The Haunted South


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Savannah's Ghostbuster

Savannah Ghost Research Society founder Ryan Dunn might just know more about Savannah’s spooks than any other human being, living or dead. He and his team have conducted more than 100 different cases in and around Savannah, with highlights eventually making their way onto his Afterlife Tours. Thoroughly researched and fact-based, each of his hauntings speaks to the often terrifying history of Savannah.

 

South magazine contributor Barry Kaufman is participating in a “lock in” at Moon River, overnighting among its famous ghosts with Ryan Dunn and his team. Check out southmag.com when we unveil the ghostly footage this Halloween, Oct. 31.

Welcome to Milledgeville

For generations, it was seen as the ultimate threat for misbehaving children,  barked by parents at the end of their rope. “If you keep that up, I’m sending you to Milledgeville!”

Any child who wasn’t, well, crazy would immediately follow the impulse of that chill up their spine and do as they were told. No one wanted to be sent to Milledgeville. There were stories, so many stories, that carried the weight of that parental threat. Stories of patients locked up against their will, penned in like animals. Stories of maniacal doctors who would lobotomize their patients, scooping out their brains and leaving them nothing but shambling zombies. Stories of raving madmen pounding their heads against padded walls until electroshock therapy reduced them to drooling terrors. Stories of unimaginable horror.

They were stories, designed to scare children into minding their parents. And sadly, they were stories that carried a kernel of tragic truth.

Opened in 1842 as the Georgia Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum, Milledgeville was, at first, a bastion of humane treatment. Or, at least it was in comparison to the previous care that the mentally ill received, which was often a life on the streets or an early grave. Dr. Thomas A. Green, who ran the asylum for 34 years, abolished rope and chain restraints and would often dine with the patients.

But as the years went on, the asylum became overcrowded as the definition of “insane” became stretched to their limits. Anyone who was determined a little bit “off” earned a spot in the asylum, and as their numbers grew, any pretense of care was drowned out by the screams of its victims.  By the end of the 1950s, the Atlanta Journal Constitution found thousands of patients being cared for by just 48 doctors, none of whom were psychiatrists and some of whom were themselves patients at the asylum.

Central State Hospital was founded as the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum in Dec. of 1842. More than 25,000 patients are buried in unmarked graves throughout the hospital grounds.

The Friendly Ghosts of the Foley House

As I turned a corner of the Foley House Inn, I startled the desk attendant. “Oh, sorry,” she gasped. “Around here, I have to make sure you’re human.” The halls of the historic home are known for being haunted, but their guests of the supernatural variety tend to be more helpful than harmful. “A gentleman woke up the other night and said it felt like someone was trying to make the bed,” she told me. “They’re pretty polite.”

“Around here, I have to make sure you’re human.”

Another legend involves a man in a top hat. Rumor has it that the man was courting the original owner, Honoria Foley, when he snuck into her room one evening. Surprised, she hit him with the first thing she could grab – a candlestick – killing him instantly. During a 1980s renovation project contractors turned up a skeleton in the walls. Was it the slain man? Obscured by time, the truth of the story evades us - but imaginative minds can speculate.

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Events Calendar

  • A Savannah Scavenger Hunt: Historic Savannah Adventure

    Feb 19, 2020
    8:00 AM - 10:00 PM @ Savannah

    Explore beautiful Savannah. Steeped in Civil War history, you will be sure to find some new-to-you spots. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a...

  • Dailey & Vincent's LandFest 2020

    Sep 17, 2020
    3:00 PM - 11:00 PM @ Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

    Dailey & Vincent’s LandFest In The Mountains & On The Lake 2020 marks the festival's 7th anniversary of bringing the best American music to fans!...

  • Free Fort Pulaski Days

    Jan 20, 2020
    All Day @ Fort Pulaski National Monhument

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  • 39th Annual Savannah Jazz Festival

    Sep 20, 2020
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  • Prohibition Cocktail Classes

    Jun 22, 2020
    6:00 PM @ American Prohibition Museum

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  • Mile Long Yard Sale

    Sep 25, 2020
    10:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

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  • Master Bourbon Music Festival

    Sep 26, 2020
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  • Charleston Beer Festival

    Sep 26, 2020
    1:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ Riverfront Park

    Thousands of beer enthusiasts and newbies alike will enjoy a day of craft beer, live music, and games, all to benefit a great cause. Charleston...

  • Coasters, Drifters and Platters

    Sep 26, 2020
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

    Live in Concert! "The longest running music show in Las Vegas History" - The Drifters, Cornell Gunter's Coasters and The Platters. Three rock and...

  • The Fast and The Furriest Trail Run

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  • Georgia State Clogging Festival

    Oct 03, 2020
    12:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

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  • Nine Line Run for Wounded 5K/10K

    Oct 03, 2020
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

    Join the Nine Line Foundation and Nine Line Apparel this Armed Forces Day, Oct 3, 2020, for our 7th Annual 5K/10K Run for...

  • Casting Crowns: Only Jesus Tour w/Special Guest Matthew West

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    All Day @ Savannah Civic Center

    GRAMMY® winning multi-platinum group Casting Crowns has announced plans to extend its widely popular Only Jesus Tour into 2020, following...

  • 16th Annual Tybee Island Pirate Fest

    Oct 08, 2020
    All Day @ Tybee Island

    Escape the ordinary… if only for a weekend. Join us for the 16th Annual Tybee Island Pirate Fest! Entertainment includes live music, pirate...

  • Georgia Mountain Fall Festival

    Oct 09, 2020
    10:00 AM - 7:00 PM @ Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

    Look forward to the 2020 Fall Festival! With its mild temperatures and beautiful scenery there is no better place to be than the North Georgia...

  • 2020 SMF Fall Concert — Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers

    Oct 09, 2020
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  • Roots & Boots 90’s Electric Throwdown tour featuring Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin and Collin Raye

    Oct 10, 2020
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    The Roots & Boots 90’s Electric Throwdown Tour featuring legendary country artists Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw, and Collin Raye is coming to the...

  • 2020 SMF Fall Concert — Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

    Oct 17, 2020
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Johnny Mercer Theatre

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  • Pickin' & Shuckin' with Beer & Bubbles

    Oct 17, 2020
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    A toast to island style in a sunset evening with roasted oysters and pig pickin' on the lawn in front of the beautifully restored Tybee Post...


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Scenes of the South

Showing Appreciation for Savannah's First Responders

Harris Lowry Manton LLP presents their 7th Annual First Responder Appreciation Event in Savannah, GA.

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Ring the Bell Twice

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A Fabulous Derby With Woodford Reserve

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Zoom in to Kendra Scott's Newest Collection

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