Where in the world is Enocha?

I’m still alive.

Like everything else this past year, my focus has had to shift. That means I’ve been spending more time on creating videos for my TikTok and working to relaunch my YouTube channel.

Tourism is down across the country, and Savannah is no exception. When I started this blog, I had hoped that things would pick up soon. Now I’m not sure when that’s going to happen.

This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on blogging. Salt Waves & Spanish Moss will continue. It just means that the direction will be shifting to match my TikTok and YouTube content.

What does that mean? Lots of ghost stories!

I love researching Savannah’s history and haunts. My plan is to do a deep dive into some of Savannah’s most famous (and infamous) stories.

I will still be posting about local shops, artists, and restaurants to check out on occasion.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out my TikTok and YouTube. you can also help support my new endeavor by shopping my artwork on Redbubble.

Hidden Savannah cemeteries

This time of year Bonaventure Cemetery and Colonial Park Cemetery are crawling with tourists hoping to catch an orb in a picture or hear a disembodied voice whispering something terrifying. But these aren’t the only cemeteries with a spooky past.

Any tour guide will happily tell you that Savannah is a city built on the dead. As the original colony grew, graves were relocated to make way for progress, but it’s a lot easier to move a headstone than to move a casket.

Even now, it’s not entirely uncommon to find bones during downtown building renovations.

I could spend all day telling you about that, but that’s what my TikTok is for. Instead, I’m going to tell you about four hidden cemeteries you should check out next time you visit.

The 1733 burial plot for Savannah’s Jewish community

Resting in the middle of Oglethorpe Avenue between The Collins Quarter and The Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah is a marker covered in stones. This is the only visible reminder of Savannah’s first burial plot for the Jewish community in use from 1733 to 1765.

Savannah is home to Georgia’s first Jewish congregation and the third in U.S. history. Not long after the first ships carrying English colonists arrived, Jewish families started the same trek hoping to find better treatment in The New World.

Bonaventure Cemetery has a very large Jewish section, including the burial site of the cremains of Holocaust victims. But before Bonaventure, there was a burial plot on the outskirts of the colony.

Time and progress may have swallowed this cemetery, but if you walk around the back of the marker, you can see the names of those who were laid to rest there. This is by no means a complete list just the 17 names that could be found.

One name sticks out. Sheftall Sheftall “died very young”. According to the plaque, he died by being fed acorns by his nurse. I have so many questions about this.

De Lyon – De la Mota Cemetery (or the Levi Sheftall family burial grounds)

I’m not sure if Levi Sheftall and Sheftall Sheftall were related. It’s certainly a possibility.

This tiny cemetery was founded in 1773, and according to the plaque on the outside, was used for 80 years.

It is closed to the public and tucked away behind Garrison School for the Arts and some college student apartments.

You can still peak in from the outside though. Quite a few of the graves closest to the gate looked like children’s graves.

I think it important to recognize this cemetery because it’s easy to miss, and it’s important to realize how big of a part the Jewish community has played and continues to play in Savannah.

In case you’re wondering about the rock

“The Old Negro Burial Grounds” (Don’t come at me. That’s what it was historically called. I didn’t name it.)

Under the Calhoun and Whitefield Squares are countless bodies from 1763 to 1851. This property wasn’t just used as a burial ground for slaves. It’s also where free Black people were buried.

The historical documents call it “The Old Negro Burial Grounds”. Some of the graves were later moved to Laurel Grove Cemetery, but as is the case with every other old cemetery in town, not all the bodies were moved.

The two squares were built on top of the cemetery with no mention of what the land was before. There are no monuments, no statues, no plaques, no markers.

Whitefield Square has a gazebo and Calhoun Square has some benches. That’s it.

Recently, there’s been a bigger push to have the squares renamed and visibly recognized as a burial ground. I really hope that happens soon.

You can read more about it and find a link to sign the petition here.

LePageville Cemetery

I found out about this cemetery after a TikTok follower emailed me about it.

LePageville was built in 1885 as an affordable rental community for Black railroad workers in Savannah.

