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!

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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 Kehoe House

The Kehoe House on Columbia Square in Savannah Georgia is a huge, four story, 1892 Victorian Renaissance Revival mansion. It’s most distinctive and unique feature is the “exclusive” use of cast iron for the exterior trim. And the other unique feature is the legend that it’s haunted by Kehoe’s twin boys that got stuck in a chimney and died.

A visit to the Kehoe House will show that all the chimneys are sealed up and little statue angels watch guard over the fireplaces just so nobody else gets sucked up into ghost smoke.

How could this have happened? Or a better question would be… Did it happen ?

Here’s a bit of history:

William Kehoe came from Ireland and grew up poor but apprenticed as an iron molder. He worked his way up the ladder of success until he owned his own Iron Foundry; Kehoe Iron Works.

He married the love of his life, Annie. He built a big house on Columbia Square and they settled into a happy family life. They had ten children, but two of their children; Anna Louise Kehoe (4 years) and Mary Elizabeth Kehoe (almost 2 years old) died from the childhood disease roseola, within days of each other. They were buried in Bonaventure and not stuffed up a chimney, but some believe the spirits of the two girls (because they look similar with blonde hair and blue eyes) are misidentified as being the twins who haunt the house.

The little girls are playful friendly spirits and appear at the end of beds giggling, whispering to each other, and are heard running up and down the hallways.

But it’s not just Anna Louise and Mary Elizabeth who’s spirits remain in the house. It seems mom and dad are also regular apparitions.

William Kehoe’s presence is sometimes detected up in the study in the home’s room with a cupola. During the evening hours, an unexplained light is sometimes seen in this unused room. Mrs. Anne Kehoe is known as the Lady in White seen mostly on the second floor. She is spotted writing at a desk in room 203 or floating around in room 201.

The Kehoe family sold the home in 1930. After this it was used as a funeral home and the downstairs front parlors, and the second story bedrooms were turned into viewing rooms. The basement was converted into embalming, prep, and cold storage for the dead. They say, if the deceased were too long for the coffin, the staff would cut the lower limbs off and when the place was renovated in the 1990s, they found hundreds of sawed-off feet. Of course it’s not true, but it makes for a creepy diabolical Savannah story that everyone loves to hear and tell.

In 1980 The Kehoe House became a private residence for quarterback Joe Namath (who, God forbid, was going to turn it into a nightclub). He sold it and in 1990 it opened as a Bed and Breakfast.

The William Kehoe House was built for a large family, (apparently a ghost family) and now it provides 13 rooms for guests. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and on one of the top ten haunted hotels to visit before you get stuck in a chimney and die list.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The Savannah Cotton Exchange

The original Savannah Cotton Exchange was built 1872, but the structure has been added too and renovated a few times so who knows who was doing what, when and why. The current two-story building is a combo construction of ballast stonework on the lower River Street level and brick on upper Bay Street level. In the olden days the ships unloaded the shipped merchandise from the river and moved it to Factor’s Walk where factors (buyers) made purchases at the exchange.

The Savannah Cotton Exchange was a symbol of importance of the cotton industry in Savannah and was originally called King Cotton’s Palace and by 1880 the area was known as the Wall Street of the South. In the 1920’s the boll weevil did some weevil-evil-cotton-eating devastation to the cotton industry and the old exchange closed.

Today the building serves the tourist industry with retail stores, antique shops and a tavern. The living people enjoy shopping, dining and drinking in the Cotton Exchange, but the dead folks also seem to like hanging around.

Renovations were done after a fire in the building and it sort of stirred up some ghostly trouble. Now people hear footsteps when no one is there and the sounds of crying babies. In the tavern there are reports of flying bread loaves, deadly ice-cream scoopers, unexplainable falling objects and the volume on the radio randomly changes.

A ghostly woman in a long white dress has been seen descending the staircase and another ghost is thought to be Oompah, an old clockmaker who liked to visit the tavern for his morning coffee. The strong smell of coffee sometimes fills the tavern before anyone has turned on the pot.

On Bay Street the impressive old Savannah Cotton Exchange has a beautiful red terra cotta winged lion fountain in front surrounded by a fence with medallions of poets and presidents.

The original terra cotta lion, which dated to 1890, was shattered by a car that sped north on Drayton Street, jumped the curb at Bay Street, knocked down a section of wrought-iron fencing, obliterated the winged lion, snapped a lamppost in half, soared over a pedestrian walkway and came to a grinding halt at the front steps of the Savannah Cotton Exchange.

The most amazing part of the accident was that the driver was a native Savannahian, not a tourist and nobody died, which was fortunate otherwise there might be more ghosts haunting the old Savannah Cotton Exchange.

 

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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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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At the pub on 21 West Bay Street in Savannah you can get some Boo! With Your Brew at Moon River Brewing Company where a ghostly crew is mixing a paranormal brew.

There’s a shadow ghost child named Toby who likes to steal billiard balls and play tricks. Women in 19th-century clothing walk the stairwells, a Union officer wanders the hallways, and the third floor is haunted by a phantom lady dressed in a white gown.

The building was constructed in 1821 by Elazer Early to be the city’s first hotel, understandably named; City Hotel. In 1851, Peter Wiltberger bought it and put a live lion and lioness on display to draw attention to his business, or perhaps to eat unruly guests. During Yellow Fever Epidemics the top floors were used as hospital space. In 1864 the City Hotel closed when everyone went to fight the Yankees. Later the building was used as a coal warehouse and an office supply store until Hurricane David blew the roof off in 1979 then it remained empty for 16 years.

16 years is plenty of time for the ghosts to settle in and make themselves at home.

The Oglethorpe Brewery took over and began major renovations, but the presence of restless spirits made them run away without finishing the job. The current owners of Moon River Brewery don’t seem bothered by bottles flying off shelves, silverware sliding off dining room tables, and shadowy figures roaming the restaurant. In 2009, Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures visited and recorded weird footsteps, peculiar knocking, scary dragging sounds, and creepy disembodied voices.

Some believe it’s the violent history of the building that attracts paranormal activity. In 1832 Dr. Minus shot James Stark who was in the City Hotel drinking and spewing nasty remarks against him. The good doctor was acquitted of all charges because every town needs a good doctor more than a loudmouth drunk. In 1860, Mr. James Sinclair from New York City, came for work, but locals didn’t react kindly a Yankee taking their jobs. They politely asked Sinclair to leave, but when he refused, he was dragged out of the City Hotel and almost killed. There is after all a limit to Southern Hospitality.

Perhaps the evils of the past create a dark place for a demonic entity in the basement to linger in the shadows. Maybe bad vibes opened a door for a hostile spirit who likes to push people down stairs. Or maybe there are ghostly guests of the old City Hotel who just want have a glass of Moon River Brew because it’s deliciously evil.

I’ve dined in Moon River Brewery and drank the tasty brew myself. I highly recommend the Beer Sampler. I’ve never encountered a spirit sipping a drink at the bar or had a billiard ball tossed at my head, but there’s definitely a disturbing ambience that makes me glance over my shoulder from time to time. Because, in Savannah, ya just never know if you’ll be served some Boo! With Your Brew that makes you do something embarrassingly stupid that’ll haunt you the rest of your life.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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