Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Our Ghostly Misadventure In Savannah

Sorrel-Weed House
 Barry, the affable and southerly guide for the ghost tour my wife and I recently took in Savannah insists there is a difference between a ghost and a spirit. A ghost, he says, “is circular, repeating the same thing again and again.” A spirit, on the other hand, “is linear – and back for unfinished business.” Dave, the affable and northerly blogger insists he is full of shit.

Regardless, we encamped in a “trolley” for the hour tour around nighttime Savannah to be regaled by stories that included (of course): orphans who died in a fire, a woman who drowned (but really didn’t) on Friday the 13th, and the ghost (or spirit, I forget) who walks through the cemetery.

The “highlight” of the excursion (if you discount the drunk who stuck his head into the trolley and yelled “boo!” while we were waiting to leave) was a slow drive past the Sorrel-Weed House. The short story is that Francis Sorrel was caught by his wife having an affair with a slave. The distraught wife tossed herself off a second story balcony. Two weeks later, the slave was lynched and hung in the attic. This was terrible for all those involved in pre-Civil War Savannah society, but great news for the hawkers of ghost tours in 2011.

What really cemented this house in the ghost tour itinerary, however, was the Sci-Fy show “Ghost Hunters,” which profiled the house in 2005. During their time on the property, they recorded, on something called an EVP, the voice of a woman saying, “Get out, get out – help me – oh my God.”

So, for non-believers like my wife and me, Barry played the recording. Admittedly, I have never heard a ghost or spirit. But this I can report, the recording played more like a podcast than that of a ghost. In fact, in some ways it was more intelligible than our guide’s southern drawl.

The only comment my wife made upon hearing this was, “I want to come back here tomorrow and see this house in the day time. It is gorgeous!”

One conclusion I came to is that ghosts and spirits seemed to have largely gone the way of the horse and carriage. That is to say, they are dated. All the stories we heard were well over a hundred years old. Where’s the story about the salesman who died on the treadmill in the Marriott last week and now haunts the hospitality room looking for a bottle opener and a hooker?

Maybe the afterlife has free Wi-Fi and so there is no need to stick around, unfinished business or not. Or maybe, just maybe, ghosts and sprits don’t exist!

The tour did provide us with plenty of sightseeing opportunities that we made mental notes of for the next day. The Colonial Park Cemetery was one of them. Barry told us that a spirit walks back and forth and once sat next to an art student on a bench. (Neither the spirit nor the art student is available to confirm this.) We didn’t see the spirit or the art student, but we did see a dog pissing on someone’s grave. Or did we?

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