For decades, it was a thriving community with a church, a graveyard, and a storehouse (similar to a grocery store), but when the railroad industry took a turn in the 1930s, it was the beginning of the end for LePageville.

In 1967, the community was closed and residents moved elsewhere. The dead didn’t go with them though.

Many of the markers were simple and made of wood. Over time, they fell apart or were forgotten. We have no idea how many people are still buried there.

A news article I found from a few years ago said there was hope of coordinating with Savannah State University to scan the area with ground penetrating radar in order to identify graves, but I haven’t found any follow ups to see if they did.

If you search Lepageville Drive in Google maps, you can find the location of the cemetery. There isn’t much there right now, but my hope is that work will continue to identify who was left behind.

Trips there should always be done with a partner. There’s a homeless camp nearby, and while most of the homeless here are just people trying to get through life like everyone else, some do have mental health issues. Mental health issues + poor diet + poor sleep = unreasonable reactions sometimes. So play it safe.

Moon River Brewing Company: my favorite haunted restaurant

Since it’s October, and that means the weather cools off a bit (it’s slightly less humid), I’ve been getting a lot of requests for my favorite haunted and creepy spots to visit in Savannah. Moon River Brewing Company is always one of my recommendations.

The food is good, the beer is fantastic, and there are plenty of ghosts to haunt your Halloween dreams.

The brewery was not named for the Johnny Mercer song from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, even though a local river was renamed in honor of the song. It was actually the result of a late night brainstorming session by the owners before they opened. One wanted a celestial name and the other suggested they add “river” because it’s close to the Savannah River. But if you want to tell yourself it was inspired by Audrey Hepburn sitting on a fire escape while strumming a guitar, you go right ahead.

Aside from the good food and beer, Moon River attracts people because of it’s haunted history.

The building was Savannah’s first hotel from 1812 to 1864. It was later used as a warehouse and then an office supply store, before finally becoming the brewery.

During its time as a hotel, it saw famous people, at least one deadly shooting, and a pair of lions. Yes, you read that right. Lions.

The lions would sit on the first floor during the day because the owner thought they made the hotel seem glamorous and hoped they would also dissuade people from starting fights.

In the evening, the lions were allegedly chained in the basement. Some people say they can still sense the presence of the once wild animals now eternally trapped in captivity.

Some believe the worn part of the posts is where the lions were chained.

I was talking with a friend who used to work there, and she told me there’s more than just lion ghosts in the basement.

She told me that several employees, including herself, have encountered a dark presence down there. She said the first time she saw it left her so traumatized that she refused to go down there alone after that.

Does a dark presence haunt this basement?

The ghosts that most people will tell you about at Moon River are the ones on the main and upper floors.

One is believed to be a hotel worker who died in the building. She’s known as Mrs. Johnson or the Woman in White. Mrs. Johnson is blamed for missing and moved tools, and people claim she pushed a construction worker’s wife down the stairs during remodeling.

The other ghost is James Stark. Stark, according to most sources I’ve found, was not a nice guy. His anti-Semitic words pushed a local doctor too far one day.

Dr. Phillip Minis challenged him to a duel since Stark refused to apologize for his hateful views of Minis and his faith. There was a disagreement over the time and place for the duel, and Stark ended up telling everyone in town that Minis was a coward. This all ended when the two came face-to-face on the main floor of the hotel that became Moon River. Shots were fired, Stark died, and a trial found Minis not guilty of murder.

Now it’s said that James Stark’s loathsome spirit haunts the first floor of the restaurant making life hard for workers, and occasionally, following people home to wreak havoc until he’s forced to leave.

So if you want to dine with the hottest of haunts, hit up Moon River Brewing Company next time you’re in town.

Moon River Brewing Company
21 W Bay St.
Savannah, GA

My favorite Savannah ghost tours

Okay. Let’s get one thing straight before I start. If you’re looking for historical accuracy, ghost tours really aren’t the place to look.

Savannah has plenty of historic tours you can choose from for that, but right now we’re looking at tours with the best ghost stories/experiences. Unless otherwise noted, all the tours are walking tours.

Blue Orb Tours

Blue Orb is the first ghost tour I ever went on, and I loved it! They do a fantastic job of storytelling and make you feel like you’re part of the ghost story.

