The alleged haunting of Savannah’s Sorrel-Weed house in Savannah’s beautiful historic district is well documented. Although the show and its members have been the subject of a lot of criticism in the field of paranormal research, Ronald Purser writes in the Sorrel-Weed House blog that Ghost Hunters, and its crew, TAPS recorded electronic voice phenomena (EVP) in the carriage house on the premises in which the spine-tingling voice of a woman is heard frantically yelling, “Get out…Get Out….Help me, my God, my God” and it was broadcast on Ghost Hunters’ 2005 Halloween episode (2005). A recording of this EVP is presented to people taking a tour of the Sorrel-Weed House and carriage house on the premises. The following is a first-person account of what transpired during my tour of the Sorrel-Weed House at night in October 2010 as part of “The Paranormal Tour” and descriptions of several strange images that I captured with my digital camera which are included in this article.
I won’t go into too much of a history of the house, leaving it instead to a wonderfully detailed article written by Carol Slater, but the Sorrel-Weed house has a tragic history. In summary, the house was built in 1840 for Francis Sorrel, whose wife jumped to her death from the upstairs balcony in 1861 (Slater, 2009). According to the current owner of the Sorrel-Weed House, Steven Bader in his response to another Ghost Tour operator Jamie Caskey, it is rumored that Francis Sorrel had an affair with a slave, and the slave allegedly took her own life in the carriage house where she lived, soon after Mrs. Sorrel’s suicide (2005). Whether Mrs. Sorrel committed suicide over the supposed affair or for some other reason, and whether the slave’s death was suicide or murder, is the subject of debate. Regardless, the carriage house, and basement and women’s parlor in the first floor of the Sorrel-Weed House are reportedly haunted, and the carriage house is where the previously mentioned EVP was taken.
Our tour began in a nearby Colonial Cemetery, and Bradley, our guide on The Paranormal Tour, had interesting stories about the cemetery and the city’s early burial methods. He was very entertaining and kept the audience captivated. His tails of bodies being dug up along the street and playground we were standing in, due to older burials far outside of the cemetery boundaries was downright creepy! It was dusk, and we didn’t stick around the cemetery for long before heading to the Sorrel-Weed House.
The Paranormal Tour is advertised as being the only ghost tour that guides people through the Sorrel-Weed house and the carriage house (2010). Not wanting to come into the house with preconceived notions or expectations of what I would encounter, I specifically avoided any research of the Sorrel-Weed house prior to taking the tour. We began our tour in the carriage house, where we were led upstairs and surrounded a television screen where we were shown the footage from Ghost Hunters’ Halloween episode and got to hear the EVP. The crowd noticeably shuddered when we heard her frantic cries. Other findings were presented, and then, it was off to the slave woman’s bedroom.
Though it felt rather kitschy, I rented an electromagnetic frequency (EMF) detector for a dollar and it went off several times in the room, recording electronic magnetic frequencies near the middle of the room and away from obvious sources. I don’t regard EMF readings as being conclusive evidence of paranormal activity, as there could be a number of causes for them. However, paired with a bizarre photograph in the room, that I have included in this article as “Carriage House – Bedroom” in which it almost appears as though my digital camera had a “double exposure” reminiscent of the sort of bad photo you could get with an older film based camera when you forget to advance the film after taking a photo, it made me wonder. I didn’t really feel any odd temperature or pressure changes often reported with ghostly encounters, although the creepy EVP recording we listened to was certainly weighing on peoples’ minds. After a couple of minutes in the upstairs bedroom of the carriage house, we left for our next macabre destination – the location of Mrs. Sorrel’s demise.
Standing in the dark on the cobblestone courtyard right beside the place Mrs. Sorrel died, below the balcony that she leaped from, you might expect to get a creepy feeling. Oddly enough, I didn’t really feel anything while standing there. I took several pictures, among which was one of the balcony, labeled simply “Balcony” in this article. Nothing appears to be out of the ordinary. From here, we entered the house through the basement, and this is where I captured the bulk of what might just be evidence of the paranormal.
Entering the Sorrel-Weed House through the basement, which was reported by Bradley, our tour guide, to have been additional slave quarters, I couldn’t help but feel slightly nauseated. To this day, I don’t know what it was, and I felt fine immediately before and soon after leaving the basement. Something in the basement was just twisting my stomach. I was in a decent sized tour group, and they were all milling about in the center of the room, so I tried to put some distance between myself and the rest of the group in order to filter out some of the noise from the group. Away from the group, I noticed the subtle changes in pressure and temperature changes others, like Carol Slater’s daughter, had encountered (2010). From the corners of the room, I started taking photos along the basement walls, at windows, the ceiling, etc in the hopes of catching something unusual. I did, and I’ll let you be the judge as to what I saw.
I don’t know what to make of the picture entitled “Basement Window” but it gives my girlfriend the creeps. While still in the basement, I was reviewing photographs I had been taking and saw what appeared to be a shadow of a face, looking in on us, in one of the basement windows. It was a bit odd, but I figured, eh, maybe it was someone outside who had snuck into the courtyard. When I got home and looked at the photo in full size though, I really got a shock. What I had thought to be the shadow of a face, was really the torso of a larger, more unnatural looking figure, complete with what appeared to be eyes! It could entirely be my imagination, but take a look and see for yourself. The left side of the middle window appears to have a figure in it. The courtyard outside, however, was empty at the time.
Also, in several pictures, I captured some bizarre streaks of light that emanated from some natural source of light. These sources were things like a cell phone screen and wall light fixtures, but it looks as if the streaks of light are grounding themselves into nearby objects. Since the camera wasn’t on a tripod, this might be explained by a slight movement of the camera when the shutter was open, but if so, why wouldn’t all of the objects in the picture be blurred? Or even more importantly, why do the streaks in the picture titled “Basement Light Streaks 1” go in different directions? “Basement Light Streaks 2” is another example which shows the light of an EMF detector apparently streaking into a column. I showed them to Bradley and he said that for the last several months, people had been capturing similar photos. Together with the bizarre momentary nausea, and unexplainable temperature and pressure changes, I can’t help but think something paranormal is happening in the basement of Sorrel-Weed House.
We left the basement for a tour of two rooms in the first floor of the house, where we were told stories of noises and music being heard in the women’s parlor by guests of the current owner when staying upstairs. Though I took numerous pictures, I didn’t capture anything out of the ordinary other than a photo of a creepy looking painting of George Washington.
All in all, The Paranormal Tour was an exciting ghost tour in Savannah and I highly recommend it. I left with a greater curiosity of the paranormal, and several interesting pictures. I’m not one to believe that pictures alone are definitive proof of the supernatural, and I am definitely open to others’ interpretations of what they see when they look at them. I do assert though that nothing has been photo-shopped. If you have any natural explanations for these, please by all means comment!
Purser, Ronald. (2006). Tours of Savannah’s Historic District at the Sorrel Weed Mansion.
Caskey, Jamie. (2005). Stephen Bader Responds. Haunted Savannah.
The Paranormal Tour. (2010).
Slater, Carol. (2009). The Haunted Sorrel-Weed House – Savannah, GA.