The Colonial Park Cemetery Ghost

The Colonial Park Cemetery Ghost

The Colonial Park Cemetery is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Savannah. Built in 1750 it is the burial place for some of Georgia’s earliest residents, including 700 unfortunates who died of yellow fever in 1820.

Closed against burials in 1853, it has since been beautifully restored to its former glory. It is not surprising then that it is high on the must-see list of those visitors keen to immerse themselves in this gracious city’s past.

Browse the thousands of graves and you will find the names of people who have helped shape the history of the USA.

There is one grave that many visitors seek without success, however.

No matter how hard they scour, they will not find it because it does not exist.

Buried elsewhere in an unmarked grave the Colonial Park Cemetery ghost wanders the tombstones and catacombs for a different reason.

During his short and violent life, this cemetery with its underground tunnels and burial vaults was his very own personal playground.

Who is The Ghost of Colonial Park Cemetery?

In recent years, the Colonial Park Cemetery has featured on the many ghost tours that visit Savannah’s haunted hotspots.

Rumored to be the home of many earthbound spirits including young children, there is one spirit in particular who likes to make his presence felt.

Caught on camera and witnessed by many as a green apparition hanging from a tree or flitting between the graves, this ghost is particularly distinct.

At almost seven and a half feet tall, it can only be the spirit of one particular Savannah resident, the notorious murderer Rene Rondolier.

Rene Rondolier

Rene Rondolier was born in Savannah in 1777. In all likelihood, he was born with a genetic mutation as by early adulthood he had grown to be 7 feet 5 in height and was covered in dense black body hair.

This combined with the fact that he probably had special educational needs, made him easily recognizable in the district where he lived.

Indeed, his appearance was so distinct and terrifying that some people have suggested he was the inspiration for Frankenstein’s monster.

Rondolier lived with his parents in a home adjacent to the Colonial Park Cemetery and as a child was allowed to roam freely in the local area.

As he grew though, his behavior became increasingly disturbing and he was accused of torturing and killing small animals.

Colonial Cemetery in Savannah

Eventually, concerned for the safety of themselves and their children, a number of locals approached Rondolier’s parents and asked them to confine their son to their own property.

The Rondolier family agreed to comply with the wishes of the local townsfolk and attempted to constrain their son by building a large enclosure.

Surrounded by eight foot walls and guarded at night, it would have been difficult for the average human to escape. For Rene though, it proved an easy task to evade his captivity.

Familiar with the cemetery from childhood, he would slip into the catacombs or hide amongst the gravestones whenever it suited him.

On a moonlit night late in the eighteenth century he escaped for a final time. Before dawn, a terrible act was committed and Rene stood accused of a violent and senseless murder.

Murder

When the mutilated bodies of two young girls were found in Colonial Park Cemetery early one morning, Rene Rondolier was the obvious suspect.

Examining the scene, unusually large footprints were found leading away from the bodies to the Rondolier property.

With his history of torturing and mutilating animals, it seemed highly like that Rene Rondolier had committed the heinous crime.

In the days when justice was often meted out upon the spot, a lynch mob soon gathered baying for the blood of the murderer.

Rondolier was dragged from his home and hung from a tree until he was dead. Later that same day his family cut him down and buried him in an unmarked grave in land adjoining the cemetery.

For the local people justice had been seen to be done and the tragic matter should have ended there. Unfortunately, within months more murders were committed and the bodies dumped in Colonial Park Cemetery.

This time the bodies were those of a mother and her two children.

Mutilated in the same way as Rondolier’s victims and with no other suspects, the locals bizarrely blamed the ghost of Rene and the rumor that his spirit haunts his old playground began in earnest.

A Strange Discovery

Over the centuries, the ghost of Rene Rondolier has been witnessed countless times . It is clear that his disturbed spirit cannot rest for some reason.

Perhaps he was falsely accused of a crime he did not commit or maybe his spirit cannot find peace until he atones for his terrible sins.

Intriguingly, when his grave on the Rondolier property was opened by a builder early in the twentieth century, it was found to be empty.

What happened to Rondolier’s skeleton remained an unsolved puzzle for many years and provoked even more speculation about his evil deeds.

The mystery may have been solved in recent years, however.

Hundreds of miles south of Savannah, off the coast of Florida, lies Hutchinson Island. During recent construction on the island the skeleton of a seven foot man was discovered buried in an unmarked grave.

Is this the grave of Rene Rondolier?

Did his family transport his remains down the coast to Hutchinson Island believing it would lie undiscovered and undisturbed?

