The Pirates’ House
Have you heard of Captain Flint?
“Heard of him, you say! He was the bloodthirstiest buccaneer that sailed. Blackbeard was a child [compared] to
Robert Louis Stevenson based all of the characters in
Stevenson was a writer who did his homework. Though
It’s possible that back in the late 1870s, Stevenson also heard that this scoundrel’s ghost still haunted the tavern. The pirate’s tenacious attitude of refusing to follow the rules, even in death, may have inspired Stevenson to write this passage about
That infamous pub still stands today, though you won’t find buccaneers any longer, with the exception of one ghostly pirate captain that still haunts the building. The locals have taken to calling this ghost “
The story of the Pirates’ House starts with the founding of
The Pirates’ House was originally built by seamen in 1754. The construction was wooden beams, interlocked and held together by wooden pegs—the way seamen built ships. The construction in this section of town stands in contrast to the well-built, Colonial-style homes in the center of town.
The Pirates’ House was a dangerous place, full of swashbuckling pirates and scallywags. Seamen would stop in for grog and rum as they arrived from ports around the world. With the exception of the pirate Jean Pierre Lafitte, who married a woman from the same neighborhood and came from a later era, it’s difficult to place the names of too many famous pirates who actually visited this early tavern.
A pirate’s life for you, you say? I spoke with Robert Edgerly, a life-long
Edgerly explained how many infamous pirates, such as Blackbeard, Calico Jack, and Stede Bonnet, all came through the area of Savannah, but decades before the English ever settled there and long before the Pirates’ House became a rough and tough sailor’s pub.
In the Pirates’ House rum cellar, there was a tunnel connecting the building to the
Edgerly explained that sailors pressed into service wouldn’t be let off the ships when they arrived at different seaports around the world because of fear they would run off. But press gangs weren’t the only way to kidnap a sailor. Edgerly said, “If the press gangs couldn’t find anybody, then they’d go to the area that is now called the Pirates’ House and they’d find an able-bodied seaman who already had experience, who had a little too much grog, or they’d hasten his lethargy with a knockout shot to the head. We know that the basement of the captain’s quarters—the 1750
With a record of abducted seamen, hardened pirates drinking themselves to death, and more than 250 years of American history, the Pirates’ House has more than its share of ghost stories. I also spoke with Greg Profitt, who runs Savannah By Foot, a walking tour company that features the “Creepy Crawl Haunted Pub Tour.” Profitt’s
Profitt said, “I’d start my tours at the Pirates’ House. Upstairs there was a lounge called Hannah’s East. I remember one night I had a lot of people in there, and I’m going around to the tables and I’m saying to people we’re going to be leaving in a few minutes, if you could finish your drink or grab a to-go cup. There were two sisters from
On another occasion, Profitt was speaking with a young couple from
Profitt has done a lot of work with charity in
Profitt said, “It was really bizarre; we heard a lot of noises. We were the only ones in the building and we were supposed to stay up in the one room, but I roamed all through the place—I couldn’t help it, it was fascinating. We kept hearing footsteps and banging on the walls and banging on doors, and we’re investigating but we’re finding nothing. Finally, Tony, who was up there to kind of keep me honest—he didn’t believe in ghosts—he’s this British guy, and at about a quarter ‘til 1, he’s reading from the book Treasure Island and he reads, ‘Darby, bring me more rum.’ He threw on a lot of accent, almost like he was reading to a crowd. I had brought Jamaican rum, because in the book
“Well I brought rum and three shot glasses. I had mine, Tony had his, and the third one was in a position where either one of us, to get near it, would have to get up to move to it. At a quarter ‘til one, when he reads, ‘Darby, bring me more rum’ out of the book, that one shot glass that neither one of us could have reached, it just vanished with the rum in it. We watched it disappear.”
Profitt isn’t the only witness to the supernatural at the Pirates’ House, by any means. Robert Edgerly said, “I know people who have actually seen the ghost of the big, burly fellow sitting at the table. Because the Pirates’ House has been there so long, there are generations of people that have worked there. And I’ve talked to credible individuals—I mean guys that wouldn’t give it a second thought—that have seen the ghost. The restaurant used to be 20 dining rooms, but now the 45 South [an adjacent restaurant] has taken over some of it. There’s, like, 14 dining rooms, and the reason being is that some of them are the old living rooms, bedrooms of the houses that were adjacent. I’ve had at least three managers tell me over a 20-year period that they would be walking through there at night closing up, they’d go by a room and they’d look, and there would be a guy there at the table. They’d go back and look again, and he’d look at them. Then they’d get scared to death, go get somebody, and bring them back, and there wouldn’t be anybody there. People have seen the old ship captain, whoever he is, sitting there.”
When Greg Profitt was sharing some of his ghostly experiences with author Frances Kermeen at the Pirates’ House bar, both experienced a threatening phenomenon when the author was typing notes into her laptop. Profitt said, “As soon as we started talking about the ghost, her laptop computer goes wacko. It starts spitting out numbers, letters, and symbols—you really couldn’t understand what it was, the keys were going on their own, and it crashed. She reboots the computer, and this time it was like words. They were kind of running in together: hate, die. And the third time, it really seemed to be threats against me—that I should shut up, discontinue, or bad things were going to happen to me.”
The spirit of
Since 1997, the former journalist has interviewed thousands of eyewitnesses to paranormal occurrences. He's worked in marketing and public relations for both private and public companies, and he's the ultimate insider and knows how to connect with people from all walks of life when it comes to the unexplained.
He is the author of over a dozen books (published in six languages) including the best sellers: The World's Most Haunted Places, Weird Massachusetts, andWho's Haunting the White House (for children). He's the founder of Ghostvillage.com, the Web's most popular paranormal destination according to Google.com, and a noted speaker and media personality providing dozens of lectures per year at colleges, universities, conferences, and libraries. He's also the host of the cable/Web talk show, 30 Odd Minutes which is available in over 3 million homes in the United States. Belanger has written for newspapers like The Boston Globe and is the series writer and researcher forGhost Adventures on the Travel Channel.
Belanger has been a guest on more than 200 radio and television programs including: The History Channel, The Travel Channel, PBS, NECN, Living TV (UK), The Maury Show, The CBS News Early Show, FOX, NBC, ABC, and CBS affiliates, National Public Radio, The BBC, Australian Radio Network, andCoast to Coast AM.
He currently haunts Massachusetts with his wife, Megan, daughter, Sophie, and parakeet, Mambo.