Monday, June 27, 2011


OKAY.  I heard from my cousin (well, Brad's cousin's wife, but I consider them my cousins, cause they're Cool.) that the Ghost Tours in Savannah are a blast, and that "it was their kids' favorite thing about their trip to Savannah."  Thems is powerful words in my eyes.  Then she went on to tell me that her husband is a huge Civil War history buff and I lost interest because I kept imagining their young girls on these boring Trolly tours (even a horse drawn carriage can't increase the value of that Boorfest) and measuring whether or not swimming at a fancy hotel should beat a Ghost Tour, and then I decided that her bullshit was credible.

So we get all gussied up and actually shower and wash our hair and comb it, and go to The Olde Pink House for dinner in Savannah, which is this amazing old home that has been renovated into this yummy and cool restaurant, lit only by candelight and chandeliers, and is also HAUNTED.

The staff is apparently trained to take you throughout the house and we ended up in the wine cellar next to the pub downstairs. The girls and I, I mean, because Brad was convinced that we were bothering other people who were dining, even though I made our reservation for 5:00 with the three other old people in the place, when it opened, to avoid the kind of scene the Underwood family can create in such a place.

ANYWAY, we are in the wine cellar, which at one time used to be a vault when it was a bank, and there is this table in the middle, set up with wine glasses and a few bottles of wine, and I ask our girl if she ever has wine tastings in here because I am fully going to do one while my kids look on, and she's all, "we used to until someone stole a bottle of wine and then we stopped."

She then started telling us the history of the house, and of course, I mentally went somewhere else, when she used the word "General" and "Civil War" and then she said, "We actually have a picture of Mrs. Habersham.  Do  you want to see it?" She says this, as she reaches under the table and pulls out this framed photograph of this ghost-like, transparent, smoky image of a woman floating in a long dress with the bartender in the background looking straight at the camera, polishing a glass.  She explains that it was taken a few months ago in the very room we are standing in, by a coworker of the bartender after closing, and the girls and I were mesmerized.

As the girls and I were discussing this later, we thought she was going to pull out a creepy portrait of Mrs. Habersham, as the house is dripping with them, and then here SHE is, suprising us with a ghost story when we were least expecting it.  Here is a pic of us in the cellar she took.  It is my favorite picture of the trip.  I guess because I am surrounded by the things that I love the most, my babies, candles and WINE.  Look at Eva.  Classic.

So after an amazing dinner in which I got to have cheese grits and collard greens with an entire fish with it's head cut off.  We killed some time by hanging out in one of the town squares where a sax player was entertaining, and then in true Underwood fashion, we went to a bar.  In my defense, we were supposed to meet the Tour Guide for the Ghost Tour in the parking lot across the street from McDonough's, the bar, and it was 100 degrees.  Nothin' like sitting belly up to a bar with your three kids.  The bartender was really nice and gave them Reece's bits and ice waters while Brad and I drank ice cold draft beer and mingled with the locals.  I reconciled it in my mind by telling myself that families in London go to Pubs all the time, so it was cool.  Here's a few picks from the Square and the bar.

I actually have a series of shots that Mills took of herself, but it would take up the entire blog.  Anyway, the tour STARTED at 9:00 pm and was supposed to last ninety minutes (it lasted two hours) and it was a WALKING TOUR, but it was rated the BEST OF on the internet so I chose THAT one, unwisely, I suppose, considering we were the only family with small children there (they usually do the 7pm one) but I wanted it to be dark, so THERE WE WERE.  In my defense, I could have done the "Midnight Pub Crawl" which I WANTED to do, but I relented.

So all us freaky freaks gather in the parking lot across from McDonough's and the guide is actually the Founder of Blue Orb Tours, so in my mind, we had hit the jackpot.  

Our first stop was the Colonial Park Cemetary and it had gotten dark and the guide is explaining how children and animals are most perceptive when it comes to ghosts, and coincidentally, almost every ghost story he told involved a 7-year-old girl, which is the EXACT age of Mills, my middle child.  PEEERRRRFFFECT.  

