Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts

Monday, August 7, 2017

The City that Lives Upon Her Dead

Colonial Park Cemetery

The title of this post is the nickname given to Savannah, Georgia. This southern city is called this because like many other locations their old burial grounds were paved over and built upon without moving the graves that lay beneath.

This fact has led to reported ghostly sightings across Savannah. But many locals agree their city’s Historic District is the most haunted.

In the middle of this district is the 6-acre Colonial Park Cemetery that dates back to 1750. Over 10,000 souls are buried here despite the fact there are only 1,000 headstones that remain.

The reasons for this vary. Over 700 victims of the 1820s yellow fever epidemic are buried in mass graves at Colonial. This graveyard also has many family vaults were family members were placed. Their remains turned to dust and placed in urns so the next generation of deceased could be placed on the shelves—this cycle then continued.

Gravestones displaced by Union
Many of Colonial’s gravestones were moved or disfigured by Union troops during the Civil War, which leads to more confusion of where the deceased are buried.

But the most compelling factor is when the cemetery’s boundaries were shortened the surrounding streets, i.g. Abercorn and Oglethorpe, were paved over and many of the graves were left under them.

One area of Colonial today is a children’s playground and basketball court. Sightings of ghosts believed to be deceased men who were killed in duels are reported here. Other sightings in the cemetery include shadow figures and a green mist that floats among the gravestones.

By far, the most famous haunting at this park is known as the “Hanging Tree” ghost. Locals and tourists are fascinated by this story, which has taken on epic proportions.

A male ghost, known as Rene Rondolier, is often seen walking through Colonial or hanging from a tree called the “Hanging Tree” located at the back wall of the cemetery.

It is said Rondolier is easy to spot because he is almost 7 feet in height. His ghost is infamous because it is believed he murdered two young girls in this graveyard. He then was lynched either on the Hanging Tree or in a nearby square.

Footnote: There is little historic evidence that Rondolier ever existed but this story through several generations has taken on folkloric status.

Despite this fact there have been so many witnesses to this haunting as well as others that paranormal investigators in the area have dubbed Colonial Park “Paranormal Central” and of course ghost tours are offered.

Ghostly figure captured at Colonial

Thursday, May 18, 2017

An Evil Presence in Georgia

Old Chatham jail
The Old Chatham County jail in Savannah, Georgia is so haunted people are actually encouraged not to visit.

This jail established in 1737, housed 300 prisoners in its 250 plus year history. It was closed in 1989 in order to move the inmates to a larger facility.

The county then used the building to store city archives. It was at this point city employees began to report strange activity.

These witnesses reported hearing footsteps and voices without known sources. Several stated they felt they were being watched constantly.

They reported being touched, pushed and even thrown against walls by an unseen force.

Paranormal researchers were called in. These groups collected videos of ghostly figures, frightening EVPs and a variety of Poltergeist activity. One group witnessed a 150-pound metal plate fly across the room they were standing in. This plate hit the opposite wall with such force it marred it.

One cell in the old building is more active than any other location. It is believed to house the malevolent spirit of Carl Isaacs.

Carl Isaacs Jr.
Isaacs escaped from a Maryland jail in 1973. He and his two brothers headed to Florida in hopes Carl would not be re-captured. They ran out of gas in Georgia and landed at a dry station.

Isaacs and his brothers decided to rob a trailer home that sat in the back of this station. But the Alday family who lived there interrupted their burglary.

Isaacs held the five male members of the family at gunpoint. He and his brothers shot and killed them. They then raped and shot Mary Alday and dumped her body in the woods.

A few days later Isaacs was arrested, he still had the murder weapons in his possession. These murders are still considered some of the worst in Georgia history.

Carl Isaacs was put in Chatham County jail where he sat on death row for years. Since his death his ghost has terrified witnesses.

Paranormal investigators report an overwhelming sense of dread while they were in his cell. They state that afterwards this feeling is hard to shake.

This oppressive energy is considered evil in nature. These investigators experiences have dictated who is allowed to tour this old jail. Paranormal teams are allowed in but others who apply are turned away.

I recently heard this building has been demolished. Will the activity now stop?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Kehoe House

Kehoe House
This historic home in Savannah, Georgia was designed by DeWitt Bruyn and built at a cost of $25,000 for the William Kehoe family.

William Kehoe immigrated to America in 1842 at the age of 10 with his family from Ireland. The Kehoe family settled in the Old Fort District of Savannah—an area with many Irish families.