They offer two different styles of ghost tour: the family-friendly version and the 18+ Zombie Tour. I’ve been on both. Personally, I like the Zombie Tour more, but I also don’t have kids.

You can find out more about costs and booking here.

Ghosts & Gravestones

I went on this tour once with visiting friends. They picked this tour because it was on a trolley, and they were tired from walking all day.

While driving around town doesn’t give a storyteller much time to convey the sense of dread you’d normally find in a ghost story, I thought the ghosts hosts made good use of their time.

Even though, most of the tour is spent riding around, the tour groups do get to go into two locations. Right now, those are the Andrew Low House and Perkin’s & Son’s Ship Chandlery.

As much as I love walking tours, I know there are people with mobility issues. Ghosts & Gravestones does offer accessibility help. They just ask that you contact them ahead of time, so they can prepare.

Hearse Ghost Tours

Always wanted to ride around in the back of a hearse, but didn’t want to die to get there? Your macabre dreams can come true on the Hearse Ghost Tour.

I’ve gone of this tour twice. It was fun, but it definitely depends on your driver/guide as is true with any ghost tour really. The first guide I had was a good storyteller. The second guy? Not so much.

But I did get to ride around in a hearse! The ride is a little bumpy though.

Click here for more info.

Sixth Sense Savannah Ghost Tour

Some of my derby teammates and I went on one of these tours a few years ago when the company sponsored our team. Part of it could have been because of my friends, but we all enjoyed ourselves.

The guide stopped to take EVP readings and replay them for us. At one point, he asked one of my teamies to try talking to the ghost of Casimir Pulaski in Polish. He caught a voice saying hello back to her.

I’m not sure if the EVP readings are a staple of the tour, but it was certainly a unique experience.

More here.

Savannah Supernatural Tours

Recently, I wrote an article for Do Savannah about how COVID was affecting the ghost tourism industry. Jodie, the owner of the tour company, was nice enough to let me tag along during one of his tours.

The crowd for his, and some of the other tours we passed, was certainly smaller than normal, but it put us in the mood to listen to Savannah’s struggles with yellow fever in the 19th century.

Jodie had great stories and periodically stopped to share tidbits about other Savannah things. Since some tours can feel scripted, that was a nice personal touch.

You can book a tour with Jodi here.

If COVID is keeping you from going out this Halloween, you can always catch up with my haunted and weird stories about Savannah on my TikTok.

Walking with a ghost at Fort Pulaski

October will be here tomorrow, and that means it’s time for haunted houses and ghost stories.

You may not think of Fort Pulaski as a place to checkout for something spooky, but in a spot where you can easily feel the echoes of the past, maybe you should.

Vash checks out the marks where the cannonballs.

You’ll find Fort Pulaski National Monument on Highway 80 between Savannah and Tybee Island. The spot had been used as various forts and defenses throughout Savannah’s history, but it was it’s incarnation as a Civil War fort that leaves it haunted.

It was a Confederate fort during the Civil War. In order to defeat them, Union soldiers set up a rifled cannon on Tybee Island and fired at the fort. The Confederates surrendered and were held as prisoners of war in their own fort.

If you’re not familiar with POW camps during the Civil War, it was pretty rough on both sides. It was especially hard for those at Fort Pulaski because basic supplies were in high demand but short supply. A lot of sickness and death followed.

Now the specters of those who fought and died at the fort can sometimes be spotted wandering the grounds. Some areas of the fort allegedly echo with the sounds of people dying and screaming in pain.

While that all sounds terrible, there is one story that makes me laugh. My favorite ghost story from Fort Pulaski involves extras from the film “Glory”.

Parts of “Glory,” starring Denzel Washington, were shot in and around Savannah. Before heading to set one day, a few extras dressed as Confederate soldiers decided to explore the fort. That’s when they say a Confederate officer stopped them and reprimanded them for not saluting him. After barking orders at them, they say he just disappeared.

Photo of re-enactors by the National Park Service

A different ghostly sound has been heard around the fort. It’s credited as being the site of Georgia’s first baseball game. On January 3, 1863, some Union soldiers decided to play. It was New York vs New York. (In case you’re wondering, New York won.)

