The Lucas Theatre

The Lucas Theatre, on the corner of Abercorn and Congress Street, in Savannah was built in 1921. It has a definite Italian Renaissance atmosphere which ghosts must especially love to haunt.

Back in the day, the theatre showed the newest silent movies, featured first-rate vaudeville acts and, best of all in 1927 it was air conditioned (which is a much needed commodity on a hot Georgia night).

In 1928, according to local legends, a group of gangsters did a drive-by shooting with Tommy Guns and blasted the outside with bullets.  The ticket taker was shot in the back during the shooting.  According to local legends, he dramatically stumbled out the ticket booth, staggered into the lobby, fell to the floor and vanished.

His ghost, trapped in residual energy, repeats this event from time to time. But there is no record of a drive by shooting, which makes you think it’s make-believe theatrics instead.

The theatre closed in 1976 and became a Savannah eyesore until it was saved and renovated. Naturally during the construction there were reports of paranormal activity; unexplained mechanical malfunctions, light from an empty projection booth, shadow people, and applause being heard in an empty theatre with no audience.

The Lucas theatre opened again in 2000. Today people can view classic films, enjoy operas, orchestras, and cabarets.  It’s the center for cultural events like The Savannah Film Festival.

And hopefully The Lucas Theatre won’t become the real scene for a modern day drive by rampage by Gangsta Ghosts!

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Tiny Ghost Man of Sandfly

Sandfly is a small community about nine miles southeast of Savannah. The people living there enjoy a peaceful relaxing life except when they happen to encounter the tiny ghost man that roams along Ferguson Avenue waiting to scare the bejeebies out of them.

It is said that, at about dusk, upon occasion a person might see a small man of questionable appearance by the roadside. He is a tiny, thin frail man so small in stature that he can’t be of much worth at all.  He has dark hallow eyes and sports a surprisingly large mustache on his ashen face.

To speak to the tiny man brings no response. To approach the man is useless because he simply disappears. Many people have seen him and all agree that he is a ghost that wanders the roads of Sandfly.

He carries a lamp to guide his way and, when the moon is full and the sky has a bit a drizzle, they say the ghost man lights up his lantern and comes out in search of hidden buried treasure.

The tiny ghost man of Sandfly seems harmless enough and doesn’t cause any trouble. Perhaps the treasure he seeks is buried under the roads or in the surrounding trees. Or perhaps he isn’t looking for treasure at all and just trying to find his way home, which is where true riches can be found, in life and in death.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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E.T. Tourists

Are not only out-of-towers visiting Savannah, but are out-of-the-universe tourists also stopping by?

Below are a few reports I’ve gathered about possible interstellar visitors. Perhaps they’re sightings of weather balloons, planes from Hunter Air Field, drones, or simply visions from having had too much to drink on a particular night. I will leave the conclusion up to you.

August 1 1962 A group of kids playing outside saw an low flying round aircraft with a row of lights around the perimeter underside. After hovering for awhile it moved away with whooshing sounds. (Air force said it was a weather balloon)

April 1 1968 A person driving east on highway 80 saw 7 spherical lights in the night sky that we’re alternately drifting in no particular pattern or remaining still. They assembled into a 45 degree triangle formation, accelerated to a high rate of speed then disappeared upwards towards the northeast

Sept 15 1974 A group of people, stopped on the Thunderbolt Bridge, saw a fairly large metallic disc (60-80 ft, diameter) in the evening sky. It had bright white lights rotating around a short blue mast on the top. It gradually moved slowly west with no sound.

Jan 23 2009 A US army specialist was driving to Hunter Air Field when he noticed a spherical fast moving object with a glowing blue/white light changing to blue/green. It moved upwards, then stopped and then accelerated leaving electric trails. The witnesses’ car engine burped and the lights dimmed.

Jan 28 2010 Two people noticed a star in the sky moving erratically and shooting off red and blue beams, then going in circles and flashing red and blue lights. At any one time there were five objects doing the same thing.

June 18 2011 Three residents observed a bright orange orb shaped object floating over the city. It changed from orange to yellow, then back to orange. It would stop, then move around again. It eventually went northeast to Hunter Airfield. (There are a lot of reports of orange orbs hovering around coastal Georgia)

Nov 13 2016 A driver on I-95 going south saw a stationary solid bright white rectangle shape in the southeast sky. It remained vertical. He said it was the weirdest thing he ever saw… definatley not of this world.

Feb 28 2017 At sunset a person looking over the marsh saw a twinkling of lights in a vertical shape. White lights popped from the top and it became an oblong potato shape. Three more appeared and formed a line. They moved to the right and disappeared one by one into the clouds.

April 25 2017 A passenger in a car returning from Tybee saw two very large black triangular crafts hovering over the city. They were covered in large round white lights and flying parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. They stayed low and stationary.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Haint Blue

 

“Haints” are what some folks in the low country of southeast Georgia call “spirits”. Haint Blue is the paint color some superstitious folks put on their house’s porch ceilings, shutters and doors to keep unwanted ghostly visitors from entering their homes.

The history of the paint color comes from the Gullah people who were brought to the area as slaves. They believed haints could not cross water and they decorated their houses with blue paint to protect themselves.

The paint was a mixture of purple dye from the native indigo plant, lime, clay and water. The indigo plant is poisonous and lime is an insect repellent. With such a toxic combination painted on a home there were definitely dead bugs on the outside.

