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 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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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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Marshall House Bones

The Marshall House, built in 1851, is a stylish hotel and restaurant located on Broughton Street in Savannah. The architecture resembles the style found in New Orleans’ French Quarter with its ornate balcony ironwork, but this place has its own unique creepy design that includes buried bones and wandering ghosts.

It’s understandable that perhaps the dead linger in the hallways and foyer since, in the past, the building has been used as a hospital three times, once by the Union Army during the Civil War and twice for yellow fever epidemics during the 19th century. There could be lost souls haunting this old building for sure.

Guests have reported hearing children’s laughter and the pitter-patter of little ghostly feet running down the halls. Objects rearrange themselves in the foyer, water faucets turn on by themselves, lights randomly turn on and off, and sometimes electronic items power up without being touched by human hands. On the fourth floor door knobs wiggle as if someone is attempting to open them and loud crashes are heard when nothing has fallen.

A little girl visitor, staying in room 304, screamed and told her mother a boy with big teeth in the bathtub bit her. Her mother found no one there, but her daughter had a bite mark to prove something had happened. And other people have reported feeling as if children’s fingers were tapping on their toes when no one was around.

During renovations in 1999 workmen found human remains; bones, hands, feet, arms, legs beneath the floor. It was believed the bones were amputations from 1864 when General Sherman visited and used the hotel as a hospital. It was very cold that Christmas so the rotting flesh couldn’t be detected under the floor. This could explain why some people have witnessed a one arm man dressed in a dark blue overcoat roaming the halls. Has he come back looking for his lost arm?

There are stinky bad vibes in rooms 214, 314 and 414. It must be a number 4 sort of thing so I would avoid booking a room at The Marshall House that ends with a 4, or you could encounter a ghost touching your forehead to test your temperature. Just make sure your body temperature isn’t stone cold dead, or you might not  be checking out anytime soon, or perhaps you’ve already been checked out and don’t know it because your Savannah Dead and lingering in the hallways of The Marshall House waiting for your luggage to be sent to the afterlife.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Every southern town needs an evil ghoul roaming the back alley’s stalking innocent children and Savannah has a doozie of a demon known as Rene Asche Rondolier

In the 1800’s he hung out in the dark catacombs of the Old Colonial Cemetery and wandered around the crypts and burial plots. He was over seven feet tall, hairy, mute, stupid and very strong. It was rumored he killed small animals and had a collection of rotting bones hidden in his secret lair. The cemetery was Rene’s Playground.

Because of his oddities people feared him and the good folks of Savannah required his parents to build an 8 foot stone retaining wall around their property to keep him confined.

Rene was kept under constant guard until one night he was left unattended and escaped. When two young girls were discovered dead in the cemetery everyone thought he was the murderer. An angry mob hunted him down, trapped him in his underground playground, dragged him out and lynched him. He was such a big bad demon that he hung there kicking and moaning for quite some time before he died.

Rene was kilt-and-buried-for-dead in his parent’s backyard, and when two more young girls and a woman were found dead in the cemetery everyone knew it was Rene’s ghost prowling the streets of Savannah. It was said more killings continued after his lynching into 1821. Rene was a very busy ghost.

In the early 1900’s a workman discovered Rene’s backyard grave and it was empty. It was believed the body had been moved to an unmarked grave somewhere on Hutchinson Island, just across the Savannah River. During construction of the Westin Resort skeletal remains of a human over 7 feet tall were found in an unmarked grave. The remains were undisturbed, covered over, and the hotel’s foundation was built over the gravesite. As everyone knows in Savannah, it’s best to let the dead rest in peace.

It’s thought Rene’s spirit still haunts the catacombs and grounds of the Old Colonial Park Cemetery and the shadow of his body can sometimes be seen hanging from a tree. The Cemetery will always be known as Rene’s Playground, but it is advisable that no children go playing there least they be murdered and buried for dead with the dead.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The Sorrel-Weed house is one of Savannah’s most haunted hot spots. It has been featured on numerous TV paranormal investigation shows and is a must-see for visiting ghost seekers.

