Yes . . . we mean Cool Savannah. On May 6, 2016, Ryan Dunn and Kris Kersten of Savannah Ghost Research Society conducted a paranormal investigation of our premises. You might already know about Ryan if you’ve read his books: Savannah’s Afterlife: True Tales of a Paranormal Investigator and its chilling sequel. And, whether you have or haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading his books, get ready for an up close and personal look at his work and results.
We were quite intrigued by the duo’s findings, which included ten separate EVPs – electronic voice phenomena – where ghostly whispers were captured. One of them, interestingly enough, meshes with a ghostly apparition that visits Cool Savannah, the one we blogged about last month. Here’s the context:
Over the past two years, at least five or six customers – unrelated to one another – have reported seeing a well-dressed Victorian-era woman calmly sitting on a couch at Cool Savannah, located at 42 E. Bay Street in historic Savannah. Two things they have in common: these eyewitness reports have all been unsolicited and they all mention her neck. Some believe she was hanged. Others simply refer to a neck trauma or mention her clothing around her neck – but all of the customers have rubbed the fronts of their own necks, as if elongating that body part, when describing her.
Although nobody can say, for sure, why this is happening or who this ghostly woman is, we’ve speculated that it’s Susan Eberhart. Susan – called more sinned against than sinner – was hanged on May 2, 1873 at the tender age of 19. And, the EVP that seems to offer some confirmation of her presence happened this way:
When Kris asked “Were you hanged?” he got a response – and note that it wasn’t a denial. Instead, a faint response was heard. The words? “Don’t fear that.”
So, what do you think? Susan, reassuring us from beyond the grave?
Belief in Ghosts
Sources as respectable as The Atlantic have reported on modern beliefs in ghosts, and that publication points out that we may be “witnessing a revival of paranormal beliefs in Western society.” A 2013 Harris poll discovered that 42 percent of Americans surveyed believe in ghosts. In the United Kingdom? 52 percent! And, the article points out, the percentages in Asia are even higher. This, an expert says, “despite the rise of science, skepticism, secularism, and public education. In places like Japan where secularism is very strong, the belief in ghosts is still high. Even hyper-modern and liberal Scandinavia has a high percentage of people believing in ghosts.”
Also think about the longevity of humans’ belief in ghosts. As the Ancient History Encyclopedia puts it, “To the people of the ancient world, there was no doubt that the soul of a human being survived bodily death.” Although more specific beliefs varied by cultures, a common belief was that souls could return to the “land of the living” under certain circumstances, such as “improper funeral rites, lack of any kind of burial, death by drowning where the body was not recovered, murder in which the body was never found (and so never properly buried), or to resolve some unfinished business or provide a true account of the events surrounding their death, such as when one was murdered and needed one’s death avenged and the murderer brought to justice in order to rest in peace.”
Plus, ghost stories exist across ancient cultures with a common theme: where the living needed to correct an anguishing wrongdoing from the earthly plane so the ghost could return to its appropriate place among the spirits. Stories like this, in fact, were found in “Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and India as well as regions of Mesoamerica and the Celtic lands of Ireland and Scotland.”
Any Scientific Evidence?
Take a look at Dr. Peter Fenwick, a well-respected neuropsychiatrist who has studied near-death experiences and the dying process since about 1980. Although he was initially skeptical, he now makes the case that the brain and mind are separate, which frees the mind up to continue to exist after the body and brain have ceased their earthly existence.
You can get a good overview of his beliefs in this YouTube video:
Dr. Fenwick notes that many people have a premonition of death shortly before it happens. They often have visits by relatives who have passed, with those relatives more or less making a contract with them, perhaps by saying they’d be back in a week for them. After a person gets such a visit, the doctor notes, he or she begins speaking differently, talking about going on a journey or going home. They live out a different reality, too, more focused on life, love and compassion. They may also have an incident of deathbed lucidity, as well, where they suddenly sit up and have a loving conversation with a visitor – and then pass on.
Dr. Fenwick also talks about “deathbed coincidences,” where the recently deceased appears to someone close by – or on the other side of the globe – to reassure him or her that all is good. Shapes can be seen to leave the body, or it becomes surrounded by light. Mechanical malfunctions can occur, perhaps in an alarm clock that inexplicably goes off, or a television set that flickers – and animals seem to be aware of events that people are not.
Even National Geographic is chiming in with an in-depth article about the lines between life and death blurring: “sometimes people who’ve been rescued, thanks to persistent, high-quality resuscitation, come back with stories that are quite clear—and eerily similar. These survivors can be thought of as having crossed over to the other side and returned with stories that offer some insight into how it feels to die . . . Though most couldn’t quite recall details, others mentioned sensations similar to those found in best-selling books such as Heaven Is for Real: time either speeding up or slowing down (27 people), peacefulness (22), separating from their bodies (13), joy (9), or seeing a bright light or golden flash (7). Some (the exact number wasn’t specified) said they remembered bad sensations: fear, drowning or being dragged through deep water, or in one case, seeing ‘men in coffins being buried upright.’”
