Haint Blue

 

“Haints” are what some folks in the low country of southeast Georgia call “spirits”. Haint Blue is the paint color some superstitious folks put on their house’s porch ceilings, shutters and doors to keep unwanted ghostly visitors from entering their homes.

The history of the paint color comes from the Gullah people who were brought to the area as slaves. They believed haints could not cross water and they decorated their houses with blue paint to protect themselves.

The paint was a mixture of purple dye from the native indigo plant, lime, clay and water. The indigo plant is poisonous and lime is an insect repellent. With such a toxic combination painted on a home there were definitely dead bugs on the outside.

Visible evidence of the dead on the outside and nothing dead inside reinforced the belief that the dead could not cross the water represented by the Haint Blue paint.

Haint Blue paint can be seen on homes all along the Southeast coast and it does give a pleasant cool appearance to a house. Although the toxic ingredients are no longer included in the mix, one can only hope the ghost protection can still be applied with a touch of voodoo magic on the brush.

My book, Wicked Haints, is about what happened in Savannah when Haint Blue paint is removed from a house and troublesome ghost come in. It’s a quick fun read and guaranteed to make everyone laugh…. even the dead!
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.

The Ghostly Guest 17Hundred90 Inn

17Hundred90 Inn and Restaurant is the oldest hotel in Savannah. It was built in 1820, but 1790 was a better year so, like many places in Savannah, the name was changed out of confusion and convenience. And so it also goes for the ghost stories surrounding the old Inn which have been changed or invented for entertainment.

Story 1: Anne in Room 204. Anne White was the wife of the Inn’s builder, Steel White. When he died in an accident she was so upset she jumped out the window of room 204 and killed herself.  She haunts the room, moves objects around and steals jewelry.

To believe this story a person must overlook the fact that room 204 is located in a portion of the hotel that had not been built when Steel White died and to forget that, after his death, Anne moved to Isle of Hope to live with her sister and brother-in-law.

Story 2: Anne In Room 204. Anne Powell was a flirtatious servant girl who had an affair with a German sailor. He sailed away, she found out she was pregnant, and out of despair and heartbreak committed suicide by diving out the window. She haunts this room by caressing men’s faces, rearranging women’s clothes, and making a dramatic tearful appearance before she takes the fatal leap out the window.

To believe this story a person must overlook the fact that there is no record of Anne Powell living in Savannah. There’s an Anna Powers who lived in the house, but she didn’t dive out a window and actually lived to into her 80’s at the residence with her 82 year old husband.

Story 3: The Voodoo Kitchen Servant. A ghost haunts the kitchen basement and has been reported to push around, pull hair, blow air in ears, and throw pots and pans at women.

To believe this story a person has to believe there isn’t a rat in the kitchen causing mischief and blaming the dead.

Story 4: The Servant Boy. He has no explanation for why he’s there, but he leaves change around.

To believe this story one must believe nobody drops change or has holes in their pockets.

Paranormal investigators ask specifically to spend the night in room 204 for a chance ghostly encounter with Anne. People dine at the restaurant and wait for The Voodoo Spirit to blow air in their ears. They walk the Inn’s hallways and hope to find spare changed from The Servant Boy.

Of course you have to believe the conveniently invented confusing entertainment stories or nothing will happen and you’ll miss all the ghostly fun in The 17Hundred90 Inn and Restaurant. But in any case, you most certainly will have a pleasant dining experience and sleep in a nice hotel.

It’s all in what you believe.

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.

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)

Dead Man’s Fingers Roll’n Around Savannah

Dead Man’s Fingers Roll’n Around Savannah

I bought advertisement space on the back of a Pedicab for May-June-July to help generate interest in my book. Maybe it will increase books sales, or maybe not, but it sure is fun to see the ad zip by.

Below are excerpts from Dead Man’s Fingers where pedicaps are mentioned.

* * * * *

     A pedicab was a three-wheeled bike with a carriage seat on the back. A person, usually a healthy young college student, pedaled passengers to their destinations for a minimal charge. It was not uncommon to have two or more pedicabs engaged in a heated race across town with their excited passengers encouraging them to “Go faster!”

* * * * *

     Lisa had to make up for lost time and her feet could not get her to Wright Square fast enough. She decided to seize a pedicab, but the only one nearby was being used. She did not let that foil her plans. To get a pedicab from someone else required her to be anything except a nice young lady, but that was not a problem since Lisa was no longer being polite. She asked the driver on the seat if she could borrow his pedicab.

“Hell, no! I got people in the back,” he answered.
“I just need it for a moment. I will bring it back. The people can get out,” Lisa said.
A lady in a pretty green dress with a silk flower in her hair and two little girls, Thing 1 and Thing 2, were seated comfortably in the pedicab.
Lisa asked the lady to get out.
“No. The girls want to go for a ride around City Market,” Debbie Nyman told her.
“It is better to walk,” Lisa suggested.
“No. We want to ride. Get your own pedicab.”
“There are no more pedicabs available.”
“Sorry, this is ours.”
“I’m in a hurry.”
“Then run fast.”
Lisa didn’t have time to argue about it anymore. She dragged the lady out of the pedicab.
Debbie Nyman kicked, screamed, and held onto the bike, refusing to let go. She smacked Lisa on the shoulders and back.
It seemed hopeless until Lisa realized she needed a better strategy to acquire the pedicab. She gripped Thing 1 and Thing 2 and whisked them out of the pedicab.
The girls jumped up and down, crying while their mother continued to smack the pedicab thief.
Lisa pushed the driver off the pedicap seat and hopped on the bike. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Lisa called behind her and pedaled as fast as she could to Wright Square. She rang the little bell on the handlebars for everyone to get the hell out of her way.
Lisa left behind an angry lady, two crying children, and an irate, foul-mouthed, yelling pedicab driver.

* * * * *

     The police cruiser screeched to a halt. Terrence and Rookie B. Cool got out just as a pedicab crashed into their back bumper.
Lisa was thrown off the pedicab and tumbled into the rose bushes. She stood up, stunned, dazed, and tangled up in thorns and pink rose petals. She had an 8 1/2 x 11 invitation to the art show at the Jepson stuck on her chest.

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!