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The Ghost of Gracie Watson

Savannah Georgia is considered by many to be the most haunted city in the United States. (Can you still call it a ghost-town if there’s still people there?) With that kind of title, one would expect that there would be many ghost stories tied to the town, and there are. There are quite a bit of stories and experiences.

Established in 1733, Savannah Georgia is the first city in the state. Given that, it does make some sense there would be so many ghosts, but it also does beg the question as to why this is the most haunted city and not another older city. Perhaps it’s the enticing atmosphere that no other city of America can provide.

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There are multiple notable ghosts of Savannah Georgia, one of which is a young girl, Gracie Watson. Unlike many at the time and the past, her untimely demise was not one from war, murder, or another sinister motive. No, although still sad, she fell victim to pneumonia, which granted, death to disease wasn’t uncommon, especially for children. 

The Spirits of Savannah Georgia 

As previously said, Savannah is considered the most haunted city in the United States. To provide substantiation to this, some examples would be the Hamilton-Turner Inn, the Marshall House, 17 Hundred 90, Pirate’s House, Kehoe House, and the Moon River Brewing Co. Another example that ties into this all is the Bonaventure Cemetery.

This makes sense given the amount of tragedy. There were also fires and diseases within the town. In 1796, the city of Savannah suffered a catastrophic fire. The fire ended up destroying 229 houses and 146 other buildings. You can imagine the number of deaths that would come out of that.

After that, there was another fatal fire in 1820. This fire broke out in a stable and subsequently destroyed 500 buildings, luckily, or as lucky as you can be in that situation, the fire died by the afternoon. Once again, you can imagine the numbers, which left some to wander the streets of Savannah as an apparition, a shell of their former life. 

Before the fires, there was also an epidemic of Yellow Fever. The disease ravaged the city and there was no known cure for it at the time so all they could do is hope their immune systems were good enough to survive. Around 700 Savannah residents died from the disease and most were placed in mass, unmarked graves.

This was not the last time such an epidemic of Yellow Fever would occur as more did in 1854 and 1876. Living without medicine sure is scary. But once again, many lives were lost by this and you can just be happy that medicine has advanced enough to where this becomes less of a concern.

The Hamilton-Turner Inn 

The Hamilton-Turner Inn became famous due to the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Which spoke of the parties thrown by one of the numerous owners of the Inn. This prestigious hotel is also pet-friendly so it’s possible your pet can let you know about a ghost so you can be sure you don’t miss out.

Paranormal activities include ghost children laughing, billiard balls rolling, and a cigar-smoking man on the roof. Surely if you make a good joke, the children will laugh, that is unless they died without their sense of humor intact.

The Marshall House

The Marshall House is similar in the regard that it’s also a hotel. Not only has it been a hotel but it has also been a hospital three times, either to treat the wounded or treat the sick during the civil war and the Yellow Fever epidemic. The paranormal includes seeing ghosts in hallways, hearing nonexistent children and faucets turning on by themselves.

Within the Marshall House is a small museum. It offers a collection of prints, newspapers, letters, and documents originating from the Civil War. This could potentially give insight on any ghosts inhabiting the house. With insight into the ghosts, it might be easier to spot one if you get enough information.

17 Hundred 90

Similar to the other two, this one is also an Inn, but also a restaurant, how fancy. 17 Hundred 90 is pretty tame for the dining area, you may hear a cook banging pots together or a servant boy. For the Inn, there’s Anna, a famous ghost of the city, who haunts the upstairs guest rooms. 

The Kehoe House

For some reason, most of these haunted places are places of relaxation. The Kehoe House is a bed and breakfast that used to be a funeral home, how cozy. Local legend has it that there were 10 children of the Kehoe family but two of them died. 

There’s no actual proof in that but there have been people who say they have seen ghost children. It is pretty difficult for there to be ghost children present if no children actually died. Unless of course, the ghost children aren’t part of the Kehoe family.

The Pirate’s House

Moving to something new, The Pirate’s House is a restaurant that used to be a saloon for seamen as the name might suggest. However, the saloon has a dark past of many being shanghaied which is being forced to serve as part of a crew on a ship. Ghost experiences for this include seeing ghostly pirates walk through the dining area.

Moon River Brewing Co.

What’s considered the most haunted place in Savannah, you ask? Well, to many, that would be the Moon River Brewing Co. This beerhouse has accounts of patrons and staff saying they’ve seen a woman on the staircase, bottles being thrown at them, and tricks even being played on the staff.

This is a beerhouse so you must wonder if the ghosts get tipsy themselves. Which is why they throw bottles and play tricks on the staff. How spooky; either way, getting hit by a bottle thrown by a ghost does not seem all that pleasant.

