Italian for “good fortune”, Savannah Georgia’s Bonaventure Cemetery was built in the 1800s and purchased by the city in 1907. The cemetery is located ten minutes from the historic district of Savannah. Described as a sculpture garden, the cemetery was made famous for hosting the “Bird Girl” statue and being the garden featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Bird Girl was sculpted in 1936 and features a young girl, wearing a contemplative expression, and holding out two bowls from her side. The statue was later removed and is currently housed in a nearby museum in Savannah. The cemetery is also famous for being the final resting place for Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
One of the most visited graves in the cemetery belongs to Grace Watkins. Born in 1883, Grace lived a short, but powerful life before falling victim to pneumonia in 1889. Grace’s family managed one of the most luxurious hotels in the South, the Pulaski Hotel. Although a very prestigious position for her family, Grace stole the show by putting on performances for the guests. She delighted them with her dancing and singing.
When Grace died, her family was devastated. They commissioned a life size, picture perfect monument of Grace in her honor to mark her final resting place. Her family reported still hearing her laughing and singing in the corridors of the hotel, long after she had passed. Savannah natives reported seeing her in Johnson Square, even after the hotel was torn down.
Unfortunately, Grace’s family moved away and was later buried in New England, leaving her alone for all eternity. Grace is still well-loved, however. Many visitors travel to her final resting place to pay their respects by leaving flowers, money, or trinkets. Reports have been made that attempting to remove any of Grace’s gifts have left her monument crying tears of blood. Others have shared that after placing a coin in the statue’s hand and circling it three times, the coin will disappear.
Grace’s statue is not the only area of activity in the cemetery. Angel statues are popular throughout the cemetery and make their presence known to visitors by beaming or grimacing. Others smile at visitors they are keen to, and others are rumored to switch positions. People have reported hearing laughter or crying throughout the cemetery, even with no other visitors present. While these occurrences appear to be peaceful in nature, there are presences in the Bonaventure Cemetery that are not so pleasant.
Another force in the cemetery are the “hell hounds”. Unfortunate visitors have reported run-ins with infernal ghost dogs who wander the cemetery after dark looking for prey. Victims have reported being chased in the night, having dogs biting at their ankles and breathing on their heels. They report hearing barks and snarling from various areas with no dogs present. Some rumors say that running to the Grace Watkins statue will defray the hounds as she protects wandering visitors.
It appears that there is a war between the good and evil at the Bonaventure Cemetery. Visitors should hope that the “good fortune” of Bonaventure shields them from harm and brings them to prosper.