The Boo-Hag

“Don’t let the Boo-Hag get ya!” is a saying in the South Carolina and the Georgia low country. As the legend goes, the Boo-Hag is an evil spirit who has no skin and when seen it appears as a red creature. It needs to steal someone’s skin so it can remain inconspicuous as it creeps around at night to steal people’s breath.

A Boo-Hag must steal people’s breath for substance and that’s why they search out a victim to ride all night long. It selects a victim and enters the home through a crack or hole. After a visit from a Boo-Hag a person, although having slept all night, wakes up exhausted.

If a Boo-Hag is near the air will be hot, damp and smell like rot. Beware!

To keep the evil spirit out of your house you can paint the windows and doors Haint Blue and throw down some salt. Or, some folks say, you can leave a straw broom on the porch because Boo-Hags are curious and will stop to count the bristles and they will run out of night riding time.

If you wake up and find a Boo-Hag riding your chest don’t freak out. If you struggle and fight it might steal your skin. Then what would you do? It’s best just to let the spirt suck some of the life out of you.

When you wake up tried and drained, just go make yourself one helluva big cup of coffee, get on with your day and hope the Boo-Hag don’t get ya again!

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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The Sorrel-Weed house is one of Savannah’s most haunted hot spots. It has been featured on numerous TV paranormal investigation shows and is a must-see for visiting ghost seekers.

Weird vibes at the house cause the living to get nauseous and have the sensation of being strangled. Strange bangs, thumps, and disembodied voices are heard. Shadow figures are seen roaming the rooms and halls. People’s cameras and cell phones are sometimes found to be completely drained of energy. And Psychic Sensitives run away having panic attacks.

Who haunts the house is questionable and the story behind the haunting is about as clear as tidal pluff-mud.

The house was built in the early 1840’s by Francis Sorrel, a wealthy plantation owner who married Lucinda Moxley, who died five years into their marriage. Francis married his dead wife’s younger sister, Matilda, but he also had a long ongoing affair with Molly, a young slave girl. Molly lived above the carriage house and one night they were discovered by Matilda Sorrel. Enraged by her husband’s betrayal, Matilda committed suicide by leaping from the second story balcony of the house. Distraught over what had happened to Matilda, Molly hung herself in the carriage house.

Sounds like good enough reason to haunt a house except that there isn’t a record of a slave woman named Molly and Francis Sorrel sold the house before the date of Matilda’s death. The Sorrel’s moved next door and Matilda took her flying suicidal leap from the balcony at 12 West Harris Street and not The Sorrel-Weed House. Yes, Matilda did kill herself.

And so if it isn’t Matilda and Molly haunting the house, who can it be?

Perhaps the paranormal activity could be Savannah’s mischievous wicked haints following a ghost tour around. It could be a hot spot for ghosts playing pranks on the living. Just think how much fun it would be to scare the bajeebees out of a group of ghost hunters stuck in the basement “voodoo room” at The Sorrel-Weed House!

It’s all in what you believe.

Bo-Cat at Hell’s Gate

 

It was a fateful Friday the 13th in 1932 when Bo-Cat (Limerick De Lancy) argued with his wife Catherine over the deed to their house in Pin Point in Savannah’s usually peaceful Southside.

Bo-Cat’s temper flared and he smacked Catherine over the head until she was good ‘n dead. He needed to cover up the murder and dragged her lifeless body into his boat and headed out to Hell’s Gate to dispose of her corpse.

Hell’s Gate, is situated off the treacherous waters of the Ogeechee River, and is known for fast moving currents, hidden sandbars and deep water holes. It is a stressful and difficult area to navigate a boat, but Bo-Cat figured it would be the perfect place to sink down a dead body.

He left the Pin Point neighborhood on Moon River, went past Pigeon Island, Burnside Island and down the Vernon River until he reached Green Island Sound. In the darkness of the night, just off Little Don Island and Raccoon Key Bo-Cat entered Hell’s Gate and proceeded to dump Katherine into a deep 38 foot fishing hole. He loaded her down with an anchor, a cement block and an assortment of household objects, and then pitched her overboard.

That seemed to cover up the murder of his wife, but Bo-Cat was about to learn that he shouldn’t go knocking on the devil’s door at Hell’s Gate.

After about two week Catherine’s friends began to wonder what had happened to her. They asked Bo-Cat and he just shrugged his shoulders. He said he didn’t know where she’d gone. But then two hunters came across decomposed human remains on Raccoon Key and the devil was about to get his due.

Catherine’s body had floated up from the deep water hole in Hell’s Gate, drifted 20 miles south in the currents and got stuck between two logs. Her corpse had been an easy meal for crabs, fish and buzzards and there wasn’t much left of her. Catherine’s sister was only able to identify the right foot of her poor dead sister. Bo-Cat confessed to the horrible crime and was hauled off to jail where he spent the rest of his life.

