I love, love, love going on ghost tours. I am truly fascinated by the paranormal and I am genuinely interested in learning about history, which makes going on ghost tours so much fun for me because they combine a little bit of both. While my husband, Christian, and I were in Savannah recently
I dragged him on we had the chance to go on a few ghost tours. There are over 35 different ghost tours offered in Savannah and one of the ones we chose was the Uncensored Zombie Tour by Blue Orb Tours. The Uncensored Zombie Tour is a late night (10 pm), all adult tour which leaves from Chippewa Square next to the Oglethorpe Monument.
**Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets to take this tour in exchange for this article about our experience. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.
Adam was our tour guide for the night and he was a very entertaining and engaging storyteller! He was very well spoken, provided many historical details and had great images on his iPad to show us of some great photos and videos captured by people on the tour in the past. We had a fairly large group, but Adam did a great job making sure that we all could hear him & made sure that we all had a chance to see the pictures & videos on his iPad that went along with the tour. We left Chippewa Square right on time and when the tour first started he said he was doing the tour backwards (just for tonight) to avoid all of the other tours out that night, but I suspect each night is actually the same.
What I loved about this tour is that it was less gimmicky. Adam, was just a regular guy giving a tour. A few tours that Chris and I encountered in Savannah had guides dressed up in costumes and come on, that’s pretty corny, right? The haunted Savannah stories on this tour are edgy, uncensored and focus on both the Colonial and Conjurers viewpoints of ghosts, spirits and the afterlife.
They have over eight hours of material for this particular tour, so stops vary. On our tour, we stopped at the Sorrel-Weed house, Dr. Corson’s house, the Mercer House, the Espy house, 432 Abercorn, and Colonial Cemetery. Although I don’t think that anyone on our tour saw anything supernatural, 432 Abercorn really creeped me out. Adam told us that Calhoun Square (which is located right in front of the house) is actually an unmarked mass grave for slaves that were buried there without coffins. More about that later.
You do not go inside any buildings, just walk to the ones that have had the most paranormal activity and hear the real stories behind what happened in those homes. Don’t worry, you will have an opportunity to take photos at all of the stops.
Our First stop was the Sorrel-Weed House.
Here’s the backstory:
The Sorrel-Weed House first belonged to wealthy shipping merchant Francis Sorrel. Although Francis was married to his first wife’s younger sister, the story goes that he fell in love with one of his slaves, Molly. Those two carried on until Sorrel’s wife, Matilda, discovered their affair. Devastated by her husband’s betrayal, Matilda leaped from a second story balcony and died in the courtyard below. Just a few days after Matilda’s death, servants discovered Molly hanging from a noose in the carriage house. These days, reportedly both Molly and Matilda haunt the Sorrel-Weed House.
Here are a few photos I took during the day:
The very first ‘Ghost Hunters TAPS’ Halloween special and an episode of Ghost Adventures were both filmed in the house. Chris and I were both so impressed with the Sorrel-Weed House enough on this tour to go back and actually tour the house the following night. We didn’t experience anything paranormal while we were there, though.
Stop #2 was Dr. Corson’s House.
It may just seem like an old brick townhouse on the corner of Jones and Bull streets, but it’s got some very interesting history. In the early 1900’s the house was home to Dr. Eugene Corson, the president of the Georgia Medical Society. He was definitely a man ahead of his time. He set up his own x-ray machine on the ground floor of the home and it was right in this house that the first x-ray photograph is believed to have been taken.
Dr. Corson died in the 1940’s, killed slowly by his own radiation experiments. He took repeated x-rays of his own hands to the point where they had to be amputated. He died of cancer a year after his hands were removed and Some say he’s still at home in his lab.
The next stop was the Mercer Williams House.
The story began when two young boys snuck onto the roof of the house with slingshots to shoot pigeons. While they were up there, something came over one of the boys and he plunged off the roof head first. He fell directly onto the wrought-iron fence, breaking the tip off one of the spikes.
