Categories
BLOG

weed house

I Captured Something Disturbing on Camera at Savannah’s Sorrel-Weed House

A series of photographs show the reflection of someone who wasn’t in the room with us suddenly appearing in the mirror.

On a recent flight to Savannah, I kept pestering the flight attendants about which runway we would be landing on. I was really hoping for runway 10, knowing that I might not see the headstones, but at least I could say I landed on them. Savannah’s runway 10 is the only known runway in the United States with marked gravestones in it. A runway extension during World War II placed the path through a small family plot. The ancestors of the departed didn’t want to move the graves, so to add to Savannah’s spooky reputation, visitors landing at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, whether they know it or not, are thrust into the city’s afterlife culture.

I never did confirm which runway we landed on, but I had larger intentions of visiting the city’s gravestones nonetheless. I don’t claim to have any sixth sense or paranormal abilities when it comes to ghosts, but in the past I’ve felt what I describe as mysterious energies around me—at times seeing dark shadows turning corners or just feeling someone or something in the room with me. I had read about Savannah being one of the most haunted cities in America, and I figured, since I was there, I would try and seek out some great goose-bump moments.

My first stop was Colonial Park Cemetery, in the heart of Savannah’s historic district. It’s the final resting place to more than 700 victims of the 1820 Yellow Fever epidemic as well as many victims of Savannah’s tragic dueling era, men who died from what some call acts of “too much honor.” It was daytime, and a small park, so I felt comfortable exploring the graves on my own. Near the back, there were a number of headstones resting against a massive dividing wall. Stories say that during the Civil War, Federal troops took over the grounds during their occupation of the city and changed the dates on many of the headstones, while also looting and desecrating the place. Once my confidence in hanging out in cemeteries rose, I headed to Bonaventure Cemetery, east of the city.

Although I remember walking in one direction only, after 35 minutes I was back at the burial site of little Gracie Watkins.

Bonaventure is famous for its prominent role in the novel (and movie by the same name) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The massive graveyard is home to various statues and monuments, many of which are said to come to life at night. The most famous statue belongs to the grave of little Gracie Watkins, who died at age six in 1889. It’s a life-sized (and portrait accurate) representation of the girl. I was determined to find this grave within the labyrinth that is Bonaventure and, after walking for about an hour, I managed to stumble upon it. (The photocopied maps provided at the main entrance don’t provide much help, and more point visitors in the direction of the older part of the cemetery, where most want to visit.) After I left little Gracie, I walked in one direction, or so I thought, searching for an exit. After about 35 minutes, I lost my breath and looked up and recognized the gravestones. When I peered a little closer, I realized I had walked right back to the burial site of Gracie Watkins. At this point I was exhausted, a bit terrified, and ready to go back to my room at B Historic, so I ordered an Uber and called the driver directly to come find me in the cemetery—I wasn’t up for another attempt at leaving on my own.

Even though I was a bit shaken up from my mysterious walk through Bonaventure, I had booked a night tour of a famous Savannah home that evening with some friends. The Sorrel-Weed House has been featured on various paranormal activity television shows and is considered to be one of the most haunted homes in the U.S. and even the world. The home was built by Francis Sorrel in the early 1840s, and after the passing of his first wife, a couple of years later, Sorrel married his late wife’s younger sister, Matilda, who would live in the home with him.

Francis had his vices: He engaged in a long-time affair with a slave named Molly, who was given preferential treatment among his slaves, even having her own private quarters above the carriage house next to the main home. When Matilda discovered her husband with Molly one night, she became enraged and leapt from the second-story balcony, killing herself. Weeks later, Molly’s body was found hanging in her room from an apparent second suicide, although some conclude Molly was led to suicide by the ghost of her lover’s wife.

That night, I was on a mission to have some sort of close encounter with any spirits hanging around the house. But since this was a “ghost tour” of sorts, I was skeptical at what, if anything, we would experience. Our guide had a calming vibe with his monotone voice and slow descriptions of the history of the home. He led us through parts of the living spaces and the group was encouraged to take as many photos and videos of the home as we wanted. The camera flashes in the darkly lit interior of the home became more of a nuisance during the tour, but understandably, everyone was trying to capture little green lights or orbs, or what most consider to be spirits. The home had a history of captured images of these orbs and dark shadows, as well as recordings of voices and screams. The history of the home also includes murder and suicide within the walls of the home, so that added to the intensity.