The Bonaventure Cemetery

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Like the Hamilton-Turner Inn, the Bonaventure Cemetery was also made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, this is due to it appearing on the cover of the book. Paranormal activity at this site includes seeing tears of blood streaming down the statue of Gracie Watson and even hearing a pack of dogs snarling and barking.

Poetically, this cemetery is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful in the country and even the world. I suppose that means there is some truth in the saying that there’s beauty in death. Like Gracie Watson, there are also other statues within the cemetery and some say that the statues grimace or smile at you when standing beside them.

The Life of Gracie Watson

Gracie Watson, affectionately known as Little Gracie, is the daughter of Wales J. and Frances Watson. Originally from Massachusetts, she was born on July 10, 1883, and died only 6 years later on April 23, 1889. Her cause of death was pneumonia and although she lived a short life she still had an impact on her family and those around her. 

Her parents ran the Pulaski Hotel and Gracie often played in the hotel. She also entertained guests by dancing and singing songs and practically became the unofficial greeter as well. She would also play under the back stairwell of the hotel, such is the joyous and pure nature of children. 

Given this, it makes sense that her parents and those that were around Gracie would be devastated by their loss. Childhood mortality rates were high but that didn’t soften the blow of the loss. Her parents still lost a wonderful, energetic child. It’s clear she made a positive impact on many lives. 

Due to the death at a young age mixed with her parent’s sorrow and love, they hired a sculptor. A John Walz, he was commissioned by the father to represent Gracie in the form of a statue. And he did. 

Using only a photograph of Little Gracie, John Walz made a life-sized and photo-accurate representation of Gracie. A statue that now sits in the Bonaventure Cemetery. 

Due to the popularity of the statue, a fence has been placed around the site to prevent destruction either purposely or accidental. Which is fair given no one is interested in losing such an iconic part of the Bonaventure Cemetery.

After her death, her father fell into depression and ended up moving towns and the Pulaski House altogether. It’s a sad tale, there’s no arguing against that. At the very least, there’s a permanent physical representation of who their daughter, Gracie, was. Due to that, her memory still lives on to this day.

The Afterlife of Gracie Watson

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Lively in life, lively in death. Some things just never change, and Gracie Watson’s behavior upholds such a saying. Her ghost has been seen many times in Johnson Square. Little Gracie has been seen playing in the Square, running through bushes, and also interacting with people. I guess once an extrovert, always one. 

Seemingly when she is seen it is by someone sitting on the benches of Johnson Square, which makes sense given they’d have a lot of time to be able to see her. When she is seen, her appearance is of her wearing a white dress.

In Bonaventure, it would seem that Gracie is one of the more active spirits if not the most, at the very least she is still one of the more active spirits in Savannah. Visitors will leave items for Gracie, be it flowers or even playthings. Local legend says that if you remove one of the playthings then the statue of Gracie will start to cry tears of blood.

There’s apparently no trace of any kind of tear on the face of the statue so ghost-tears are a possibility. Another local legend says that if you place a quarter in her hand and then circle around the statue three times then the quarter will disappear. It’s like a coin-donation bin but instead of the coin going in circles, you do, how exciting.

After her death, her mother and Pulaski House staff claimed to still be able to hear her laughing and playing. This cannot be experienced today given that the Pulaski House has since been torn down. But the spot where the hotel used to sit still has many sightings of ghosts and potentially even Gracie.

Gracie Watson of Savannah Georgia

Savannah Georgia is considered the most haunted city in America. There’s a strong chance that this will not change for a long time, hopefully not anyway. If it switched then Savannah would get less attention and so would Gracie Watson and other ghosts. They may be dead but they still deserve attention.

As said, there are many haunted spots within Savannah seemingly it’s focused on hotels and restaurants. But that’s not all as cemeteries are a big part of the paranormal aspect of the city as well. Mainly Bonaventure. Bonaventure also happens to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries that you will find in the country and potentially the world.

A part of Bonaventure, Gracie Watson plays a large role in its paranormal importance and popularity. This is thanks to John Walz, who made her statue that potentially cries tears of blood and can make quarters disappear out of the palm of her hand. Aside from just the statue, she is also active in John Square and where the Pulaski House used to be.

Savannah’s popularity partially comes from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, where Bonaventure Cemetery acts as the cover and the Hamilton-Turner Inn is referenced. Also, due to Gracie’s popularity, there is an iron fence placed around her gravesite. This is to prevent any further damage.

Despite the fence, this does not stop visitors from placing items on the perimeter of the fence as a gift to Gracie. In life, Gracie was popular with the guests of the Pulaski House. In death, Gracie is popular with many tourists and residents of Savannah alike. There’s only one way to find out if these stories are true though, and that’s by visiting it yourself.

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