Monday, October 31, 2011

Horror on the High Seas: The Pirates' House

I've been to Savannah, Georgia once in my life and I found it both charming and beautiful. The people were delightful, even if the weather wasn’t, and the history of the city is enthralling. Founded in 1733 by British General James Edward Oglethorpe as a buffer between His Majesty’s colonies and Spanish Florida and French Louisiana, she is full of wonderful sights and delicious restaurants. Her seafaring legacy is rich as well and, of course, that means a few piratical legends.

There is a place in Savannah known as The Pirate’s House which is now a restaurant but once, allegedly, housed a famous pirate. The freebooter in question is not actually known but locals call him Flint, after one of the many colorful characters in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. According to Jeff Belanger the opposite is true; Stevenson named his pirate Flint after a visit to Savannah and a stay at The Pirates’ House. Of course Belanger, in his book The World’s Most Haunted Places, throws out this off-handed “fact”:

With the exception of the pirate Jean Pierre Lafitte, who married a woman from the same neighborhood and came from a later era

Given that Jean and Pierre Laffite were two separate men, probably never did more than glance over the rail of a ship at Savannah and were neither of them ever married, committing that snippet to paper does a deal of harm to any writer’s credibility.

That said, Belanger – who is “one of the world’s most visible and prolific paranormal researchers” according to the bio on the book jacket – tells us that he has spoken to people who have had unusual experiences at The Pirates’ House. As a number of these episodes seem to involve rum, it is no wonder that people are convinced the ghost haunting the restaurant is a pirate.

Belanger reports one particular night when Greg Profitt, who runs a walking tour of the city known as Savannah by Foot, was spending the night at The Pirates’ House on a dare. He was joined by Tony Cross, the darer if you will, and they turned the stunt into a fund raiser for leukemia research. Profitt reports that the two men “… heard a lot of noises…footsteps and banging on the walls and banging on the doors…” Perhaps to calm their jangled nerves, the men reached for a bottle of rum and Cross quoted Flint’s famous line from Treasure Island: “Darby, bring me more rum!”

The men poured out three shot glasses and, again according to Profitt, each took one and then the third glass “… just vanished with the rum in it. We watched it disappear.”

Other “spirit related” incidents at The Pirates’ House included glasses suddenly exploding or filling inexplicably with Spanish moss. Does, as Belanger asserts, the “… spirit of Flint in all his menacing glory still walk the Pirates’ House”? It’s hard to say. What I will say without question is that, given the handsome decor and mouthwatering fare available at the restaurant, as the pictures from Savannah for 91 Days attest, I would happily haunt the place were I an old, chain-rattling seadog.

With that, Happy Halloween Brethren. May your spirits be joyful and may you always have more rum.

Header: The Pirates’ House via Savannah for 91 Days


Charles L. Wallace said...

What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing, Pauline, and, Happy Hallowe'en :-)

Pauline said...

I hope at least some of it is true. And a happy Halloween to you too, Wally!

Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! While I'm skeptical of the story, I'm sure it helps draw in more customers, so, hey whatever works, I guess...

Happy Halloween to all the brethren!

Danielle Thorne said...

I've visited and eaten at the Pirate House--and used it in a scene in my book, By Heart and Compass.

Love the ambiance of the place, and the pecan chicken is to die for!

Pauline said...

Timmy: agreed.

Danielle: thank you for the first hand info; did anything "unusual" happen while you were there? If I ever get back to Savannah - and I hope to - its on my list of must-sees.