Visible evidence of the dead on the outside and nothing dead inside reinforced the belief that the dead could not cross the water represented by the Haint Blue paint.

Haint Blue paint can be seen on homes all along the Southeast coast and it does give a pleasant cool appearance to a house. Although the toxic ingredients are no longer included in the mix, one can only hope the ghost protection can still be applied with a touch of voodoo magic on the brush.

My book, Wicked Haints, is about what happened in Savannah when Haint Blue paint is removed from a house and troublesome ghost come in. It’s a quick fun read and guaranteed to make everyone laugh…. even the dead!
Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The Tybee Bomb

On February 5, 1958 the USAF lost a 7,600 pound Mark 15 nuclear bomb in Wassaw Sound off the Georgia Coast.

How could this happen you ask?

Apparently during a practice exercise, a fighter plane from Hunter Airfield collided with the B-47 bomber carrying the bomb. To protect the aircrew from a possible detonation, the bomb was jettisoned.

Some say the bomb was a functional nuclear weapon, and others say it was disabled, but some folks “in the know” ain’t saying much at all.

The military immediately went looking for it and, after a few months of searching, decided the bomb was sunk 15 feet down in mucky-muck somewhere out-that-a-way. They said, although it wasn’t armed and posed no threat, it was best not to disturb it.

It has never been officially confirmed to be a ticking-time nuclear bomb, but after all, a bomb is a bomb and there’s a very small chance that it might mysteriously one day unexpectedly blow up and nuke Tybee Island, Little Tybee, Wassaw Island and give all the rich Yankees on Skidaway Island radiation burns.

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To locals, the missing nuke is referred to as The Tybee Bomb. And practically every low country fisherman will say they know exactly where the bomb is, but after sixty years nobody’s dared disturb it because…

Everybody knows it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie, and it’s probably a good idea to let a nuclear bomb lie undisturbed in Wassaw Sound out-that-a-way somewhere.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The Haunted Poet – Conrad Aiken

Some hauntings don’t necessarily take place in a house, a graveyard, a brewery or a hotel room. Sometimes a haunting occurs within. Such was the unfortunate case of Savannah born poet, Conrad Aiken.

His father and mother moved to Savannah from “up north” and settled into a nice brick home. Dr. Aiken was a brain surgeon and his wife a popular socialite. But the Aiken house was not a happy home. Conrad’s parents fought a lot and as time went on Conrad’s father turned dark and volatile.

One night, as the eleven-year-old Conrad lay in his bed he heard his parents arguing. He heard his father count to three, followed by one gunshot, and then another. Conrad ran to his parent’s room to find them both dead. His father had killed his mother, then shot himself in the head.

Little Conrad was sent “up north” to live with family. He graduated from Harvard and eventually became an American Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, short-story writer, novelist, and a critic. But the tragedy of his youth would haunt him and his writings forever. He was fearful he’d be afflicted by the insanity that his father had succumbed to. His poems were sometimes dismal and hauntingly sorrowful.

In his later years, Conrad moved back to Savannah, and morbidly odd as it may be, he bought and lived in the house next door to the family home. He spent many days in Bonaventure Cemetery by his parent’s graves.

One day he saw a ship named Cosmos Mariner pass by. When he inquired about where the ship was going he was told “destination unknown”. He decided that would be the perfect epitaph for his own grave. Being a true Savannahian, he selected his grave stone made in to a seating bench to invite visitors to sit down and share a drink with him.

I have in fact visited Conrad Aiken’s grave in Bonaventure Cemetery. I sat upon the bench and raised a glass of wine to toast The Haunted Poet to bid him a peaceful journey home.

Because we are all Cosmos Mariners sailing among the stars to unknown destinies.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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A Grave Mistake

In Savannah Georgia there’s an old burial ground, Colonial Park Cemetery, that has over 10,000 dead buried in it, but less than 1,000 grave markers. You might think it’s a grave mistake, but not necessarily so.

The shortage of markers is because many of Savannah’s dead were buried in mass graves due to yellow fever epidemics and others were placed in family recycling tombs. It was common practice that, when pappy died, he was placed in the family vault until he rotted away, then his dusty remains were shoveled into the family urn and space was then available for the next deceased family member.

The cemetery covers 6 acres of prime historic downtown real estate. It was established in 1750 and dead folks were put there until 1853.

When General Sherman’s yankee troops came through town they used the grounds as a campsite. The soldiers had fun rearranging the grave markers and changing the birth and death dates of the dearly departed. There are date mistakes everywhere!

But in Savannah it ain’t so smart to go messing with the dead because everyone knows Savannah is haunted, especially old cemeteries! Duh!!! And naturally, Colonial Park Cemetery is a hot spot for ghostly activity.

Who haunts the old cemetery? Perhaps one of the “dueling ghosts” who got shot in the dueling grounds next door, or a yellow fevered southern belle, or maybe the 7-foot murdering beast-man, Rene Rondolier (see my blog Rene’s Playground) or maybe just the usual restless dead who will always call Savannah home.

Colonial Park Cemetery was made a park in 1896. Today visitors can walk among the dead and perhaps encounter a spirit while sitting on a park bench. It is after all Savannah, and it’s a grave mistake to think the dead stay in their graves.

Be careful where you tred… you walk upon Savannah’s dead.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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