The American Institute of Parapsychology has named Savannah “America’s Most Haunted City.” When night falls, the streets of Savannah most certainly take on a spooky ambiance, which makes it a great time to take a haunted tour like the Oglethorpe Haunted Trolley Tour. They offer day time tours as well, but when the ghosts come out at night, Oglethorpe Tours will take you on a 90 minute tour of some of the Savannah’s most popular haunts.
*Disclosure: My husband and I received complimentary admission to the trolley tour in exchange for this post about our experience. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.
Chris and I decided to take the Oglethorpe Haunted Trolley Tour when we were in Savannah recently and loved hearing our guide, Debbie, entertain us with tales of ghosts and famed citizens–long dead–who may still be walking Savannah’s streets. She told us verifiable accounts of some of the murders, mysteries, and spirits of the area’s past.
As we made our way through the historic district of Savannah, we loved being able to hear some of the stories of murders that took place in the various squares in Savannah. We also heard tragic tales about many of the hauntings in Savannah.
This museum was once a classical mansion completed in 1819 and is one of the oldest art museums in the South. It was home to the Telfair family until Mary Telfair, the last of the Telfair line, left the house and it’s belongings to the Georgia Historical Society in 1875. She still haunts it to this day.
Now a house museum, the Owens-Thomas House was built in 1819, and according to several accounts, a ghostly figure of a man has been haunting the building since the upper floors were being used as apartments. Even now, the staff occasionally hears the sounds of footsteps, noises that they assume originate with straggling members of their tour group, only to find that there are nothing but empty rooms.
Mercer Williams House
The Mercer House, now the Mercer-Williams House Museum, was the scene of the shooting death of Danny Hansford, a story that is retold in the 1994 John Berendt novel ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.’ Before his death, the house had already been the scene of two deaths: In 1913, the owner at the time tripped over the 2nd floor banister, fractured his hip, and suffered a concussion, dying three days later. In 1969, a boy who was trying to shoot pigeons with a slingshot from the roof fell over the edge and impaled himself on the iron fence below.
The Pirates’ House
The Pirates’ House, constructed in 1794, was originally a bar and boarding house for sailors. Reportedly, the basement was used to shanghai “roofied” men through a secret tunnel which led to the Savannah River. These men were forced into pirate service against their wills.
Built to be a private residence by Isaiah Davenport, the Davenport House is now a house museum and is home to several different ghost stories, including the most famous story surrounding a cat. While there is no cat living in the Davenport House, many visitors have reported seeing a cat run from room to room or sit in the window sill and watch the people walk by outside.
The Old Orphanage (117 Houston St)
This building served as Savannah’s female orphanage. There were 17 girls residing there at the time it was burned to the ground. Eleven of the 17 girls died during the fire when the building’s roof collapsed. To this day, the people who live there claim they can hear the sound of girls singing and playing, especially up in the attic.
We also drove past Savannah’s Old Candler Hospital, which is Georgia’s first hospital and the second oldest continuously operating hospital in the US, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which is the oldest Roman-Catholic church in Georgia and the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, home of the founder of the Girl Scouts. Sarah, Juliette’s grandmother, is said to still haunt the old mansion, which is now a house museum.
We also passed this house, which I was completely fascinated by. This is just someone’s house and they have all their windows installed upside-down. Apparently when you do this, it keeps evil spirits out. That was the first time I’d heard that, so I was intrigued.
Christian and I did multiple ghost tours during our time in Savannah. We heard several stories more than once, but we heard a few different ones on this tour. We did another trolley tour that had us get off at two different stops, but this tour was done entirely from the trolley.
I also liked that they offer free hotel pick up and drop off. When we called to make a reservation, they told us what time to be waiting outside of our hotel for them to come and get us.
This tour costs $29 for adults and $18 for kids ages 5-11. Tours run nightly at 7:00 p.m. with additional 9:00 p.m. tours on Fridays & Saturdays. Reservations are required as the tour often sells out and is only offered on a limited basis.