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Voodoo in Savannah?

Many people who are familiar with the wonderful city of New Orleans wonder if decadent little Savannah is as steeped in Voodoo practices as well.Not exactly. New Orleans has Voodoo, whereas Savannah and the surrounding low country has Hoodoo, also called Conjure or Root Magic.The difference is significant despite occasional similarities. Voodoo is a religion which originated in Africa, and passed through Haiti where it absorbed Catholic overtones. Hoodoo however is primarily a system of folk magic, involving herbs, incantations and spells. There are no religious rites with Hoodoo. There are no Catholic influences.Some practioners of Voodoo also incorporate folk magic and this is where the overlap between the two becomes obvious.Folk magic in Savannah is still practiced by all races. You can look to the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for a glimpse of the prevalence of these beliefs, across race and economic barriers. Jim Williams, a wealthy white man seeking assistance fr…
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Why are there so many ghosts in Savannah?

In a previous post I talked about the theory of attachment being a  reason our sultry little city is so haunted. But here is a second cause for the ghosts that seem to linger in our buildings, streets and squares.

There are age old superstitions regarding crossroads. Some of these date back to the 1300s. Crossroads have been a location considered neither here nor there. A place between worlds.

In voodoo and hoodoo tradition it was a place to summon a dark spirit who would confer special powers upon you, if you performed the ritual properly.

Blues musicians often referenced crossroads as the place they met with the devil, and won their musical talent.

Numerous Celtic and European cultures believed that crossroads were a magical place to perform spells or to placate spirits.

Crossroads are considered to be a veritable hot spot for paranormal activity.

In Savannah's lovely historic district there is a precise and neatly laid out grid-work of streets. Each of the beautiful squares are…

Conrad Aiken-Murder, suicide and 22 years in Savannah

Conrad's parents were from New England. His father was a brilliant physician and a brain surgeon. His mother was a social butterfly, entertaining and spending money extravagantly. They lived on Oglethorpe Avenue across from Colonial Park Cemetery. At some point Conrad's father began to suffer from paranoia. He became increasingly violent and when Conrad was only 11 years old he heard two gunshots from his parents' room.

He gathered his nerve and crept to their door. Peeping in, he found them both dead. Conrad sadly ran down the block to the police station and told them what had happened.

Conrad was forever haunted by their deaths and the psychological horror of that scene,  permeated many of his stories.

In true gothic tradition, in his later years he returned to Savannah and moved into the house next door to the one he had grown up in, the one his parents had died in.

His last 11 years were spent a door away from where his first 11 were lived.

Conrad Aiken, a true son of …

Ghosts and Contractors-an uneasy mix in Savannah

Savannah's lovely old houses have often needed a little repair. The owner will hire qualified contractors to do the renovation, expecting the normal problems inherent with an older home. Cost overruns, ancient wiring, perhaps mold, the normal stuff.What they don't expect is that these repairs are likely to raise the ire of a former resident! It seems that many ghosts are rather unhappy with change and they make their unhappiness known with pranks and even more dangerous activity.The restoration of the Hampton Lillibridge House set off a dramatic array of haunting activity. There were audial phenomena that disturbed workers so much that would cease all work to listen to all the voices, footsteps and crashes. There were apparitions and lights glowing in a house were the electricity was not on. One man, a friend of the owner was almost sucked into an open pit where a chimney had been taken out. The hauntings continued even after the owner moved in. Eventually the owner had an exo…

The trees of Savannah

Savannah Georgia is a magical and special place. There's no doubt about that.One of the things that make it so special are the stunning trees. Our urban forest contains hundreds of great and graceful trees, offering shade during our sultry summers .The most iconographic are our moss draped Live Oaks. These magnificent trees can live to be over 1000  years. They are evergreen ,providing a wonderful green canopy even in the winter. The oldest in Savannah is the venerable Chandler oak across the street from Forsyth Park.Because of our trees Savannah was known as Forest City in the early 1900s.The first law concerning Savannah's trees was enacted in 1795 . The fine for cutting down a tree then was $20. That would be around $400 today. I suspect if you actually chopped down a tree now though, the fine would be much greater than $400.Our trees are a treasure and a sight not to be forgotten.Come stroll the tree lined streets of Savannah with a professional local tour guide, who'l…

The ghost of Wright Square-Savannah

Wright Square in our succulent city of Savannah is one of the four original squares. It dates back to 1733, the year of Geogia's founding. At that time it was where the colonial criminal justice system was located.There was a roughly built courthouse, a primitive jail, a gallows, whipping post and a set of stocks. The square was an expanse of raw earth partially covered in sand, with a few lonely trees. Not the lovely Wright square that we have today.The ghost in this square is that of Alice Riley. She was a red haired young Irish woman, an indentured servant. She had been assigned to a dissolute and frequently sickly man named Wise.Wise was said to be a cruel master to young Alice. Accusations of beatings, verbal and sexual abuse swirled about him.After only three months, Alice Riley had decided she'd put up with it long enough. She and another indentured servant, a man named Richard White killed Mr. Wise and were captured and brought to Wright Square for punishment.Richard m…

Haunted Savannah- The Bradley Lock and Key Company

This curious and fascinating shop is located on a side street off of  one of Savannah's gorgeous squares.

The building is older than Bradley's but the company itself dates from 1883.The shop is crammed with an ecletic array of artifacts from days gone by. And of course, keys. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

The business has been owned and operated by the same family for all these years. The present owner's father, Aaron Bradley was enthralled by spiritualism and held many seances in the building.

He had a friend that  also shared his interests in the "other side", Harry Houdini! Houdini visited the Bradley family on several occasions.

People walking by Bradley Lock and Key have often been startled by misty apparitions drifting past the windows late at night. A paranormal group investigating the building was treated to some interesting electronic voice phenomena.

Hear more tales of this historic haunt on Mad Cat Tour's Ghosts of Savannah Tour.