The Ghosts and Mystery of 432 Abercorn Street

The Haunted House on Abercorn Street

For many people, taking a ghost tour with Ghost City Tours in Savannah is the highlight of their time in Savannah. Sometimes we get guests who have taken ghost tours on previous trips to Savannah with other companies. They often ask about the house at 432 Abercorn Street. This house, sitting on Calhoun Square, is perhaps the most controversial haunted house in Savannah. The stories that are told about this house are dramatic, chilling…and downright unnerving. However, separating fact from fiction is an important part of dealing with the haunted house at 432 Abercorn St.

The house at 432 Abercorn was completed in 1868 for Benjamin J. Wilson and his family. At the time the house was one of the more expensive homes in Savannah, with a value of slightly over $20,000. Mr. Wilson, his wife and their 5 kids moved into the house the same year. It seems that is where the stories about 432 start to deviate from actual verifiable history and start going off into the land of fiction.

Benjamin J. Wilson killing his Daughter

This is the first of the stories about 432 Abercorn which is made-up. When he moved into the house Mr. Wilson was the father to 5 children, 2 of them were daughters. Neither of those daughters died in the house. As a matter of fact, his youngest daughter went on to marry into a well known Savannah family. His oldest daughter Carrie, died in 1942, living over 80 years.

However, the story being told by many tour companies, some of them amusingly calling the story based on research, is that Benjamin Wilson was upset with his daughter. See, next door to the Wilson House is the Massie School. This school was set up for the poor, orphans and black children. The children who went to this school would sometimes play in the area in front of 432 Abercorn, Calhoun Square. On a few occasions his daughter would go out and play with this children. Mr. Wilson didn’t want his daughter to be mingling with these other children. He thought it was unbecoming for a young girl of her social status to be playing with the lower class children. After she refused to obey her father he devised a punishment that would ultimately lead to her death. If you look at 432 Abercorn from the front of the house, you will notice the big window on the main level of the house, on the right. It was in this room the Mr. Wilson tied his daughter to a chair and made her watch the children play in the square. He thought this was a fitting punishment for his daughter. Well, after a few days his daughter succumbed to the high temperatures that are typical in the summer heat of Savannah. Distraught with depression for killing his daughter Mr. Wilson took his own life not too long after.

Wow! What a horrifying story! A father killing his young daughter as punishment is sure to send shivers down the spine of anyone standing in front of the house, listening to this story. However, it is just that, a story. A completely made-up story. It didn’t happen. It is amazing how the company with which this story originated couldn’t even get the most basic facts of the story correct. Mr. Wilson died in 1896…in Colorado. Oh, and he wasn’t a General in the Confederate Army, he was a Cotton Merchant. Can you imagine him affording that house on a General's salary?

Benjamin Wilson Census for 432 Abercorn Street
This is the 1870 Census, two years after the Wilson family moved into 432 Abercorn. As you can see, his whole family is alive and kicking. Click to view larger.

The Triple Homicide at 432 Abercorn

Here is another one of those great stories about 432 Abercorn…which is completely made up. The story starts in the 1950′s or 60′s (depending on who tells the story). A husband and wife with two young girls lived in the house at 432 Abercorn. They had visitors for the holiday. A family whom they were friends with came up from Florida to spend time with their friends. They decided to stay at 432 Abercorn with their friends, instead of a hotel. After all, the house had more than enough room for them all.

One night during the time they spent in Savannah the adults decided to go out for a night on the town, leaving all four children to themselves, sitting in 432 Abercorn all night. After an evening of having fun in Savannah the children’s parents came home to a violent and bloody murder scene. Three of the children were brutally murdered. Laid out in a triangle, head to feet, the three girls were slain and had their organs removed. Now the fourth girl, she was found upstairs in the bedroom, completely silent and curled into a fetal position. The murders were never solved.

Once again, this story is completely made-up. I mean… COMPLETELY made up. To add an additional chapter to this murder story at 432 Abercorn, some companies have their tour guides tell guests that the fourth girl, the girl who lived, came back to Savannah as an adult and bought the house. This is not true either. Everyone knows who owns the house.

The Church of Satan

Sorry folks, this one is completely made up too. The Church of Satan never set up shop at 432 Abercorn Street.

Another very ridiculous story that is often told is that of a young college student who stayed in the house while attended a local art college, SCAD. As the ghost story goes, while staying in this haunted house, he completely disappeared, as in…into another dimension. The story claims it was the work of evil spirits and demons. Just like our previous story, this one is untrue. It just so happens to come from the same couple who made up the last story based on news reports which never existed written about events which never happened. They probably should have looked into the fact that S.C.A.D. wasn’t even founded until 1978, but the house has been abandoned since before that.

The Truth

The truth about 432 Abercorn is simple. It is a damn spooky house. On our tours and the tours of other reputable ghost tour companies in Savannah strange things have happened outside of 432 Abercorn. People have had negative energy take over them, cameras have malfunctioned, and entities and other strange ethereal beings have been photographed on the ground and floating through the air outside of 432 Abercorn.

In addition, 432 Abercorn was likely built on top of a Burial Ground. That can very possibly have something to do with the strange energy which seems to surround this house. Don’t get us wrong, we are not saying the house at 432 Abercorn is not haunted. Based on its age, its location and other factors it very well could be haunted.

What we are saying is that the stories being told about 432 Abercorn by the vast majority of ghost tour companies are completely made up. They look at the lack of evidence or a story to the contrary as a sign that these events actually happened. That is like saying that because I can't find documentation that says Bigfoot is not living in 432 Abercorn that Bigfoot must be living there. It is a mind-numbingly ignorant way of looking at history.

Getting to 432 Abercorn

When checking out the haunted house at 432 Abercorn Street please be respectful of the owners. Do not attempt to go onto the porch or otherwise get into the house. The best location to view 432 Abercorn and take in it’s haunted beauty is from Calhoun Square.