Savannah’s Haunted Eliza Thompson House


In September, my husband and I stayed at the infamous 17Hundred90 Inn, Room 204. On Monday, April 22, we’ll return to Savannah for a night in the 166-year-old Eliza Thompson House. Will I finally have a bona fide paranormal experience?

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The Ghosts of Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery

haunted bonaventure cemetery

My husband and I packed up the kids and headed to Beaufort, SC last Wednesday only to have our car break down about an hour outside of Savannah, GA (at two in the morning, no less). AAA towed the vehicle to a repair shop about mile or two from Savannah’s famed Bonaventure Cemetery, so we stopped by the grounds after picking up the car. We missed the cemetery during our last visit to Savannah, so I was glad for the opportunity to check it out.

The Bonaventure Cemetery is over 150 years old and famous for the “Bird Girl” statue which appeared on the cover of John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The statue has since been moved to a nearby museum, but guests still flock to Bonaventure to gaze at the cemetery’s elaborate tombs, headstones, and carvings. The sprawling cemetery is also home to a few ghostly legends.

The Legend of Gracie Watson
Little Gracie Watson is one of Bonaventure Cemetery’s most famous residents. According to a plaque at Gracie’s grave, the “beautiful and charming little girl” died of pneumonia at the age of six, and legend has it Gracie now haunts the striking statue carved in her honor. Many visitors leave coins and toys at Gracie’s grave, and some say the little girl cries whenever someone removes the trinkets. Others say tears of blood flow from the statue’s eyes. Bonaventure officials have fenced off Gracie’s grave to protect it from visitors’ grasping hands, but some claim the fence is meant to contain Gracie’s playful spirit.

Gracie didn’t cry or laugh when we were there, though she did allow us to take lots of photos.

bonaventure cemetery gracie watson

bonaventure cemetery

gracie watson grave

gracie watson savannah

Statues That Come Alive
Dozens of beautiful, elaborately-carved statues adorn Bonaventure Cemetery. However, legend has it the statues don’t always stay put. Angel sculptures reportedly beam or grimace, and a statue named Corinne (below) is said to smile at visitors she fancies. Eerie sounds also surround the lifelike statues, such as the sound of a crying baby near an infant’s grave or giggling children near the tomb of a child.

angel statue

angel sculpture

corinne bonaventure cemetery

Hell Hounds
Per local lore, Bonaventure Cemetery is also home to a pack of hell hounds that bark and snarl at lingering guests. No one’s ever seen the dogs, but some visitors claim to have felt the creatures’ breath on their heels or heard angry barks in the distance. Thankfully, the hostile dogs didn’t make an appearance during our visit. We did see this little guy though.

bonaventure cemetery dog

As with many cemeteries, Bonaventure, to me, felt more peaceful than paranormal, more serene than sinister. Has anyone out there experienced something strange at Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery?


A Guide to Haunted Savannah

savannah river walk

Looking for spooky places in Savannah, Georgia? Here are a few of the city’s most haunted hotels and restaurants (complete with map below). Eat, sleep, and be scared!

17Hundred90 Inn

haunted hotel savannahThe 17Hundred90 Inn was originally three separate residences but is now one of the oldest inns in Savannah. According to local legend, a young woman named Anna committed suicide after leaping from a window in Room 204. Given its history and tragic reputation, it’s not surprising that ghosts reportedly roam the halls of the historic property. In fact, Savannah tour guides often refer to the 17Hundred90 Inn as “the most haunted hotel in the most haunted city in America.”

Employees tell of pots and pans rattling in an empty kitchen and mysterious crashes in vacant guest suites. One staff member heard a man’s voice in the courtyard and felt hands pressing against her back. However, most of the paranormal activity takes place in Anna’s old dwelling, Room 204. Guests have startled awake to the sound of shattering glass or the sight of a shadowy figure standing near the foot of the bed. Women leave their jewelry or toiletries one place only to find them somewhere else a few hours later.

Read about my experience in Room 204

307 East President Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
(912) 236-7122

The Kehoe House

haunted kehoe houseIrishman William Kehoe built The Kehoe House in 1892, and lived in the stately home with his wife and ten children. The house has also served as funeral home and private residence of quarterback Joe Namath (who was going to turn it into a nightclub), but today operates as a four-star bed and breakfast. Though many residents have come and gone, it’s William’s children who reportedly haunt the historic building.

Legend has it a pair of twins from the Kehoe family died after playing in a fireplace. Guests often hear children laughing and playing in the hall, though few kids stay at the high-end bed and breakfast. Rooms 201 and 203 are particularly active, with reports of a child appearing and disappearing and an unseen entity sitting on the bed. Other unnerving events include lights that turn on in empty rooms and a doorbell that rings when no one’s at the door.

123 Habersham Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
(912) 232-1020

The Marshall House

haunted marshall houseBuilt in 1851, The Marshall House is Savannah’s oldest hotel and perhaps one of the city’s most haunted establishments. The four-story building has served as a hospital for Civil War soldiers, as well as victims of yellow fever, and many believe ghosts roam the 161-year-old facility.

Eerie events at The Marshall House include faucets that turn on and off, lights that flicker without explanation, and disembodied voices that ring throughout the halls. Renovation efforts have also turned up bones buried beneath the floorboards, bones historians believe came from the amputated limbs of Confederate soldiers.

