at the start of the American Civil War it was easy-peasy for the Confederates to take it over. They held for over a year until Union forces snuck over to Tybee Island and bombed the crap out of the fort with cannons and mortars.

After 30 hours of bombardment, the Rebels surrendered and the Yankees held the fort for the remainder of the war.

In 1864, 592 of the original Confederate prisoners from Fort Delaware, known as the ‘Immortal 600’ who became political pawns in the Battle of Charleston, arrived at Fort Pulaski, where they suffered in retaliation for the South’s poor treatment of Union prisoners.

After the Civil War, Fort Pulaski, was abandoned and forgotten until 1906 when it became a National Monument. Cemetery sections were found for many of the Confederate and Union soldiers, but just because the men were buried, doesn’t necessarily mean they were sleeping peacefully in their graves.

One of the most documented accounts of the fort being haunted happened in the 1980s during the filming of Glory. A group of Confederate soldier extras, dressed in their uniforms, were surprised when a Confederate lieutenant officer reprimanded them for not saluting him. He ordered them to fall into line because a Union attack could happen at any time. They humored him and followed his orders to get in line, but when the officer gave the order to face about, he vanished!!

Yep, that’s what they say; he just faded away like cannon smoke on the battlefield. He’s an officer of the dead and y’all visitors might want to be careful when wandering about the parade grounds or you might just get recruited into the army of the afterlife.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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It’s only fitting that Savannah, one of America’s most haunted cities, would have a haunted theatre. The Savannah Theatre located on Chippewa Square (the site of the famous Forrest Gump bench scenes) is as haunted as haunted can be.

People have seen a ghostly woman in costume at the left of the stage and they’ve seen the ghost of an irate director giving stage directions to nonexistent actors while using not-so-nice hand signals. There’s a projectionist, who died in the projection booth and refuses to leave. A little boy haunts the balcony playing pranks on the living, a woman spirit sings in the lobby and in the hallway a man’s voice says “get going” as if he wants to encourage the living not to miss the opening act.

Savannah Policemen have often reported hearing applause and ruckus as they drove by the closed theatre, and when they went to investigate the noise, nobody was there.

The theatre opened in 1818 and played host to some of the world’s most beloved performers like Tyrone Power, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, and W.C. Fields.

It has been remodeled many times and suffered damaging fires in 1906, 1944 and 1948. The Drayton Street wall is the only part of the original building. The theatre was rebuilt in 1948 and struggled to operate until in 2002 when it received new life as a live music and dance show stage.

The Savannah Theatre is the oldest continuously operating theatre in the US and yes, it is open today for business. You can stop in for a show, but the ticket does not come with a guarantee that you’ll only see a live show because the dead might be waiting backstage to perform a creepy sideshow act.

Nobody know who haunts the theatre, or why they would hang around unless the spirits firmly believe “the show must go on” and they’re in Savannah to make sure the show goes on… and on… and on…

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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At the pub on 21 West Bay Street in Savannah you can get some Boo! With Your Brew at Moon River Brewing Company where a ghostly crew is mixing a paranormal brew.

There’s a shadow ghost child named Toby who likes to steal billiard balls and play tricks. Women in 19th-century clothing walk the stairwells, a Union officer wanders the hallways, and the third floor is haunted by a phantom lady dressed in a white gown.

The building was constructed in 1821 by Elazer Early to be the city’s first hotel, understandably named; City Hotel. In 1851, Peter Wiltberger bought it and put a live lion and lioness on display to draw attention to his business, or perhaps to eat unruly guests. During Yellow Fever Epidemics the top floors were used as hospital space. In 1864 the City Hotel closed when everyone went to fight the Yankees. Later the building was used as a coal warehouse and an office supply store until Hurricane David blew the roof off in 1979 then it remained empty for 16 years.

16 years is plenty of time for the ghosts to settle in and make themselves at home.

The Oglethorpe Brewery took over and began major renovations, but the presence of restless spirits made them run away without finishing the job. The current owners of Moon River Brewery don’t seem bothered by bottles flying off shelves, silverware sliding off dining room tables, and shadowy figures roaming the restaurant. In 2009, Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures visited and recorded weird footsteps, peculiar knocking, scary dragging sounds, and creepy disembodied voices.

Some believe it’s the violent history of the building that attracts paranormal activity. In 1832 Dr. Minus shot James Stark who was in the City Hotel drinking and spewing nasty remarks against him. The good doctor was acquitted of all charges because every town needs a good doctor more than a loudmouth drunk. In 1860, Mr. James Sinclair from New York City, came for work, but locals didn’t react kindly a Yankee taking their jobs. They politely asked Sinclair to leave, but when he refused, he was dragged out of the City Hotel and almost killed. There is after all a limit to Southern Hospitality.

Perhaps the evils of the past create a dark place for a demonic entity in the basement to linger in the shadows. Maybe bad vibes opened a door for a hostile spirit who likes to push people down stairs. Or maybe there are ghostly guests of the old City Hotel who just want have a glass of Moon River Brew because it’s deliciously evil.

I’ve dined in Moon River Brewery and drank the tasty brew myself. I highly recommend the Beer Sampler. I’ve never encountered a spirit sipping a drink at the bar or had a billiard ball tossed at my head, but there’s definitely a disturbing ambience that makes me glance over my shoulder from time to time. Because, in Savannah, ya just never know if you’ll be served some Boo! With Your Brew that makes you do something embarrassingly stupid that’ll haunt you the rest of your life.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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