Of course, if you saw the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, you’ll recognize this house right off the bat. The movie was based on the book of the same name. They tell the story of Jim Williams, a local antiques dealer in Savannah and how he was tried for four times for the murder of a local prostitute, and his lover, Danny Hansford, who was shot in the house.
It’s a true story.
Next we stopped by the Espy House.
The house is located on the corner of Abercorn and East Wayne in downtown Savannah (next to Calhoun Square). During the time of Prohibition, it was the home of the Espy family. The head of the family was Carl Espy. He was a federal judge who made extra money bootlegging alcohol. He and his wife were fighting one night and accidentally killed their six year old granddaughter, who supposedly still haunts the property.
Then in 1934, Wesley Espy, who is Carl’s son, had a “thing” with a local gangsters girlfriend. The Gangster didn’t like that all that much and he had Wesley kidnapped. Wesley was found on the porch of the house with his testicles cut off and placed in the breast pocket of his jacket. Carl apparently brought in a surgeon the save his son, but he died and word is that his ghost haunts the balcony of his room.
On to 432 Abercorn!
This was the most creepy part of the tour for me. And as if the house at 432 Abercorn wasn’t creeptastic enough, the adjacent square ranked just as high on the creep meter. It’s on the western corner of Calhoun Square just opposite of the Espy House where we had just come from.
432 Abercorn is said to be the one of the most haunted houses in Savannah. Of course that is debatable, but 432 Abercorn is certainly the center of many different ghost stories and Savannah ghost tours. There were three or four tours there at the same time we were there. 432 Abercorn is also called hag house and over the years many black shadows have been seen and photographed on the property.
Today the house sits vacant. The same family has owned the house since the 70’s and still pays for maintenance and taxes on it. They refuse to sell it to anyone because of their traumatic experiences while living in the home.
Adam seemed quite freaked out at this stop, explaining that he, himself, had experienced some weird phenomenon at this spot and wouldn’t step any closer than where he stood in Calhoun Square.
The tour ended near the back of the Colonial Park cemetery, where we heard some stories of some of the hauntings there. The thing is with the tour ending at the cemetery, which was on the edge of historic Savannah, it left Chris and I with an approximately 15 minute walk back to our hotel. To be honest, the city had really died down (no pun intended) by that time of night and neither of us really liked walking back alone at midnight on the empty streets of Savannah. Adam did offer to walk people back to where the tour started at Chippewa Square, but he was busy answering questions from other people on the tour and we didn’t want to wait (midnight is way past our bedtime and we were exhausted). I would have liked to have seen the tour actually end closer to a more populated area of the city, but that’s really my only complaint about the tour.
The Uncensored Zombie Tour is a walking tour, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. It costs $30 per person and if you can find parking on the street, meters are free after 5 pm.
But why is it called the zombie tour? Is it about zombies? Classic Western representation of zombies was made popular in 1929 by a book called The Magic Island by William Seabrook. However, the concept of the undead walking among us both spiritually and physically is originally a Voodoo concept and Blue Orb was zombie, before zombie was cool because of our strong commitment to researching the Conjuring communities in the low country. Savannah, Georgia is home to many large communities comprised of hoodoo and voodoo practitioners, also known as Conjurers. This tour focuses on the Conjurers view of ghosts, spirits and the undead as well as the Colonial viewpoints. So, when Blue Orb says zombie, we are referring to the spiritually undead-ghosts. We just use the Conjurers word for it.
Reservations are very highly recommended because this tour fills up fast. The Uncensored Zombie Tour is an 18 & older tour, which gives adults the opportunity to tour with other adults. It’s nice to have a chance to hear the material uncensored and have access to a late night option with alcohol available (they have an open container policy in Savannah), minus the bar scene. Blue Orb Tours runs a family friendly tour earlier in the night if you want to take your older kids/teens kids along.