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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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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