Friday, January 16, 2015

Savannah’s Feared Giant

Colonial Park Cemetery
Savannah Georgia’s largest cemetery is Colonial Park. It has over 14,000 documented graves. One of these graves stands out from all the rest because it is connected to the cities’ oddest ghost story.

The Legend of Rene Asche Rondolier

Rene was born in 1777. He grew to be well over 7 feet tall. In some accounts he is described as covered in a thick mat of animal-like hair.

As a young man Rene quickly gained a reputation as “the terror” of Savannah. Residents of the neighborhood in which he and his family lived proclaimed they had had enough when he started to kill the neighborhood pets.

His family agreed to build an 8-foot brick wall with shards of broken glass embedded in mortar at the top in an effort to confine Rene.

Guards were even posted around the property at night but this did not keep Rene from escaping.

Not long after this wall was completed two local girls went missing. Their mutilated bodies were found near the Rondolier property.

It was discovered later that Rene was able to escape via a maze of dark, damp catacombs that lay beneath his home.

His family and many locals knew that he used these tunnels before the wall was even built for he often hid from people in these catacombs--residents of the area even referred to them as Rene’s Playground.

So the families’ precautions were wasted.

After the discovery of the two-murdered girl’s, a mob took Rene into a nearby swamp and lynched him.

His family collected his body afterwards and buried him on their land.

Savannah Swamp
This legend takes an even stranger twist after this.

Following the hanging two other children and a woman were found murdered on separate days in what is today the Colonial Park Cemetery.

Since no other killer was found rumors started that the ghost of Rene was responsible for these deaths.

An Odd Discovery

In the 1900s, a builder working on the grounds of the former Rondolier home found Rene’s grave. He opened it but no remains were found inside.

Where the Rondolier home once stood is now a part of the Colonial Park Cemetery.

People to this day believe that Rene haunts this part of the cemetery as well as the catacombs that lay beneath.

Click to enlarge.
Other reports state that his large dark shadow can still be seen swinging from a tree in the nearby swamp where he was hanged.

Walking ghost tours are given at night through Colonial Park Cemetery.

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