There's kitschy tales of ghosts, then there's the real thing. And my town Savannah, Georgia, has both, with vintage hearses a common sight taking tourists around and trying to scare the pants off them. But wander in the right places at the right times, with your psychic senses alert, and you won't be disappointed. Savannah is what astrologer Robert Phoenix experienced as voodoo spooky.
Savannah earned the monniker "America's Most Haunted City" a few years ago. I used to be a tour guide, both on foot and with the horse-drawn carriage. It's as a walking tour guide, up close and personal, that I've experienced truly eerie moments.
A camera went off by itself, capturing what appear to be children's faces. A black-clad woman moved quickly across the hall of the Juliet Gordon Lowe home, founder of the Girl Scouts. This apparition was seen by three of us saw out of the corner of our eyes. We went to look, but there was no one there! That story is still told to girl scouts and others who tour the house.
It's a phenomenon that seems to happen most when you're not expecting it. Here, using some of the well-known ghost stories of Savannah, along with some imaginative "specter-lation," is a breakdown of ghosts by their Sun signs. You'll see it's just for a laugh. But it's not to make light of the supernatural in Savannah, because that is all too real. Come see for yourself sometime!
Aries Don't stand too close to the fire with an Aries haunt afoot. Faces with piercing eyes appear in the flames, and a random flame singes off your eyebrows. Like at the pre-colonial Olde Pink House restaurant, candles are mysteriously blown out, only to be re-lit moments later, the smoke still rising off the wicks. This ghost asserts dominance, won't agree to peacefully co-habitate with the living, and is not easily appeased.
Taurus This ghost makes tree branches reach out and grab you, or ground roots wrap firmly around your ankles. One trick is making the ground sink under you, absorbing your body into the landscape.
Taurus ghosts send all kinds of smells wafting through the air, both aromatic and foul. While some use this as a weapon, to chase you away, others send a comforting message. One of my friends smells apple pie baking from time to time in her apartment, for example.
Gemini Get your EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) gadgets ready. For chatty Gemini ghosts, listen for disembodied voices, perhaps with pieces of a tragic story to tell.
This specter might etch letters on the wall, as one ghost in Savannah did, on the brick chimney. The letters were SCR NW -- can you guess the message? Always eager to communicate, this ghost will ring the phone, only to lose their nerve when the living pick up. They'll also be just as frightened of the embodied, as you are of them!
Cancer At the four-star Kehoe House B & B in Savannah, a motherly ghost will tuck you in at night, or give you a Goodnight kiss. The matron of the house had nine children, and continues to make her nursery rounds.
The Cancer ghost has a sentimental streak and may have emotional ups and downs. Here's the one that sobs at night, or has a fit of the giggles under a full Moon. Children can easily see this specter's moony face, which has a bluish glow. This ghost is a homebody, and nearly impossible to encourage to "go to the light."
Leo At the Marshall House, a Union officer greets hotel guests in the lobby, dressed in full regalia. During Sherman's occupation of Savannah, the hotel was a hospital, and the main operation was amputation. That's why over a hundred years later, during a renovation, a large buried cache of arms and legs was unearthed. The gruesome discovery was linked to the history of the place, and stories of soldier ghosts walking the halls, looking for their missing limbs.
The Union officer, however, appears in fine form. A Leo ghost will wear the adornments and high fashion of his or her era. They'll also project an image of themselves in their prime, as if frozen at their peak in life. One theory is that ghosts show images through telepathy, and a Leo ghost goes the extra mile for good PR. Such a regal spirit being shows up at holiday and birthday parties, galas, and the monster mash.
Virgo The Marshall House is one of many hotels that became infirmaries during the civil war or epidemics. And guests say there's a nurse still making her rounds, pressing her hand firmly across the forehead to take soldiers' temperatures.
The Virgo ghost haunts the workplace, just trying to carry on with their duties. At the downtown branch of Bank of America, one former and now "deceased" bank employee of 30 years, still opens the vault doors of the safe, but only for those that follow procedure to the letter! The helpful Virgo apparition returns small missing items so your day will flow better.
Libra At the Owens-Thomas house, a gallant figure called "The Horseman" walks through walls, and strikes a pose by the fireplace. Seen by three men at a cocktail party once, all remarked on his dashing looks and mid 19th-century riding finery. He was visible for a few seconds (an eternity in ghost-experience time), before walking through the wall. The mansion was a boarding house, but now is restored as a historic home, the first in America with flushing toilets!
The Libra ghost may appear as a luminous being, and likely hovers above the ground. Listen for the sound of clinking glasses, as with toasting, or that of a distant pianoforte, as Libra knows how to entertain in the afterlife.
Scorpio There are Western medieval legends of demons that come in the night with one lusty goal in mind. The incubus (male) and succubus (female) took hold in the imaginations of those obsessed with sex as sinful.
The evolved Scorpio spirit would never overtake another psychically. But a disturbed one potentially has the power to do all kinds of dastardly deeds. Some might end up as energy vampires, preying on those with weak auras. A compassionate one warns living friends of hidden dangers, or helps solve a mystery by dropping clues on the path.
Sagittarius This playful apparition has a way with animals, especially horses. Dogs and cats following air around the room are watching the antics of the Sagittarian spirit.
Sagittarius is truly the "friendly ghost," striking up an immediate rapport with the living, and causing minimal fright. This ghost travels through time, curious about other cultures and eras. If a random spirit goes through a wormhole, and shows up on the other side of the world, it's likely a Sadge.
Capricorn The Capricorn ghost may not do his own haunting, but assign this task to underlings. At the Dresser-Palmer House, one woman woke to see white-capped maids from another era, who sternly asked her to leave this instant. "Mr. Palmer is very angry with you!" they said. The ghost of the prosperious, authoritative Mr. Palmer had spectral staff to do his bidding!
With Cappy spooks, listen for the sound of gold coins being counted, like at the Olde Pink House, circa 1771, and perhaps it's the worldly wealth of an otherwordly Capricorn.
Aquarius When a streetlight flickers on and off in Savannah, it's not blamed on bad wiring. Oh no, a ghost is saying hello! Aquarius ghosts use electricity more than most, sending elevators up and down with phantom riders, and blinding people with a sudden high-wattage beam.
At the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace (founder of the Girl Scouts), staff has constant trouble with adding machines and computers turning on and off. One adding machine, according the bookkeeper, appeared to work without being plugged in! Some ghosts love technology, and maybe they're just curious about these newfangled devices.
Pisces An etheric being in life, the Pisces ghost has a shimmery glow, along with exquisite celestial sound effects. Some jump up and down to be guardian angels, making their presence known in subtle, loving ways. They are the fairies and angels, not so different from real life Pisceans.
The face in the water is definitely a Pisces apparition, along with illusory morphing of your own reflection in the mirror or a window. Here's the ghost that steps out of your dreams and into your bedroom, that presence at the foot of the bed. A playful Pisces ghost enjoys sculpting clouds into animals or words, messages meant to enchant, not frighten.