Savannah: City of The Dead (For The Living) - Part One The copyright of the article Savannah: City of The Dead (For The Living) - Part One is owned by Shannon Scott. Permission to republish Savannah: City of The Dead (For The Living) - Part One in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.
Imagine if you will, a city where the discussions of ghosts, hauntings and or the dead, are a daily part of community life. If you have trouble doing so, you're aware of a vital thread missing from American life these days but one that hasn't gone lost inside a place called Savannah.
So removed has this township been from the 21st Century that when modernism creeps in, its like anything or anyone entering is absorbed in a flash by the town's living past. Newly shaping that something but at the same time leaving it older. Perhaps only the younger journeyers find its powers so effecting or perhaps not. But the truth of this place is that this “rub” is felt by all those who seek it and those unassuming who don't realize that they are.
We've all had the experience of seeing a building and announcing matter of factly (with some disbelief), “hey that building is over 100 years old.” Understandingly, most in the same breath of that statement, also place 100 years between themselves and the object without realizing how close they are to it by the logic of time. The very years since something was built or created are right at the back of us at every moment. Every second is at the back of another second, every minute on another minute and pretty soon, 100 years or more is not so long ago when seen in that context. In that light the distant past becomes not so much and can be felt as if yesterday or that yesterday is always a part of the now.
The more we preserve anything old, be it a book or a building, the more we are able to literally connect or stay in touch with the past. It gives us roots, it grounds us, it supplies us with tools for every type of advancement. To destroy important relics is like reading a worthy novel, but then ripping out the first half or every other page and then giving it to a friend to read hoping that they will understand it or find the same lessons plus some. So you see, to do away with objects made with care, is to show carelessness for the past, but also the self and all of humanity. Within reason of course as every such moment has its conscious and unconscious variables, but generally speaking this is the moral dilemma that comes along with every moment that something old is discarded or bulldozed. In effect, to tend to the cultural old, the very substance of a culture's soul, may not be a guarantee for the future but it is a promise of a greater one.
So once more, what an amazing concept, having an object of the past, living in the present. There, actually before you! Like fallen from a wormhole into your modern realm. At a second glance, it seems impossible! Too fantastic! But yet there it is! You ask yourself or feel at some level, “How can this be?” Well then, what of a whole town then and one filled with the objects of life from the spirits of the past that dwelled here? Yet you see, its never gone anywhere. You are the one whom is new to IT. Man has been moving around it, era after era. It doesn't die per say – we do. Do you understand by now? We are the ghosts of Savannah. Floating in and around the place. To marvel or wonder at spirits in nature is merely to be astonished by our own reflection! Savannah is filled with lessons of our own mortality. It evokes flashback reminders that we are mere filler in this thing called Life. We are of course substantiating its existence with our own, but life comes with the knowledge that it will not last long for us. We all stumbled out of the dark, and we will all stumble back. Which is a part of the visitor's awe when absorbing Savannah as a place. Its survival envy. Savannah's endurance through time, its ability to withstand and recover. Its very existence refutes the nature of our own. People look upon Savannah and realize their mortality in a single glance. I humbly submit that a part of experiencing the joy of Savannah is that all at once we are asked to sound the depth of its sadness and this can invite some very deep feelings of lament. It is bitter sweet. It is love's splinter. Yet it is to honor Savannah and ourselves by allowing her to plumb our inner strings so that we might play something back to her.
Just as we might feel her tolling our depths, Savannah in the same moment will at least attempt to turn the experiencer back towards the sun. Because they look and see that here were people who built up lives and neighborhoods all with the hope for something better or more. Something that might last beyond them. Yes, the song of all people's lives. For many, entering Savannah is like entering Heaven for a time. For a brief moment they find a kind of desideratum or a soul essential. Some evidence that their struggle in this life is rewarded in the next. And whey the leave, they return to more mortal soil feeling golden with memories of the truths they learned here.
Part Two? "Why Is Savannah So Haunted?" Stay Tuned!
