Bonaventure Cemetery is one of Savannah's many haunted destinations — Photo courtesy of Don Teuton
If you want to incorporate spirits, the supernatural and all things spooky into your vacation plans, then head to Savannah, one of the country’s most haunted cities. Savannah’s haunted history began shortly after English settlers landed on the bluff in 1733. When residents died, they were buried in cemeteries around what is now the Downtown area. In later years as the city expanded, houses and businesses were built on top of the burial sites. Many believe these long-forgotten spirits, along with other dearly departed Savannahians, haunt the city’s streets, homes and historic sites.
Some say that twins haunt the Kehoe House — Photo courtesy of Kehoe House
For the ultimate otherworldly Savannah experience, book a room at one of the city’s haunted hotels. Bed and breakfasts including the Foley House Inn, Kehoe House and Eliza Thompson House all claim to have ghostly visitors wandering their hallways. Possible ghost sighings are not the only reason to stay at one of these highly regarded B&Bs. All three inns get high marks for their lovely accommodations, Southern hospitality and mouthwatering daily breakfasts.
One of the best ways to see Savannah’s haunted sites is to schedule a tour of the city. Several companies offer ghost tours, but only one takes guests around town in a tricked out hearse. For 75 minutes, a guide from Hearse Ghost Tours will drive you around the Historic District atop a real hearse, sharing ghost stories and pointing out haunted sites. If suspension of disbelief is an issue, you may want to try the Haunted Pub Crawl, a two-hour alcohol-fueled walking tour of the city’s spooky pubs and bars.
Many consider the Sorrel-Weed House to be Savannah's most haunted building — Photo courtesy of Sorrel-Weed House
While much of Savannah’s paranormal activity is best explored at night, you can still get your fill of the supernatural during daylight hours. There are several haunted attractions that are open to the public when the sun is up, including the Mercer Williams House, Owens-Thomas House and Sorrel-Weed House, a historic home that many believe is the most haunted building in town.
Historic cemeteries like Colonial Park and Bonaventure are also great spots for daytime ghost hunting. Located in the heart of the Historic District, Colonial Park was established in the 1750s and is the final resting place for many famous Georgians, including Button Gwinnett, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Be on the lookout for the ghost of Rene Asche Rondolier, an orphan accused of murdering two girls whose bodies were discovered in the cemetery. Rene was lynched for her crime, and many believe her ghost haunts the cemetery.
A statue at Bonaventure Cemetery — Photo courtesy of Don Teuton
Colonial Park Cemetery is within walking distance of many Downtown hotels, but you’ll need a car to get to Bonaventure, a 150-year-old cemetery on the bluff overlooking the Wilmington River. Songwriter Johnny Mercer and poet Conrad Aiken are among the famous Savannahians buried at the breathtaking 160-acre cemetery, which features historic burial vaults and graves that date back to the 1800s. Ghost hunters will find plenty to keep them busy at Bonaventure. In addition to being haunted by some of its human inhabitants, the cemetery is also rumored to have packs of ghost dogs wandering the grounds.
Your ghost chasing will undoubtedly leave you famished, but your pursuit of Savannah's spirits doesn't have to end just because you need to stop for a meal. Several restaurants in the Historic District are reportedly haunted, including the Pirate’s House, 17Hundred90 and the Olde Pink House. A side of grits and a heaping portion of ghosts...only in Savannah!