We have probed the vastness of outer space. Our divers have
plumbed the watery depths. Yet there are still many things
science cannot explain. Who is not fascinated by
mysterious things that go bump in the night? Who has never
wondered about that thin line that separates the living from
the dead? Are there some places where departed souls
- I don't propose to answer that
question. However, there are too many cases of reputable people reporting strange
occurrences in certain places. It is even harder to dismiss the stories as foolishness
when many people who have never met relate the same experience.
- The lighthouse
began in the mind of a dreamer, James Gould. He came to
the island in the late 1700s and in 1807 won the bid to
build the lighthouse. In 1810 President Madison
appointed him the first keeper. Since there was no money
for an assistant, Gould trained some of his slaves for
this position. One of the men was so devoted to this job
his friends nicknamed him "Lamp Black" Perhaps it is
Lamp Black whose ghostly footsteps still echo on the
spiral stair treads around dinnertime. Many people
believe he is just returning to check on "his" light."
- Others believe
the ghost at the St. Simons Island lighthouse is that of
lighthouse keeper Fred Osborn, killed in March 1881,
during an argument with his assistant, John Stevens, who
had fallen in love with Osborn's wife. Another version
of the story states that Osborn was a chronic
faultfinder with everything Stevens did. Whichever the
case, the two men fought. Osborn had a pistol, Stevens a
shotgun. Stevens was later acquitted and the killing
deemed self-defense but to the end of his days, Stevens
claimed to hear footsteps on the stairs when no one was
there. Was it Osborn come back to confront his killer or
just Lamp Black trying to attend his light? Who knows,
perhaps both spirits inhabit the lighthouse. On clod and
windy nights, they may compare notes on the care of the
light and the vagaries of life and death.
soldiers blew up the original lighthouse in 1861 to keep
it from falling into Union hands. It was rebuilt in 1872
and now houses the Museum of Coastal History. By day
visitors can tour it. By night it is the domain of its
The island, with its moss-draped oaks is a great place
for horseback riding. There is a stable located on
Frederica Road just past the causeway. However, if you
ride at twilight, you may come face to face with Mary
the Wanderer. Mary still rides a white stallion
searching for her lost lover who drowned during a storm
when his boat capsized in the Frederica River more than
a century ago.
The island's history goes back over two and a half
centuries to the time when England and Spain were locked
in a bitter struggle for dominion over these new lands.
In 1736, James Oglethorpe began the construction of Fort
Frederica on St. Simons to defend England's' southern
colonies from Spanish invasion. The fort was the largest
and most costly British fort in North America. The
prosperous town of Frederica grew around it by 1743,
dependent on the soldiers for their livelihood. This
fort played a major part in the route of the Spanish at
the Battle of Bloody Marsh, six miles to the south. The
slaughter here was so devastating to the Spanish forces
that they retreated back to St. Augustine, forever
ending the threat to the English colonies. Designed for
war, Frederica could withstand every thing except peace.
As the Spanish threat faded, the soldiers withdrew
leaving the village economy unable to survive. Today,
you can view the site. Much of the fort and the barracks
remain. Other home and business sites foundations are
carefully preserved allowing you a glimpse of what this
thriving military town looked like in its heyday. The
Visitors Center, which has books and exhibits and an
entertaining film about the founding of Frederica.
If you view the site of the Battle of Bloody Marsh,
after dark you might meet the earthbound spirit of
Thomas Cater. Thomas built the prosperous plantation of
Kelvin Grove in the 1790s. Home was his beautiful pink
tabby house set among the live oaks and magnolia with a
view of the ocean from its wide balconies. Thomas also
had a wife, Elizabeth, and a young son, Benjamin
Franklin. There was a hidden serpent in this colonial
paradise. Thomas's wife was carrying on a clandestine
affair with the overseer. Her jealous lover killed
Thomas. The loyal butler, Benbow, fearing for the
child's life, fled to Retreat with the young Benjamin
who was raised by the master of that plantation, Major
William Page. Retreat today is the site of the Sea
Island Golf Club. Thomas was buried standing up on his
Kelvin Grove has long since been divided unto
subdivisions, one of which bears the name of the old
plantation. Part of the grounds included the site of
Bloody Marsh. Thomas still reputedly roams after dark,
perhaps seeking revenge against the overseer.
- Interestingly, there may be many more spirits in the
area to accompany him. When a portion of the tract was
sold to the county for an airport in 1936, remains of an
ancient Indian burial ground were found on the site. No
institute more evil than slavery ever existed in the
American South. Ironically it brought out the best in
mankind as well as the worst. Examples of both exist on
St. Simon. In May 1803, a group of Ebo captives were
being transported to a life of slavery at St Simons.
Rather than submit, the proud tribesmen revolted the
only left open to them. They marched into the waters of
Dunbar Creek and drowned themselves rather than live in
chains. To this day, their mournful chants and clanging
chains are sometimes heard, an eternal reminder of man's
inhumanity to man.
