There is one phenomenon that I might claim has some special tie to my ghost touring life and would go as far to say unique to my 20 years of life living in and around Savannah's Historic District. In general I call him The Man In Blue. Or so he was kind of named to me by some tourists on my ghost tour some 10 years previous. There was a night while I was touring a couple from Havana, Cuba. They’d migrated to somewhere in Florida and had made claim to have lived in many haunted houses over the years. They spoke very little English and since my Espanola was "muy poco" I was banking on them just going for my performance enthusiasm. They were a couple in their late 40's and a very handsome couple I recall. They also seemed quite bonded in their union and I remember admiring their connection and in spite of my nervousness about the language difference, I was put at ease by their disposition as a couple. I'm sure had I spent more time with them I would've come to learn many things from this very spiritual couple. But our evening stroll together was far from being short on lessons. The feeling they would leave with me has lasted and lasted and perhaps more than my ghost tour lasted for them.
But on that very lovely night, I took the couple into the cemetery and into the heart where standing was the live oak that predates the cemetery and is the infamous "hanging tree." It was gargantuan by most trees that live downtown, omnipresent even. Since that day sadly it has been cut down due to an illness. Strange to mourn the death of a hanging tree but I miss it towering over the cemetery so patriarch like. They should give trees of that size and caliber funerals don’t you think? But on this particular evening, as we wandered around in the cemetery, they both kept a close proximity but were also wandering around on their own taking in different things. They said nothing to each other as I spoke about this or that. When concluding the cemetery portion of the tour, stepping just outside of the main entrance of the cemetery, the husband lit up a cigarette and took this pensive drag and when exhaling, asked me, "Who is the man in blue?" Of course here in the South there’s much reference to “The Blue and Gray” and so my reactionary reply was, "Do you possibly mean a man in gray?" To this his wife replied, shaking her head, "No....the man in blue." When I inquired further, they both explained that earlier while I was telling them a ghost story in the cemetery, this “man in blue” had been hovering behind me with his arms outstretched for a good 15 minutes! Of course this made me wonder why they’d said nothing to me and when I dismayingly asked, they both replied, "You were not meant to see him." They went on to explain to me that this was an old idea in the world of spirits. That not all are meant to know or to see or to experience and that this is a power that spirits have. They appear to whom they wish. It’s that simple in the minds of some. In any case, this “man in blue” would maintain a running theme in my life over the coming years.
Some weeks after my outing with them, I was conducting a ghost tour for a group of 25 or 30 people. At the close of the summer's night tour, we finished inside of Reynolds Square. Nearly everyone had left but there was one family lingering about with their 3 small children. The kids seemed excited and agitated about something and their mother finally encouraged them to approach me with their interest. I naturally welcomed them and there were 2 girls and 1 boy. Their ages I would place at 7, 9 and 11 with the boy being the youngest. The middle aged girl says to me, "Who is the man in blue?" Naturally I was struck by the question. I said to them, "what do you mean?" The young boy then piped in that while we were in the cemetery near the wall where the headstones are mounted along the wall, this bluish apparition of a man rose from the ground and held a position from waist to head. Almost as if his positioning was playing to the children’s own height! One child noticed him first, got the attention of the two other siblings who immediately saw him, but to their shock noted that none of the adults were aware. The children were greatly satisfied to know that at least one adult was familiar with their new friend by personal experience. I offered that he was a friendly, curious spirit and meant them no harm and they breathed a sigh of relief!
Over time I have come to associate "bluish" colored spirits with the element of water. This as an idea has mostly been offered to me by others and certainly seems to fit the landscape of the Lowcountry. The existence of so many wells and water channels in the downtown along with so many burials near waterways, it’s no wonder many have drawn this allusion. To me, a bluish spirit makes so much more sense here than a whitish one. With our own makeup component being so water oriented this type of apparition also seems more logical to our own design. More of an equal reflection you could say.
My third encounter with The Man In Blue was around 1999-2000. It was after the City of Savannah had decided to close the cemetery to the public at night. I was touring a small group one evening and we were standing at the Lincoln Street entrance gate of Colonial Park Cemetery. This had at one time been the original entrance to the cemetery when it was a walled cemetery many moons ago. So to me there was always something transporting about standing at that particular gate and especially at night. As one stands staring through the old iron gates, it isn't hard to imagine the world as if it was the 18th Century. That night as we stood there and I had completed one of my ghost stories, a young girl made a striking claim. Now I wish to preface this exchange with the note that this girl had a very afflicting speech impediment. What would take you or me a few seconds to express, took her a few minutes. Imagine someone telling you a story in slow motion like their tongue had been cut out. It was about that awful but no matter, we remained her willing listeners. Eventually she gets out the question if I or anyone else had seen "the man in blue" and added that he was sitting on a grave, surrounded by books and was rubbing grave dirt on himself! A few others in the group claimed to have an impression of their own and I almost swear I had too but couldn’t be sure. None the less I was so struck by her claim that upon conclusion of the tour at the cemetery that night, I went to the Savannah Police Dep’t Precinct One which adjoins Colonial Park and I told the desk captain of the possibility of this odd man being inside of the cemetery. He then walked around with me, unlocked the Lincoln St. gate entrance to inspect the property but found no one. So yes, The Man In Blue had struck again.