They say Catherine’s ghost haunts Hell’s Gate where Bo-Cat laid her down into a watery grave. And they say, on a starless night, off Georgia’s coastal waters, on Friday the 13th, sometimes boaters and fishermen hear the mournful cry of a dead woman saying… “It’s a shame how Bo-Cat done his wife….It’s a shame how Bo-Cat done me wrong.”

Savannah – True Crime

Casting The Gift Net

I enjoying fishing in the tidal creeks around Savannah, but buying bait (shrimp and mullet) can become expensive. I decided to do what the locals do and learn to throw a cast net to get free bait that God so graciously put in the water for me.

Casting a net is no simple task. It requires practice to acquire the skills needed to toss out a perfect circle, tighten it up and haul in the bait.

To learn this skill I watched YouTube videos, asked questions, observed other cast netters, and I practiced, practiced and practiced until I was able to cast out my net and catch live free bait to go fishing.

The next trick was finding the bait to catch. I learned a bit about catching mullet (little 1-3″ fish) and found a creek that provided a good supply, but I had not been able to find a source for catching shrimp. I really wanted bait shrimp, but I couldn’t find any.

My perfect mullet spot was popular not only for me, but for another cast netter and often he’d be there first and he’d get all the mullet or we’d cast our nets in the same place and scare all the bait away. One day I got so mad that he was in my casting spot that I said, “forget it, I’ll find another mullet hole!” and I went to a different place.

I didn’t have much faith in this new place because it was not a good environment for little bait fish, but I cast out my net and to my delight and surprise… I pulled up a cast net heavy with shrimp! After only a few more casts I had a bucket of bait shrimp!

This wonderful new spot became a shrimp goldmine throughout the fishing season.

I’m grateful to the fisherman who forced me out of my favorite mullet hole because that was how I received the wonderful unexpected gift of the perfect shrimp casting hole.

Sometimes you never know how or where gifts will come to you, so my advice is Go forth… cast a wide net… see what ya get… and be thankful for cast net gifts.

St. Patrick’s Party Week

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It’s that week again; St. Patrick’s Day Week.

St. Pat’s is not a one day event in Savannah, it’s an entire week. It starts with the typical Greening of the Fountains and the arrival of Port-O-Potties.

Seven days ahead of the festivities it’s perfectly acceptable to dress up in green body suits, dye your hair bright green, wear green flashy hats, and of course start drinking green beer.

Savannah is a big party town and this is the biggest party event of the year. It’s even bigger than the Fourth of July and New Years Eve. People come from everywhere to drink, party, and watch (or walk) in the parade. Being Irish isn’t a requirement to have fun, but having lots on money is because everything in town costs twice as much during St. Patrick’s Day Week.

And there’s twice as much stupidity going on; walking, talking and driving while intoxicated, swimming in the fountains, peeing on the azaleas bushes, fighting for a place to watch the parade, smacking the mounted police horse’s butts, thinking it’s a good idea to run across the tops of the Port-O-Potties and the list goes on and on and on.

Why did the Irish come here in the first place if there wasn’t any green beer to entice them? The first nine Irish settlers came to Savannah to escape debtors prison. Later the Irish arrived to work jobs that the plantation owners didn’t want their valuable slaves to do. They built the roads, railroads, and dug the canals. And for all their contributions to this fine city it’s only right that we fill-up and lift-up our to-go party cups and offer-up the second largest St. Pat’s parade in the whole US of A.

With all this party and craziness going on I bet you’re wondering if I’ll be in City Market dressed up like a leprechaun. Well, the answer is no freaking way! This town is off- the-hook crazy with out-of-towners. Like most locals I’ll be as far away from Savannah as I can get!

Party On All y’alls Crazy Irish!

Be Careful… or you’ll end up in one of my books

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Writing humorous ghost stories lends itself to strange eccentric characters involved in bizarre situations that can only happen in a place like Savannah. This is where I find an amazing source of stories, ghosts, and people, and if the truth be known, I must confess that a few of my characters have the unique personalities of my friends, family, acquaintances, or complete strangers.

I don’t describe any people in my books (leaving that to the imagination of my readers). But because of a character’s mannerism, dialog, and actions people will ask, “Is that me?”

On a few occasions I’ve picked up oddball characters from conversations with others. The legend of the Foot Sniffer was told to me by a friend and he swore it happened to him and that it was true. How could I not add this wacky legend into my books?

When I’m fashioning a character, and it’s obviously based on someone I’m closely associated with, I will “warn them” and ask if it’s ok. I offer up a few story details and assure them their character will not be offensive, ugly or mean, but there are no guarantees they won’t be a ghost.

