Haunting evidence of Savannah’s haunted heritage

Posted on October 1, 2017 by

From the events at the Mercer House that inspired Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil to the Sorrel Weed House featured on Syfy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters,” it’s no secret Savannah is one of the most haunted cities in the country. Choosing which ghost tour to guide you through Georgia’s First City can be a challenge, but one thing’s for sure: you won’t hear Patrick Burns’ stories on any other tour but Got Ghosts!

Patrick Burns takes his tour through the famous Chippewa Square, as seen in “Forrest Gump.” Photo by Katherine Rountree.

“If you are a visitor to Savannah and you want to go on a ghost tour, you have a huge selection,” Burns noted. “I bring a very unique tour to the table. I’m not just rehashing ghost stories people have been hearing for years.”

Burns isn’t an actor reading from a script; he speaks from personal experience. The starring paranormal investigator on truTV’s documentary series “Haunting Evidence,” he now leads the only tour in Savannah complete with photos of anomalies and samples of recorded Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP).

“I am a ghost geek,” said Burns. “I am always about using technology. I want actual recordable data I can present as evidence.”

After moving to Savannah in 2014 and working at another ghost tour company for a few years, Burns decided to branch out. He did his own historical research into the folklore haunting some well-known locations and discovered many of the familiar stories were “heavily embellished or, in some cases, entirely fabricated.”

It was a frustrating discovery for a paranormal investigator, but Burns recognizes the entertainment those tours offer. For some, a ghost tour is a fun way to spend an evening out under the Spanish moss. For others, the truth is still out there.

“I didn’t just want to point out the myth versus reality,” Burns said. “I was more of a paranormal myth-buster then. But I thought, ‘I have so many of my own experiences, I’m not going to tell people these stories of myths.'”

His fascination with the paranormal began at an early age, but that fascination came with an equal amount of terror. Parapsychology seemed like something beyond his means until he was a teenager looking for answers in the wake of his older brother’s death in 1985.

“Friends and family were very supportive, saying he was in a better place and that I should put my life in God’s hands, but it seemed too simplistic,” Burns said. “I needed to know that I would be with him again. I needed proof of the afterlife.”

What proof did he find? You’ll only get that answer by booking a venture on the Got Ghosts! Tour.

Despite his use of visual and audio evidence, Burns isn’t out to convert non-believers. He knows how the layperson might view his work, and he’s able to poke fun at it. In fact, not every story on his tour is a harrowing tale of tragedy. Whether it’s funny, scary or just unsettling, his tales are utterly engrossing.

“I take what I do seriously, but not too seriously. I understand the scientific method, and that I will never definitively prove or disprove ghosts,” he said. “I’m not trying to win over every skeptic, but make them pause and wonder. If they pause and think for a moment, ‘That’s interesting how that happened,’ then I’ve done my job.”

Got Ghosts! is a 1-mile walking tour that lasts approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. Reservations are required. The tour begins nightly at 8 p.m. at the entrance to Colonial Cemetery. Tickets are $40 for adults, $25 for guests 13 and younger, and $30 for seniors and military members. Children under 5 years of age are not permitted on the tour. For more information about Got Ghosts!, go to gotghosts.net or call (833) 428-6846.