Now some people claim to hear the crack of a bat and men yelling in excitement. I guess spending your afterlife playing baseball isn’t the worst thing.

Normally, Fort Pulaski offers a nighttime tour in October to talk about the history of death and the macabre, but I don’t think they’re offering that this year due to COVID restrictions. Still, you should like to fort on Facebook to keep up with events once its safe to have them again.

Storms over the past few years, left it with a lot of debris and damage. In a weird bright side to the pandemic, it’s given the NPS a chance to clean up and repair areas of the fort, making it even more accessible.

Aside from the fort itself, Fort Pulaski offers plenty of trails, a picnic area, fishing, and even a dog-friendly beach.

If you’re planning a Savannah visit, I highly recommend a day at Fort Pulaski. (And if you happen to see any ghosts, please let me know.)

Fort Pulaski National Monument
Savannah, GA 31410

A Randonauting adventure to an unknown cemetery

There are two things you should know about Savannah. 1. Everything is connected. 2. Time moves differently here.

A few weekends ago I was bored and the dogs were dying to get out and do something, so I decided to open my Randonautica app and go exploring. I did not expect it to take me to a park inside a cemetery I didn’t know about.

My youngest sister introduced me to Randonauting when she visited me back in July. For those of you who have never heard of it, Randonautica is an app that takes you to random places close to you.

When my sister and I tried, it kept trying to send us to Hunter Army Airfield or neighborhoods with limited parking, so we kind of gave up. But this time when I tried it, the app popped up a location I didn’t even know existed.

I had heard plenty about how Bonaventure Cemetery got started. I knew there was a plantation and that it burned down and maybe that’s why this other cemetery slipped past me.

Greenwich Cemetery is next to Bonaventure and was also built on the plot of a mansion that burned down. Since you have to drive through Forest Lawn Memory Gardens in order to get to Greenwich, maybe that’s also why I never noticed it.

As soon as I pulled into the cemetery, I was awestruck at how beautiful it was. The road winds along the outside of the cemetery giving you a fantastic view of the river.

Even though it shares some similarities with Bonaventure, Greenwich is definitely unique. Many of the headstones are more modern but have an artistic flair you rarely see in newer cemeteries. You can also still buy burial plots there.

The park inside it is right off the water and includes a little pond fed by the river. (Watch out for alligators. I haven’t seen any, but there’s always a risk in southern states like Georgia.)

When I was researching the cemetery, I found out that this is actually a spot where some couples choose to have their weddings. And it’s not just gothy/horror types getting married there. It’s just totally normal people. (I love it when normal people let their inner weirdness shine!)

If you want to read more about the insanely lavish the mansion that used to exist there, you can read more about it on Forest City of the South’s website.

This home had so much priceless art. When it burned down, much of it went with it, but you can still see some of the statuary at the Mary Telfair Museum downtown. (Seriously, if you’re an art lover, go read Forest City’s post. You will cry at what was lost.)

The only parts of the original property that you can still see are the stables and a fountain.

Remember how I said everything in Savannah is connected? There are two major stories with ties to Greenwich Cemetery.

When the mansion caught on fire, everyone escaped safely. One of the children was forced to jump out of a second story window. That little girl was Sandy West who grew to become a children’s book author and painter.

Ossabaw Island, the island she and her family moved to after the fire, eventually became an artists’s colony. Sandy was a huge advocate for not only the arts but also environmental preservation. She lived on the island until 2016 when she moved back to Savannah. (She’s still alive and kicking at 107.) You can read more about Ossabaw and how to visit it here.

The other connection to Savannah lore in the grave of Danny Hansford. His death and the four murder trials of Jim Williams are the main story of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. (There are a bunch of other stories in there that all tie together because EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED HERE!)

I know I’ve hinted at the story here and there, and I promise I will write a full post on The Book (and movie) eventually, but suffice it to say that poor Danny played an important part in Savannah’s history.

I won’t comment on his personal life. (He had a reputation around town.) I didn’t know him. In fact, he was killed a few weeks before I was born. That and the fact that it’s hard to dig up any info on him outside of the trial makes it very difficult to get a sense of him as a person.

