Showing posts with label Savannah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Savannah. 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.

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.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery

This cemetery today is over 150 years old and is considered to be Savannah’s most active when it comes to ghosts.

It at one time contained the famous Bird Girl statue, which appeared on the cover of John Benendt’s book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. This statue now resides in a nearby museum.

But there are many statues that remain in the cemetery some of which are known to be haunted.

Some of these statues have been seen moving. Several Angel statues beam or grimace, one statue in particular named Corinne is known to smile at visitors that she likes.

Eerie sounds are heard at other statues. At an infant’s grave a crying baby is heard and at the tomb of a child—children are heard giggling.

Another legend connected to Bonaventure is about a pack of ghostly “hell hounds” that have been known to bark and snarl at lingering visitors.

No one has ever seen these dogs but many have heard and felt them. Visitors state they felt their breath on their heels or heard their angry barks in the distance.

Several visitors have claimed these dogs even chased them. They state they heard these vicious dogs bark and snarl at their back as they chased them through the cemetery.

The land the cemetery sits upon was once a large plantation. Josiah Tattnall, Jr. was a well-liked early citizen of Savannah. He was known to throw popular dinner parties. His immense mansion eventually caught fire and burned down.

But today, people still claim to hear the voices of people socializing and having a good time in the area where this mansion once stood.

One of the most well known hauntings at Bonaventure Cemetery involves the gravesite of a little girl by the name of Gracie Watson.

Gracie Watson
The plaque at her gravesite mentions she was a “beautiful and charming little girl” who died from pneumonia at the age of six.

Visitors to her gravesite are aware of her sad story. They often place coins and toys upon her grave. Every time these trinkets are removed it is said Gracie can be heard crying.

Her gravesite also has a statue that is unique for it has been known to cry. Many have claimed to see it weeping real tears. Others state that it actually weeps bloody tears.

These days Gracie’s gravesite is fenced off. Some state to protect it from visitor’s grasping hands—but others claim the fence is meant to contain Gracie’s playful spirit

Here is a short video of the cemetery showing many of the statues that are considered to be haunted.