Monday, August 7, 2017

The City that Lives Upon Her Dead

Colonial Park Cemetery

The title of this post is the nickname given to Savannah, Georgia. This southern city is called this because like many other locations their old burial grounds were paved over and built upon without moving the graves that lay beneath.

This fact has led to reported ghostly sightings across Savannah. But many locals agree their city’s Historic District is the most haunted.

In the middle of this district is the 6-acre Colonial Park Cemetery that dates back to 1750. Over 10,000 souls are buried here despite the fact there are only 1,000 headstones that remain.

The reasons for this vary. Over 700 victims of the 1820s yellow fever epidemic are buried in mass graves at Colonial. This graveyard also has many family vaults were family members were placed. Their remains turned to dust and placed in urns so the next generation of deceased could be placed on the shelves—this cycle then continued.

Gravestones displaced by Union
soldiers.
Many of Colonial’s gravestones were moved or disfigured by Union troops during the Civil War, which leads to more confusion of where the deceased are buried.

But the most compelling factor is when the cemetery’s boundaries were shortened the surrounding streets, i.g. Abercorn and Oglethorpe, were paved over and many of the graves were left under them.

One area of Colonial today is a children’s playground and basketball court. Sightings of ghosts believed to be deceased men who were killed in duels are reported here. Other sightings in the cemetery include shadow figures and a green mist that floats among the gravestones.


By far, the most famous haunting at this park is known as the “Hanging Tree” ghost. Locals and tourists are fascinated by this story, which has taken on epic proportions.

A male ghost, known as Rene Rondolier, is often seen walking through Colonial or hanging from a tree called the “Hanging Tree” located at the back wall of the cemetery.

It is said Rondolier is easy to spot because he is almost 7 feet in height. His ghost is infamous because it is believed he murdered two young girls in this graveyard. He then was lynched either on the Hanging Tree or in a nearby square.

Footnote: There is little historic evidence that Rondolier ever existed but this story through several generations has taken on folkloric status.

Despite this fact there have been so many witnesses to this haunting as well as others that paranormal investigators in the area have dubbed Colonial Park “Paranormal Central” and of course ghost tours are offered.


Ghostly figure captured at Colonial

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