Savannah, Georgia has long been a hotbed of paranormal activity. The historic southern city, established way back in 1733, ranks right up there with Salem, Boston, and New Orleans as one of America’s most haunted cities. Tourists come from all over to explore the gorgeous tree-lined squares and parks and awe at the lovely 18th and 19th century architectural masterpieces. Narrated trolley tours are the best way to take in all the historic sites while admiring the charm of the city.
The haunted history of Savannah
Savannah is one city where the tours do not end by day. In fact, nighttime haunted walking and trolley tours draw paranormal buffs year-round, especially during the month of October. Savannah’s high number of reported ghostly occurrences draws Halloween lovers, history buffs, and ghost hunters. Paranormal investigators from the popular Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures encountered much paranormal evidence while investigating the historic Sorrel Weed House & the Gribble House, the site of 3 grisly ax murders in 1909.
Savannah’s dark Civil War past, slave history, and deadly epidemics (the 1876 Yellow Fever epidemic killed over 6% of the population) has left many restless lingering spirits. Many cemeteries, buildings, inns & hotels, and even public squares attract the energy of these spirits. Savannah is known as “the city built on its dead,” as the city was built upon old burial grounds. Here’s a few more spooky facts about Savannah.
Check out this handy guide to the most haunted places in Savannah
The Historic Inns of Savannah
While you could book tickets for the uber popular Ghosts and Gravestones tour, staying at a haunted inn offers the most authentic experience. Six inns make up the Historic Inns of Savannah collection. Each of these properties were constructed in the mid to late 1800’s. Asides from being haunted, these historic inns offer a rare charm and ambiance which cannot be duplicated at a modern chain.
The East Bay Inn
Almost all of the historic older inns in Savannah have a long history of hauntings. The East Bay Inn, built in 1852, is a beautiful historic Greek Revival style building located in the center of the historic district. The property conveniently sits right across from the river front and is walkable to pretty much all major attractions. The architecture is gorgeous and the inn offers a number of great amenities including a daily happy hour, pet friendly rooms, complimentary water bottles, and an on-site restaurant.
A brief history of the inn
The building was a cotton warehouse until the 1920’s when the Columbia Drug Company took over. Then, from 1965-1983 the building remained vacant, as did most others in the historic district. The property was renovated in 1984 and transformed into the East Bay Inn which still stands today.
Unfortunately, at older properties you need to deal with a few nuisances (uncomfortable bed, old bathroom, creaky floors, lots of noise), however, the rooms are quite beautiful. Exposed brick walls, beautiful furniture, lovely artwork, high ceilings, and wood floors really add to the historic ambiance. It’s worth a bit of inconvenience to stay at a well preserved historic landmark.
The haunting of the East Bay Inn
Asides the historic beauty and easy accessibility to Savannah landmarks, most guests stay at the East Bay Inn stay for the haunted history. Not surprisingly, a resident ghost roams the inn, much like many other old properties around the city. The ghost (named Charlie by the staff) frequently makes appearances.
Fortunately, Charlie is a friendly ghost with no evil intentions. Charlie is reportedly a former worker who fell to his death from a 3rd story window. Most hauntings have occured in Room 325 (Charlie’s room), so avoid this room at all costs if the thought of possibly seeing or hearing a ghost makes you squeamish.
Although we did not see any ghostly visions during our stay, we did notice a few odd occurrences. First off, we heard some unusual foot steps at night. Second, we heard a really loud screeching noise at around 3 in the morning – almost like a long scream. The noise was so loud and creepy that we could not sleep the rest of the night. However, it could have been noise from outside as the riverfront area gets quite busy on Saturday nights. Who knows? Also the room strangely felt incredibly hot at night, although we had the air set on a cool 68 degrees.
On an interesting side note, our room number did add up to 13 and we were on the 3rd floor. Some paranormal researchers believe that room numbers which add up to 13 are cursed. If you have ever seen the wonderful ghost movie 1408 (a 2007 John Cusack ghost movie based on the Stephen King short story), you will notice the many references to the number 13 including the room number. The movie’s release date and DVD run time even add up to 13! Check out this interesting IMDB trivia regarding the movie’s connection to the mysterious number.
The Legend of the number 13
Folklore surrounding the number 13 has existed in various cultures throughout the world. Because of the immense superstition regarding the number in Western culture, many hotels and high rises lack a 13th floor. The phobia known as triskaidekaphobia involves the fear of the number 13. According to a National Geographic study, the fear has religious origins. The 13th guest at the Last Supper was Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus.
As Christ was crucified on a Friday, the day became even more dangerous per Christianity. It is also believed that on Friday the 13th, Cain murdered Abel. And finally, the 13th chapter of Revelation focuses on the Antichrist/Beast.
On another interesting note, in numerology, 12 is a complete number. Think 12 months in a year, 12 zodiac signs, 12 tribes of Israel, etc. Thus, 13 is an incomplete number. Many people have such a fear of something bad happening on Friday the 13th that they are afraid to leave the house. Pretty interesting stuff. if you are interesting in reading more theories check out this National Geographic link.
Unlucky in the West, Lucky in the East?
Oddly enough, in the East, the number 13 is actually considered lucky! In countries like India and Thailand the number is lucky and thus you can expect a good day on the 13th! Ancient Egyptians and Pagan Norse and Celtic people also believed the number lucky. In ancient times, the number 13 was associated with the goddess and the divine feminine. This interesting Times of India article details the numbers connection with astrology.
The East Bay Inn is located at: 225 E Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401
Average nightly rate: $160
Parking fee: $16 per day. Unfortunately, their lot is very small and first come/first served. You may need to park in a nearby garage and walk (and still pay the same fee!). This is highly inconvenient and one of the drawbacks of staying here.
A few must do’s in Savannah
- Coffee at The Gallery Espresso – Savannah’s first coffee shop has a funky ambiance, similar to the Friends tv show.
- Noble Jones Savannah walking tour. 2 hour tour of historical sites. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable. The Old Town Trolley tour is a great laid-back alternative.
- Check out a few of the 22 beautiful public squares. Wright, Chippewa (where the Forrest Gump bench scene filmed), and Forsyth Park are must sees. Full list of public squares.
- Take a walk along the beautiful riverfront. Unique restaurants, shops, and bars line this area. Beautiful views & interesting monuments line the walking path.
- Treat yourself to a pot pie at The Little Crown. So delicious and they even have a vegetarian option!
- Walk through City Market – An open market since the 1700’s which features shops, restaurants, and galleries. Also home to the Prohibition museum. City market directory
- Lunch at Naan on Broughton. Wonderful Indian food which is big on flavor and not overly spiced. The Samosa Chaat and Veggie Tikka Masala are outstanding!