His death at the hands of Jim Williams is one of those stories that people around town tell that seems ancient and recent at the same time.

Like I said, time moves strangely in Savannah.

Greenwich Cemetery

330 Greenwich Road

Savannah, GA

Exploring a Georgia ghost town

I love abandoned places! I will sit for hours watching urban explorer videos of forgotten mansions, creepy hospitals, and decaying theaters. Would I like to do all that myself? Yes, but I’m also one of those people who thinks of every little thing that can go wrong, and I’m also super allergic to mold. That said, I did find out about a ghost town located not too far from where I live, and I had to see it for myself.

Ebenezer was a settlement established by the Salzburgers a year after Savannah was colonized. The Salzburgers were Protestants living in what we now call Austria. They left because Europe was doing that thing where certain countries alternated between if it was cooler to be a Catholic or a Protestant. Suddenly, it wasn’t trendy to be a Protestant in Austria, so some of them packed up and headed to Georgia after an invite from King George II of Britain. (Not the King George from Hamilton. That’s King George the Third.) Those poor Salzburgers were not prepared.

There are actually two Ebenezers. The first was along Ebenezer Creek. Noble Jones (remember him from my Wormsloe post?) did his best to help the Salzburgers make it livable, but the creek was almost impassable and prone to flooding and the land wasn’t good for farming either. After two years and a bunch of deaths, the remaining Salzburgers moved to New Ebenezer on the Savannah River near modern-day Rincon. This was where I was headed. With my trusty Google Maps app, bug spray, and my fearless companions, Vash and Hemingway, we set off!

The drive out there was pleasant. Hemingway hung his head out the window for most of it. The scenery was mostly farmland and churches. The early days of religious settlers are still evident in the yards of the homes we passed. Many of them had crosses. I grew up in the Bible Belt, and I’ve never seen so many crosses in yards before. One yard even had a giant banner that read “Christ is the Answer”, which is funny because I thought the answer was 42. (If you get that joke, you get it.)

At the very end of Ebenezer Road, we found what remains of New Ebenezer. The Jerusalem Lutheran Church is the first building I spotted. The church was built in the mid 1700s and is actually still in use today.

The other buildings include a museum, which wasn’t open that day; the Salzburger House and Kitchen, that had a bunch of cool antiques inside; and the old parsonage. I wasn’t able to go inside any of the buildings, but I did take a few pictures through the windows.

Hemingway tried to go inside every building, and then as we headed over to the outdoor amphitheater, he made a dash for the river. Hemingway is my foster dog, and I don’t know a whole lot about his life before Renegade Paws Rescue, but I guess he has fond memories of a river because he really wanted to go for a swim. Fortunately, I was still holding his leash and was able to keep him from jumping into the fast current.

The amphitheater was simplistic but peaceful. The sounds of the running river and singing birds were soothing. I could easily imagine coming out here by myself to write.

After poking around for a while, Vash and Hemingway decided they wanted to be back in the car with the AC, and I certainly didn’t blame them. It was hot! If you decide to visit, I recommend going earlier in the day or during a cooler time of year. Also, wear closed-toed shoes. I ended up with burs stuck to one of my shoes.

I still wanted to find the site of Old Ebenezer. It’s on private property, but it is supposed to be marked, so I thought I could possibly see something from the road. On our way to track it down, I passed by Jerusalem Church Cemetery. You know I had to stop and check it out.

I saw an open gate from where I parked, but I couldn’t figure out how to get there. The road I assumed would take me to that gate was marked as private property, but I was able to take a few photos through the fence. They all ended up with weird glitches. Ghosts or just a foggy lens? That’s up to you to decide. I already plan to go back and explore the cemetery properly at a later date.

My attempt to find Old Ebenezer was also unsuccessful. My cell phone reception was spotty, which prevented me from searching for better directions. Next time I head out there, I’m going to attempt to contact the property owner to see if they’ll allow me to actually explore the original settlement. Until then, I leave you with this final picture of Vash checking out the statue of Ebenezer’s first pastor.

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