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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Underground Creepy

Georgia’s first hospital opened in 1804 on Drayton Street in Savannah. It was a hospital for Seamen and a Poorhouse.

And since the old hospital is in the haunted historic district it’s naturally going to be occupied by the dead, the I-don’t-know-I’m-dead and the I-don’t-wanna-be-dead-yet.

In front of the building is the 300 year old Candler Oak draped with creepy Spanish Moss which adds to the spooky weirdness of the ancient building. There are reports of many ghostly patients wandering around and it’s not unusual for visitors to capture orbs or whispery images on cameras.

It served as a medical hospital, and a medical school. It even had a psychiatric ward. Oooooh…. could experimental lobotomies been performed there?

The most interesting thing about the old hospital is the underground morgue tunnel that goes from the hospital to beneath the lovely Forsyth Park. It’s believed the tunnel and low ceiling room was a staging area for the dead bodies waiting to be hauled off at night to the cemeteries.

Maybe illegal weird autopsies were performed in the tunnels or maybe it was just a cold place (underground) to store the dead from rotting in the Georgia heat until a burial place was dug.

Accordingly to the Savannah Morning News in an 1884 article, the reasoning behind the tunnel was to build an underground structure to replace the unsightly above ground “dead house”. Which makes perfect sense to the people in Savannah who like things all proper and nice-nice even for the dead.

The old Candler Hospital closed in 1980 and was renovated in 2014 by the Historical Society. It opened in 2017 as The Savannah Law.

Unfortunately, because of low enrollment the college is closing. Perhaps they should’ve opened the enrollment to include ghosts. After all, this is Savannah.

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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The Willink House

Henry Willink built his little house south of Oglethorpe Avenue at the corner of Price and Perry Streets sometime around 1845 or maybe it was built in 1851 when he returned from New York having learned more about the ship building business. (He built the C.S.S. Georgia Ironclad for the Confederate Navy and The Ladies’ Gunboat Association thought it was too ugly so he had to build a second one, which was just as monstrous, heavy, stinky and it leaked. The Confederates sunk it themselves in 1864).

His shipyard business and his life was going pretty well until a fateful day when he invited his wife to join him at the shipyard. Poor Mrs. Willink tripped, went over a ship’s rail, and drowned. She couldn’t swim and her heavy skirts dragged her down.

Needless to say, Henry was quite upset that he couldn’t save her, and spent much of his time at the shipyard to forget the tragedy… until another fateful day when he saw his wife’s ghost standing on a ship’s deck. He was so stunned to see her that he tripped, went over the ship’s rail and fell into the Savannah River. He didn’t drown, but was saved and went home safe. He was so mad at her for frightening him that he slammed the front door on his way inside.

And so… now the ghost of Henry Willink opens the front door and closes it with a loud bang just to make a statement, but for some strange reason he can’t get out of the little house he shared with his dearly departed wife.

The house was also rumored to have been used as a school for African American children where they were taught secretly by a white school teacher. She would reward the children for doing their school lesson by bribing them with candy treats. It is said now the living encounter a ghostly Candyland as sugar treats are randomly found in the house and the house smells of sweet spirits.

The house was moved to 426 E. St. Julian Street and is privately owned. If you take a walk by perhaps you will find a candy treat or get a door slammed shut in your face. Will you get a trick or a treat? It must be Halloween at the Willink House all year long. Trick-or-Treat!