Archive for May 6, 2023

The Yellow Fever Epidemics of 1820, 1854 &1876

Posted in History, SavannahGA, Yellow Fever on May 6, 2023 by tommcge

The symptoms, the burials the mass graves; being buried alive!

Why is Savannah so haunted?

The city of Savannah has had its share of disasters, disease deaths, etc. It is considered to be the most haunted (depending on what region of the country you’re in, but certainly is in contention.) There were three major Yellow Fever outbreaks during the history of Savannah: 1820, 1854 and 1876; with the1876 virus considered the worst. A plaque, in regards of the 1820 epidemic located in Colonial Park Cemetery reads, “almost 700 people buried here.” Note, the actual number of dead is 666. 

When you contacted Yellow Fever you initially exhibit muscle aches, vomiting and perhaps bleeding. This, followed by delirium and then the victim would fall into a coma. After death came, the body would be thrown into a mass grave.  For the lucky who got placed into a coffin, the chance of being buried alive became all to real.

This is evident by by the scratches from inside some of the coffins uncovered at the city’s cemeteries. The cause for this is simple, the victim’s would become comatose, their heartbeat would slow with their breathing non-detectable. Thus, the trauma of being buried alive is born. The solution: to tie a piece of string extending from the corpse’s finger to a bell near their headstone.

Yellow Fever has left its mark on Savannah and for the spirits of its citizens it has reached into the heart of history.