Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Walking on the Dead ...

Ghost tours, in my opinion, have to be taken with a grain of salt. The goal of said tours is to scare you, to construct a haunted history for the urban landscape that will give you the chills. The tour guides are a contemporary version of the ancient storyteller, spinning their yarns out of ready threads. In Savannah, there are many threads, sad and deplorable ones, to spin from.

There is something voyeuristic about paranormal tourism. As we walk along behind the guide, listening to the tales he or she weaves, we are titillated by these stories; the pleasure in the chills, the thrills, is deeply rooted in that thing called schadenfreude, that feeling that, thankfully, we modern-day American citizens are not situated in that barbarous past (ignoring the fact that the present is often nearly as barbarous). The stories spun for us on this particular February evening, a slight dampness and chill in the air, spoke of stupid duels, wronged lovers, Irish child-brides, vengeful slaves, "root" magic, unmarked graves.

An appropriately full moon.
Savannah cultivates a subculture of supernatural amusement, the whole city becoming a carnivalish funhouse after dark. One hotel, 1790, supposedly haunted by a poltergeist energized by the anger of a wronged child-bride, has positioned a mannequin with dark hair in one of the upstairs windows. Another, the Kehoe House, invites visitors with open doors, playing up its past as a funeral home.

In Savannah, you can even partake in this paranormal party beer in hand, since there is no open container law.
I can't say that I abstained;).  Clearly.

The Kehoe House.
When I'm on a ghost tour, I can't help but feel as though I am walking on the dead. As any good student of graveyard folklore knows, walking on the dead is a very unwise act. The dead don't particularly care for being trod upon. They probably don't care for people riding around in modified hearses peering into their windows, groups of people huddling around their former homes, salivating over their suffering. I hope none of them followed me home. ~Alice
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