432 Abercorn, Savannah GA

On my recent trip to Savannah there was a lot of discussion about 423 Abercorn, a home which sits abandoned with it’s checkered past. The "legend" goes something like this:

A General (Benjamin J. Wilson) of the Civil War lived in the house with his wife and daughter. The wife is taken by the yellow fever epidemic and the General has to raise the girl alone. Being the cliched inept father that he is, he doesn’t like the kids his daughter chooses to play with since they are lower class and ties her to a chair in her room as a punishment. The little girl is forced to watch them play without her and since this is Savannah and summertime she dies of dehydration. The spirit of the little girl lives on and now you can see her face in the glass window looking out.

It’s certainly a spooky story, but here’s my problem – not only is this story absurd, bordering on the ridiculous, I think I’ve heard it before, or at least a variation of it. Anytime the story starts of with, "Legend has it", you might as well say, "Rumor has it". The only difference between rumor and legend is the amount of time a story’s been around. But again this story is so nutty that I can’t even begin to believe it.

But let’s get to the good part. There are pictures of this place and you can clearly see the face in the window! How awesome! It fits the story perfectly, there is a small sad looking out the window of an abandoned house.

Alas, if you study the pictures for more than a minute you will notice something. Something not quite right. There is indeed a face in the window, but it’s the exact same face in the exact same place each and every time. And I mean the exact same place, the middle pane on the bottom row in the window. The odds of that occurring naturally are unfathomable. Nothing in nature works like that. Lightning never strikes twice. When you blow up the picture it all becomes clear. When you look beyond the face and study the items in the room you can see a man made object casting a shadow and creating what people feel is a face to match the story. There is something sitting on the fireplace mantle.

All the pictures are taken from roughly the same spot, outside on the sidewalk, at night, most likely during a ghost tour. They’re all taken from street level, looking up, not eye level looking through the window itself.

I think we have a case of mistaken identity. In my mind, the story is far too vague to be valid. It lacks any and all significant detail. The building is old and abandoned. The reason it’s unoccupied are varied, but there is a pretty simple explanation I’ll get to later. Finally, something catches a person’s eye and the story takes a paranormal spin. Is 423 Abercorn haunted? Who knows, but I highly doubt it. At least, it’s not haunted with the details of this story…

Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the house, but, all you have to do is type in "423 Abercorn" and you’ll find pictures and stories galore. So, what do you think?

Click here to see plenty of user submitted photos of 423 Abercorn in Savannah GA

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3 Responses to 432 Abercorn, Savannah GA

  • Beth Dolgner says:

    Although the story of the girl’s face in the window has been debunked, there are still some fascinating first-hand accounts of that house. Long before the house and the current story were featured on ghost tours, Al Cobb wrote about the house in his book “Danny’s Bed.” A girlfriend of mine saw lights on in the upstairs windows one night, and she distinctly saw someone standing in one of the windows. When she looked again, though, the house was dark, as usual. Local tour guide and historian James Caskey has done extensive research on that area and discovered that 432 (and Calhoun Square) are built on the site of a former slave burial ground. Does that automatically mean the house is haunted? No. But it does make one wonder!

  • RottenOne says:

    Hi Beth, you bring up an interesting point. One thing I noticed when I was down in Savannah is that no one really spoke about slavery. Sure, they talked about Pirates and Generals and Civil Wars and ghosts and duels and yellow fever and damsels plummeting to their doom because of lost loves, but the one thing they glossed over was slaves. Obviously Savannah has a slave history. It’s link to cotton and the railroad is undeniable – that was the backbone of Savannah and it’s source of income. To excuse the pun, is this some sort of dark secret Savannah doesn’t want to talk about? If you ignore it, it’ll go away? I can only imagine that just as many hauntings are linked to the lives and treatment of the slaves as to any wife dying of yellow fever. Did I miss something or did I just get with the wrong guides and they thought pirates and ghosts were more glamorous?

    By the way, any chance your book “Georgia Spirits and Specters” will be available in Kindle format?

  • Charles Wallis says:

    Old Candler Hospital — Hi, in 2008, I worked for the previous owners of the property and I know that hospital better than I know myself. We had the present lids to the tunnel made and fitted in 2008 and I cleared the tunnel of rubbish and debris myself. The two swinging iron arms in the left wall of the second corridor just beyond the square room was used to hold stretchers – the end of that second corridor was blocked off some years ago as it was to dangerous and unstable under the weight of traffic above and the concrete step is not a step, but a support wall or brace. The pipes you can see are for wiring etc. and a water pipe. As for the glass roof – sorry – the roof is vaulted and the blocked off window cut out may actually lead to another room, which was supposed to have been back-filled with all of its equipment when the ceiling caved in at the end of the 19th century. The tunnel came straight from the main old building and it started from was then the morgue. I found the original lift, still in working order (with a bit of you know what), which went to the very top of the building where the operating theaters were. – I found lots of original items still attached to the walls behind a false wall – most interesting! I think it was a wise decision to house the Law academy in the newer tract of the old hospital and I hope that they will turn the old part of the hospital into a library or reading rooms with a dining room for the students, where they can reflect upon the roots of American laws, which the founding fathers put in place around the time that grand and proud building was first erected.
    As far as ghosts – NONE – I was there a night, alone – crawling into spaces only a mad brit would dare to go – but no ghosts – just lots of bird droppings. However, the spirit of the people who worked there, were born there, who were given hope and a second chance there and those who passed whilst in the care of loving nurses an doctors, all that can be felt in the building and gives everyone a good feeling of a positive future. Kind regards, Charles

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