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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Greatest Destinations 2020

Greatest Professional Photographers 2020

Calling South’s Greatest Photographers! Are you a professional photographer with beautiful work? Enter South’s Greatest Photographers 2020!
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Events Calendar

  • Book Signing and Luncheon with Colleen Oakley

    Feb 19, 2020
    12:00 PM - 2:00 PM @ Chatham Club

      Join us for a luncheon with Colleen Oakley featuring her new book, You Were There Too. Tickets include lunch and a copy of Oakley's book. Two...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Quarter Finals II

    Feb 19, 2020
    4:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Skidaway Island United Methodist Church

    The second half of 28 quarterfinalists compete for a spot in the semifinals in the 2020 American Traditions Vocal Competition.  With an...

  • 2020 American Traditions Vocal Competition

    Feb 17, 2020
    4:30 PM - 9:30 AM @ Skidaway Island United Methodist Church

    The American Traditions Vocal Competition (ATC) returns for its highly anticipated 27th anniversary season Feb. 17-21, 2020. With an outstanding...

  • “Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao: Nationalism and Regionalism in Contemporary Spain”

    Feb 19, 2020
    7:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Savannah Country Day School

    SCDS Upper School Spanish instructor Michelle Dumais will explore the historical roots of the tensions between Spanish regionalism and nationalism...

  • Savannah Pennysaver Job Fair

    Feb 20, 2020
    10:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Lowcountry artists are invited to submit their works of art for The Society of Bluffton Artists’ (SOBA) 26th Annual Judged Show. Winners...

  • Confident Complexion – Love Your Skin at Bluemercury!

    Feb 13, 2020
    11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

    The beauty of makeup is that you’re in control of when and how you wear it—whether it’s to enhance, conceal or simply not to wear it at all....

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Semi Finals

    Feb 20, 2020
    4:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Skidaway Island United Methodist Church

    The 12 semifinalists compete for a spot in the finals as they sing their second program of American songs. The ATC requires singers to create...

  • Oglethorpe Mall Carnival

    Feb 20, 2020
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Oglethorpe Mall

    Experience the sights, sounds and aromas of the electrifying midway with rides and games for all ages, favorite fair food and Victoria Circus...

  • Sips for Spouses

    Feb 20, 2020
    5:30 PM - 8:00 PM @ Ghost Coast Distillery

    Who: Patriot Advantage, Hire Heroes USA and YOU! What: A fundraising event to benefit the nonprofit Hire Heroes: Serving Spouses Program Where:...

  • "Little Women"

    Feb 20, 2020
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, writer-director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) has crafted a “Little Women” that draws on both the classic...

  • Julilette Gordon Low Birthplace Groundbreaking

    Feb 21, 2020
    12:30 PM - 2:00 PM @ Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

    Girl Scouts of the USA is hosting an official groundbreaking ceremony to share information on current renovation work, future site highlights and...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Master Class

    Feb 21, 2020
    3:00 PM - 4:30 PM @ Savannah Cultural Arts Center: Ben Tucker Theatre

    Spend the afternoon with the judges as they work with contestants to perfect performances of select ATC songs. The ATC requires singers to create...

  • Magical Interventions feat. Ngil Mask, Fang People

    Feb 21, 2020
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Savannah African Art Museum

    Everyone knows that magic is everywhere and everyone knows that you should only use magic if it helps yourself and others. What if someone has...

  • AURA Fest: Underground Weekend

    Feb 21, 2020
    7:30 PM - 11:45 PM @ The Jinx

    AURA Fest: Underground Weekend at The Jinx February 22, 2020 Torche, Bask, Oakskin, SHEHEHE, Knightsquatch February 21, 2020 Inter Arma, CLOAK,...

  • Savannah Music Festival IPA Release featuring Roosevelt Collier & Jontavius Willis

    Feb 21, 2020
    7:30 PM - 9:30 PM @ Southbound Brewing Company

    On Friday, February 21, 2020, Savannah Music Festival and Southbound Brewing Co. will celebrate the release of this season's Wailin' IPA with a...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Finals

    Feb 21, 2020
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Savannah Cultural Arts Center: Ben Tucker Theatre

    Join the gala evening as finalists content for top prizes and the all-important ATC Gold Medal. The ATC requires singers to create three rounds of...

  • Retro Run 5K Race

    Feb 22, 2020
    8:00 AM @ Red Gate Farms

    The Retro Run is Feb 22nd at Red Gate Farms: 8am Kids Mile, 8:30 5k/10k start. Bring out the coolest clothing, hair and bling for this race. Finish...

