By James Caskey
Published by Bonaventture Books
As ghost guides go, there are thousands out there. Most cater to the tourists, often sacrificing fact for a few chill bumps. Finding your way around a city’s haunted hot spots can either consist of a haunted tour with overblown theatrics, or a guide book with questionable credentials. James Caskey, however, proves to be the exception in both areas with his book Haunted Savannah.
Caskey weaves tales of uncanny power, providing meticulous research into the history and circumstances surrounding each of the fifty cases in his book. Stories without historical documentation are recorded as such, leaving the reader to decide the veracity of the tale. His research even goes so far as to debunk several erroneous claims made by nationally syndicated television programs.
Beginning with well-known tourist spots such as the 17 hundred 90 Inn and the Pirate’s House, Caskey painstakingly documents the legends, the reported sightings and phenomena, and the stories by interviewing not only the staff, but visitors who have experienced the unexplained. Names are provided where allowed and left off where requested, but there are no “anonymous sources” in this book. Each witness and interview comes off as genuine, believable, and relatable. He traces the past of the structure, writing about the blood-soaked history of the land, and bringing a greater understanding to not only the world of the paranormal, but to Savannah herself.
Also included are some private residences, bars that wish to not be mentioned by name, and buildings that, were the guide book not in the hands of tourists, people would walk right past without a second glance. Wherever possible, Caskey provides locations and names, all the while respecting the privacy of those that do not wish to be identified.
History and paranormal enthusiasts alike will enjoy Haunted Savannah. Among the best stories in the volume are those about “Little Gracie,” the Hampton-Lillibridge House, the Lucas Theater, and 12 West Oglethorpe. There are also stories that, while strange and disturbing, are also laugh-out-loud funny, such as the case of the 17 hundred 90 Inn, in which one woman had her underwear used as Christmas tree decorations by the spiteful spook. There are also sections that deal with a different type of specter, the one left by the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and the movie by the same name. He discusses the voodoo culture and repercussions of a few misconceptions left by that story.
On the whole, Haunted Savannah is one of the best books of its kind on the market. Morbidly fascinating at times, always informative, one could do much worse than to go to Savannah armed with this book as a guide.
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