William was apprenticed to an iron foundry and worked his way up to foreman. His hard work paid off, for he eventually bought the foundry. He became one of Savannah’s leading businessmen.

William Kehoe
After being married for several years he and his wife, Anne and their 10 children moved into their new Queen Anne style mansion in 1892. His heirs sold the home in 1930.

After this it was used as a funeral home for 47 years (1930-1977). Then the New York Jests football star, Joe Namath owned the home until 1990. It then underwent renovations and opened as a Bed and Breakfast.

Today it is run by HLC Hotels and is run as a Boutique inn. It has a 4-star rating.

One constant in the home during these years has been the ongoing presence of several deceased Kehoe family members. Four members of the 1st generation of the Kehoe Family who died in the house have been seen in the home.

Mrs. Anne Kehoe is known as the Lady in White. Toward the end of her life she suffered crippling Arthritis and was confined to the second floor. It is here where her ghost is seen the most.

She is spotted writing at a desk and she often abruptly awakens guests with her presence. She is seen sitting on the edge of their beds. At other times she is seen on the 3rd floor. This is where she would visit her grandchildren.

William Kehoe’s ghost is seen throughout the home. On one occasion he opened all the locked doors on the ground floor at the same time.

It is sometimes reported that the couple had twin sons that died in the house. But actually it was two young daughters, Anne and Mary who died of Roseola within 3 days of each other. The girls are mistaken for twins because they were close in age.

Their distinctive features identify them. They both have blonde hair and blue eyes. They are playful spirits who are often heard running on the top floors.

Haunted guest room.
They giggle and whisper into each other’s ears. They are seen standing at the foot of guest beds. One female guest reported feeling her face stroked. The girls also like to turn doorknobs.

Today it is said rooms 201 and 203 are the most active. Besides the ghosts seen, lights are turned on and off when these rooms are empty.

The doorbell in the home also chimes when no one is outside.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Haunted Andersonville Prison

Andersonville was a Confederate prisoner of war camp opened in 1863 during the Civil War.


Located in Sumter County Georgia this camp was initially called Fort Sumter. The site was picked for it was near the Southwestern Railroad line, which meant moving prisoners and supplies in would not be a problem.

Henry Wirz
The original camp was 16.5 acres and was designed to hold 10,000 Union prisoners. Henry Wirz, a southern captain was made the commander of the camp.

The Deadline.
A fence 15 to 20 feet tall made of  pine logs enclosed this stockade. Twenty feet within this perimeter was a light fence the prisoners nicknamed the “deadline,” for if anyone crossed it they were immediately shot.

The fort was renamed Andersonville because it was confused with South Carolina’s Fort Sumter, located in Charleston Harbor, where the first shots of the war had taken place.

It wasn’t long before the stockade held 20,000 then 30,000 prisoners—it was expanded by a mere 10 acres. Between 1863 and 1865 over 49,000 Unions prisoner were held captive within its walls.

The south unable to feed its own had no supplies to spare for this camp. The living conditions were horrendous. The prisoners were housed in wooden huts and tents that afforded no protection from the elements.

Drawing rations.
Between March and August of 1864, typhoid, typhus, infected wounds and starvation took the lives of 3,000 men a month. In all, close to 14,000 prisoners died while held captive at Andersonville.

Those prisoners that survived, suffered from hunger, thirst, lice, and scurvy.

A brief respite came in August of 1864 after a rainy period. A natural spring bubbled up within the stockade and supplied desperately needed water.

The captain waiting for execution.
When the war ended the North was horrified at the conditions of this prison. Captain Henry Wirz was tried for war crimes and convicted. He was hanged on November 10, 1865.

His ghost is one of many Civil War ghosts seen around the stockade today. He is often seen walking along the road that leads to the old prison.

Andersonville prison and cemetery were opened as a National Historical site in 1970.

Many visitors to this site have gotten more than they bargained for. Witnesses have reported hearing and seeing strange sights especially on foggy summer nights. These sightings have been reported for over a century.

According to Jeff Belanger’s book, Ghosts of War: Restless Spirits of Soldiers, Spies, And Saboteurs, a female visitor at the site talked to a ghost.

She was walking through the grounds when she stopped in the middle on a hill. She closed her eyes to take in what she was feeling and heard a voice. She looked around but no one was there.

She closed her eyes once more.

She thought, “Were you a prisoner here?” The voice replied, “Yes.” She then asked, “Did you die here?” Again she heard, “Yes.”

Before she left she asked the man his name. Later she gave this name to one staff member. He looked it up and sure enough the soldier’s unusual name popped up on the prisoner list.

