B. Matthews Eatery- Is it haunted?

The building at 325 East Bay Street where B. Matthew’s Eatery is located has the prestige of being one of the oldest buildings in Georgia. (1790) Resourceful Savannahians put the building together using old cobblestones and wood from a sailing ship. That alone should make it a good place for a forlorn sailor ghost, but there’s more to this building to stir up some restless spirits.

In the basement, there’s a bricked up entrance to a tunnel leading to the Savannah River and some suspicious huge iron rings in the walls. It’s a sure sign that slaves were the merchandise being kept and sold. And therefore it wouldn’t be unexpected to have some restless angry spirits lurking in the basement.

In the 1920’s, when alcohol was against the law, it housed a “Speakeasy” where drinks and good times flowed freely. After Prohibition the bartenders sold booze out a window for easy sidewalk-service. It would only be typical of Savannah to find a ghostly customer tapping on the window for a to-go cup.

During the 1950’s, when black and white patrons were segregated, the tavern had a black side and a white side. The bar in the center served both sides, but rumor has it that this led to a murder. The black bartender started dating the white bartender’s daughter. The daughter’s mom got upset and shot the black bartender dead, which can only mean there might be a disgruntled ghost employee serving up drinks to unwary living customers.

Is there evidence of hauntings at B. Matthew Eatery? Do misplaced objects, flying salt and pepper shakers, cabinets swinging open, sharp knives stuck in the floor and two dark shadow spirits in the basement make you a believer? Or does it just make you a patron enjoying fine dining in one of Savannah’s most excellent restaurants?

Go find out for yourself and see what’s on the menu.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The Ghosts of Tin City Savannah

You can look for the location of Tin City on a map of Savannah, but you won’t find it. Like the ghosts that haunted it, the whole place just up and disappeared.

Tin City used to be east of Savannah nestled in overgrown grassland and abandoned rice fields. It was established in 1929 by an impoverished African-American man, Louis Ellis, who was granted permission to settle there. He built a home with discarded tin and scrap metal. He made a little garden for growing his own foods. Soon other African Americans joined him and they also built homes constructed of tin and junk metals. Soon Tin City became a little self-sufficient community and they even had a Mayor to represent them.

And of course they had a few ghosts

The Mayor, Nathaniel Lewis, had a short creepy annoying ghost that waited at his gate. If he talked to the spirit it would attack him, but if he ignored the spirit it wouldn’t do him harm. Naturally the Mayor pretended the ghost wasn’t there… but it was.

There were three ghosts that stood watch over what everyone believed was buried pirate treasure. The community made an attempt to dig up the gold, but just when they saw it at the bottom of the pit, the treasure fell deeper and out of reach. The three ghosts laughed and howled. Nobody went treasure hunting after that.

And of course Tin City had the usual dead folk who float around a few feet off the ground and don’t do much of anything at all. Except maybe when they fly in on a whirlwind and cause all sorts of trouble.

Tin City is gone, but what about the ghosts? Are they still there? Have they moved into Savannah and taken up residence in better accommodations?

Who knows what happens to places and people when they’re forgotten. Perhaps they linger on… waiting to be remembered.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Valentine’s Day Love Spells

For Valentines Day I thought I’d share a few love spells.

These spells are about visualizing your soul mate and using white magic and the Laws of Attraction rather than voo-doo ju-ju black magic.

Warning! If you dabble into the black arts it can be sad and dangerous as you take away someone’s free-will and that’s never a good thing.

Basic Love Spell
Get three pieces of string: pink, red, green. Braid them together while thinking of your soul mate. Tie 7 knots in the string as you imagine this person. Wear or carry the braided string or keep it in a safe place.

 Spell For Bringing A Special Person Into Your life
At night, outside light a fire in a fireproof container. Concentrate on the person you want while drawing a red heart on a piece of paper. When finished burn it in the fire. White it burns meditate on your soul mate coming to you. When completed don’t forget to put out the fire.

Soul Mate Ritual
You will need 3 almonds, 3 raisins, milk and honey. Put the almonds and raisins under your pillow. Drink a glass of warm milk with a teaspoon of honey. Before you fall asleep keep that person in your mind.

Love Box Spell
During a new moon decorate a box yourself. Place 9 items into the box that represent love, romance and a relationship to you. Light a red and black candle. Pick up the objects in the box and focus on your soul mate. When finished snuff out the candles. Swap out items from time to time to keep fresh energy flowing.

Tarot Cards
Use only the star, lovers, and king-of-cups cards. Put the star card on a table and visualize that your soul mate is coming to you. Put the king-of-cups card on the table and think of your soul mate’s physical traits. Place the lovers card on top of the two cards and seal the deal.

Maybe the spells will work… or maybe not… no guarantees!

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Ushering The Dead To The Other Side

In Savannah, the ushering of the dead to the other side, isn’t always an easy process. It’s a mish-mash culturally thing of European Christian belief from settlers, Native Americans, and African descendants.

Christians make it easy. Put the dead body in the graveyard, the soul goes to heaven or hell and that’s the end of that. The living are welcome to visit the marked grave, but don’t talk to the dead. Leave them in peace.

Native Americans send the dead off on a journey which requires a departure ceremony. They’re buried with items necessary for travel; foodstuffs, hunting tools, and of course trinkets of personal value. Have a nice trip!

The Africans put the dead in unmarked graves surrounded by a fence, but no gate. This is a sacred place and once a person was buried nobody was to disturb them. No visitors allowed. (Over time, people forget where the dead are buried and this is one reason why so many graves are accidentally discovered)

Of course, as everyone knows, the dead in Savannah don’t necessarily stay dead. So to be safe people had to come up with a back-up plan.

They put Haint Blue paint on a house to keep malicious spirits out. Or they make a Spirit Tree by hanging colorful glass bottles on branches that make noise in the wind which keeps the unwanted spirits away. Rich folk could have a house built with curved corners so a spirit would come in then follow the curve out. Having Mahi Mahi fish drain spouts pour spirits off the roof, down the drain, and into the streets where they can go bother somebody else.

And, if none of this works, perhaps a good o’l housecleaning exorcism might be what’s needed. Call in a priest, a shaman or a root-doctor and if that doesn’t work, call a realtor.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Do You Think You’ve Seen A Ghost?

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘What the heck was that? Was that a ghost?’

It helps to know a little about ghost characteristics to figure things out if what you think you saw was indeed a visiting spirit from the other-side.

First possibility that it’s a ghost would be if you were in a place with a haunted history. Second would be if the image you saw was dressed in out-of-date clothing. (not an actor in period costume). Another clue would be if it does strange unusual things like walk through walls, or if an unexplained figure shows up in a photo you took, or if there’s a weird mist or an orb floating around.

If you’ve witnessed one or more of these events, then perhaps you’ve encountered a ghost.

Most ghosts reported are deceased family members. They can become visible, speak, make noises, touch you or omit an odor like cigarettes to let you know they’re there. They show up to give you comfort, provide important information or they want you to know they’re nearby.

Perhaps you’ve seen a swirling grey, black or white ecto-mist hovering about three feet off the ground. They’re usually seen in graveyards, move quickly and sometimes morph into a full-blown apparition.

Maybe you could’ve experienced a poltergeist which is a fancy name for a ‘noisy ghost’. They can knock things over, move things, throw things, turn lights off-on, and just cause a whole bunch of unwanted nonsense.

Cold spots and swirling funnels are spirits who hang around a house because, as living souls, they once lived there and don’t want to leave.

Orbs are just wayward souls traveling around who like to have their photos taken. Some even make it into videos.

If you’re confident that what you saw was a noisy, ecto-mist, cold, ghost orb that smells like grandma and goes through walls, then the next question would be ‘what the heck does it want?’

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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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 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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Deathbed Confession

If you were to give a deathbed confession what would it be? What would you want your loved ones to know before you died and went off into the great beyond? I doubt you would tell them about the person you kilt-and-buried-for-dead in the wall of your house. Well, that’s what Honoria Foley did on her deathbed… she fessed up about murdering of one of her guests.

The Foley House Inn on Chippewa Square in Savannah Georgia was owned and operated by Honoria Foley. As the story goes she had an unwanted suitor who would not leave her alone and, much to her displeasure went so far as to book a room in her Inn. He proceeded to make inappropriate advances and snuck into her bedroom one night for a visit. She fought him off and eventually beat him in the head with a candlestick which resulted in his untimely, but seemingly necessary death.

Much to her dismay, Honoria found herself with a body to dispose of and she did what every proper southern lady would do; she called in a few “favors”.  The next day a brick mason friend came over to seal up the dead man good and tight in a wall. The murderous secret was kept a hidden until 1989 when workers, doing a bit of reconstruction, were surprised to find a skeleton in a wall at The Foley House Inn.

Hononia had no explanation for how a dead person could’ve ended up in her wall. She said she knew nothing about it and was just as surprised as everyone else. And as for who the gentleman was, she had no idea about that either.

People dismissed the matter as being just another Savannah unsolved mystery and they saw no reason to purse the matter further. It was not until Honoria died that she confessed to killing Mister Guest in the bedroom with the candlestick.

And today they say Mister Guest, having been disturbed from his resting place in the wall, haunts The Foley House Inn.  There are no records of who this ghostly guest is (Honoria left that bit of information out of her deathbed confession). The owners affectionately named him Wally. His ghostly shadow is a harmless presence and he doesn’t seem to have any ill feelings towards Hononia for killing him. Perhaps it’s because she made a sincere confession on her deathbed, or perhaps it’s because none of this is true and somebody just said that Hononia confessed, although that somebody didn’t hear it all personal from the source, but heard it from somebody who knew somebody who heard it from somebody who told them that’s just the way it happened.

A deathbed confession. True or false? Ask the dead.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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