The BOO Hags by Lisa Marie

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I’m Savannah-born, Savannah bred, and one day I’ll be Savannah dead.
– Lisa Marie

This article originally appeared in the Jan-Feb 2018 issue of SOUTH Magazine and has been lovingly edited where needed but have maintained the original vignette flavor.

Savannah is considered one of the most haunted cities in the states, attracting millions of curious and inquisitive folks from all over. Lisa Marie reveals the inside scoop on the blue painted houses seen throughout the city.

Lisa Marie knows the ins and outs of Savannah history. Walking through Columbia Square, she pointed out building after building, all rich with history. “The Kehoe House is haunted by twins. That house over there with the white trim? Its haunted by a cat.” There’s little paranormal activity around here that Lisa doesn’t know about. Pointing out some of the ironwork on historical buildings, she divulges that after The Great Depression, families would steal from their plots in Bonaventure Cemetery and bring the ironwork back into town to decorate and fence their houses. Lisa Marie is so in touch, she can identify where in the cemetery some of the pieces originated.

The quick relaying of facts didn’t stop there. We passed the oldest slave quarters still intact and she shared that Miss Margaret’s place, too, had the mysterious blue paint we see on the outside of houses and on the inside ceilings. So what is it about this blue paint? Ever heard the phrase “Boo Hag” thrown around? Maybe not, but it was once word with real weight.

The neighborhood near Price Street that was once an Irish ghetto still has a prime example of just what the phrase Boo Hag meant. At the end of The Civil War, the Gullah people would knock on every door in the area. They would come up to the door and they would say, “You got a lot of sick people in there? I bet you’re having some bad dreams? Have you been losing a lot of people? Sounds like you got a Boo Hag.”

A Boo Hag is an evil spirit that comes out of a voodoo doll that hangs on your back. The legend goes that if you have a Boo Hag, at night, it picks your skin and hangs it up in your closet while you sleep. Taking your muscle body out into the city, it collects all of the evil and bad luck and brings it back before slipping back into your skin in the morning. This was considered to be the cause for lack of work, sickness and death. Of course the people were afraid, so the Gullah people would sell the cure. First, to rid yourself of the spirit and if you see skin in your closet, sprinkle salt on it. When the Boo Hag slips on your skin, the salt will make the spirit itch and burn. Second, to get the spirit out of the house, you need a broomstick. Once the spirit jumps out of the victim, it’ll attach to the broom and you can sweep it but in the morning when you’re sweeping away the dust. But still, the Boo Hag can always come back into your house, right? You need this special paint to keep the evil away. This sounds expensive, but can you put a price on your family’s life? On your own future? These people couldn’t. They Gullah people made paint out of cemetery dirt, indigo, and, what Lisa Marie says, “a sacrificed cat,” which most likely means the bones considering the Gullah people’s ties to voodoo practices. This paint was called the “haint blue” paint because it kept the haints away. A “haint” was another name for an evil spirit. The Gullah people walked with away with extremely full pockets after every house they stopped to offer their services.

Lisa Marie is a highly rated storyteller at Shannon Scott Tours/Bonaventure Cemetery Journeys and gives both public tours and private tours. Lisa is an immensely talented portrait artist, writer and has worked as a fashion model and actress (X-MEN: FIrst Class) 

Shannon Scott Back On The Storytelling Deck!

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Hi everyone & Happy St Patrick’s! Some have wondered about my whereabouts in recent months and I wanted to fill everyone in! I’ve been sparse on my own tours for very good reason but will be back on deck regularly St Patrick’s Day! I will also be available for private tours 7 Days & 7 Nights A Week in addition to the regular weekly schedule!

Namely, the big news is that as of last November 1st, I’m no longer affiliated with 6th Sense World, Bonaventure Cemetery Tours (I’m Bonaventure Cemetery Journeys) or the welcome center store on Bonaventure Rd that many of you have supported and enjoyed. I had an amicable parting of ways just because we all outgrow situations and I found that my vision is a particular path that requires me at the helm of everything. Since? I have been deeeeeep down in the laboratory preparing to launch daily tours of Colonial Park Cemetery & Laurel Grove Cemetery North along with other special group event tours like, GOOD & EVIL X and rebooting Dinner & A Cemetery. I will also have some very specialized Low Country private tours that include parts of South Carolina & Georgia. Essentially I am taking EVERYTHING that is inside of my knowledge warehouses and offering it to the public as a touring opportunity and this is going to be a BIG year for Shannon Scott Tours! Oh, and our new motto? “The Dead People Story People!”

Not least of all, starting next week of March 17th, I will be launching a personal concierge service called The Savannah Expert. Having run a publishing company for 7 years, working as a chef for as many and having just given solid advice in Savannah for 30 years? Well, I’m turning that into a business where for travelers, both in advance and already here, I tailor make their trip so that it is as fail-safe as it can possibly be! So if you yourself are a tour operator, hotelier, restaurant owner/manager or whatever it is in Savannah that people need? And you’re exceptional at doing that in my eyes? You will be 100% hearing from my clients and seeing them seeking out your establishments! Even if it means I don’t recommend my own tour, I will be recommending whatever best suits the needs of that visitor! PERIOD! 

Last and perhaps most importantly? A big part of my success in this transition has hinged upon the fact that fellow storytellers, Lisa Marie, Rich Lane, Jessica Hodges are an active part of the new team as are marketing and design greats, Tami Sabo, Stacy Hill and Matt Duplessie! Some of them have been with me as friends and cohorts for over a decade so really this all feels like a family moving forward together! I’m grateful and when you see these fine people out there, please share your appreciation as well!

Come Roam With US Soon! The Storyist, Shannon Scott

Photo Courtesy of LONELY PLANET

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