  • Forsyth Farmer's Market

    Jun 29, 2019
    9:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ South end of Forsyth Park

    The Forsyth Farmers’ Market vendors offer a variety of local goods including seasonal produce, eggs, honey, pastured meat, bread, cheese,...

  • 17th Annual Savannah International Food & Wine Festival

    Feb 22, 2020
    3:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Hellenic Center

    Come eat and drink for a cause! You are invited to participate in the Savannah International Food & Wine Tasting. The Tasting offers guests...

  • Savannah Philharmonic Cinephile du joure

    Feb 23, 2020
    5:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension

    The Blue Heron Chamber Ensemble goes to the movies to bring you Chamber works by film composers. Flutist Jeana Melilli, pianist Ben Warsaw and...


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Scenes of the South

2020 Southern Coast Heart Ball

The American Heart Association held its annual Southern Coast Heart Ball on Saturday, February 8th at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa. Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with a silent auction, dinner and program, and dancing to end the evening. All proceeds went to the Open Your Heart campaign.

4th Annual Hearts for Healing Gala

Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center held its Fourth Annual Hearts for Healing Gala on Friday, February 7th at the Tybee Island Wedding Chapel. Guests enjoyed gourmet dining, dancing, and a silent auction. All proceeds from the auction benefitted the Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center's program for individuals with disabilities.

IDC Benefits the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire

The LeClerc Family owners of IDC (International Diamond Center) in Savannah 349 Mall Blvd held a benefit to support the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire on Thursday, February 6th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Guests enjoyed light food and drinks, while bidding on several silent auction items, including autographed footballs and helmets donated by Anthony Lanier II.

Royce Learning Center Annual Low Country Boil & Oyster Roast

The Royce Learning Center held their annual low country boil and oyster roast on Saturday, February 1st. Guests enjoyed mingling over the seafood selection. Royce Learning Center meets the needs of children and adults with learning differences and literacy needs through its unique programs.

Dining in the Dark 2020

The Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision held its annual Dining in the Dark event on Saturday, January 18th at the Embassy Suites Downtown Savannah. Guests were served a four-course meal in complete darkness by the Savannah Metro's SWAT team. Dining in the Dark serves to raise awareness about vision loss.

January Brews for a Cause

South magazine in collaboration with Southern Eagle Distributing hosted their monthly Brews for a Cause on Thursday, January 16th at the Savannah Taphouse in a successful effort to raise money and awareness for the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision. The night featured delicious appetizers by Savannah Taphouse and a range of flavored Bud Light Seltzers provided by Southern Eagle. These events provide good food, fun entertainment, refreshing drinks and most importantly – raise money for a great cause! Be sure to be on the lookout for our next Brews in February!

Ford Plantation's Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting for Silk Hope

The Ford Plantation celebrated the completion of its two new Silk Hope model homes on January 10, 2020. The Silk Hope project is limited to 53 homes, on beautiful lots of buyers’ choosing amongst old oaks and a Lowcountry marsh setting. This member-backed project is the first new for sale residential development at The Ford Plantation in more than fifteen years and represents the final phase of home development to be offered. The Silk Hope community is the product of a collaboration of some of the world’s top residential architects and landscape designers and has been modeled to capture tranquil European village and Lowcountry architecture.

Mat Best Signs his New Best-seller at Nine Line

Veteran, entrepreneur and author Mat Best met fans and signed copies of his new book “Thank you for my Service” Thursday Dec. 12 at Nine Line Apparel. Best’s best-selling authorial debut chronicles his service as a U.S. Army Ranger. Best's Black Rifle Coffee co., partnered with Nine Line Apparel, has shops on River st. and off route 95 on Ft. Argyle rd.

Victory Antiques and Engel & Völkers' Holiday Party

Dickey Mopper and his team at Engel and Völkers celebrated the season at their annual holiday party on Wednesday Dec. 11, with a special appearance from the jolly fellow himself, Santa Claus. Mopper and company, celebrating alongside the crew of Victory Antiques, showed off the newest Engel and Völkers office at 1650 East Victory Dr. in Savannah.

Good Times Jazz Bar & Restaurant's 2nd Anniversary Celebration feat. Lady Leah

Jazz lovers celebrated Good Times Jazz bar's second anniversary on Nov. 8 and 9 featuring jazz vocalist Lady Leah and the culinary stylings of Good Times' chef Joe Randall, the dean of southern cuisine. In 2017 Randall teamed with Danielle and Stephen T. Moore to create one of the city's smoothest spots, a confluence of culture and taste fit for the soul of Savannah.