Last Sunday evening, I found myself boarding a blue trolley outside of the Pirate’s House and embarking on a haunted tour. Off we went, and the Savannah freelance writer strikes again. Currently, I am working on my second book (this one will cover haunted hotels), and the Kehoe House recommended this tour company.
Joan Altmeyer was our guide, and she was a perfect mix of Southern Lady, Comedian, and Storyteller. She started giving the tours in spring of 1999. She made the tour a lot of fun! Joan said she hasn’t had any personal paranormal experiences, but she is a believer because of some of the things that have happened to her mother and grandmother. I asked her what her favorite Savannah ghost story was and she said she enjoys the Alice Reilly story, which focuses on Wright Square. “I think that things that really happen, history-wise, are much more fascinating than fiction. Alice Reilly was actually the first woman to be executed in Georgia, because of the murder.” Joan was recorded several years ago telling the story, and you can listen to it here: http://bit.ly/19VYvVv
For further reading about Savannah’s ghosts, Joan recommended Margaret DeBolt’s Savannah Spectres and Other Strange Tales.
Some of the highlights of the tour for me were getting to drive past the infamous Hampton Lillibridge House on East St. Julian St., seeing the old Savannah Women’s Asylum (actually an orphanage for girls) that is currently a private residence, and hearing about the Marshall House Hotel (a former union hospital).
As for the Kehoe House? Joan believes this former mortuary is a happy place, and there are stories of the Kehoe children returning to their childhood home after they have lived to old age elsewhere. Children are heard running around the third floor playing.
At dusk, reigning supreme over Columbia Square in downtown Savannah, the Kehoe House appears like a beautiful, happy home. Surely if it is haunted, it must be full of boundless, childlike energy, just like Joan’s version of the tale.
Stay tuned for when Oglethorpe Tours is allowed back into the Old Candler Hospital’s Morgue Tunnel! Access is currently denied due to the construction on the new law school. A sneak peek at what has been going on over there can be accessed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoMeeP53UUM&list=FLJNDOoyWBbQzJ0RXmH0rJFg&index=8
One of the great things for out of town guests is that the trolley will pick you up from your hotel in the historic district and drop you anywhere else downtown if you would like.