Established in 1733, charming Savannah, Georgia is known for its broad city streets and shady town squares wreathed in Spanish moss. The hospitality of the Hostess City is palpable by day – but by night, a more sinister sentiment takes hold.
Are you curious to meet the historic city’s eternal residents? From the site of a grisly triple murder to an abandoned morgue tunnel beneath an old city hospital that once housed the victims of yellow fever, join us on a moonlit tour of the most haunted places in Savannah.
1. 432 Abercorn Street
Located on the east side of Calhoun Square is a foreboding dwelling reportedly inhabited by multiple ghosts. One such specter is General Wilson, who was the first resident of 432 Abercorn in the late 19th century. So the legend goes, Wilson forced his daughter to sit for days facing the window as punishment for playing with the Massie School children, a nearby school for the poor. The little girl died from dehydration, while the General died later in life of natural causes. Other restless guests include a trio of sisters from Florida who were reportedly murdered in 1959 while visiting with their family. Even walking past the house gives passersby the chills, regardless of the ghosts’ true identities.
2. Bonaventure Cemetery
This breathtaking resting place was made famous in the murder mystery Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Throughout its existence, locals have been in awe of its beauty and wary of its spirits. The most well known is Little Gracie, who inhabits her lifelike statue. Gifts are left for the ghost of the six-year-old girl, and legend has it that the statue cries bloody tears if a toy is removed.
3. Calhoun Square
Founder James Edward Oglethorpe banned slavery when he founded Savannah in 1733, but by the 1740s the manufacturing interests of the burgeoning city won out. Slaves were brought in and often disposed of hastily upon their deaths. Underneath Calhoun Square rests a slave burial ground, where an estimated 1,000 bodies were buried in pits. Today, locals say the restless souls of those buried below can still be sensed roaming the square.
4. Olde Candler Hospital Morgue Tunnel
Georgia’s first hospital was built in Savannah in 1804. On its property sits the massive Candler Oak, otherwise known as “The Hanging Tree.” Many report seeing apparitions hanging from the branches. Meanwhile, the morgue tunnel, which runs from the hospital to Forsyth Park, was once used to the transport, store, and secretly dispose of the diseased bodies from yellow fever epidemics. Today, eerie orbs and apparitions pop up all along this passageway where corpses once rested.
5. Sorrel-Weed House
The curious who enter the Sorrel-Weed House have had unexplained experiences within, such as nausea, throat tightening, and electronic malfunctions. Some attribute these happenings to the indiscretions of wealthy plantation owner Francis Sorrel. He had a longstanding affair with a slave named Molly, whose quarters were kept close by, above the carriage house. Sorrel’s second wife Matilda discovered the affair and flung herself from the second balcony to her death. Molly was found a few weeks later hanging from a noose. Others believe the paranormal activity is due to the home’s location – it sits along the battle lines of the Siege of Savannah, a grisly Revolutionary War battle where numerous casualties fell in 1779.
6. the 17Hundred90 Inn
This bed and breakfast from 1820 keeps guests even in death. Request room 204 if you’d like to meet the B&B’s most famous eternal lodger, Anna. Heartbroken when her sailor lover skipped town, Anna committed suicide by jumping from the balcony. The lovelorn spirit keeps busy at night; you’ll hear her sobs, see her standing by the bed, or find your belongings misplaced. Women should take extra precautions before crawling into bed: Anna doesn’t like competition and will harass female patrons – Even Miley Cyrus tweeted a picture of a handprint on her boot left by Anna.
7. The Moon River Brewing Company
Patrons at the Moon River Brewing Company aren’t just drunk on spirits; they’re seeing them, too. Long before it served up the suds, this microbrewery functioned as Savannah’s first guesthouse. City Hotel was established in 1821, and was the sight of some seedy and violent behavior, including brawls, shootings, and beatings. Now it houses aggressive spooks who shove patrons and appear at the bar to cut you in line for a drink.
8. The Gribble House
In 1909, a terrible tragedy occurred at this site where a warehouse now stands. Three women were brutally murdered and the culprit was never caught. Today, while the original home is gone, the spirits remain. Ghost hunters can take a tour of the Gribble House where previous participants have seen orbs of light, a woman in white, and a shadowy figure running through the building.
9. The Pirate’s House
The inn established here in 1753 possessed a dark reputation. Sailors were lured in for the evening with a hot meal, a place to rest, and plenty of booze. Soon after the sailors passed out for the night, smugglers would drag them down into the basement and transport them through a tunnel to the Savannah River. The following morning, the unfortunate sailors woke up on a ship miles away, forced into service. Moans and voices can still be heard coming from the now-closed tunnels, and specters have been seen in the rooms upstairs, which currently functions as a restaurant.
10. Madison Square
Throngs of tourists are attracted to Madison Square by its pleasant scenery, only to encounter a ghostly presence. The site is soaked in the blood of fallen soldiers from the Revolutionary War – bodies of British soldiers have been unearthed during recent construction. Visitors have reported a ghost who runs straight toward them then disappears, and experienced unearthly sounds echoing across the square.
Featured photo: Graham Veal / Flickr [CC]; Additional photos: Chuck Redden / Flickr [CC]; Ann Baekken / Flickr [CC]; Bev Norton / Flickr [CC]; rjones0856 / Flickr; Jeffrey Chandler / Flickr [CC]; Jay Huggins / Flickr; Jay Joslin / Flickr [CC]; Gribble House; Peter B roster / Flickr [CC]; D Wright / Flickr [CC]