Derek-the-Hog-Killer, Kevin from Medford NJ (Zombie’s Y’all!) and Danielle and Mark (Heels & Souls) have been forewarned as well as McSnyder and Wilhemina Quimbley (Claire Buoyant).

So, if you know me at all, be warned, a small part of you or an adventure we shared, might end up in one of my books. It’s all good, except maybe that time we did what we shouldn’t have done, but luckily we didn’t get caught. (You know who I’m talking about)

Zombies Y’all!

A Savannah Apocalypse! Students and townsfolk gallantly fight a hoard of infected zombies to end the Zombie Apocalypse before Savannah becomes a ghost town without any ghosts!

A Savannah Apocalypse! Students and townsfolk gallantly fight a hoard of infected zombies to end the Zombie Apocalypse before Savannah becomes a ghost town without any ghosts!

Zombies are hot. Zombies are cool. Everyone loves Zombies… Or maybe not.

My third book, Zombies y’all! was fun to write. I stretched my imagination for an interesting plot, but I also had to base the characters in reality, or what some people think is real when believing in zombies and ghosts.

I researched the physical and mental limitations of Zombies. Apparently they exist in a complex world of not-quite-dead-yet. Everyone agrees that if a person gets bit by a zombie, they are destined to become a zombie. And the general accepted rule is that the only way to humanely dispatch of a zombie is to shoot it in the brain.

I used the book, The Zombie Survival Guide, as a reference, searched the net, and watched Brad Pitt fight off speed zombies in World War Z. And although Brad is sexy to watch, I got more from the original book, World War Z; an Oral History of the Zombie War.

My Zombies are unique because they feed on ghosts as well as humans. This gives them a better food supply because, as everyone knows, Savannah is full of ghosts.

I needed some Savannah ghosts for the Zombies to eat and I found great resource material in Haunted Savannah, Savannah Specters, and Savannah’s Afterlife.

I include local ghostly legends like: the door slamming Henry Willink, Rene Asche Rondolier, Matilda, Molly and Francis from the Sorrel-Weed House, Mrs. Johnson, Little Gracie, the stinky ghost from Pour Larry’s and a bunch of other Savannah dead. I combine them with hungry zombies, college students, local townsfolk, a voodoo princess, and a rooster with mental problems. It’s a crazy mixed bag of interesting characters (some old and some new) that make the story explode into a live-action, shoot ’em up game of hunting and skill to end The Zombie Apocalypse. And our heroes will need to keep from being Zombiefied themselves as they try to save Savannah from being a ghost town without any ghosts.

Zombies Y’all! will be released fall 2015 from Vinspire Publishing.

Good Reading Y’all!

Y’allywood

YallywoodPeople in the movie industry refer to Georgia as Y’allywood. A lot of movies have been filmed in Savannah. I think it is because of the tax incentives, the weather, our interesting landscapes, unique setting, and our general friendly welcoming attitude. We aren’t bothered at all by film crews rearranging our fine city just as long as they put it back when they leave.

Since I’ve been here there have been a few movies made, and although I never was in one, it is interesting to watch.

I was impressed with how quickly Savannah changed into a pink, yellow and green beach town for The SpongeBob movie: Sponge Out of Water. They renamed the businesses and for a few days it wasn’t unusual to see cartoon characters running down Broughton Street. The Grand Army of The Republic came back in town to film The Conspirator to lynch Mary Sarratt at Fort Pulaski. The old fort was also the site where President Lincoln fought a hoard of zombies in Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies.

Tybee Beach was the setting for The Last Song featuring Miley Cyrus (before she gave herself the finger). They had a scene where she was protecting a nest of loggerhead turtles, but in truth the bright lights from the movie set had the turtle hatchlings lost and unable to find the ocean, so they got stepped on or run over. We don’t talk much about that.

Everyone knows scenes for Forrest Gump were filmed here. There is a breakfast place on State Street that tourists walk by and excitedly say “Jenny worked here!” And sometimes they take their picture standing in front of the place.

I like to watch movies that have been shot here to see if I can recognize the locations. Congress Street went back to 1931 for The Legend of Bagger Vance and for the movie Glory the streets were covered with dirt. In 1962 Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum had a sinister meeting in front of the Customs House on Bay Street in Cape Fear. The movie, The Gift showed the seedy part of town and all bad dudes hung out at AJ’s. Almost all of the TV miniseries Roots was filmed in Savannah. (Yes, even the African landscape shots). I need to mention the movies; Forces of Nature, The General’s Daughter, and of course Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil.

Rumor has it that Robert De Niro might be coming to town to film Dirty Grandpa. Let’s hope he doesn’t encounter Swamp Thing, The Gingerbread Man or any Hellyfish.

After all, this is Savannah and ya never know what will happen in Y’allywood