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Savannah has found big business in scaring the crap out of people. And what a beautifully haunting setting in which to be scared: Towering live oaks draped in Spanish moss cloak boulevards and squares in an otherworldly romanticism that turns downright spooky at night. Without knowing anything about the battles, diseases and deceit seeped into its soil, you can intuitively feel the city harboring dark and foreboding secrets … and ghosts, plenty of ghosts.

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Considered one of America’s most haunted cities, Savannah boasts more than 25 different ghost tours, ranging from haunted pub crawls to family-friendly spook walks to paranormal tours where guests are escorted around in a hearse. “Savannah is a city that is literally built on its dead,” says T.C. Michaels, founder and guide for The Best Savannah Tour Company. “It’s what’s underneath the ground that gives this place its special energy that is a magnet for the spirit world.”

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia

Michaels isn’t joking. A number of popular Savannah restaurants, shops and homes are built atop old cemeteries where bodies remain in the ground below. (Yes, you could very well be biting into that ceasar salad while the decayed bodies of Civil War-era dead rest in the soil beneath your feet.) The city, which was founded in 1733, is home to buildings that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries – ominous landmarks where mystery and intrigue has, according to locals, kept restless spirits shaking, rattling and rolling. And if you talk to locals in Savannah, you’ll likely hear a ghost story that isn’t on one of the official tours. Everyone here, it seems, has a first-person account.

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While this might inspire an eyebrow raise in some, it’s an adrenaline rush for millions of visitors to Savannah, where the city’s dark history, secrets and legends unfold at night during its ghost tours. Here are some of the spookiest spots in Savannah, which are featured prominently on most tours. Visit, if you dare.

Marshall House

Photo courtesy of the Marshall House

The Marshall House

Sleep with one eye open at this hotel. Built in 1871, the Marshall House hotel has a lot of paranormal activity attached to it – so much so, it’s actually become a selling point for the hotel. Once occupied by General Sherman during the Civil War, the hotel was later used as a Union hospital. Hotel workers and guests have reported seeing the ghosts of amputee soldiers roaming the halls, and smelling the odor of rotting flesh. Others have reported apparitions of ghostly children; laughter and the sound of running echoing through otherwise empty halls; faucets turning on and off; and other creepy happenings that might keep you up at night.

Colonial Park Cemetery

The oldest cemetery in Savannah, this has been a final resting place for residents since 1750. Only, its spirits don’t seem to want to rest. Visitors have witnessed shadowy figures movingbetween tombstones and burial vaults, and some have witnessed an eerie, green mist in the cemetery at night. More than 700 victims of the 1820 yellow fever epidemic are buried here, and legends of voodoo rituals and duels to the death are part of its lore. The most popular ghost attached to this cemetery, however, is Rene Rondolier. As the legend goes, Rene was caught after murdering two young girls inside the cemetery and lynched by an angry mob. Rene’s ghost has been reported wandering the cemetery and swinging by his neck from its “Hanging Tree.”

432 Abercorn

432 Abercorn | Flickr CC: Chuck Redden

432 Abercorn

This uninhabited home on Calhoun Square is arguably Savannah’s most infamous. Just walking past it gives passersby chills. It’s reportedly inhabited by multiple ghosts. Many have reported seeing shadowy figures in its windows, hearing strange noises and experiencing unexplained camera failure outside of the home. So many spooky stories abound about the death and mystery that have taken place inside of its walls since its construction ins 1868 – including a story about a father who accidentally killed his daughter, then took his own life – that it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. However, the mansion, which sits on some of Savannah’s priciest real estate, remains unoccupied by its current owners; they live in the carriage house behind the mansion. Perhaps they don’t wish to share a home with a host of otherworldly spirits …

12 West Oglethorpe Avenue

Thought to be built atop one of the first burial grounds in Savannah, this home (currently undergoing renovations to open as a restaurant in 2017) has a few stories attached to it. One involves a doctor who died in the house, along with his family, of yellow fever. Another involves the Church of Satan performing rituals inside the home. While neither story is substantiated (but make for excellent tales while visiting the home at night), ghost hunters and curious visitors have reported unexplained “shadow figures” and orbs emerging from the home, then vanishing.

Kehoe House

Kehoe House | Photo courtesy of the Kehoe House

Kehoe House

Originally built in 1892 and situated on Columbia Square, this haunted bed-and-breakfast has spooked guests with the sounds of children playing and laughing at odd hours of the night when there are no kids staying at the inn. At least one of Kehoe House‘s spirits has been known to interact with the living, as a handful of guests have experienced being touched while they slept – only to awake and find nobody there.

The Moon River Brewing Company

Be careful not to get too drunk here – you might find yourself talking to a ghost. Originally built in 1821, this building is a favorite with ghost hunters and paranormal TV shows. It once served as a hospital where hundreds of men, women and children died from yellow fever. Poltergeists that roam its staircases, halls and rooms include the spirits of children. In the basement, a nasty spirit that the staff has named Toby taunts those who venture downstairs.

Pirate's House

Pirate’s House | Flickr CC: Peter Broster

Pirate’s House Restaurant

This building dating back to 1753 was once a gathering place for sailors, criminals and Savannah’s most unsavory characters. Just imagine the drinking, fighting and killing that must have taken place here, back in the day – yikes! Its underground tunnels, today closed, lead to the river, and spooky accounts of moaning coming from within the tunnels continue to this day. Have a meal at this popular restaurant, and you mightencounter some of the ghostly figures that are said to haunt the place.

Sorrel-Weed House

This amber-colored mansion at the edge of Madison Square has a reputation of inspiring strange sensations in people, from nausea to feelings of being choked. Blame has been placed on the one-time owner, a wealthy plantation owner named Francis Sorrel who had an affair that ended in the suicides of two women—his wife and the female slave with whom he was having the tryst. Blame has also been placed on the geographical location of the home: It sits on where the Siege of Savannah, a battle during the Revolutionary War, took place.

Little Gracie at the Bonaventure Cemetery

Little Gracie at the Bonaventure Cemetery | Flickr CC: Kathy

Bonaventure Cemetery

This setting made famous in the murder mystery “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” is home to one of Savannah’s most famous spirits: Little Gracie. She is said to inhabit her lifelike cemetery statue. Visitors leave gifts for the ghost of the six-year-old girl, and legend says her statue cries bloody tears if a toy is removed.

The 17Hundred90 Inn

Request Room 24 at the 17Hundred90 Inn to meet this bed-and-breakfast’s eternal lodger, Anna. Legend says she became heartbroken when her sailor love skipped town, eventually committing suicide by hurling herself from the room’s window. Some say her spirit lingers in the room to this day—sobbing, standing by the bed and gazing out the window, awaiting her love’s return. In 2009, Miley Cyrus tweeted a picture of her encounter with Anna during a stay in the room while on a film shoot: a handprint on her boot, said to be left by the lovelorn poltergeist.

Savannah Theatre

Savannah Theatre | Flickr CC: Brandon

Savannah Theater

This is the oldest, continuously operating theater in the United States – and some of its employees and audience members, apparently, have never left the building. Strange occurrences and apparitions have been reported as far back as 1895. There’s the ghost actress “Betty,” who’s been seen on stage ready to perform. There’s the mischievous, yet unseen, child in the balcony, laughing. Then there’s the “Director,” who’s been heard shouting from an empty seat in the dark.

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Erica Bray

Erica Bray

Erica is a practical free spirit who loves travel, yoga and ice cream. A Northwestern University-trained journalist with more than 15 years of experience straddling digital and broadcast media, Erica can be found doing handstands everywhere she travels -- even risking arrest in some cases. Learn about her at

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