432 AbercornOn the south east Trust lot of Savannah’s Calhoun Square, stands a concrete, Greek revival mansion. This house, unlike other historic homes in Savannah, is simply known by it’s street address – 432 Abercorn.

With the exception of the Mercer Williams House (the basis of the book and movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), 432 Abercorn is perhaps the most infamous house in Savannah.  When I lead my Savannah Ghosts Paranormal Investigation tours, 432 is my grande finale; my pièce de résistance.  I save the best for last, and my tour team is seldom disappointed.

Each night I encounter several other competing tour companies gathering in Calhoun Square to share there stories about this creepy looking, dilapidated home.  On Halloween night, I counted seven tours simultaneously gathered in Calhoun Square; talking about 432.

Despite being a historic home, very little verifiable history about 432 Abercorn is known.  So what is it that attracts so much attention and fascination to this old house?

What is known, is that the home today sits uninhabited.  Not abandoned, but definitely unlived in.  According to some accounts, there have been no official residents in the home since the mid 1980’s  The current owners pay their property taxes, and apparently do the bare minimum of maintenance required to keep the city of Savannah from condemning the property.  A broken window pane was recently replaced, and a fresh coat of paint gets slapped on the window sills and shutters every now and then, but apparently not much more than that.

The lights are on… but nobody’s home!

In mid October of 2014, we began to notice that lights were turned on every night on the 2nd floor of the mansion.  I figured this was probably a simple deterrent to keep the “seasonal thrill seekers” of Halloween at bay and discourage anyone from breaking and entering.  However throughout the remainder of the year, and into January, the lights stayed on.  While the house may be uninhabited, it appears that there is a tenant in the rear carriage house on the back side of the property.  Since the power mains had visibly been cut to the home many years ago, I figured they were probably pulling power for the lights via extension chords from the carriage house.   But one night when I took my tour group to the north side of the house to show them the cut mains, we discovered a new, digital power meter had been installed and was operating.

Sometime in January, the lights were moved to the top, 3rd floor where they remain turned on as of the writing of this, in late March of 2015.  What is this all about?  Has the city given the owners heat for neglecting the property, and forced them to establish electrical service to stay compliant with local ordinances?

432 Abercorn is definitely Savannah’s “urban legend” house.  Every town and small city in America has it’s own 432 – it’s that creepy, run-down house that all the kids in town make up stories about; the house they dare their friends to run up to and ring the bell.  Ask ten different Savannahian’s about 432 Abercorn, and you’ll likely get ten different stories.  As a researcher, 432 is all at once fascinating, and incredibly frustrating in that so little is known of it’s history.  But beyond my interest in the property from a paranormal standpoint, I find it gut wrenching to watch a once beautiful, historic home like this slowly decaying; visibly neglected by it’s owners who won’t give it the TLC it needs, and won’t sell it to someone who will.

So what’s the big deal about 432?  It’s just a run down, spooky looking old house, right?  Yes it is.  And so much more.

Out of all the locations I feature on my nightly tours, 432 Abercorn is the one house where I have personally had experiences that I simply cannot explain.  Oh sure – I’ve recorded countless EVP’s at other locations and gotten some pretty cool responses on the Ovilus and Echovox, but nothing – NOTHING – in Savannah holds a candle to the experiences I’ve had at 432 Abercorn.

The first time I realized there was more than hype about this old house was around the 27th of September in 2014. The “Savannah Ghosts Paranormal Investigation Tour” was still in it’s infancy and had been running for less than a month at that point.  At first glance, this particular night didn’t seem to be any different than the other tours I had led in the prior 4 weeks.  But all that was about to change.

I briefed my group on the property from across the street in Calhoun Square, then we ventured across the street to get a closer look.  We crossed Abercorn and stood at the base of the stairs, where I told the story of an acquaintance that said she once attempted to take a photo through the mail slot, only to discover sparks start to shoot off of her camera.

As I was reciting this tale, I was standing parallel to the front of the house, facing the stairs to the north.  I had my equipment bag slung over my right shoulder as I do most of the night.

