October will be here tomorrow, and that means it’s time for haunted houses and ghost stories.
You may not think of Fort Pulaski as a place to checkout for something spooky, but in a spot where you can easily feel the echoes of the past, maybe you should.
You’ll find Fort Pulaski National Monument on Highway 80 between Savannah and Tybee Island. The spot had been used as various forts and defenses throughout Savannah’s history, but it was it’s incarnation as a Civil War fort that leaves it haunted.
It was a Confederate fort during the Civil War. In order to defeat them, Union soldiers set up a rifled cannon on Tybee Island and fired at the fort. The Confederates surrendered and were held as prisoners of war in their own fort.
If you’re not familiar with POW camps during the Civil War, it was pretty rough on both sides. It was especially hard for those at Fort Pulaski because basic supplies were in high demand but short supply. A lot of sickness and death followed.
Now the specters of those who fought and died at the fort can sometimes be spotted wandering the grounds. Some areas of the fort allegedly echo with the sounds of people dying and screaming in pain.
While that all sounds terrible, there is one story that makes me laugh. My favorite ghost story from Fort Pulaski involves extras from the film “Glory”.
Parts of “Glory,” starring Denzel Washington, were shot in and around Savannah. Before heading to set one day, a few extras dressed as Confederate soldiers decided to explore the fort. That’s when they say a Confederate officer stopped them and reprimanded them for not saluting him. After barking orders at them, they say he just disappeared.
A different ghostly sound has been heard around the fort. It’s credited as being the site of Georgia’s first baseball game. On January 3, 1863, some Union soldiers decided to play. It was New York vs New York. (In case you’re wondering, New York won.)
Now some people claim to hear the crack of a bat and men yelling in excitement. I guess spending your afterlife playing baseball isn’t the worst thing.
Normally, Fort Pulaski offers a nighttime tour in October to talk about the history of death and the macabre, but I don’t think they’re offering that this year due to COVID restrictions. Still, you should like to fort on Facebook to keep up with events once its safe to have them again.
Storms over the past few years, left it with a lot of debris and damage. In a weird bright side to the pandemic, it’s given the NPS a chance to clean up and repair areas of the fort, making it even more accessible.
Aside from the fort itself, Fort Pulaski offers plenty of trails, a picnic area, fishing, and even a dog-friendly beach.
If you’re planning a Savannah visit, I highly recommend a day at Fort Pulaski. (And if you happen to see any ghosts, please let me know.)
Fort Pulaski National Monument US-80 Savannah, GA 31410