17 Hundred 90 Inn and TavernSavannah, Georgia A man is awakened from a dead sleep in the middle of the night by fingers caressing his face and tugging at his blankets. In his sleep induced stupor he smiles, rolling over to kiss his wife who, for whatever reason, seems very affectionate. It isn’t until after he rolls over and sees the empty pillow beside him that he remembers: He’s not home; he’s in Savannah, Georgia, in a hotel, and the room is empty. As he whirls his head around the room, looking for the mysterious lover who woke him, he sees a thin streak of mist by the window. It seems to turn toward him, revealing tear-reddened eyes in a young woman’s face, and then leaps out the window to his room with an ear-splitting scream.
Savannah has often been called "The Jewel of the South" with a rich history that bears as much tragedy as glory. It seems a person cannot go ten steps without hearing one story or another of deaths, either wrongful or self-inflicted, in any given building. But while many of them have specters, few know exactly who they are and why they still persist. One such place is a more than 200-year old inn, named for the year of its birth.
Built in 1790, the inn was originally used as a boarding house. As Savannah was a popular fishing and shipping port, rowdy sailors, pirates, and the like often frequented such places; and many of them had less than savory reputations. One such person was a young woman, a girl of seventeen years really, named Anna Power.
By all accounts Anna was a woman of questionable moral fiber. Loose was another, less tactful word used to describe her. Whether deserved or not, her family felt she was a disgrace and turned her out to the streets. Miserable, she came to the boarding house, attempting to make her way in the world, and there Anna found what she thought to be the love of her life.
There are no records that state the name of the young man, only that he was a sailor and that by him she became pregnant. For the first time in her life, she felt happy. When she finally revealed to the sailor that she was with child, she fully expected him to quit the seafaring life and marry her. After all, they were in love weren’t they? The sailor, it seemed, had other plans, and they did not involve Anna Power. He set sail that evening with the tide, letting her know that he would probably never come back. As she watched the sails of his ship fade into the harbor, Anna leaped from the third floor window, ending her life and her suffering, or so it would seem. Shortly thereafter, the room from which she leaped became host to truly strange goings-on.
As late as 2003 events have been reported. A couple assigned to Anna’s room arrived and went to unlock their door. However, after doing their best with the key, the door still wouldn’t budge. It seemed the deadbolt, which could only be operated from the inside, had been turned. They went to get the manager, who had a passkey and assured them that there would be no trouble. When they got back to the room, the door swung freely open.
There are several spirits still haunting the Inn and Tavern, including a man who seems to haunt the bar area and a woman who was reported to practice voodoo in the kitchen. It is the ghost of Anna Power, however, that is the dominant soul of the 17 Hundred 90. Since the day of her death so long ago, Anna has roamed the halls and particularly her room, causing mischief and letting lodgers know that she, and her broken heart, are still around.
One of the more prevalent reports is the sound of a baby crying at the top of the stairs. It is believed that this is Anna’s unborn child. Strange noises, however, are not all there is to this haunting. On more than one occasion flickering lights and footsteps have been reported. But it is the stranger things that make this haunting unique.
One gentleman, who remains nameless, reportedly got into an argument with his wife while staying Anna’s room. They became so heated and so angry with each other that the man was banished to the small couch for the night. He was awakened by what he thought was his wife wanting to "kiss and make up." The next morning, he found himself still on the couch. He thanked his wife for being so very understanding the night before, only to have her glare at him and ask what he was talking about. The man swore it was no dream.
On another occasion a group of friends gathered in the tavern for dinner. When one of them brought up the subject of Anna Power, a woman in the party scoffed, claiming that ghosts could not possibly exist. She then politely excused herself to go to the bathroom. Once inside, she found herself pelted with half-empty tubes of toilet paper from an assailant that could not be seen. She left the bathroom shaken ? and no longer so skeptical.
Perhaps the thing that sets this haunting apart from most others is that Anna Power, it seems, has a sense of humor. In addition to locking doors from the inside and molesting unsuspecting lodgers, she also likes to steal things. Patrons have appeared at the front desk complaining of stolen wallets, keys, watches, etc. But there is one thing that Anna seems to favor pilfering above all other things. Underwear. No one’s knickers are safe, as Anna has been blamed for dozens of pairs of purloined pantaloons. All the stolen items eventually turn up, including the burgled bloomers, most of them found in planters and behind shelves. Many patrons have checked out immediately.
The 17 Hundred 90 Inn and Tavern is considered by many to be one of the finest hotels in Savannah. It is the only hotel in the city that boasts its own full-service restaurant and lounge and was called the most elegant of its kind by Gourmet magazine. The presence of Anna and her compatriots have not deterred the staff, who think of the spirits as family.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason to Anna’s appearances. She simply comes and goes as she will. But, it is Room 204 that is the prized room, as it was hers, and it is from this room that most the fun things happen. Just make sure and watch your knickers!
See you in two weeks.