So, you want to see a ghost? Unfortunately, the process is more complicated than showing up at some ghostly looking place after googling haunted locations in Whatever City, USA.
Running one of Savannah’s largest ghost tour companies means that we at Ghost City Tours get to talk to a lot of people who are seriously interested in ghosts. (They’d have to be, right, to be joining us on one of our world-famous ghost tours?)
One of the most frequent questions we are asked is, “will I see a ghost on the tour?”
Well, we’d would be lying if we said you certainly will. It does happen, there’s no doubt about that. Guests have called in the next day to tell us about seeing a shadow person following the group through Factors’ Walk, or that they have felt a ghostly grip come out of nowhere to grab their hand in Calhoun Square. But to promise it will happen to you would be a promise we just can’t make.
In fact, there are many ghost hunters who have gone their entire careers without ever seeing a full-form apparition. While collecting EVPs and spotting shadowy figures can occur on any given night (when at an actual haunted location), to spot a ghost in all of its supernatural glory is a true rarity.
But this got us thinking: what are the best places in Savannah to attempt to see a ghost? You know, a real honest to goodness ghost. So, we came up with a list of places you can head to if you would like the best chances of running into one of Savannah’s resident ghost population. Some of the places are stops on our ghost tours, others are beyond the city limits.
Disclaimer: this isn’t all fun and games. Seeking out a ghost can be risky, as you’ll never know just what kind of spirit you may find yourself dealing with. Friendly? Malevolent? It’s wise to question whether or not you are ready to encounter a ghost. And, if you are prepared for the possibly that the ghost could turn violent in your presence.
If you are truly ready and prepared, then Ghost City has you covered.
There is a reason that both Ghost Adventurers and Ghost Hunters spent a night investigating the Moon River Brewing Company. The ghosts that reside within the walls of this historic building are not shy about making their spectral presences known. Both TV shows caught apparitions on camera.
The building in which Moon River Brewing Company operates was built in 1821. In its first incarnation, the building was the City Hotel. And, was a place where the city’s members of high society would conjure and drink their spirits.
But like many places in Savannah, the building has connections to both the Civil War and the yellow fever epidemic. During one particular outbreak, the building served as a hospital for the sick. Many of these poor souls who departed so soon in life are believed to be the source behind the hauntings at Moon River.
Ghost tour groups often spend time inside of the basement or upper floors of this haunted place in the hopes of seeing a ghost. The most common ghostly encounter on a ghost tour seems to be shadow people who are occasionally seen moving through the halls of the Brewing Company.
Staff and patrons alike have reported seeing everything from unexplainable shadows to paranormal beings.
In the basement of the Moon River Brewery, you’ll find their most famous ghost, Toby. He can often be seen moving through the shadows ever so quietly, in hopes of not bringing attention to himself. But attention is what he undoubtedly always brings, as he is somewhat of a ghost celebrity. Sometimes, Toby can get a little handsy; so, if you do tour the brewery, you’ve been warned.
Another ghost that haunts the building can be found on the second floor. Years ago, the second floor of the brewing company was the scene of a horrendous murder. A man by the name of James Stark (no relation to Tony Stark) was shot dead on the staircase by Phillip Minas, a prominent doctor in Savannah.
The motives behind the shooting remain unclear, but one thing that is known is that the ghost of James Stark can still be seen roaming the second floor of the Moon River Brewing Company.
Factors’ Walk is one of our top two places for our guests to see a ghost, usually in the form of a shadow figure, on our ghost tours. Savannah has many creepy areas, but Factors’ Walk is one of the most creepy. Guests on our tours have experienced all sorts of paranormal activity here. Ghostly shadows following our tour groups, the sounds of footsteps approaching the tour group when there is nobody there…and much more. So, Factors’ Walk has to be on any list of places to see a ghost in Savannah.
The Pirates’ House restaurant is located in one of Savannah’s oldest (over 250 years old) and most haunted buildings. Over the years there have been countless ghost stories told about the establishment.
From the earliest days of the building’s history, it served as a meeting ground for all sorts of criminals, especially the seafaring type. Throughout its history the Pirates’ House has seen it all, from fist fights to barroom brawls, from shootings to grim murders.
Ghostly apparitions have been reported at the Pirates’ house walking about the dining room as if they were customers looking to be seated. Some members of the staff have claimed to feel eyes gazing upon them from behind. Upon turning around they are startled by the appearance of an old sailor.
The sailor stands there solemnly, looking at the staff member in the eyes, just before slowly vanishing into thin air. Yet, the sounds of his boots can still be heard scuffling off as he leaves for the night.
You never know, you just might be the next person to encounter the ghostly old sailor of Pirates’ House.
Well, this may be a little misleading. 12 West Oglethorpe is considered by many to be very haunted. However, many of the stories told about the house are simply not true. In addition, no one employed by Ghost City Tours has ever been in the house.
What we are referring to by mentioning this house is the alleyway behind the house. The founder of Ghost City, Tim Nealon, has actually personally witnessed a shadow person lurking at the back corner of 12 West Oglethorpe, near the parking lot. In addition, people on our ghost tours have released ear-shattering shrieks after seeing what they describe as a guy in a hat leaning against the house before vanishing into thin air.