When Matilda discovered her husband with Molly one night, she became enraged and leapt from the second-story balcony, killing herself.

I took an impressive amount of images that night, mostly because everyone else was taking photos and I wanted to be the one to find those orbs. In the dining room, there was a large wall mirror, and for some reason, everyone was snapping pictures of the mirror, apparently because it was the location of various orb sightings. I took my mirror photos and while standing there, reviewed them on my phone, and there was nothing immediately visible, so I continued the tour, mostly disappointed. There were a couple times where I felt the chills, but I attributed that to being in an old home with very little lighting. The tour ended and we all left – but none of us had any real evidence of a ghost sighting that evening.

But the next morning, while laying in l bed and scrolling through the photos I’d taken the night before, I came across something that still makes me shudder when I think about it. I saw what I had been hoping to see but didn’t really want to see.

I examined the images carefully. I was looking for green lights or anything spooky, really, when I came across what looked like an old-school “double exposure”: everything was basically bright white but, beyond that, there was nothing out of the ordinary. It was the next image that gave me chills.

In one of the photos taken of the dining room mirror, there was an extra face in the reflection—someone who hadn’t been standing in the room with us.

Someone who wasn't in the room with us appeared in the mirror's reflection.

Sorrel-Weed House

Sorrel-Weed House Information Guide

Constructed between 1835 and 1840 by Charles Cluskey, this Savannah historic landmark and museum is considered to be one of the finest examples of Greek Revival and Regency architecture in the area. The Sorrel-Weed House was constructed for Francis Sorrel, who was a prominent commission merchant to the West Indies. Many well known people have visited the home, including General Robert E. Lee, who was a long standing friend of Francis Sorrel.

The Sorrel-Weed House also served as the boyhood home for Brigadier General Moxley Sorrel, who fought for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War under General James Longstreet. After proving himself to be a hero at the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864, Moxley Sorrel was promoted to Brigadier General. He was just 26-years-old at the time which made him the youngest general in the Confederate Army. Later in his life, Moxley Sorrel wrote Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer, which is considered one of the best postwar accounts written by a former Confederate Officer.

In recent years, the Sorrel-Weed House provided the high vantage point seen in the opening scenes of Forrest Gump. The movie opens with a floating feather that sails through the Savannah skyline, showing many of the homes in Madison Square from the Sorrel-Weed rooftop, before coming to rest at the feet of Forrest Gump on a bench in Chippewa Square. The Sorrel-Weed House has also been featured on HGTV’s “If Walls Could Talk” as well as “Ghost Adventures”. In the “Ghost Adventures” episode, Zach Bagans, Jason Hawes, and Grant Wilson described the Sorrel-Weed House as being one of the most haunted locations they had ever investigated.

Nearby Attractions

Also on Madison Square, you will find several businesses and other historic places. Caddy-corner to the Sorrel-Weed House is the Green Meldrim House, built by architect John Norris between 1853 and 1861. It is a beautiful Gothic Revival style home that served as Sherman’s Headquarters in Savannah until the end of the Civil War. Today, it is used as the rectory for the St. John’s Episcopal Church next door.

Nearby St. John’s Episcopal are two SCAD buildings. One, located in the 1926 Scottish Rite building, is Gryphon Tea Room. Gryphon boasts a café menu with seasonal and local offerings. Across the street is the Shop SCAD store, which features student, alumni, and faculty artwork and goods for purchase – all inside the old Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory built in 1893 by William Preston.

In addition, close by is E. Shaver’s Bookstore, as well as Electric Bikes of Savannah, Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, The Hilton DeSoto Hotel, The Public Kitchen and Bar, Soho South Café, and Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers.

Learn about The Savannah Sorrel Weed House with our complete information guide featuring historical facts, interactive map, pictures, and things to do nearby. ]]>