Sherman’s Christmas Gift

As the holiday approaches some people have a long Christmas List to fill, and in 1864 General Sherman had one special person at the top of his list; President Lincoln. And the gift he gave was the city of Savannah Georgia.

After General Sherman and his Yankee troops burned Atlanta, he decided to “make Georgia howl” for their impudence and attacked the south’s civilian population. From November 15th to December 21st General Sherman embarked on his historic “March to the Sea” and led 60,000 troops 285 miles from Atlanta to Savannah. His goal was to make southerners give up their cause and to bring a swift end to the war. The northern troops burned, stole, raped and pillaged across Georgia, but nobody was howling. They we’re just really really mad.

When he reached Savannah 10,000 rebel troops flooded the rice fields so the approaching enemy could only come into town one way and that one way was heavily fortified.

But there was no battle and the reason for that gets a bit “fuzzy”. Some say General Sherman was charmed by Savannah’s beauty and could not destroy it. Others say the mayor cut a deal to surrender supplies and the city if the good citizens and their possessions would be safe. Most people believe Sherman realized the importance of Savannah as a seaport and it was in the north’s best interest to keep it intact.

And so, after six weeks of being “gone”, General Sherman sent a telegram to President Lincoln that read “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.” The fall of Savannah was given a 300-gun salute Washington DC in celebration.

While in Savannah General Sherman was cordially welcomed to stay at the Green-Meridan house. He was wined and dined with Savannah elegance. His soldiers, who’d camped out in the Old Colonial Cemetery, had a bit of fun changing the birth and death dates on old tombstones. Some people lived to be a thousand years or died before they were born. In true Savannah politeness all was forgiven. (boys will be boys, no matter if they be Yankee or Rebs)

When Savannah General Sherman left Savannah, just to give everyone a scare, he led his army around South Carolina. The residents of Charleston thought he’d burn their town, but he didn’t go there because, like today, it wasn’t on the way to Richmond. He eventually went to Columbia and marched up to Richmond. General Lee surrendered in April 1865 and that was the end of that.

There haven’t been any reports of General Sherman’s ghost haunting Savannah, and the only howling done in Georgia is heard at a UGA game by the Bulldogs.

Merry Christmas!

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The Shrimp Factory

The Shrimp Factory on River Street in Savannah is the-place-to-go for some delicious local seafood. Today it’s decorated with coastal art displayed on old Savannah brick walls, but in 1823 it was a cotton warehouse.

The story goes that slaves worked all day in poor conditions pushing and hauling bales of cotton from the warehouse to shipping vessels. It’s understandable that perhaps a few might’ve died in the building and their spirits might be haunting The Shrimp Factory. Muted voices and rattling chains and unexplainable sounds are often heard on the top floor (where the slaves were kept) and when investigated nobody is there.

During the summer the staircase leading to the storage room is hot, but sometimes in the evening, about halfway up the stairs there is a blast of cold air.

Some employees believe the cold spot is the ghost of a former employee named Joe. Although Joe was in good health, for some unknown reason he dropped dead on the staircase in August 1977. Joe also likes to hang out in the liquor storage room and, upon occasion has been known to knock over a few bottles of rum. He’s also been thought to be the mischievous culprit responsible for flickering lights and shutting down of all things electrical.

So if your in the mood for some popcorn shrimp, oysters on the half shell and want to enjoy watching the ships go up and down The Savannah River, then this might be a good place to go for dinner.

And if the ghost sitting at the next table asks for the hot sauce, please have some respect for the dead and pass it on over. It’s the polite Savannah thing to do.

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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Aargh! Ghosts In The Pirate House

The building for The Pirates’ House Restaurant in Savannah Georgia is over 250 years old. And so, it only stands to reason that a place being that old, and also being in Savannah, can mean only one thing…. it’s haunted!

During the golden olden days, when Pirates sailed off the Georgia coast, it’s understandable they’d drop in to the old tavern on the bluff for a tankard of rum. (Savannah has always been a hospitable friendly party town.) Rumor has it that not only did pirates come to town, but upon occasion they’d Shanghai a few drunken sailors into a secret tunnel under the tavern and make them join their pirate team.

With so many pirates coming and going it’s possible some notorious evil-doers died here and never left or they just decided to return to haunt the old tavern.

They say shadow ghost pirates can been seen lurking in the corners, and the thump-thump-thump of a peg-leg sailor can be heard stumbling across the wood floorboards. Photos taken outside of the inside capture the flash a golden pirate toothy grin. While dining people sometimes get the sensation of being watched… by a ghostly one-eyed pirate with a black eye patch perhaps?

It’s believed Captain Flint, from the book Treasure Island, died in The Pirates’ House and he haunts the place, which would be appropriate considering he’s a fictional character.

There’s no doubt there were deviant pirates pillaging off the Georgia coast and also believable they’d sail into Savannah for a good o’l Pirate-fest, but all I know is; I’ve dined at The Pirate House and although I did see a creepy skeleton bone display and a gift shop, I did not see, hear or sense any paranormal pirate activity.

But perhaps on that particular evening the ghost Pirates were sailing on the high seas, raising the black flag, slitting throats, walking gangplanks and collecting treasure. Or could it be the ghost pirates are just waiting offshore for favorable winds so they can return to The Pirates’ House and order the shrimp gumbo?

The Pirates’ House is a location in my book Zombies Y’all! There’s lots of excitement happening in the underground Shanghai tunnels when they’re filled with hungry zombies!

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!

Fort Pulaski’s Dead

Fort Pulaski was built in 1847 east of Savannah on Cockspur Island where it guards the mouth of the Savannah River. Some people believe it’s haunted by soldiers who died at the fort. Entities of Union and Confederate soldiers have been seen in and outside the walls. Perhaps they’ve decided to reenlist in the afterlife.

An unseen presence is often felt standing near the living, calling a person’s name. Feelings of sickness, fear, despair and misery overcome ‘sensitive’ people. Visitors have reported hearing odd footsteps in a stairwell, strange unexplainable sounds, and the disembodied sound of a little girl crying. There seems to be an unusually large amount of spooky orbs captured by cameras.

Fort Pulaski must’ve been a government oversight because it wasn’t really equipped as a serious fort and, at the start of the American Civil War it was easy-peasy for the Confederates to take it over. They held for over a year until Union forces snuck over to Tybee Island and bombed the crap out of the fort with cannons and mortars.

After 30 hours of bombardment, the Rebels surrendered and the Yankees held the fort for the remainder of the war.

In 1864, 592 of the original Confederate prisoners from Fort Delaware, known as the ‘Immortal 600’ who became political pawns in the Battle of Charleston, arrived at Fort Pulaski, where they suffered in retaliation for the South’s poor treatment of Union prisoners.

After the Civil War, Fort Pulaski, was abandoned and forgotten until 1906 when it became a National Monument. Cemetery sections were found for many of the Confederate and Union soldiers, but just because the men were buried, doesn’t necessarily mean they were sleeping peacefully in their graves.

One of the most documented accounts of the fort being haunted happened in the 1980s during the filming of Glory. A group of Confederate soldier extras, dressed in their uniforms, were surprised when a Confederate lieutenant officer reprimanded them for not saluting him. He ordered them to fall into line because a Union attack could happen at any time. They humored him and followed his orders to get in line, but when the officer gave the order to face about, he vanished!!

Yep, that’s what they say; he just faded away like cannon smoke on the battlefield. He’s an officer of the dead and y’all visitors might want to be careful when wandering about the parade grounds or you might just get recruited into the army of the afterlife.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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