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

  • GratiTuesday Program with Liz Massey

    Feb 25, 2020
    12:00 PM - 1:30 PM @ Savannah Power Yoga

    Gratitude! What is it good for? Our general well-being!   Studies now show that the practice of gratitude actually enhances our immune systems....

  • 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...

  • Nature and the Arts: Botanical Art and Illustration

    Feb 25, 2020
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ One Hundred Miles (OHM), Savannah Office

    Nature and the Arts: Botanical Art and Illustration Tuesday, February 25th • 6:00-8:00 pm OHM Savannah Office - 2424 Drayton Street, Savannah,...

  • 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....

  • 2020 Tak Argentinis Valor Awards

    Feb 27, 2020
    6:15 PM - 9:00 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Join us as we honor some of the area’s most courageous first responders at the 2020 Valor Awards. Awards are presented to law enforcement, fire...

  • 2020 Tak Argentinis Valor Awards

    Feb 27, 2020
    6:15 PM - 9:00 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Join us as we honor some of the area’s most courageous first responders at the 2020 Valor Awards. Awards are presented to law enforcement, fire...

  • Second Annual Royal Flush Casino Night

    Feb 27, 2020
    7:00 PM - 11:00 PM @ Savannah Station

    Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah will present its Second Annual Royal Flush Casino Night on Thursday, Feb. 27, benefiting the Coastal Empire...

  • Run Free Trail Run

    Feb 29, 2020
    7:30 AM @ Hunting Island State Park

    Join us for our inaugural Run Free Trail Run on February 29, 2020 at Hunting Island State Park. Choose from the 5k, 5 mile, or 10 mile option - or...

  • ESPN Diabetes 5K Race

    Feb 29, 2020
    8:00 AM

    Join us as we help build awareness, education and support for locals fighting Diabetes through this family friendly Run/walk event. A little...

  • Red Cedar 5k Race

    Feb 29, 2020
    9:00 AM @ Red Cedar Elementary

    The 9th Annual Foxes Trot 5K, a family friendly race, will be held on March 9, 2018. This annual event has now become a student project,...

  • 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,...

  • 17 Gun Salute Sporting Clay Benefit Tournament for SD Gunner Fund

    Feb 29, 2020
    12:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ 17 South Rod and Gun Club

    The 17 Gun Salute Sporting Clay Benefit Tournament will be held at 17 South Rod and Gun Club to benefit the SD Gunner Fund. There will food...

  • “Does the Earth Really Orbit the Sun? Thinking Scientifically vs. Believing What We See”

    Mar 04, 2020
    7:00 PM - 8:30 PM @ Savannah Country Day School

    Savannah Country Day School's Faculty Explorations lecture series continues with a lecture by Science Department Chair Adam Weber. About this...

  • Savannah Antiques & Architecture Weekend

    Mar 05, 2020
    6:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Various Locations, Downtown Savannah, Georgia

    The Annual Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend is a three-day series of presentations, tours, appraisals, a glittering gala, and a cocktail...

  • First Fridays in Starland

    Jun 07, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Starland District

    First Fridays in Starland celebrates local business, art, and food in Savannah’s coolest neighborhood! Join us every First Friday of the...

  • The McCartney Years

    Mar 06, 2020
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Hailed by the original Beatles promoter as "The Best on the Scene," The McCartney Years is a period-true, technically stunning and explosive live...

  • Chick Fil A Benefitting Young Life 5K

    Mar 07, 2020
    6:30 AM @ Savannah Harbor Golf Club

    Rise and Run with Chick-fil-A at the 4th annual 5k and 1 mile youth event benefiting Young Life Savannah. Bring out your Cow Costume a make it a...

  • Coastal Home & Garden Show

    Mar 07, 2020
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Crystal Coast Civic Center

    Turn all of your home and garden dreams into reality at the 32nd Annual - Coastal Home & Garden Show. With over 12,000 Sq Ft of exhibits , this is...

  • ELLA Foundation’s Charity Lee to Host Book Signing at The Foundery Coffee Pub on March 7

    Mar 07, 2020
    1:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Foundery Coffee Pub

    WHAT:  Charity Lee Book Signing Event. The ELLA Foundation founder and Executive Director Charity Lee will sign copies of her powerful new memoir...

  • Foundation for Educational Excellence’s Annual “Jewels & Jeans” Event

    Mar 07, 2020
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM @ Hilton Head Beach & Tennis Club

    Join us at the Foundation for Educational Excellence’s annual “Jewels & Jeans” event on Saturday, March 7 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Hilton Head...


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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.