Weird vibes at the house cause the living to get nauseous and have the sensation of being strangled. Strange bangs, thumps, and disembodied voices are heard. Shadow figures are seen roaming the rooms and halls. People’s cameras and cell phones are sometimes found to be completely drained of energy. And Psychic Sensitives run away having panic attacks.

Who haunts the house is questionable and the story behind the haunting is about as clear as tidal pluff-mud.

The house was built in the early 1840’s by Francis Sorrel, a wealthy plantation owner who married Lucinda Moxley, who died five years into their marriage. Francis married his dead wife’s younger sister, Matilda, but he also had a long ongoing affair with Molly, a young slave girl. Molly lived above the carriage house and one night they were discovered by Matilda Sorrel. Enraged by her husband’s betrayal, Matilda committed suicide by leaping from the second story balcony of the house. Distraught over what had happened to Matilda, Molly hung herself in the carriage house.

Sounds like good enough reason to haunt a house except that there isn’t a record of a slave woman named Molly and Francis Sorrel sold the house before the date of Matilda’s death. The Sorrel’s moved next door and Matilda took her flying suicidal leap from the balcony at 12 West Harris Street and not The Sorrel-Weed House. Yes, Matilda did kill herself.

And so if it isn’t Matilda and Molly haunting the house, who can it be?

Perhaps the paranormal activity could be Savannah’s mischievous wicked haints following a ghost tour around. It could be a hot spot for ghosts playing pranks on the living. Just think how much fun it would be to scare the bajeebees out of a group of ghost hunters stuck in the basement “voodoo room” at The Sorrel-Weed House!

It’s all in what you believe.

There’s a basement bar in City Market known as Pour Larry’s. Not only is this popular pub known for featuring local musicians and cheap drink specials, it’s also known to be haunted by an usually stinky ghost.

The unforgettable nauseous smell of burnt flesh is often combined with unexpected flying drinking glasses aimed at employee’s heads by unseen forces. The overall ‘bad vibes’ experienced in Pour Larry’s, and the unexplainable stench can only mean one thing; it’s haunted by a previous owner, John Montmollin.

John Montmollin was a wealthy plantation owner who owned the brick building at 206 west Jullian Street. He also operated a slave trade business out of this location and kept slaves in the basement. He was an evil sinister man who didn’t treat people fairly and had a devious reputation for crooked dealings. He financed the building of the sailing vessel, The Wanderer, to import slaves. Since it was illegal to bring Africans directly into Georgia The Wanderer secretly wandered up and down the coast with its human cargo. But eventually the ship was confiscated and his lucrative business ended. He was not sent to prison or fined, but instead confined for a week to his luxurious apartment above his business office in City Market. He continued other distasteful rat business ventures for many years after.

And here is how John Montmollin became Savannah’s Stinky Ghost. On June 9th 1859 he was aboard the steamer, J.G. Lawton, 20 miles up the Savannah River when the ship’s boiler exploded and he was killed. He was found two days later with his head and upper body stuck in pluff mud and his legs sticking up like stiff boards. He was burned to a crisp and, after rotting in the Georgia sun for two days, he stunk to high heaven.

But heaven is not where John Montmollin went. Instead he went back to his place of corrupt business to stink up the basement with his rotten burnt flesh smell. He’s not a very happy bar patron (a disgruntled business owner gone mad) and makes his presence known by busting up glasses, stinking up the place and giving off some really ‘bad vibes’.

If you visit Pour Larry’s for a drink and you get an uneasy feeling, and your nose is accosted by the disgusting odor of burnt flesh then perhaps John Montmollin is sitting on the bar stool next to you, or maybe somebody just farted.

In Savannah ya just never know.

It’s all in what you believe …