Belanger also notes another ghost is often seen. Motorists that pass the stockade’s cemetery on Highway 49 state they have seen a Catholic priest standing near a curve in the road on rainy days.

This ghost is believed to be Father Peter Whelan. He was a Confederate chaplain who was liked by all—including the prisoners.

Another ghost is seen in Andersonville's cemetery. There are 13, 714 Union soldiers buried here. Multiple witnesses have described this ghost exactly the same way.

He has only one leg and is seen hobbling around using a crude crutch. People state that he does not walk on the ground but instead several feet above it.

Cemetery before wooden markers were replaced.
One paranormal group had a fairly intense night within the stockade. All their equipment’s batteries drained—which happens a lot at this site—they then heard a huge group of men talking. They saw no one.

They heard an individual voice with a pronounced southern drawl demand, “Who goes there?”

One starved prisoner.
As the night went on they heard what sounded like a pan being hit with a spoon and a man’s voice pleading for “mercy.” They heard the sound of a horse galloping across the field in the area where the original prison stood.

A fog settled over the field and they saw a campfire and men moving around it. They then smelled the aroma of food cooking.

The next morning as one of the investigators woke up in his hotel room he spotted the ghost of a man in a Confederate uniform staring at him. He then watched as this figure walked through his shut and locked door.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Augusta’s Cursed Pillar

An odd solitary pillar in the Romanesque style is located in the center of downtown Augusta, Georgia. This pillar is connected to a curse that was placed upon the town by a fanatical preacher in 1829.

Near where this pillar stands was once the town’s bustling open-air market—known as Lower Market.

Old postcard of Augusta market,
piller portico not pictured,
was to right of this view.
One afternoon as the residents bartered for fruit, vegetables and livestock a preacher was tying to make his sermon heard above the din of the shoppers.

In one version of this story, it is said a policeman approached this preacher and told him to stop preaching for he was disturbing people.

In another version, the preacher became frustrated because no one was listening to him.

Regardless, he became so angry he entreated the heavens to curse the town. He shouted that an “ill-wind” would sweep away the marketplace.

He told the people who were now paying attention that proof of his prophesy would be one stone pillar would remain standing. He concluded his threat with the statement that if any one touched or tried to remove the pillar they would die.

One story states this preacher—an abolitionist-- had come to Augusta to preach against slavery.

Original cursed pillar standing
amidst the rubble
after tornado.
Forty-nine years later, on February 8, 1878 the preacher’s prophecy came true. A freak winter tornado leveled the Lower Market. Only one pillar was left standing.

This pillar was part of a row of columns that held up a portico that was the entrance to the market. The market was not rebuilt and this lone pillar then oddly stood along a grand boulevard.

Various attempts to defy the preacher’s warning have become legendary in Augusta for over a century.

The first attempt was made right after the 1878 tornado. One man clearing the debris away decided to impress the crowd that was gathered.

He tied ropes to the pillar and tried to pull it down. But as he did this he dropped dead of a heart attack.

Another legend connected to the pillar states a grocer bought the pillar for $50.

He had it moved to Fifth and Broad Streets near his store hoping to attract attention. Shortly after this he died.

A few years later as construction was being done on Broad Street, two more men tried to pull the pillar down with ropes. Lightning struck the pillar killing both men.

It is also stated curious visitors who have taken chips of the stone pillar away with them have become ill and have had to extend their stays in Augusta.

In more recent years, a man driving along Broad Street hit the pillar with his car by accident. Though his car was barely damaged, this driver died at the scene.

In 1935, another car hit this pillar—this time the driver survived but the pillar was reduced to a pile of brick and cement—according to the Augusta Chronicle.

By this time the pillar and the legends that surrounded it were viewed with affection so a local market owner had it rebuilt.

Replica of pillar.
In 1936, it was moved to southwest corner of Fifth and Broad Streets—none of the men who moved it suffered from the curse. But this was not the original cursed pillar.

On Friday the 13th in June of 1958, a bale of cotton on a passing truck fell off and bumped the column knocking it over. The driver was not injured.

After this, the pillar was moved an additional 8 feet from the curb to prevent further accidents.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Savannah’s Waving Girl

Waving Girl statue.
A pretty bronze statue sits in Morrell Park along Savannah’s historic riverfront. This memorial was placed here to honor one of the city’s favorite residents.

This statue depicts the beloved Florence Martus waving a cloth with a large dog sitting next to her.

Florence was born in 1868 on Cockspur Island where her father was an ordnance sergeant at Fort Pulaski.

