Experience Chills and Thrills in This Historic Southern City
Savannah, GA, claims a long and interesting history with paranormal activity, so there is no shortage of rumored haunted places around the city. Because many are former private residences now operating as inns, you can make it a fun adventure and actually stay in one for any ghost encounters. If not that brave, consider cozying up to the otherworldly via a ghost tour. Just remember that not all children welcome the idea of a ghostly encounter, so take a child's age and possible sensitivities into account before heading to a haunted place.
Originally built in 1873, the 17-room Hamilton-Turner Inn (330 Abercorn St., Savannah GA) on Lafayette Square was a private residence until 1926—when it was turned into a boarding house—before reverting to a private residence again in the 1940s. The property transferred between many owners, one named Nancy Hillis, the inspiration for the character Mandy in John Berendt’s book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Many stories of the home recall mysterious sounds of a party going on downstairs in the middle of the night, billiard balls rolling around in what used to be a children’s upper-floor playroom and, most disturbingly, the apparition of a cigar-smoking man on the roof. Rates vary for accommodations, but stop by to see if you can catch sight of a man on the roof.
The Marshall House
Located on Broughton Street, The Marshall House (123 E. Broughton St., Savannah, GA) was built as a hotel in 1851, a role it played for much of its history, including its current status as an inn. The house also served as a hospital during the yellow fever epidemics of 1854 and 1876, as well as a Union hospital during the final months of the Civil War. Through the years, people have reported lights going on and off, faucets randomly turning on and the sound of people walking the hallways all night. Accommodation rates vary, but consider popping in to speak with the staff about the home's haunted history for free.
The Kehoe House
Completed in 1892, the Kehoe House (123 Habersham St., Savannah, GA) was built by William Kehoe for his wife and family of 10 children. Family heirs sold the house in 1930, and it then served as a boarding house and funeral home. It was even owned for a while by famed New York Jets player Joe Namath before becoming the popular inn it is today. Although never proven, it's rumored that two of the Kehoe children died here. Guests sometimes claim to see and hear a boy and girl on upper floors. Room rates vary based on dates and rooms chosen. Consider stopping by and asking to see the public spaces for free.
Savannah’s courthouse square since the colony’s founding in 1733, Wright Square (Intersection of Bull, State and York streets, Savannah, GA) also was the location of the colony’s gallows and public burying ground next to the courthouse. In 1735, it saw the first woman hanged in Georgia, an Irish indentured servant named Alice Ryley, accused of helping to murder her master, William Wise. After her trial, Ryley gave birth to a child, rumored to be the son of her co-defendant, Richard White. Many say they have spotted Ryley walking along the square or have heard singing in the area. Some stories even claim she appears to pregnant women and mothers with infants.
The Sorrel-Weed Mansion
Called the most haunted place in Savannah, the Sorrel-Weed Mansion (6 W. Harris St., Savannah, GA) is an 1840 Regency-style house offering historic home tours during the day and haunted ghost tours in the evening. Some tours even provide equipment for scouting out paranormal activity yourself. Visitors claim to have seen multiple ghosts walking the grounds. All tours require a ticket, which vary in price by tour. See the website for current pricing.
Planning a Visit
If heading to check out Savannah's spirits, remember that October is a particularly busy time as people get into the Halloween spirit. During summer months, the city can get quite hot, experiencing the high humidity levels the South is known for. This can be unpleasant for adults, but especially so for children. Spring and fall may be the best bet if tolerance of weather conditions is a concern.
Karon Warren has covered travel for nearly 20 years with numerous print and online publications. Her byline has appeared in USA Today, USA Today’s 10 Best, WorkingMother.com, FamilyVacationCritic.com. and many others. She is a member of both the Society of American Travel Writers and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. In addition to her freelance work for other clients, she also writes for her own travel site, ThisGirlTravels.com