Spooky? Yes, we think so too.
Wright Square is widely considered to be the most haunted square in Savannah, which is actually saying quite a lot, considering the dark history surrounding the city as a whole.
The most frequently spotted ghost in Wright Square is Alice Riley, a woman hanged for murdering her employer shortly after giving birth to a son in the early 19th century. As the story goes, ALice and her husband Richard White immigrated to Savannah as Irish servants, and were made to work for William Wise, a tyrannical man who was impossible to work for. On march 1, 1734, Wise's body was discovered on his bed, his head resting in a large bucket of water with a neckerchief tied around his neck.
He had drowned, making him the first murder 'victim' in Savannah. It was also quickly discovered that Alice Riley and her husband were missing from the farm and they quickly became wanted by the locals.
Alice Riley and Richard White were sentenced to death for William's murder. And, Richard White became the first person ever hanged in Savannah. But, before it was Alice's turn, it was revealed that she was pregnant. She had allegedly been raped several times by Mr. Wise, and unfortunately was impregnated by the brute. Due to her pregnancy, Alice could not be sentenced to death until the child's birth. Just after the birth, however, Alice too was strung up for hanging--and, in a twist of awful fate--her newborn James died of disease right after.
Countless people have since reported seeing a woman in a centuries-old, tattered dress running around the square frantically searching for her baby.
On many occasions, visitors who have witnessed Alice in her frantic state have called the police, concerned about her wellbeing. Usually veteran law enforcement officers will also send a rookie unfamiliar with the story to the Square in order to help the frantic woman—only after searching for hours will the vets fill the rook in on the story of Alice Riley.
If you find yourself in Wright Square with a newborn in your arms, you better beware . . . Alice just might think it’s her baby.
For many years, the staff, off of the record, have confirmed the sightings of ghosts inside of this Civil War era fort. Fort Pulaski was the scene of intense fighting during the American Civil War. A number of soldiers died within the walls of Fort Pulaski.
Are the ghosts people are seeing the ghosts of these men who died while protecting the fort? If you visit Fort Pulaski spend some time in the powder rooms and other enclosed rooms. We have heard stories about people feeling a hand grab them. While you cannot stay in the Fort after dark it is still a good place to try and have an encounter with a ghost.
The Old Fort Jackson has been visited off and on by the ghost of Private Patrick Garrity, ever since he drowned in the moat that once surrounded the fort. During the Civil War, Garrity, an Irish immigrant, was stationed at Fort Jackson, under the command of George Dickerson.
It’s been alleged that Lt. Dickerson hated immigrants almost as much as he hated Yankees, and thus he treated Garrity and the other Irish soldiers quite poorly. One evening, Garrity snapped and nearly beat Dickerson to death. Knowing he would be hanged for his action, Garrity attempted to escape. However, he was not a strong swimmer and he ultimately drowned in the fort’s moat.
Site manager of the Old Fort, Greg Starbuck, claims to have actually seen the ghost of Private Garrity. One evening, shortly after visiting hours, Greg saw a man in Civil War garb. Upon gaining a closer look, he could see the apparition’s coat was rebel gray.
Not wishing to get a beating, as Dickerson had received, Greg kept his distance until the ghost appeared to vanish from sight. After his encounter, Greg recorded his experience in the official logbook. Unsettled, he called it a night and promptly left Old Fort Jackson.
The folks at the Marshall House are used to people inquiring about the paranormal ongoings. Guests staying at the house have reported faucets turning on and off, flickering lights, toilets overflowing without reason, and, of course, disembodied voices and phantom footsteps echoing throughout the hallways.
But, there is much more to the Marshall House than your run-of-the-mill activity. In the lobby, if you look behind the front desk, you’ll see a nineteenth century painting of Mary Marshall. The painting is displayed openly for all guests to see, even little children can take notice of Mary’s portrait.
A few years back, a father and a daughter were staying at the Marshall House. While in the lobby, the daughter looked up at the portrait, pointed it out to her father and told him that she saw the lady in the painting walking in the hallway. You can imagine her father’s surprise upon hearing his daughter had just see a woman who has been dead for well over a century!
The ghost of Mary Marshall is not the only spirit at the Marshall House. In its years as a hotel, guests have also reported sightings of a sharply dressed man sitting by a window as he reads a book quietly to himself.
Another famous ghostly tale about the Marshall House took place over a decade ago. A mother was staying at the hotel with her young son. Her son was in the bathroom when she heard him talking to himself. His mother dismissed it as youthful imagination. But, just minutes later, her son came running out of the bathroom crying, exclaiming that a boy had bit him.
Confused, she checked the bathroom and found no one. She then checked her son’s arm, and was stunned to see that there was indeed a bite mark on the lad’s arm. You may think, oh, well, the child probably just bit himself. But the young boy was not the first, nor the last, to be bitten by this ghostly child. Throughout the years, there have been many guests to complain of this phenomenon at the Marshall House.
