We tiptoed across the mass grave of people buried prematurely. They’d succumbed to Yellow fever and were tossed onto death carts that rolled through the streets of Savannah. Hastily, they were buried, though some of them were still alive.
They clawed at the lids of their coffins, leaving scratch marks that screamed their vitality. Yellow fever masked that, leaving them in comatose conditions in its late stage. They were buried. They woke up. They tried to claw or gnaw their way out of the ground. Their skeletal remains showed they’d ingested wood chips.
This was the fate of some of the souls buried in Savannah’s Colonial Park Cemetery.
Others seemed lost forever; a fate as scary as death itself. For we know that more than 10,000 people were buried in the cemetery, yet only 600 gravestones remain. And some of those don’t even make sense.
In addition to the Yellow fever deaths, a number of dead from dueling, slavery, and war were buried here. Later, many of these graves were looted and desecrated. The soft sandstone of the headstones was easily changed and now the birth and death dates of some of those buried don’t make any sense. According to the headstones, some children bore their parents. Others died before they were even born. Union soldiers have been blamed for this disrespectful prank.
Now the cemetery is said to be haunted. It could be the ghosts of the fever epidemic, or murdered slaves, or those whose graves were disturbed. More than 10,000 were reportedly buried here. But there’s not enough space for 10,000 bodies. It’s commonly acknowledged that the city of Savannah — its streets, buildings, and picturesque parks — are built atop burial grounds.
Savannah is touted as “America’s Most Haunted City.” With all its deathly disrespect, I’d haunt it, too, wouldn’t you?