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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It’s a known fact that people in Savannah love to party, and everyone knows the best time to throw a lavish over-the-top stylish party is Christmas. And nobody, dead or alive, could throw a better Christmas Gala than Jim Williams at his home, the Mercer-William House, on Montgomery Square. They say it was “a party to die for”.

Every member of Savannah’s high society wanted an invitation to Jim Williams’ elaborate Christmas party. It was the biggest social event of the year. Women would wear lovely gowns, men dressed in tuxedos, and almost everyone showed up fashionably late. The decorations were extravagant, the food delicious, and the music played to perfection by choice musicians. The second floor ballroom of the Mercer-Williams House was ablaze with lights, music, dancing, and laughter. It was a true Savannah holiday party done just right.

Jim Williams was made famous from John Berendt’s non-fiction book, Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil. (in Savannah we refer to this as The Book). Williams, an antique dealer of substantial wealth allegedly shot his young lover, Danny Hansford in the library.

A game of Clue was solved quickly with Danny’s dead body and Jimmie holding the smoking gun.

Jim Williams was tried four times for the murder, but claimed self-defense and was set free. Nobody knows what happened, and most folks believe Williams was guilty, but Hansford was trouble with a capital “T” and sometimes, people just needed killing. It was justifiable homicide.

After his final overturned conviction, Jim Williams decided to throw one of his famous Christmas parties and it was the last party he would throw as a living person because he died the next month. And…not only did he suddenly drop dead, but he died next to the same spot on the library floor where the poor unfortunate Danny Hansford was shot.

Some believe Hansford got his revenge by scaring Williams to death.

Since Williams’ death, he’s been seen in full apparition form, walking up and down the halls of the house. It is also said that if you pass by the Mercer-Williams House on the night of the annual Christmas party, you’ll see the house ablaze in a ghostly light as misty partygoers drift through the rooms.  And you’ll hear the distant sound of revelers attending a Savannah Christmas Ghostly Gala.

Jim Williams Christmas party at the Mercer-Williams House was indeed “a party to die for”, and if you’re already dead, then apparently it’s “a party to live for!”

Have Yourself A Very Merry Ghostly Christmas!

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Marshall House Bones

The Marshall House, built in 1851, is a stylish hotel and restaurant located on Broughton Street in Savannah. The architecture resembles the style found in New Orleans’ French Quarter with its ornate balcony ironwork, but this place has its own unique creepy design that includes buried bones and wandering ghosts.

It’s understandable that perhaps the dead linger in the hallways and foyer since, in the past, the building has been used as a hospital three times, once by the Union Army during the Civil War and twice for yellow fever epidemics during the 19th century. There could be lost souls haunting this old building for sure.

Guests have reported hearing children’s laughter and the pitter-patter of little ghostly feet running down the halls. Objects rearrange themselves in the foyer, water faucets turn on by themselves, lights randomly turn on and off, and sometimes electronic items power up without being touched by human hands. On the fourth floor door knobs wiggle as if someone is attempting to open them and loud crashes are heard when nothing has fallen.

A little girl visitor, staying in room 304, screamed and told her mother a boy with big teeth in the bathtub bit her. Her mother found no one there, but her daughter had a bite mark to prove something had happened. And other people have reported feeling as if children’s fingers were tapping on their toes when no one was around.

During renovations in 1999 workmen found human remains; bones, hands, feet, arms, legs beneath the floor. It was believed the bones were amputations from 1864 when General Sherman visited and used the hotel as a hospital. It was very cold that Christmas so the rotting flesh couldn’t be detected under the floor. This could explain why some people have witnessed a one arm man dressed in a dark blue overcoat roaming the halls. Has he come back looking for his lost arm?

There are stinky bad vibes in rooms 214, 314 and 414. It must be a number 4 sort of thing so I would avoid booking a room at The Marshall House that ends with a 4, or you could encounter a ghost touching your forehead to test your temperature. Just make sure your body temperature isn’t stone cold dead, or you might not  be checking out anytime soon, or perhaps you’ve already been checked out and don’t know it because your Savannah Dead and lingering in the hallways of The Marshall House waiting for your luggage to be sent to the afterlife.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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