123 East Broughton Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 644-7896

The Eliza Thompson House

haunted eliza thompson houseBuilt in 1847, Savannah’s Eliza Thompson House was home to cotton dealer Joseph Thompson, his wife Eliza, and the couple’s seven children. Joseph died in 1855, and Eliza managed the home until her death in 1875. The historic home is now an inn.

Ghost sightings at The Eliza Thompson house include a Confederate soldier in an upstairs window and a young woman in white who wanders the hallways. Room 132 is a hotspot for paranormal activity, with one guest reporting the sound of child’s gleeful laughter and an invisible presence at the foot of the bed. Sightings of a Confederate soldier’s torso are also common. Read about my stay in the Eliza Thompson House.

5 West Jones Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
(912) 236-3620

Olde Harbour Inn

haunted olde harbour innThe Olde Harbour Inn dates back to 1812, though the original building was destroyed in a fire eighty years later. The owners rebuilt over the stone foundation, and the building served as an oil company and an overall and blue jeans factory before sitting vacant over 20 years. It was re-opened as the Olde Harbour Inn in 1987.

Rumor has it a ghost named Hank reportedly haunts the historic, upscale inn. Guests report coins dropping from the ceiling, cigar smoke when no one’s around, and objects that disappear from one spot only to reappear in another.

508 East Factors Walk
Savannah, Georgia 31401
(912) 234-4100

East Bay Inn

haunted east bay innBuilt in 1852, the East Bay Inn building has served a number of purposes, including a space for cotton merchants, a steam bakery, foreign consul offices, and cotton and grocery warehouses. The building sat vacant from 1965 to 1983 and was re-opened as the East Bay inn in 1984.

Legend has it that a ghost named Charlie haunts the historic property. Guests and staff have seen a man in a dark suit and top hat who stares off into space before fading away. Some visitors have startled awake to the sound of heavy footsteps outside their room followed by a jigging of the doorknob. Flickering lights and disappearing objects are also common.

225 East Bay Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
(912) 238-1225

Olde Pink House

haunted olde pink houseRevolutionary war hero James Habersham Jr. originally owned the house at 23 Abercorn Street which is now a five-star restaurant known as the Olde Pink House. Habersham reportedly haunts the 241-year-old building, along with a few mischievous spirits who tap bartenders with wine bottles and toss dice against the walls. Patrons and staff also see apparitions at the bar and hear a woman sobbing on the second floor.

Olde Pink House
23 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 232-4286

Moon River Brewing Company

haunted moon river brewing companySavannah’s Moon River Brewing Company has a reputation for being one of the most haunted buildings in the city. Employees have witnessed bottles flying off shelves, silverware sliding off dining room tables, and shadowy figures roaming through the building.  A hostile spirit who once pushed a foreman’s wife down a flight of stairs has thwarted all efforts to renovate the upper floors of the restaurant have been thwarted. The brewery fittingly serves a custom-made beer known as Apparition Ale. Learn more.

21 West Bay Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 447-0943

The Pirates’ House

haunted pirates houseThe Pirates’ House has served guests since 1753, making it one of the oldest restaurants and taverns in Savannah. Seamen and pirates flocked to the establishment due to its proximity to the Savannah River, and legend has it more than few patrons passed out drunk in The Pirate’s House only to wake up on a ship headed to a distant port.

Eerie events at the historic restaurant include shadowy forms that appear in the corner of one’s eyes, laughter that erupts from empty rooms, and furniture that rearranges itself after closing. The heavy atmosphere of The Pirate’s House has also made a few guests and staff members sick.

20 East Broad Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-5757

17Hundred90 Restaurant

haunted 17 hundred 90 inn restaurantThough Anna in Room 204 gets most of the attention from guests and ghost hunters, the restaurant at the 17Hundred90 Inn reportedly has a spirit or two of its own. Legend has it a hostile apparition lurks around the kitchen and dining room, jangling her bracelets at female guests and shoving them from behind. One of Savannah’s most famous ghost pictures shows a woman reflected in the restaurant’s dining room mirror after the restaurant had closed and staff had gone home for the night.

307 East President Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 236-7122
Six Pence Pub

haunted six pence pubLocated in Savannah’s historic district, the Six Pence Pub reportedly harbors a number of spirits. The kitchen staff talks of pots and pans that jump off counters and fly from shelves, while a former manager saw the chair in her office spin around and roll across the floor. The pub has also had problems with a plummeting thermostat and light bulbs that pop out of their sockets.

245 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-3151

The Rail Pub

haunted rail pubThe Rail Pub opened its doors in 1890 and has served as brothel and boarding house as well as a pub. The establishment got its name from the day laborers who used to wait for work on the nearby railroad. A paranormal investigation team explored the property in 2010, and noticed flickering lights, the strong smell of perfume, and high EMF readings.

405 West Congress Street
Savannah GA 31401
(912) 238-1311


Creepy Photo of the Day: The Ghost at 432 Abercorn Street

432 abercorn ghost photo

This photo from bethdolgner.com shows what appears to be a forlorn looking child staring out the window of  Savannah’s famously haunted home at 432 Abercorn Street. Legend has it a girl died in the house after her father tied her to a chair and left her to die of heat exhaustion. Could this be her or is it merely a case of extreme pareidolia?

Got a creepy pic? Send your ghost photo to ghostsghoul@gmail.com or submit your true ghost story here!