ABOUT SHANNON SCOTT
Born in Terra Haute, IN and native of Rantoul, Illinois, Shannon Scott arrived to Savannah, GA to study fine arts at The Savannah College of Art & Design and has been a tour guide since 1989. At age 25, he opened his own publishing company, Jones Street Productions Inc, and published the city’s most advanced and specialized maps and travel guides. He has taken an active stand for “better information” for visitors and locals alike through his many endeavors. His fervid love for Savannah’s history began with pioneering the first tours focusing on women’s history, architecture, Civil & Revolutionary Wars, and an entire tour just dealing with Savannah's River Street. This broadbased understanding of the Low Country ultimately added to the richness of his ghost stories. In 1999, Scott became a part of the creative team responsible for the Fox Family Channel Hit, “Scariest Places On Earth” hosted by Linda Blair (The Exorcist) & narrated by Zelda Rubenstein (Poltergeist). He served as story researcher and produced a number of episodes for the Southeast. In 2002, he organized the first annual parapsychology conference for the country’s most recognized field research group, The American Institute of Parapsychology, and personally received the group’s highest honorarium of “America’s Most Haunted City”™ on behalf of the City of Savannah. He was further honored with being made Georgia Sectional Director of The A.I.P. The city’s receiving the honor became the largest worldwide news story to hit Savannah since the publishing success, Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil. In 2005, “The New York Times” voted Sixth Sense Savannah as the only tour company among its “Top 10 Things To Do When In Savannah” A followup in 2007 from The New York Times” once more complimented his 2nd touring venture America’s Most Haunted City™ as its pick for a top shelf family driven tour. The same year, Scott sold documentary production rights to, America’s Most Haunted City - Part One and is slated for release in Fall of 2009. The 2 hour documentary represents over 10 years of research and film record. Shannon believes the story in the making as its the first time an insider has shared Savannah's stories with the outside world using such a medium. Scott served as Executive Producer, narrator, interviewer and on camera host.
2009 marked another pivotal year as Scott joined forces with writer Dr. Tony Chiorazzi and composer Edwin Brown in forming Bonaventure Film Studios. Brown composed the original soundtrack for America's Most Haunted City - Part One, while Chiorazzi is a major film studio screenplay author now living in Savannah. Together, Scott and Chiorazzi are on the verge of producing several projects, putting their first feature film into production called The Cemetery in Spring of 2010.
Haunted Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia is considered by many the most haunted city in America. It was named so by Fox Television's Scariest Places on Earth television series and there is enough history and legend permeating the old town to fill hundreds of books.
Its colorful and legend-filled past enthralls visitors to this day; its streets are filled with the shadows and ghosts of bygone days, perhaps still waiting to greet the inquisitive traveler.
The city's founding father, Englishman James Edward Oglethorpe, was so enthralled with the areas lush tropical shoreline and very mild climate that when he landed on the shores of the Savannah River in 1733 he chose to remain. Shortly after his arrival, Oglethorpe chartered the great city of Savannah in what was to become the final New World Crown Colony of England's King George II.
Much of the original, dreamlike beauty that Oglethorpe experienced over two centuries ago endures to this day. Spanish moss still hangs low from the spreading oak trees, the deep waters of the Savannah River still lazily pass by, and the sea breezes still waft in from the open ocean waters. The classic beauty of this old Southern bastion has inspired writers and artists alike over the centuries. Many films have used Savannah as a backdrop, most notably the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
But many residents and visitors insist that Savannah really does have a "midnight side" and that it is a city still holding onto its past with a strong grip. In fact, many believe that some of of its citizens still feel the tug of this gentle city even from beyond the grave.
In Savannah you can hear chilling, ghost-filled tales on historical walks into the city's storied past; or you can experience first hand the "midnight side" of this Old Southern Lady in one of her haunted cemeteries or historic residents. There is a haunted train ride and a horse-drawn trolley tour through the dark streets; or visit a haunted plantation and historic locations where soldiers of the Civil War still plan battles or stand guard despite the long passage of time. You may even want to experience a ghost tour from the seat of a real hearse!
Savannah's Fort Jackson is the oldest standing fort in Georgia. The site where the fort now stands has been used since the 1740's, and has a rich history relating to the defense of Savannah from earliest days to the end of the 19th century. The site was fortified during the Revolutionary War as an earthen fort. The original brick fort was begun in 1808 and was manned during the War of 1812. During the Civil War, Fort Jackson was held for a time by Confederate forces until the Old Southern Lady made the acquaintance of one W.T. Sherman. Union soldiers took the old fort and held it until the end of the war. The fort is one of Savannah's most popular haunted tourist attractions with unmatched daytime educational and historical programs and "after hours" programs for ghost hunters of all ages.
Savannah's Historic Railroad Shops, Built on the site of the second bloodiest battle of the great Revolutionary War, the shops were begun in 1845. Thirteen of the original structures survive, including the blacksmith shop and the brick mason shop. A National Historic Landmark since 1978, the shops were used in filming the movie "Glory" in 1988. The shops are recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior as the most significant complex of ante-bellum railroad structures to survive in the United States. They also serve as the state of Georgia's official railroad museum.
The Savannah History Museum is Savannah's only museum dedicated to the history of the whole coastal community and is located in the passenger station of the Central Railroad. Constructed before the Civil War, this building is now one of Georgia's 43 National Historic Landmarks and houses a 20,000 square foot exhibit area with a variety of exhibits reflecting Savannah's history from her founding in 1733 to the present. The museum is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
These are just some of the options for the avid ghost hunter and paranormal enthusiast. Be sure to explore every nook and cranny of this famous Southern city!