Anything but a ghost tour: Savannah Dark History Tour serves up frights through facts, not fiction
Attorney by day, historical tour guide by night, Brandon Carter eschews ghost stories in favor of “things that actually happened” throughout Savannah's morbid history. GPB's Benjamin Payne reports.
When Brandon Carter moved to Savannah a few years ago, he thought his tour guide days were behind him.
The former National Park Service ranger led historical tours in the mid-2000s at Richmond National Battlefield Park in Virginia, before leaving for law school and becoming an attorney specializing in legal ethics (“an oxymoron,” as Carter jokingly calls his area of expertise).
Fast-forward to 2019 when he began renting an apartment near the notorious Mercer-Williams House of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fame.
That's when things changed.
“I would sit on the front porch [of my apartment], maybe having a beer from time to time, and I would hear the tours come through,” Carter said. “The things they were saying could not be true. So, I looked into it, and they absolutely were not true.
“I thought that I will start something that will be the antithesis to the traditional Savannah tour and we'll call it Savannah True History Tours. Every fact that I present, I'll be able to show you exactly where it came from.”
And that's how his side hustle came to be.
“There's no need to make up history in Savannah,” Carter says, “because there's enough interesting stuff if you're willing to go find it.
And he's more than willing to go find it — and take others along for the ride. New this fall to his solo operation is the Savannah Dark History Tour, a two-hour walk through downtown that uncovers the macabre without turning to tall tales and fanciful ghost stories.
And Carter makes that very clear from the start.
“I'm not a big ghost guy, so we're not going to talk about ghosts,” he tells a group of about a dozen people gathered along Bay Street on a brisk October night.
“And if that's what you were expecting, let me know and I'd be happy to refund you. What we are going to do is review some original history that I've done — original research. We're going to talk about things that actually happened in Savannah. And when we talk about those things, we're actually going to be where most of those things happened. We're also going to poke some holes in some of those ghost tour myths.”
Tag along on the tour, in this “audio postcard” from GPB's Benjamin Payne: