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 Ghostly Guest 17Hundred90 Inn

17Hundred90 Inn and Restaurant is the oldest hotel in Savannah. It was built in 1820, but 1790 was a better year so, like many places in Savannah, the name was changed out of confusion and convenience. And so it also goes for the ghost stories surrounding the old Inn which have been changed or invented for entertainment.

Story 1: Anne in Room 204. Anne White was the wife of the Inn’s builder, Steel White. When he died in an accident she was so upset she jumped out the window of room 204 and killed herself.  She haunts the room, moves objects around and steals jewelry.

To believe this story a person must overlook the fact that room 204 is located in a portion of the hotel that had not been built when Steel White died and to forget that, after his death, Anne moved to Isle of Hope to live with her sister and brother-in-law.

Story 2: Anne In Room 204. Anne Powell was a flirtatious servant girl who had an affair with a German sailor. He sailed away, she found out she was pregnant, and out of despair and heartbreak committed suicide by diving out the window. She haunts this room by caressing men’s faces, rearranging women’s clothes, and making a dramatic tearful appearance before she takes the fatal leap out the window.

To believe this story a person must overlook the fact that there is no record of Anne Powell living in Savannah. There’s an Anna Powers who lived in the house, but she didn’t dive out a window and actually lived to into her 80’s at the residence with her 82 year old husband.

Story 3: The Voodoo Kitchen Servant. A ghost haunts the kitchen basement and has been reported to push around, pull hair, blow air in ears, and throw pots and pans at women.

To believe this story a person has to believe there isn’t a rat in the kitchen causing mischief and blaming the dead.

Story 4: The Servant Boy. He has no explanation for why he’s there, but he leaves change around.

To believe this story one must believe nobody drops change or has holes in their pockets.

Paranormal investigators ask specifically to spend the night in room 204 for a chance ghostly encounter with Anne. People dine at the restaurant and wait for The Voodoo Spirit to blow air in their ears. They walk the Inn’s hallways and hope to find spare changed from The Servant Boy.

Of course you have to believe the conveniently invented confusing entertainment stories or nothing will happen and you’ll miss all the ghostly fun in The 17Hundred90 Inn and Restaurant. But in any case, you most certainly will have a pleasant dining experience and sleep in a nice hotel.

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 …

Bo-Cat at Hell’s Gate

 

It was a fateful Friday the 13th in 1932 when Bo-Cat (Limerick De Lancy) argued with his wife Catherine over the deed to their house in Pin Point in Savannah’s usually peaceful Southside.

Bo-Cat’s temper flared and he smacked Catherine over the head until she was good ‘n dead. He needed to cover up the murder and dragged her lifeless body into his boat and headed out to Hell’s Gate to dispose of her corpse.

Hell’s Gate, is situated off the treacherous waters of the Ogeechee River, and is known for fast moving currents, hidden sandbars and deep water holes. It is a stressful and difficult area to navigate a boat, but Bo-Cat figured it would be the perfect place to sink down a dead body.

He left the Pin Point neighborhood on Moon River, went past Pigeon Island, Burnside Island and down the Vernon River until he reached Green Island Sound. In the darkness of the night, just off Little Don Island and Raccoon Key Bo-Cat entered Hell’s Gate and proceeded to dump Katherine into a deep 38 foot fishing hole. He loaded her down with an anchor, a cement block and an assortment of household objects, and then pitched her overboard.

That seemed to cover up the murder of his wife, but Bo-Cat was about to learn that he shouldn’t go knocking on the devil’s door at Hell’s Gate.

After about two week Catherine’s friends began to wonder what had happened to her. They asked Bo-Cat and he just shrugged his shoulders. He said he didn’t know where she’d gone. But then two hunters came across decomposed human remains on Raccoon Key and the devil was about to get his due.

Catherine’s body had floated up from the deep water hole in Hell’s Gate, drifted 20 miles south in the currents and got stuck between two logs. Her corpse had been an easy meal for crabs, fish and buzzards and there wasn’t much left of her. Catherine’s sister was only able to identify the right foot of her poor dead sister. Bo-Cat confessed to the horrible crime and was hauled off to jail where he spent the rest of his life.

They say Catherine’s ghost haunts Hell’s Gate where Bo-Cat laid her down into a watery grave. And they say, on a starless night, off Georgia’s coastal waters, on Friday the 13th, sometimes boaters and fishermen hear the mournful cry of a dead woman saying… “It’s a shame how Bo-Cat done his wife….It’s a shame how Bo-Cat done me wrong.”

Savannah – True Crime

Casting The Gift Net

I enjoying fishing in the tidal creeks around Savannah, but buying bait (shrimp and mullet) can become expensive. I decided to do what the locals do and learn to throw a cast net to get free bait that God so graciously put in the water for me.

Casting a net is no simple task. It requires practice to acquire the skills needed to toss out a perfect circle, tighten it up and haul in the bait.

To learn this skill I watched YouTube videos, asked questions, observed other cast netters, and I practiced, practiced and practiced until I was able to cast out my net and catch live free bait to go fishing.

The next trick was finding the bait to catch. I learned a bit about catching mullet (little 1-3″ fish) and found a creek that provided a good supply, but I had not been able to find a source for catching shrimp. I really wanted bait shrimp, but I couldn’t find any.

My perfect mullet spot was popular not only for me, but for another cast netter and often he’d be there first and he’d get all the mullet or we’d cast our nets in the same place and scare all the bait away. One day I got so mad that he was in my casting spot that I said, “forget it, I’ll find another mullet hole!” and I went to a different place.

I didn’t have much faith in this new place because it was not a good environment for little bait fish, but I cast out my net and to my delight and surprise… I pulled up a cast net heavy with shrimp! After only a few more casts I had a bucket of bait shrimp!

This wonderful new spot became a shrimp goldmine throughout the fishing season.

I’m grateful to the fisherman who forced me out of my favorite mullet hole because that was how I received the wonderful unexpected gift of the perfect shrimp casting hole.

Sometimes you never know how or where gifts will come to you, so my advice is Go forth… cast a wide net… see what ya get… and be thankful for cast net gifts.

The Ghost of Alice Riley

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In Savannah, under 9 W York Street, is the burial place for Alice Riley. But apparently, according to local tour guides, Alice doesn’t always stay put and rises up from the dead to haunt Wright Square. She was hanged on Jan 19, 1735 in the gallows for her participation in the murder of William Wise, of which she naturally claims her innocence, and that is the reason for her unrest.

The murder of William Wise was carried out by Alice and her boyfriend Richard White. Alice and Richard were poor Irish immigrant servants who worked for old sickly William Wise (the villain with the long white hair) on Hutchinson Island. They were tired of tending to his bathing needs and decided to steal his wealth and run away to Charleston. Richard strangled him with a handkerchief and Alice finished the job by drowning him in the bathtub, but they discovered that William Wise was poor and instead of making it to Charleston, they ended up in jail.

Richard White was hanged almost immediately, but Alice was pregnant and the judge decided she would be executed after the baby was born. She gave birth to a son, and even as she claimed her innocence, she was hanged. Her son died six weeks later and is buried beside her.

So, why does Alice Riley’s ghost haunt Savannah?

They (ghost specialist) say she is searching for her lost baby (buried beside her) and her ghostly form appears to pregnant women and mothers with infants because she wants to steal their babies.

They (ghost specialist) say it took her three days to die hanging in the gallows, and when she finally did die, her body mysteriously disappeared (under 9 W York Street).

They (ghost specialist) say Alice Riley cursed Savannah because she was innocent and Spanish moss won’t grow on a tree where innocent blood has been spilled. I’ve been in Wright Square many times and there isn’t one tree without Spanish moss on it! Which makes me thinks she might not be so innocent.

I love Savannah ghosts stories – I’ve even made up a few of my own.

Be Careful… or you’ll end up in one of my books

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Writing humorous ghost stories lends itself to strange eccentric characters involved in bizarre situations that can only happen in a place like Savannah. This is where I find an amazing source of stories, ghosts, and people, and if the truth be known, I must confess that a few of my characters have the unique personalities of my friends, family, acquaintances, or complete strangers.

I don’t describe any people in my books (leaving that to the imagination of my readers). But because of a character’s mannerism, dialog, and actions people will ask, “Is that me?”

On a few occasions I’ve picked up oddball characters from conversations with others. The legend of the Foot Sniffer was told to me by a friend and he swore it happened to him and that it was true. How could I not add this wacky legend into my books?

When I’m fashioning a character, and it’s obviously based on someone I’m closely associated with, I will “warn them” and ask if it’s ok. I offer up a few story details and assure them their character will not be offensive, ugly or mean, but there are no guarantees they won’t be a ghost.

Derek-the-Hog-Killer, Kevin from Medford NJ (Zombie’s Y’all!) and Danielle and Mark (Heels & Souls) have been forewarned as well as McSnyder and Wilhemina Quimbley (Claire Buoyant).

So, if you know me at all, be warned, a small part of you or an adventure we shared, might end up in one of my books. It’s all good, except maybe that time we did what we shouldn’t have done, but luckily we didn’t get caught. (You know who I’m talking about)