Kidnapping. Murder. Loss. Suffering. Yellow Fever. Suicide. Possession. Exorcisms. Seance. Parapsychologists. Poltergeist. Demonologist. All words associated with one Savannah home, the Hampton-Lillibridge. Over 50 years ago, before ghost tours or real tourism in Savannah, Jim Williams — one of Savannah’s preservation visionaries and the main character in the “non-fiction novel” Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil — “rescued” a home that some believe might have been better off being allowed to die.
Beautiful and austere-looking today, and arguably on Savannah’s nicest colonial-era street, the home became the wellspring of all things haunted lore and ghost economy in Savannah. Some say it’s haunted by its past as a hospital during an epidemic in 1820, the family found dead in the home, believed to be poisoned by their slaves. Or perhaps later when a German sailor set himself on fire in the upper floor where so much poltergeist activity has been experienced. Others have offered the more simple explanation to the home’s upset: “you never, ever move a house.” It didn’t help much that when developers attempted to restore the home in 1961, they found a large, watery grave on the move location and proceeded to renovate right on top — now the grave is just part of the basement. No big deal.
Jim Williams routinely encountered and heard others refer to a violent spirit, “the evil man upstairs,” with one scientist even believing it had tried to murder him. Before Williams sold the home in 1971, it had been exorcised once and declared “the single most psychically possessed home in America,” by Duke University, after documenting some 300 instances of Level Four & Five Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (RSPK) — or in effect, violent poltergeist activity. Although more people know the name Amityville via the pop culture legacy, no home in America has so much of a historical haunted rap sheet along with scientific one as does the Hampton-Lillibridge, and what better destination to find it in but America’s Most Haunted City? And yet, there’s still an asking price for anyone who dares to take it on: 2.1 million.
Shannon "Dr. Buzzard" Scott
Excerpt from Celebrate Halloween by Discovering Your Town’s Spooky History at Zerve.com