My fourth and last known encounter was in the summer of 2004. I'll never forget this night because with my new Sixth Sense Savannah ghost tour, a trip to Colonial Park Cemetery is a little off its story telling route. But on this particular night I decided to do my famed Rene Asch Rondolier story which involves the location. Touring in the group that night was a 5 year old boy and his parents who were interestingly of Cuban origin. The young boy was visibly agitated on the tour and throughout, his nervousness became like an inside tour joke amongst the adults. Even his parents seemed to be in on the humor. We weren’t really making fun of him but there was just something else there in his demeanor that none of us could put our finger on. Yet for all of his fears so to say, I could tell that he was listening intently. Which perhaps not everyone noticed this but wherever I and the group were standing, he would make a point to be 10-15ft away running around in circles or hopping up on things. Many might have interpreted him as playing on his own and paying us no mind. I however saw him in quite the opposite light. I could see him catching every word and his face occasionally showed me this. In fact to my professional notice, he was the most involved listener in the group that night.
Later when the tour came to a close, we were on the Northeast corner of where E.Jones & Abercorn streets meet and all were standing directly below the towering Minus house. I had said goodbye to everyone on that corner and had one foot off the curb and was about to walk towards my house across the street. The little boy's mother was headed towards Clary's Café and she was dragging him behind. A part of him wasn't ready to go. Bear in mind that this boy hadn't said one word the entire tour and as his mother was dragging him and I was walking off smiling and waving goodbye, this boy nervously stammers, "Hey mister! Mister! I thought you might want to know that when we were over by the cemetery...I...I...I... saw this man in blue. Who is the man in blue Mister?”
Yes, that seems to be the question, “Who is the Man In Blue?” Over the years I have asked other tour operators if they have heard of him and none have gotten a peep. I won't be so vain to say that he is somehow completely tied to just my tour kind of thing, but if there is such a thing to be claimed, I would say this is pretty darn close. Ghost stories all run together in my profession. They all start to look alike and sound alike and personally I do my best to avoid being a copycat or trendy. In fact if my own stories start to bore me, I move on to new ones. But this Man In Blue is so personal to me. If a ghost tour guide could ever claim to have a shadow, I would say that this is mine. This Man In Blue is somehow like my night shadow. Is he there to protect and watch over me? Or is he some kind of omen? Or perhaps he is my own long casting aura? I cannot readily tell. But somehow my tour and some of its participants seem to summon him. I do not feel afraid of him. I kind of like him. He is like my funny secret that to a handful now, isn't so secret.
My favorite color has always been blue. My eyes are blue. My soul feels blue. Blue resonates with me and always has been my color. Perhaps this Man In Blue is my future skin. He is the cast and the suit that awaits me. Shall we consider him to be my afterlife skin? Yes, I like this idea. That I am due to don a blue costume forever. I have always felt blue as a person. I can be yellow and bright and sunny but I always come back to blue. This used to haunt me but my true friends seem to like this blue quality in me. Maybe this man in blue is the universe smiling upon my blue destiny. That it is and always will be my tint through which I see life. That no matter the color of mood or opinion or endeavor, that my special color to add to the picture of things is blue.
Yes, if I must now state the obvious, it appears that the Man In Blue and I are one in the same. People have really just been seeing me for me. Perhaps as I tell stories, painting them with my bluish spirit, it rises from me like a fume of my imagination and work. People are really just seeing the color of my passion’s heat and much like you would staring into that blue part of a flame. Some consider it the soul color of fire. One always sees those flashy reds dancing so wildly, but look more deeply into the fire's heart and when you do you’ll see these luscious blue flames licking the fire from below. This is I. Which hasn't been an easy understanding. Blues can be deep and endless and vast and mysterious. You can sink very deep into the blue. The more you sink into your own blue and away from the light that colors it, the blacker it can become. Yes, it is easy to get lost in the blue. Even for the Man In Blue himself, he can drown in his own hues. But there is no escaping who we are. If I am the Man In Blue, I must be him. I must find success in being him. Through the years I have been too heavy in my own blues. I have perceived or misperceived my own blues for being blacks. I saw these blacks as overshadowing. I perhaps let them and instead overly made them the color of myself. Yet I was really meant to be blue. Well then, no mistaking me from here on out. Let the world now know me as The Man In Blue. If you see him floating out there in your midst, take comfort in knowing that I am not far from him or him from I. According to some members of the touring public, you have encountered something rare and anomalous. You were obviously meant to see him and maybe in a way, you have glimpsed your storyteller’s soul. The Man In Blue has touched you in the present moment while at the same time, from the beyond.
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!