NEWS - Broad streets are canopied by giant, ancient oak branches stretching out seemingly forever. From these massive limbs hang swaths of Spanish moss, draped, making the roadways appear as romantic as they are eerie.
Savannah attracts 15 million tourists each year, drawn to this charming southern city by its alluring history, picturesque architecture, and world-class restaurants. But for those seeking more of a thrill (or chill!) during a stay in this beautiful city by the sea, there are many opportunities to be scared out of your wits.
There is no shortage of spookiness, perceived or real, in Savannah. Anyone making the trip to explore haunted locations will find no shortage, and many sites are open to the public.
Moon River Brewing Company
What could be a better combination than great Savannah-brewed craft beer and ghosts? Built in 1821 as a hotel, the building that now houses the Moon River Brewing Company has long been sought out for refreshing beer and paranormal activity.
After its years as a hotel, the social hub was used as a makeshift hospital numerous times during yellow fever outbreaks. It's unknown just how many souls died, but those struck with yellow fever may never have left the upper hotel floors.
But there have been multiple reports of ghost children seen wandering the hallways and lurking in the rooms upstairs, above the dining area.
The basement is said to be haunted by a ghost that the staff refers to as "Toby." Brave visitors who venture into the basement on a guided tour are said to sometimes feel his icy grip on their skin.
Each floor of this historic building is said to be haunted by its own unique ghosts. Whether it's the creepy "Lady in White" that can be seen floating down the halls of an upper floor or the ghost of a murdered man named James Stark that's said to haunt the stairwell where he was shot, there seems to be no shortage of ghostly activity in this place.
If you're brave enough to dine there, Moon River Brewers serves a full menu of incredible food and has a wide variety of craft beer. It's located in downtown Savannah at 21 West Bay Street.
At the end of the long and winding Bonaventure Road is the famous Bonaventure Cemetery. This burial ground sits on the site of the former Bonaventure Plantation, on the top of a bluff that overlooks the Wilmington River.
It was first developed as a private cemetery in 1846 before transitioning into a public cemetery at the turn of the last century. A stroll through these tree-lined grounds will yield some amazing photo opportunities with some unique cemetery architecture in the country.
The gravel pathways are dotted with large family plots and ornate mausoleums that look like they might be right out of a horror film.
The cemetery is also said to be one of the most haunted in the country. Perhaps its most famous ghost is the one belonging to Gracie Watson, the six-year-old daughter of a wealthy Savannah hotel owner who died of pneumonia more than 125 years ago.
There have been multiple reports of her spectral images being seen in Johnson Square at the former site of her father's hotel. But her grave has also developed a ghostly reputation.
Her family had a sculpture carefully carved into her likeness from a photograph. Tucked away in Section E of the cemetery you'll find her grave. It is often adorned with flowers and toys left by the tens of thousands of visitors she receives each year.
When her ghost isn't in Johnson Square, it's said to be darting around the tombstones of the Bonaventure Cemetery.
Sure to send a chill down your spine are reports that the eyes of her monument will sometimes cry blood.
Though the Bonaventure Cemetery closes to the public at 5 pm, there are plenty of opportunities for after-dark ghost tours of this spooky location.
Old Candler Hospital
It's no surprise to those attracted to ghostly lore that hospitals are among some of the most haunted places in the world. One old hospital in Savannah has such a reputation for otherworldly occurrences that it has cemented itself as one of the most haunted spots in the entire city.
The Candler Hospital was the first one to open its doors to patients. It was first chartered at the turn of the 19th century and would later host thousands of patients during various outbreaks of yellow fever in the city.
It was originally named the Savannah Hospital but later underwent a name change to Candler Hospital in 1931. It remained in its original location until it moved to more modern quarters in 1980.
But the original building is still there. It was purchased by the Savannah Law School, which had hoped to fully renovate the property. Sadly, this school folded in 2021. But several organized tours feature the old hospital building as a stop on their nightly ghost excursions.
Beneath the hospital is the morgue tunnel, where bodies were piled before being disposed of. These tunnels quickly filled during the yellow fever epidemic to the point that rumors would begin about more tunnels being built to accommodate them.
Though it's never been proven, it's said that tunnels were constructed under nearby Forsythe Park.
Rumors of mass graves on the old hospital property combine with the spookiness of an old hospital building long since abandoned to fuel some pretty spectacular ghost stories. Screams, cries, and footfalls can be heard coming from the abandoned tunnel.
But perhaps the creepiest encounter on the property happens at the old oak tree, referred to as "the hanging oak" for generations. It's said that on some nights, if you're unlucky enough, you'll see the spectral figures of the poor souls condemned to die hanging from its massive branches.
Colonial Park Cemetery
The oldest accessible cemetery in Savannah is known as one of the best places to glimpse ghostly happenings. People have reported an eerie green mist hovering over the graves after dark, as well as hearing otherworldly voices coming from beyond the stones.
The cemetery is said to have had over 10,000 burials, but there are only about 1,000 stones on the property. This is largely due to the number of mass graves the cemetery hosts.
Several plagues of yellow fever made quick burials necessary years ago, and many of the victims were laid to rest without any fanfare or even a marker to remember them by.
The most popular ghost story about this cemetery might not even be true, although it's a chilling tale nonetheless. It's said that a serial killer named Rene Rondolier was once caught murdering two children inside the cemetery walls.
The seven-foot-tall man was an easy person for the lynch mob to find. He was allegedly drug to a tree near the cemetery where he was hung. Legend has it that his ghost lurks in the cemetery at night, though there are no historical records of this man ever existing.
Savannah continues to be a busy tourist destination for travelers far and wide. If you plan on making a trip to this beautiful southern city and don't scare easily, it's worth taking the time out to take a guided haunted tour of the many places where the spirits of the dead are said to roam.