Savannah, Georgia is well known for its abundant ghosts. It’s thought to be second only to New Orleans in hauntings in the United States. And while it’s not the oldest standing structure in Savannah (according to The Pirate’s House website, that honor goes to the Herb House, built in 1734), the Kehoe House has been around plenty long enough to have seen its share of events that inevitably resulted in hauntings.
Born in 1832 in County Wexford, Ireland, William Kehoe immigrated to the United States when he was 10 years old. The Kehoe House website explains that he married Anne Flood in 1868, and they started a family. The Kehoe House was completed in 1892, and William and Anne moved in with their 10 children. They spent many happy years there.
In 1930, the house was sold by a Kehoe heir, and the house was used as a boarding house for a while, and — oh yeah — a funeral parlor after that. Ghosts? What ghosts? Sometime after the funeral parlor gig, the very much alive football superstar Joe Namath bought and lived in the historic house before selling it in 1990, when it was renovated and turned into a Bed and Breakfast. Since then, the house has changed hands a couple times, but has retained its Bed and Breakfast identity.
Kid ghosts, and lots of them
Let’s just get this horribly sad rumor out of the way. There’s a story widely circulated on many paranormal sites that the Kehoes had five-year-old twins who decided to play in the chimney, got stuck, and died there, and now haunt the house. However, websites (such as Savannah Terrors) that go into any depth about the historical aspect of the Kehoe House say that the story has never been proven with any historical records, and is most likely not true, as the Kehoe House website tells us. Phew.
There is still (reportedly) no shortage of kid ghosts, however. It’s not surprising, considering there were 10 Kehoe children who lived there, and according to Savannah haunted tour group Savannah Terrors, guests hear the sound of children throughout the property, when there are no (currently living) children staying there. These types are called “residual hauntings,” because they don’t interact with the living; they’re considered by some to be more of an imprint, or recording, where the same events keep repeating. With all the reports of laughing, running, and playing at all hours of the day and night, it would seem that the kids of Kehoe House had great childhoods.
At least a ghost can't touch you… right?
Ghost City Tours says that there are also accounts of guests smelling old-fashioned, fragrant perfumes throughout the hallways and guest rooms. And in addition to the residual hauntings, there are some more dynamic ghosts there as well; some guests said they’d felt someone touch them while they were relaxing in their rooms, when there was no one else around. While the grabby ghost probably means no harm, it would certainly be startling to feel an invisible hand on one’s arm.
And the ghosts of Kehoe House aren’t always invisible. As the paranormal research enthusiasts over at Creepy Hollows say, William’s wife “Annie haunts mostly rooms 201 and 203 appearing to the guests who stay in those rooms. She can also be seen walking about the third floor. William can be seen walking throughout the house and seems to be keeping an eye on things. He has been known to make all the doors in the house, on all floors, open by themselves!”
Whatever your preferred flavor of brushes with those beings beyond the veil, Kehoe House has a wide variety of seemingly content ghosties who are happy to stay there in its meticulously renovated glory.
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