The beautiful Olde Pink House is filled with stories from the great beyond. But, there is one tale that is darker than most, and that’s the story of James Habersham Jr., and how he became a ghost.
The legend starts off simple and grizzly enough. James Habersham Jr. allegedly hanged himself in the property's basement, where the Pink House’s tavern (Planter’s Tavern) is now located.
Rumor has it that Habersham learned that his wife was having an affair with the architect he had hired to design the mansion. Distraught over the news, he went down to the basement and committed suicide. Now, there is no historical evidence to support this story. In fact, there’s an entirely different origin of why Habersham hanged himself.
In the alternate version, Habersham was said to have hanged himself not over an affair but because his beloved wife had recently died.
After Habersham’s death, it is believed that his soul decided to linger around The Olde Pink House instead of crossing over. Now a restaurant, the Olde Pink House is still his home. His ghost is frequently spotted in the tavern wearing his Colonial garb while he enjoys a cocktail. He will apparently hang around all night just to people watch, delighted to see those who visit his home. Occasionally, people claim to have conversation with a man dressed in Colonial garb, believing him to be a reenactor, but then are astonished when the man vanishes right before their eyes.
Reportedly, his ghost is only seen between the months of October and March, as he is not particularly fond of those hot summer days. He is usually described as being a “pin-neat gentleman,” often straightening the table settings and putting chairs in their rightful place. He’s also been known to light the candles that lay on the center of the tables, creating the perfect romantic atmosphere for any paranormal-loving couple out there.
Calhoun Square has their own famous ghostly resident with a rather tragic back story. The late Wesley Espy was the son of a federal judge. The official story behind his death was that he fell from the tall porch attached to the Epsy family home.
But, the legend tells it differently: Wesley’s father, Carl (the judge), who was associated with bootleggers (prohibition era) was also known for his violent temper. The Judge ruled his home with an “iron fist,” and may have even committed a murder in the past.
Wesley was nothing like his father and was a deacon at the church. Wesley became close with a girl who attended his church frequently, and the two eventually began to date in secret. The girl was already spoken for—-in a twist of fate, the girl was the girlfriend to one of the bootleggers tied to Wesley’s father. The judge demanded his son to stop seeing the girl, as this bootlegger was even more vicious than the judge himself, but Wesley was in love and refused his father for the first time.
Not long afterwards, on one horrific morning, Wesley was found dead, hanging from the porch of his family’s home, killed by the jealous bootlegger.
Now in the early hours of the morning, you many see Wesley’s ghost appear on the porch, possibly arriving home late from a night out with the love of his life, completely unaware of the trouble that awaits him.
The main ghost at the 17Hundred90 Inn is the lost soul of Anne. Most nights she can be spotted on the top floor of the inn, usually in Room 204. She enjoys rifling through the guests’ belongings, sometimes taking an item for herself.
Whilst alive, Anne is thought to have lived in the east part of the building. After suffering the loss of a love one, Anne reportedly jumped off of the second story balcony. Later, her body was discovered bloodied and smashed on the courtyard bricks below.
One of the first Anne's associated with the 17Hundred90 Inn was Anne White, who was the wife of Steele White, the gentleman who built the first two parts of the building. He was unable to complete the project as he died in a horse riding accident in 1823.
But, this Anne did not kill herself. She actually moved out to the Isle of Hope to live with her sister and brother-in-law, and this is where she stayed for the remainder of life. So, this is obviously couldn’t possibly be the right Anne.
There are multiple other stories that have come to light over the years, but all seem to have too many plot holes. So, what’s the true story behind the ghost of Anne? Well, unfortunately the truth may never be known.
No one is quite sure where the ghost of Hank came from. Most believe that Hank possibly died in a fire that occurred at the building during the nineteenth century. Although there is no evidence that there were any casualties from the fire of 1892.
Some say that Hank may have even started the fire. This suspicion arose because it’s believed that the inferno was ignited near his office. And, furthermore, he had recently gotten into a contentious disagreement with the management just the day before the building went up in flames. If this was the case, obviously his plot for revenge blew up in his face (literally).
Hank’s ghostly legacy has grown over the years, with people purposely staying at The Olde Harbour Inn in hopes of having an encounter with the firebug, as he wanders the halls of the hotel during the night. These guests often try to book 406, apparently because Hank is especially fond of the room.
It’s been said that if you lock the door shut, Hank will pound on the door with his ghostly fist, and forcibly rattle the doorknob. Once, in the room, he’s been known to stretch out on the bed, making his claim . . . and startling the living who believe they were sleeping alone.
One of the most important things to remember about visiting these haunted locations is easy to forget. Just because you do not see any ghosts doesn’t mean they are not there. We tell that to the guests on our ghost tours all of them time. Oftentimes, you will just get that feeling like someone is watching you or that maybe something brushes up against you when there is nothing there. Our ghosts are clever and can find other ways of letting you know they are there.
So, the next time you are in Savannah, check out one or more of the haunted places mentioned above. If you want to see as many of them as possible definitely sign up for one of our ghost tours. We will take you to the most haunted places in Savannah, all of them have a chance of being the place you see you first Savannah ghost.