Legend states she promised her fiancé to greet every returning ship entering Savannah Harbor until he returned to her. Unfortunately, he never came home again.

Florence became the Waving Girl of Savannah or “the sweetheart of mankind” because for 44 years from 1887 to 1931 she greeted every ship entering or leaving the Savannah River by waving her apron during the day or a lantern at night.

Cockspur Lighthouse 
It is estimated she helped 50,000 vessels off Cockspur Island avoid the rocks during this time. Florence did this from the front lawn of the white cottage where she lived with her brother the light keeper at the nearby lighthouse—located just south of Savannah.

It is said that after her death in 1941 her ghost could still be seen waving her apron or a white cloth at this spot near the harbor entrance.

Florence Martus
Her service was so admired ships today still sound a salute to her memory as they enter the harbor. She is so beloved that the captain who delivered the memorial statue of her in 1971 to Savannah’s riverfront refused payment for his service.

Her apparition has been seen near this memorial as well. Witnesses state they see this statue come to life in Morrell Park at night. She is seen waving her cloth of stone.

Other witnesses have claimed to see another ghost of a little boy near her statue. A grisly legend states this boy broke the necks of several children and small animals so he was hung near the river.

The owners of River Street Market Place, Traci and George also lay claim to Florence Martus’ ghost. When they open or close their market they state they have felt a presence that whooshes from one corner to another in a shed where their alarm system is located.

This shed is just a few yards away from the park that contains the statue. They state that they have seen shadows at night playing across the market’s antique doors that are similar to Martus and her dog.

When the lights are out they also have heard a mournful cry at night that states, “Come back” repeatedly.

River Street Market Place
One of the market’s venders, Peggy Kenny displays some Waving Girl memorabilia. She often returns to her space in the morning to find items either gone or rearranged—they are always items connected to the Waving Girl.

Skeptical at first, she now believes this must be the work of Florence Martus’ ghost.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

In June of 1864 in Cobb County, Georgia Gen. Joseph E. Johnson withdrew his army to a new defensive position astride Kennesaw Mountain during the Civil War.

This location was just north and west of Marietta. Johnson chose this position in order to protect his main supply line to Atlanta--the Western & Atlantic Railroad.

Confederate earthworks on Kennesaw Mountain

Before taking this position Johnson wisely had pioneers working through the night digging trenches and erecting fortifications, which turned Kennesaw into a formable fortress.

Meanwhile, the Union commander, William T. Sherman having defeated Gen. John B. Hood’s troops at Kolb’s Farm on the 22nd nearby felt Johnson had stretched his line too thin.

So Sherman decided a frontal attack was the best course of action against the Confederate bastion.

After an intense artillery bombardment, Sherman sent his troops forward at 9:00 a.m. on June 27th.

Determined Union troops came within yards of the Confederate trenches but were unable to break the Southern line. By 11:30 a.m. the frontal attack had failed.

Sherman who later called Kennesaw “the hardest fight of the campaign to date,” lost 3,000 men. The Confederates lost close to 1,000.

Almost as soon as this battle was over the ghost stories began.

People who traveled through the area reported seeing soldiers on the battlefield and hearing the sounds of gun shots and cannon fire.

Reenactors at Kennesaw

Recently, whole groups of people have seen groups of Civil War soldiers and thought they were watching a Civil War reenactment only to discover no such event was taking place.

On the anniversary of this battle many have reported seeing smoke over the various battlefields.

Often the smell of death and blood are noted.

Housing sub divisions have been built on part of this battlefield. People have reported seeing Civil War soldiers in their houses and yards. In another post a vivid account of an active ghost in one of these homes, entitled The Tatum Haunting can be found here.

Today the area is Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. A ghostly sighting in the area happened to a father and teenage son who were driving through this park.

They received the fright of their lives when a man in uniform riding a horse suddenly crossed in front of their car. The two realized what they were seeing was not a man but a ghost.

The father hit the brakes as the apparition continued to move toward them. The image of the soldier was so clear that the father and son where able to make out the Union uniform he wore and the saber he carried.

After the soldier crossed the road he just vanished through a fence.

The father shared this story with Kevin Fike a ghost hunter. He told the father it was most likely a residual haunting. Residual hauntings often occur on battlefields--due to the fact strong emotions linger at these locations.

As mentioned in other posts on this blog a residual haunting is when the activity does not interact with the living. This kind of ghost is actually unaware of the living. Instead, these scenes play out over and over again as if they are on a film loop.