I was interrupted mid sentence by an audible thud on the side of my equipment bag that I could also feel.  A moment later, a chunk of stone composite concrete fell to my feet and rolled away.

Now being the rookie investigator who had only been leading tours for less than a month, and a true skeptic to boot, my first thought wasn’t anything paranormal.  I immediately started looking across the street into Calhoun Square to see which of my competitors had decided to welcome me to the neighborhood with this stone “love letter!”  My wife Marley was irate, doing the same.

The problem is, there was no one in Calhoun square.  No one anywhere in the vicinity of the house.

Furthermore, even if one of my competitors had felt threatened enough by my presence to illegally assault me with rocks, how could they throw a stone from the left side of me, and hit me on my right side?

It’s also worth noting, that the object struck my bag with very little velocity, and when it fell to the ground, it fell straight down and didn’t roll but a few inches away.  Based on this observation, my opinion is that the gentle impact and lack of velocity indicates the stone had not been thrown at me from any significant distance, but had been very gently lobbed at me from near by.  Not to hurt me, but to get my attention, or… maybe to frighten me away?

We systematically tried to determine where the rock had come from and who had thrown it, but were unable to determine it’s origin.  (Yes, I saved the artifact, and show it off nightly to my tour team as a conversation piece.)

That proved to be but the first of odd experiences I have had at 432 Abercorn in the short time I’ve been leading this tour.

In early December, our friends Mary and Callea came from out of town to visit.  I was not leading tours at the time, but still wanted to take our friends to some of my favorite “haunts” around town.  Naturally, they wanted to visit 432.

When we arrived,  we parked in front of the house.  My wife Marley elected to remain in the car with the heater on.  She was fighting a bout of bronchitis, and didn’t want to aggravate the condition by standing outside in the cold.  She remained in the car, and put the seat back to take a short power nap while I showed our guests the front of the house.

Just as I do on my tours, I recited the experiences I’d had (up until that point) at the house, and played some of the best EVP’s I’d collected there.  After attempting a couple of our own recordings, we walked around the corner to the north side of the house, where the new power meter had been installed.

At some point, while we were around the corner, Marley said she woke up, and didn’t see us.  So she got out of the car, and as she glanced down the south side of the house, she said she saw the three of us, perhaps 100 feet away. According to Marley, she said she saw me turn around, shrug my shoulders and motion for her to join us.  She signaled “OK” and went back to lock the car.  She had been gone a maximum of 1o seconds, but when she returned, she no longer saw us standing on the south side of the property.  She figured by that point we were on the east side of the property, but as she rounded the corner, we were no where in site.  Now she circled around the property to the north side, but still did not see us.

By this point, the three of us had returned to the front west side of the house to conduct another recording, when we noticed Marley come looking around the corner with a puzzled look on her face.

She said “why are you guys making me chase you around the house?”  When I asked what she meant, she said she’d seen us on the south side of the house, and that I’d motioned for her to join us.  I told her “no hon, we were never on that side of the house.”  “Yes you were!  I just saw you 2 minutes ago!” she replied.   “Back me up ladies.  Where were we?” I inquired of our guests.  Callea and Mary both confirmed that we had only stepped around to the north side of the house for a few minutes.  At this point, Marley’s eye’s got wider and she said “OK then Patrick, I guess your doppelganger lives here.”

This is when Callea recalled that at one point, she thought she saw Marley coming around the corner of the house to greet us on the north side.  But when she turned to look back at her, she wasn’t there.  Do my wife and I both have doppelgangers that reside at 432 Abercorn?

As I write this, I have officially been employed as a tour guide here in Savannah for seven months.  The weird experiences at this strange, old house continue.  My tour teams frequently report feeling nauseous and uneasy when we approach the property.  I have recorded dozens upon dozens of EVPs at this place, a few of which I have shared below.

If you come to Savannah, let me show you this spooky old home on Calhoun Square.  Bring your paranormal “toys.”  Maybe the spirits of this old house will speak their secrets to us.

-Patrick Burns
March 25th, 2015