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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The Eliza Thompson House

The first house on Jones Street in Savannah was built in 1847 by the wealthy cotton merchant, Joseph Thompson and his wife Eliza. Joseph died soon after the 13 room mansion and 12 room carriage house was built. Eliza was left with a big house and seven kids, which would seem like a Nightmare on Jones Street.

But in true southern woman style Eliza took care of the estate, raised her family and even threw a grand o’l Savannah party or two.

Eliza Thompson died and her family eventually sold the house. It was occupied by other families and even a few businesses. Now it is the elegant haunted B&B Eliza Thompson House.

Who haunts this place? A soldier, a lady, a kid and a cat.

Eliza’s son, James Thompson fought in the American civil war. He survived the war to come home, but had the misfortune to be standing in front of the house when he was kicked in the stomach by a horse. He died of course.

It is believed James Thompson is the ghost who haunts room 132. He’s often seen dressed in his confederate officer uniform. And odd as it may be, only the top half of his ghostly shape can be seen seated on the couch or at the window overlooking the courtyard.

There is also a spirit woman dressed in white who wanders around the house. White apparently is the preferred dress color for spirit women to wear for haunting because most of them appear in white.

Visitors say they’ve felt the presence of a giggling ghost child who stands at the foot of beds. There is no explanation for that, but kids do the strangest things.

And there are reports of a ghost cat because, if The Davenport House has a ghost cat, then Eliza Thompson can’t be outdone and her house needs a ghost cat too.

The Eliza Thompson House was featured in The South Magazine’s Savannah Paranormal Investigation and got a 4.5 out of 5 on the Fright-o-meter.

Oh nooooooo! The ghosts have been certified! Beware if you spend the night there, or you might experience a Nightmare on Jones Street!

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The General’s Daughter

Located in Savannah Georgia at 432 Abercorn on the east side of Calhoun Square is a big o’l creepy southern mansion rumored to be inhabited by multiple ghosts.

Reports include ghostly figures, strange sounds, children’s laughter and sightings of a little girl in a white dress tied to a chair looking out the window. Other restless spirits include a trio of sisters from Florida who were reportedly murdered in 1959 while visiting with their family.

The house was built in 1868 for Civil War veteran General Wilson. His wife died of yellow fever and he raised his two daughters alone. One was a good child and the other was not so good. The bad daughter wanted to play with the poor kids at Massey School across the street. As the legend goes, General Wilson did not like his daughter associating with the “lower class”. For punishment he tied his daughter to a chair and she sat for days facing the window, watching the children play, but not permitted to join them. After a couple days baking like a hot sweet potato in the blistering Georgia sun with no water, she died from dehydration. Her father, upset with his bad parenting supposedly killed himself in the house.

Apparently, as a ghost child, she’s still sitting there waiting for revenge, freedom or perhaps a glass of water. And Dad is wandering around feeling sorry about the whole extreme punishment torture thing.

Unfortunately that’s not quite what happened because records indicate that General Wilson died in Colorado in 1896. Both daughters, the good and the bad, grew into adulthood, got married, moved away and lived happily ever after.

As to the supposed triple homicide of Florida tourists, in the late fifties or early sixties, there’s no solid information on that either.

But typical of Savannah (the city built upon its dead) the house at 432 Abercorn is built on top of not one, but two overlapping cemeteries. So, perhaps there are restless spirits in the creepy big o’l southern mansion on Calhoun Square looking for the stairway to heaven.

 

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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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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It’s only fitting that Savannah, one of America’s most haunted cities, would have a haunted theatre. The Savannah Theatre located on Chippewa Square (the site of the famous Forrest Gump bench scenes) is as haunted as haunted can be.

People have seen a ghostly woman in costume at the left of the stage and they’ve seen the ghost of an irate director giving stage directions to nonexistent actors while using not-so-nice hand signals. There’s a projectionist, who died in the projection booth and refuses to leave. A little boy haunts the balcony playing pranks on the living, a woman spirit sings in the lobby and in the hallway a man’s voice says “get going” as if he wants to encourage the living not to miss the opening act.

Savannah Policemen have often reported hearing applause and ruckus as they drove by the closed theatre, and when they went to investigate the noise, nobody was there.

The theatre opened in 1818 and played host to some of the world’s most beloved performers like Tyrone Power, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, and W.C. Fields.

It has been remodeled many times and suffered damaging fires in 1906, 1944 and 1948. The Drayton Street wall is the only part of the original building. The theatre was rebuilt in 1948 and struggled to operate until in 2002 when it received new life as a live music and dance show stage.

The Savannah Theatre is the oldest continuously operating theatre in the US and yes, it is open today for business. You can stop in for a show, but the ticket does not come with a guarantee that you’ll only see a live show because the dead might be waiting backstage to perform a creepy sideshow act.

Nobody know who haunts the theatre, or why they would hang around unless the spirits firmly believe “the show must go on” and they’re in Savannah to make sure the show goes on… and on… and on…

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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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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