At one point, she was getting really scared and clutching my hand, when the stories got really scary, and I declared, "Alright, that does it, I am giving you all Benadryl tonight."  Hallie laughed at this, because as usual, she gets me and my twisted sense of humor.

So ANYWAY, at one point the guide is explaining how the very Square that we are standing in, is an actual graveyard that they just filled people with during one of their Yellow Fever epidemics (they had TWO) and that they literally just piled slaves and immigrants who came over from other lands ON TOP of each other all over the block and beyond, before the city was built, because they could not appropriately bury them, because they were dead or dying at such an alarming rate.  
That Square, and the homes on the periphery of  that Square, were then built on top of the gravesite, which they apparently discover from time to time when they are trying to put in a meter or dig for some reason, and they discover human remains.  

Thousands of these victims were buried ALIVE, as at least half of them were, because the last stages of Yellow Fever is a "coma-like" state in which the person is still alive, but appears dead.  The guide goes on to explain that this has been evident in other gravesites throughout Savannah where coffins have been exhumed, and there were scratch and bite marks on the insides of the coffins, where the person awoke from their "coma-like" state and tried to claw their way out, until they could no longer use their hands and then proceeded to bite their way out until they suffocated and died.

This is when I decided that I probably should have taken the kids to the 7pm Tour.  No, it gets EVEN better.  He goes on to explain that according to Gullah beliefs, that if a person is "improperly buried," like say for instance, ALIVE, then his spirit becomes an angry smoke-like presence (think LOST) that inhabits the souls of unhappy people and drives them crazy by eventually invading their dreams and haunting them until they are in a constant state of "nightmare," even in their waking hours, and if you try to pray or become religious to drive it out, it gets worse.  

He continues, "They call this phenomenon a HAG, and it is believed that they can actually inhabit your soul even as we stand here, and go home with you to HAUNT you for the rest of your life."  Both my older children are literally climbing me at this point, (Eva, of course, is in the stroller looking bored and frowning) that I am looking at Brad with desperation, as he wipes his brow and returns my look, with his "I told you so" look, when my favorite thing of the night happens.

Okay, let me set this up for you.  The group (of about 25 people) are all standing in the middle of the Square, surrounded by huge gorgeous homes, in the middle of the night, and we are facing the guide, who is dressed like either a clergyman or a funeral director, I can't decide, and it is DEAD quiet after he says that, and a woman steps out of the group swinging her arms wildly, and shaking her head and she proceeds to walk behind the guide, so as to face us all too,  and pace back and forth as she lights a cig, and she yells, "OH HEYYYEEELLL NOO!  I ain't DOIN' this NO MO!"

So the best part is that he continues with the Ghost Story as she paces back and forth, swinging her one arm, now, because the other is exaggeratedly puffing on her cig.  It is both distracting and polarizing, at the same time.  Finally, Hallie, my nine-year-old, looks up at me and says to me the one pervasive question that has been in my mind for the duration of her cigarrette, since she left the group to do her routine, and says, "Is she gonna LEAVE, or what?"

SOOOOO GREAT.  I know it is inappropriate, but "OH HEYYYAAAALLL NO!" became my mantra all vacation and the Brad, the girls, and I would just double over whenever I brought it up,.  Don't worry I explained that it was a bad word to Mills when she asked, but it was "okay" because I was not the originator and it is "within the context" of a funny story, and Eva just laughs because everyone else does, so I'm cool.

To make matters even more hilarious, the next day as we are all laughing about "OH HEYALLLLL NO!"  and I am lamenting that I did not get a picture of her, as we are downloading our photos, searching for orbs, and there she is.  Hallie had inadvertently snapped a photo of her.  So great.  Pic above.

Blue Orb Tours is supposedly the BEST Ghost Tour in Savannah.  I do not have anything to compare it to, but I concur.  Check it out, if you are ever there, do the Pub Crawl, if you don't have kids, and write to me about it.  Oh Heyall no, take your kids, who am I to judge, I just taught my kids a cuss word on vacation.

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