- On the other side of the coin is the
reason behind the name of the popular beachfront spot,
Neptune Park. It stands at the end of Mallory St,
between the pier and the lighthouse. Its sculpture of a
mother whale and her baby remind visitors of the Right
Whales that visit this coast. These whales were named
"Right" by the whalers who considered them the right
whales to hunt and succeeded in driving them to the
verge of extinction. If you are lucky, you may spot one
of the few remanding whales that use this area for a
calving ground from December to late March.
The park is
named for Neptune Small. Neptune was a slave during the
Civil War. According to Bunny, the tour guide on the
trolley which boards nearby, he accompanied his young
master, Lord King, into battle and when Lord fell on the
fields of Fredricksburg, Neptune dragged his body from
the battlefield and brought him back to Retreat
Plantation for burial. Then the saddened Neptune
returned to watch over the younger King son, Cuyler.
After the war, a grateful Thomas King, gave Neptune the
beachfront land to build his home. The small family
remained on this land into the twentieth century. Thus a
former slave became the owner of what would become one
of the most valuable pieces of real estate in St. Simons
- Shades of Scarlet OHara!
- Georgias Ghostly Getaways by Kathleen Walls gives the
reader a most remarkable look at what has got to be one of the most beautiful of the
Southern states Georgia. Not only does Ms. Walls show us Georgia as it is today;
she presents the history of the area as well -- while throwing in lots and lots of ghostly
tales for good measure.
- Georgias Ghostly Getaways takes us through Georgia from one
side of the state to the other and from top to bottom. It starts off with the coastal city
of Savanna, Georgias Hostess City, and ends with New Echota, once the Capital of the
Cherokee Nation. After each location, Ms. Walls lists helpful contacts of places to see,
to stay and to dine.
- Even though I am from the South and have been to Georgia many
times, it took reading Georgias Ghostly Getaways by Kathleen Walls to make me
realize just how little of Georgia that I have really seen and understood -- and what I
have missed by sticking to the interstates and main highways as I drove through the state.
- I highly recommend this book. For those people who are planning a
trip to Georgia, it is an invaluable source of information. For those people who will
never have the opportunity to visit the beautiful and colorful state of Georgia, it makes
an excellent armchair excursion.
- Reviewed by Kristie Leigh Maguire, author of "Emails from
the Edge (The Life of an Expatriate Wife) and co-author along with Mark Haesuer of
"No Lady and Her Tramp"
- Georgia's Ghostly Getaways offers you glimpses into the haunting
history and spooky spots throughout Georgia.
- These include inns, restaurants, homes, museums, and colleges
from Georgia's early days to the present. Learn where sightings occur, ghosts still
appear, doors open and close, lights flash without reason, and voices whisper.
- Kathleen Walls provides a great ghostly guidebook as well as
insight into the fascinating stories surrounding historical and modern spectral sites.
Georgia's Ghostly Getaways is a "must read" for those interested in the unusual
and unnatural of Georgia's past and present as they travel throughout the state or reside
- Kathleen also includes numerous resources for additional
historical and travel information when planning your visit to these haunts.
- Mary Emma Allen, travel writer, columnist at www.americanroads.net, author of books for children and adults.
- If you're heading to Georgia (the US state, not the country), and
you happen to be interested in ghosts then this guidebook could come in handy. Walls takes
the reader on a tour of the spookiest spots in the state, throwing in useful eating and
accommodation recommendations as she goes. ...
- The book benefits from extensive research, and joins a small group of other works
on the ghosts of the thirteenth state. JT
- Overall verdict: more Greek revival haunted houses than you can
shake a magic wand at.
- Reviewed by Jonathan Turton, Editor, Travel Insights. London, UK
- Georgia's Ghostly Getaways by Kathleen Walls should be a book
that every student should read. Ms. Walls definitely did her homework, as the descriptions
of Savannah, Dalton, Milledgeville and Kennesaw were perfect.
- While reading this book, I found myself back in Georgia and
missing that wonderful Southern Hospitality. I was very surprised to see the part on
Kennesaw, as I am the former Chief of Police and was the original spokesperson for the
Kennesaw Gun Law. Dent Myers is an old friend and a walking history book.
- The Ghosts Ms. Walls talked about are obviously still active.
After reading her book, I believe they will always be present which I think is great by
the way she described the encounters. I give this history of Georgia and its ghosts five
Stars. A must read for all of you Civil War and Supernatural Fans.
- Review by Bobby Ruble award winning author of
Have No Mercy
- Ive got to see these ghosts! And if I dont see the
specters I must see Georgia through the eyes of insightful travel author Kathleen Walls.
And make no bones about it the history is captivating as well. This is a must read
if you love ghosts, travel, history or any of the above.
Historian and author of Oldest Ghosts