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Showing posts from July, 2018

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…

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.

Savannah's Historic Squares

This beautiful southern city was planned out before Georgia's founder, James Oglethorpe,ever left England. The public squares were an important design element.

Today these little gems of relaxing greenery are populated by tourists and citizens of Savannah alike. There are tour groups and dog walkers, an occasional person selling palm frond flowers or jewelery, people simply relaxing on a park bench with a cold drink.

Historically the purpose of these little parks was much more utilitarian. They were places to drill the local militia, a place to gather citizens for a last desperate defense if Indians or the Spanish attacked the infant colony. They also housed early cisterns, wells and even early public ovens.

Once there were 24 of these squares. Today 21 remain. Unfortunately a few of the ones on the West side of the historic district have been butchered up a bit for modernisation.

Most are still amazingly beautiful and surrounded by historic homes and buildings. Many have fountain…

Bonaventure Cemetary, Savannah Georgia

Bonaventure Cemetary sits on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River. It is a lush pocket of gorgeous live oaks festooned with Spanish Moss, filled with a mazelike network of roads and paths, weaving amongst tombstones, vaults and crypts.

Here the dead sleep in a setting as lush and sultry as the city it calls home, Savannah.

Bonaventure is 100 acres of fascinating history. The stunning funerary sculptures were a symbol of status for the families buried here. Many of them are striking in their artistry.

Bonaventure was originally a plantation owned by the Mullryne family. They were joined by marriage with the Tatnalls.

There are wonderful legends about those early residents of Bonaventure. Supposedly, during a Christmas party the first plantation house caught fire. Josiah Tattnall sr. ordered his servants to take the tables loaded with plates of food, bottles of wine and candles out to the lawn, where the party continued. The guests ate and drank as the house burnt to the ground. I&#…

The most haunted house in Savannah

There are an astonishing amount of haunted houses in Savannah.

There's the amazing Kehoe Bed and Breakfast, constructed for William Kehoe and his large family in 1892 . Kehoe owned an ironworks and most of the fancy details on this Victorian wonder are made of iron from his factory. The elaborate and intricate decorations are gorgeous. Many members of the Kehoe family haunt this mansion, including William, his wife and several children. There might be a few additional spectral guests, lingering in the hallways and rooms, because the Kehoe house was home to the Goette Funeral Home for 47 years!

The Sorrel Weed house on Madison Square and is a very active location. There are the commonly veiwed ghosts of Matilda Sorrel and her favorite slave, the beautiful Molly. There are also ghostly soldiers, lingering from the 1700s and mysterious shadow people. The building dates from 1842 but it was built on the a battle field from the Revolutionary War.

And of course, a serious contender for …

Villains of Savannah

The colony of Georgia and it's first city, Savannah has plenty of villains to choose from. Many of the early colonists would have nominated James Oglethorpe, credited as the founder of Georgia.

James Oglethorpe was accused of indifference, malfeasance and outright sabotage. It was complicated.

Some beleived the father of all woes was Thomas Causton, a magistrate appointed by Oglethorpe. He did seem like a petty dictator, enriching himself at everyone's expense.

John Wesley, the eventual founder of Methodism, was the target of outrage for his inadvertent scandals. But then many of Georgia's religious leaders were. Reverend Norris was accused of inpregnating his German maid, Reverend Dyson died of alcoholism, Reverend Bosomworth abandoned his flock to marry Oglethorpe's half Indian translator, and Whiefield abused the orphans of Bethesda.

William Stephens, the secretary and eventual administrator of Savannah, would have pointed at the Malcontents. They were a group of pr…

Ghosts of Savannah

The ghostly spirits of Savannah's past linger in the gorgeous squares, the stunning homes and tree lined streets of this lush Southern city.

Stories of hauntings abound. There are ghostly children, forlorn ladies and murderous ones, as well.

There are beautiful old houses and buildings that may have more ghosts than residents.

Savannah is home to Alice Riley, an indentured servant who murdered her master in 1734, Wesley Espy, who was a victim of a murderous attack, Matilda Sorrel and her servant, Molly. There is Ann, at the 1790s Inn and of course the Kehoe family ghosts. Spooky children hang out in the Marshall Houe, the Isaiah Davenport House and the Hamilton Turner Inn.

Savannah has Civil War ghosts and some from the Revolutionary War,as well. There are ghosts who interact with you and others that are simply echoes in time, reenacting occurences from their past.

Come join Mad Cat Tours and find out about this city's chilling past.

The Ghosts of Savannah Tour is limited to t…

Savannah, the most charming city in America

What makes Savannah Georgia so very fascinating? Most of our visitors return again and again.

It might be the food. We have an array of wonderful restaraunts , offering almost anything you desire.

It might be the nightlife. There are bars and clubs to suit anyone's taste. Some are quiet and sedate. Others offer a rolicking good time. And of course there's that open container policy, that allows you to stroll through this beautiful city's streets with an
adult beverage in hand. . Downtown only!

All that is wonderful but we think it is the history that makes this city so very special.

Georgia and its first city, Savannah,was founded in 1733, making it the13th colony; and it was just a little different than the others in more ways than one. Religious freedom was paramount, unless you were Catholic. There were three unusual prohibitions- rum (or any strong spirits), slavery and lawyers. The colony was ran by a board of trustees in England. There was no governor. In fact, Georg…

Why is Savannah so haunted?

The number one question we get on our ghost tours is "why is Savannah so haunted?"

There are numerous theories, but the one that we, at Mad Cat Tours, find most credible is the theory of attachment.

Ghosts form ties to places or things. Most often a house or building.

In this sultry little city there are over a thousand buildings in the downtown historic district alone that date from 1760 to the early 1900s. This gives our ghosts huge opportunities to anchor themselves to this world.
Savannah has the largest urban historic district in America.

We also have had our share of murders, tragic accidental deaths and of course the second bloodiest battle in the Revolutionary War.

Come join our local guides and hear chilling stories of this fascinating city's past as we walk through the moss draped streers and squares. Our guides are passionate about our charming city, it's fascinating history and the folklore that makes Savannah the most haunted city in America.