We will never know the answer.

One small comfort is that the contractor who made the discovery chose to leave the skeleton where it lay. Its precise location is known only to a few.

Conclusion

In a city rumored to be home to many restless spirits, the Colonial Park Cemetery ghost is surely one of the most terrifying.

At over 7 foot 5 and making frequent appearances in this old graveyard, to be confronted by this specter must be truly horrific.

Sometimes appearing as a corpse hanging from a tree or as a green mist that wends its way between the tombstones, Rondolier clearly has no plans to leave.

In life as in death the cemetery remains Rene’s playground.

So why does the spirit of this giant man remain earth bound?

There can be little doubt that he cruelly tortured animals during his lifetime and modern psychology has taught us that this behavior often progresses to murder.

Clearly unable to rest in peace we will probably never know for certain if Rondolier really was a vicious child murderer or simply man with a child’s mind who still cannot make sense of his own death and spends his nights fruitlessly searching for his old home.

Real Georgia Haunted Houses – The Spooked South

Real Georgia Haunted Houses - The Spooked South

There is just so much to talk about when it comes to Georgia haunted houses. The South was riddled with too many untimely deaths.

This is the place where approximately 13, 000 prisoners out of 45k brave Union soldiers died at the Andersonville Prison due to exposure and disease among other tormenting causes like starvation.

Can you believe they used to ship out roughly over a hundred bodies every day?

They say you can feel a chilling and strong presence of tormented souls stretching their hands out to you like they’re begging for help.

Those who’ve toured this old building have been quoted reporting to have felt too much despair and death!

Georgia

From the Town Hall in Braselton, to the Warren House in Jonesboro (formerly a Civil War hospital), Georgia is full of haunted houses and ghost stories.

Stories are told of an old haunted house in Savannah, popularly known as the Kehoe House. The Kehoe ghosts here however are friendly and have nothing negative or evil about them.

This is unlike the case at the Tailor House in Oglethorpe, Macon County where the original builder and occupant of the building Col. George W. Fish, went into fits of rage and trashed the whole place just because they didn’t ask him permission to rebuild.

The house has remained “un-renovated” to date.

They’re either afraid that he’ll not like the renovations or maybe they just don’t know how to ask him after pissing him off the first time!

Waverly Hall

But really… how many of these stories can be confirmed? Some haunted house stories are quite controversial and truth be told, very confusing.

In Ms. Pitt’s house, Waverly Hall, stories have been told of her ghost appearing but the strangest part about this house’s haunting stories is the reports of laughing children.

Thorough research into the matter has revealed that Ms. Pitts died without children of her own… so who are these kids playing Casper inside this spooky residence?

Lanier Lodge

Other haunted houses in Georgia include the century old Lanier Lodge in Cumming. The story goes that a housekeeper walked in on a sad chap just before he pulled the trigger; ending his life in a tragic suicide.

This led to the immediate closure of the room from the public for several years. To this day, the guy is still walking around the building but he has never said or done anything.

Fast forward to a more recent case where the GOGPI team, short for Ghosts of Georgia Paranormal Investigations, went on a ghost hunt at a residence in the McDonough area.

They reported strange footsteps, a table being lifted off the floor by an unseen entity; some photos were taken out of the box where the owner had kept them, shadows and doors closing by themselves among other weird happenings.

At least one team member (Larry) reported being touched or feeling the sensation of a touch on the left elbow from a ghostly presence.

The question however still remains, do you believe in ghosts? Or are you a skeptic?

The Believers

Well, rumor has it that Georgia will make anyone a believer due to the abundance of haunted places especially in Savannah where a large number of haunting cases are reported.

One amazing thing that came out clear at the end of this investigation is that most of the buildings served in one way or another during the Civil War but most as hospitals.

The presence of apparitions in such locations is quite expected as many agonizing deaths must have occurred within these walls.

Another outstanding fact about most of Georgia’s ghosts is that they’re quite a friendly bunch.

Reports rarely include any violence and in many cases the ghosts just remain silent; only choosing to thump on walls and doors with occasional slaps on the face… maybe to naughty house guests?!

There are so many exciting Georgia ghost stories that we might have to cover them in a series of articles…

Judging from the few cases cited above, it goes without saying that Georgia is a hot spot for ghost hunters.

As you continue to dig deep into the Georgia haunted houses dilemma, you will discover that most cases still have a lot of “if’s” and “maybe’s” hanging around them, thus becoming a bit difficult to confirm where the truth lies.

What do you think?