Back to EVPs
We started this blog post by sharing how Ryan and Kris conducted a paranormal investigation at Cool Savannah, recording ten EVPs. As with most investigations (and most things in life, in general!), some were more clear than others, but they were all logical responses to questions being asked. Well, there was were a couple of exceptions – and that’s when a ghostly voice started the conversation!
Some skeptics, as Huffington Post points out, claim that EVPs are really interference from modern-day electronic devices, such as cell phones, walking talkies, radio waves and the like. And, of course, that can happen. But, when responses flow logically from the questions being asked, we agree with the article’s conclusion: “we cannot definitively say these are voices from people who have passed away, but it can leave one perplexed as to their origins.”
Here are the other nine EVPs from the night of paranormal exploration at Cool Savannah:
- Question asked when Winston (the dog) seemed agitated: “Are you trying to scare the dog or is he just frightened by your presence?”
- Response: a faint EVP seemed to say, “Get the dog.”
- Question asked as Ryan knocked on the floor three times: “If I knock three times, can you knock back?”
- Response: “No.”
- Question asked: “If you want us to leave, can you tell us to get out?”
- Response: “No, no.”
- Question asked about someone who had stolen a prop – an empty box of chocolates – by the replica Forrest Gump bench in the store where many guests take pictures.
- Response: “Bad woman.”
- During the investigation, Mike Scarpati from Cool Savannah fell asleep.
- Voice heard: “Hey, buddy . . . Mike.”
- Question asked: “Can you go touch Mike?”
- Response: “No.”
- Question asked: “How did you know Mike’s name? We never said it.”
- Response: “Ask him.”
- During the investigation, Tracy Scarpati felt a couple of inappropriate touches while in the bathroom.
- Voice heard: “Dirty girl.”
- For no apparent reason, a one-word EVP was captured: “Angry.”
Ghostly Portal of Haunted Savannah
So, if you believe these ghostly whispers really came from the other side, you might be wondering: why Cool Savannah? No one can say for sure, but here are some thoughts. First, this area has undergone tumultuous times, including the bloody siege of Savannah during the American Revolutionary War. Georgia was in fact the only colony recaptured by the British forces, making it a hotbed of anguish.
Plus, some of the people owning the property (where 42 East Bay Street is located today) suffered, and perhaps these emotions linger. By the time of the siege, the lot had been given to Thomas Hooper from the crown of England – and then sold to Samuel Douglas. Douglas was banished from the colony so, on April 19, 1775, William O’Bryan bought what is today 28-42 East Bay Street for 665 pounds.
A couple more sales transactions took place and, on June 13, 1789, the property became part of a marriage settlement between Henrietta O’Bryan and John Morel. Shortly before their 13th anniversary, though, in 1802, John Morel died at sea – and was tossed into a watery grave. On May 19, 1803, the grieving widow marries Lewis Trezevant, but their marriage didn’t last two years, as he died in February 1804. By May 14, 1817, she is on a third marriage, to Dr. Gordon Miller, and they sell the property – and on September 19, 1819, this third husband died. Is their sorrow entrenched in the building itself?
On January 20, 1824, the structures on this property were burned down in a fire that had spread throughout the area via a strong northwest wind. Altogether, Savannah residents suffered a $75,000 loss, and another fire struck the area on July 1, 1845. As we say, tough times hit people who lived on this property – and this doesn’t even include the horrors seen in the area during the slavery, Civil War and post-war era, a time of “primitively quartered slaves awaiting auction in the basement, bivouacked military personnel during the Civil War, and . . . fortunes lost during the cotton economy’s collapse.”
And, if that isn’t convincing enough, here’s another explanation.
Some places, because of their history, are more spirit-friendly than others – they are, in other words, portals that provide a connection between the spiritual world and our daily lives. Such a place, according to paranormal field researchers 6th Sense World, is Cool Savannah. More specifically: “This is an extremely significant discovery in the paranormal world,” according to 6th Sense World founder Shannon Scott. “I can’t explain why the C[ool] Savannah building is like this toll booth on the spirit world highway, but it’s definitely like nothing I have ever seen or studied in any other Savannah building. In my intuitive estimation, it fits the profile of a thoroughfare that spirits use to enter and leave Savannah.”
Ghost Tours in Savannah
Although our premises are clearly in the heart of haunted Savannah, there is so much more to see, do and explore in our beautiful historical city. That’s why we offer these ghost tours:
- Our Savannah ghost tour will take you to more than ten haunted sites in your search for the spirits that still roam the corridors of Savannah.
- Wanting to quench your thirst along the journey? Sign up for our haunted pub tour! Hear the stories that cover 300 years of history, ghosts, pirates, and many other fascinating facts that make Savannah the Most Haunted City in America. Get ready for an incredible evening of the best tales and spirits on Savannah’s favorite ghost tour!
Questions about our ghost tours in Savannah? Call us at (912) 231-3571 today!