Plenty of places could make their cases for being the most haunted city in this country. New Orleans, Salem, Massachusetts and Gettysburg come quickly to mind. But Savannah, Georgia might well be filled with more “unsettled spirits” than anywhere else in the country and there are plenty of reasons why so many of those souls are rattling around here. There are also a number of great ghost tours that share the facts, the fiction and the folklore.
Savannah suffered heavy losses in the America’s Revolutionary and Civil wars. There were 10 Yellow Fever epidemics here in the 19th Century. The city played a huge role in the Atlantic Slave Trade. It had significant fires, murders and natural disasters. Here, too, was a Native American burial ground. Layers and layers of dead lie beneath Savannah’s cobblestone.
On the surface, Savannah is as beautiful as any Southern belle. She is charming, well-dressed and quite inviting. With a collection of antebellum mansions, stately town squares and grand oak trees draped with long beards of Spanish moss, Savannah emits a time-standing-still feel. Just beneath the surface, and occasionally coming up for air, however, are all of those unsettled souls.
While these tours were created to be creepy they are also working to keep things safe. Check tour websites for information about COVID-19 precautions, guidelines and tour availability.
Crawl, Walk or Ride in a Hearse
There is no shortage of ways to visit places where demonic growling, chanting, crying children, voices and footsteps are heard, but no one is seen. Where apparitions are seen, but nothing is heard. Some say every night in Savannah is like Halloween. Others say every story is fabricated. But there are simply too many ghostly accounts from too many credible sources to ignore. Believe some, none or all of it but believe me, there are some fabulous ghost tours if you want to explore this riverside gem.
Beyond Good and Evil Tour
Savannah found a place atop the ghost map moments after Englishman James Oglethorpe settled Yamacraw Bluff in 1732. But it was John Berendt’s In the Garden of Good and Evil that put this Georgian gem on the modern ghost hunter’s radar in 1994. Today the Beyond Good and Evil Tour by Ghost City Tours is one of the most popular in the city. Using a blend of humor and a repertoire from hearty research, the tour explores many of the book’s famed locations with colorful insight on its zany cast of characters. One early stop on this walking tour includes the Mercer Williams house, not only the place where the murder that inspired the novel took place, but where a few years earlier a young man fell from the roof and was impaled on the wrought-iron gate.
Hearse Ghost Tours
If it sounds creepy to have a tour guide pick you up in a hearse, well, it is. Especially one that spent its 15-year career working for a funeral parlor. It’s all part of the trip, though, as Hearse Ghost Tours will take you where strange energies linger, where unusual events happened, and they will share tales that will have you looking over your shoulder the entire ride. These are unscripted tours, too, where the driver’s personality and style are allowed to flourish as he or she shares unique and iconic tales of the town.
Sixth Sense Savannah Ghosts Tour
The Sixth Sense Savannah Ghosts Tour by 6th Sense World brings in all the haunted elements of town. The tour begins in the central Historic District where the towers and turrets and wrap-around decks of gorgeous Victorian-era buildings set the mood. Scariest Places on Earth and Ghost Hunters both based episodes of their shows in this eerie part of town. But be ready to ramble on from there to mansions, inns, hospitals, squares, cemeteries and dark tunnels.
Creepy Crawl Haunted Pub Tour of Savannah
A lot of visitors think of ghost hunting as a drinking sport, and the Creepy Crawl Haunted Pub Tour of Savannah proves that true. Blending bar hopping with lively legends, this tour features cocktails and tall tales, creepy pubs and dirty deeds, and it takes full advantage of Savannah’s open container laws – allowing you to legally sip your Planter’s Punch or toss back a big swig of your Cosmic Terror Ale while skipping along Savannah’s sidewalks. The tour begins at Savannah’s most prominent British establishment, the Six Pence Pub, and carries on to a handful of colorful joints on either side of a fabulous detour through the Colonial Park Cemetery.
There are plenty of reasons for all the paranormal activity in Savannah and no shortage of ways to experience them. You might get lucky enough to see a ghost, too, but if not, taking a tour – crawling, walking, or perched in a hearse – you’ll absorb an array of some pretty petrifying tales in one of America’s most haunted cities.