Real Haunted Houses

Real Haunted House

Wayne-Gordon House

Savannah, Georgia
By Shannon Reinbold-Gee

Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center

Many years ago, what might have been a marriage of convenience or politics wound up being a real love match. Although the couple in this wonderful marriage is not quite as well known as their daughter, Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon, Willie and Nelly Gordon have a romantic story that goes beyond the confines of the grave. Their Savannah home is a testament to their never-fading love.

Supposedly Willie first decided Nelly was the girl for him when he saw her slide down the staircase at the Yale Library. She crushed his hat and stole his heart at the same moment. Nelly continued sliding down banisters and doing other things that were considered improper for a young lady of her social standing. And yet, it didnâ??t seem to tarnish Willieâ??s image of her.

In 1858 Willie brought Nelly to the family home in Savannahâ??s downtown historic district. Their love had caused them to make some compromises, although Nelly disliked slavery, she accepted Willieâ??s love and loyalty for the South. In return, he gave up his Presbyterian Church for her Episcopalian religion. But they made it all work.

During the Civil War Willie served with the Georgia Hussars and was wounded in battle. Nelly used her influence (and a good dose of stubbornness) to get both Robert E. Lee and Sherman to help her locate her husband at different points in the conflict.

Nelly so charmed people that when Sherman took Savannah he promised to place guards at her home and he brought her mail from her family as well as treats for her children. When all the Confederate officers wives were forced from the city, Nelly got special permission to say goodbye to her husband before catching the steamer north.

In 1865 the couple was reunited and they rounded out their brood of children by adding three more relatively quickly, bringing the total familyâ??s number to a cozy eight. Nelly so impressed people that she was put into one of Rudyard Kiplingâ??s stories, and she loved his description of her: â??a little old lady with snapping black eyes, who used very bad language.â?

Willie died in 1912 and Nelly passed away in 1917 in the large front bedroom of the Savannah house, surrounded by her five surviving children.

The first report of a ghost in the home came from Nellyâ??s daughter-in-law, Margaret, who was seated outside the bedroom. Margaret was suddenly surprised to see the familiar form of Willie Gordon exiting his wifeâ??s room, wearing his regular gray suit, and wearing an expression of joy mixed with the proper gravity the situation deserved. He walked through his old bedroom and went down the stairs. Shortly after Arthur Gordon, Margaretâ??s husband, stepped out and told her Nelly was dead. When Margaret tried to tell him whom she had just seen, Arthur tried to tell her it was simply the stress of the situation.

But Arthur must have reconsidered when they met the familyâ??s butler in the front hall. The butler proclaimed through joyous tears that he had just seen the general, in his favorite gray suit, walk out the front doorâ??just like he always did when a buggy was waiting for him. The butler said Willie had looked happier than he had almost ever seen him, and the butler just had to let them know that the general himself had come to fetch his wife at the moment of her passing.

Today the family house is the Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center and open to tourists. Visitors and staff have reported the sound of footsteps where no one is seen walking. One staff member even saw the apparition of Nelly in the center hall when the staff member had run back inside to get a book sheâ??d forgotten. She was so startled she left the book and rushed back down the stairs. Nellyâ??s ghost has also been spotted peering out a window. Other people have reported that missing items suddenly turn up in plain sight and mysterious forces move some things when the museum closes for the day. One early-arriving staff member also claimed to see Nelly relatively regularly at the dining room table, seated comfortably in her robe. As Nelly Gordon was an accomplished musician, it comes as no surprise to people when they occasionally hear the pianoforte playing softly, although the only pianoforte in the building is essentially unplayable due to its condition. Whether seeing the specter of Nelly Gordon, hearing her music still resonating in the old family house or feeling like youâ??re simply never alone, the sensation nearly everyone gets in the Gordon family house is one of love and comfort.

23 comments on this haunted house. Share your story »


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amber casey says:

September 20, 2008, 10:07 pm

wow that was spooky that story gave me chills i loved it

jordan says:

September 24, 2008, 9:42 pm

that’s pretty spooky! do you know if there’s any haunted houses in apache junction, arizona on royal palm? i do!

Jason says:

October 6, 2008, 4:28 pm

WOAH! Scary! I didn’t get to cover that on my website

Maybe thats because we write about anything that is not normal in life

Jason says:

October 6, 2008, 4:29 pm

WOAH! Scary! Didn’t get to cover that on my site

Maybe thats because we cover more then just haunted houses and everything that is paranormal “not normal” in life

Melissa says:

October 18, 2008, 10:33 pm

its a little crazy, i think i just pissed myself

robert says:

March 21, 2009, 2:58 pm

this is some scary stuff but i would love to go there

Amy says:

April 10, 2009, 7:43 pm

I have been a Paranormal Investigator for the past 11 years.I am the Founder and Psychic. I started my own group called Shepherdsville Ghost Hunters (aka) SGH, we are a Non-Profit Organization and we are in this to help those who need it. I am always looking for new places to go. If anyone could tell me how to get there I would appreciate it. Also if you know of a business, house, whatever that needs to be investigated in the Louisville, and all surrounding areas including Indiana,Ohio,Tennessee,Virginia,Missouri, Please let me know.


ashley says:

May 6, 2009, 12:16 pm

that was an awsome adventure going to that scary place it was like some one was following me all aroundandand

Sue says:

May 8, 2009, 2:31 am

I’ve toured the Juliet Gordon Low house on two occassions. The first, I was a young girl, a Girl Scout, and knew nothing about the paranormal. I can tell you that I felt uncomfortable in this house. In 2003, I took MY daughter, who was 6 years old & a Brownie, on a tour of the house. By this time, my interests in the paranormal were piqued, as I’d had other experiences. Although we didn’t “see” anything out of the ordinary, I could definately FEEL the presence of a person or people who’d passed on. This feeling was especially strong in the formal sitting room & in Mrs. Gordon’s bedroom where she passed. My daughter was intrigued with the study/library on the 2nd floor; she wanted to touch everything, as a curious child would. As she lay a finger on the spine of a book, I know I heard, “Don’t do that!” The phrase spoken did NOT come from me or the guide who was present, but turned away. Overall, the tour was a pleasant experience & I will gladly take my family back for another visit. We may not see apparitions, but I’m confident we will feel the presence of a long ago era.

Kendra says:

July 12, 2009, 1:19 am

That freaked me out completely. I would love to be a paranormal investagator but I’m only 11 but it’s still my dream.

Kendra says:

July 12, 2009, 1:24 am

This story was really cool I loved it. Being a parenormal investigator is my lifelong dream so far.

Not Telling. OH, fine. Hadar says:

July 22, 2009, 7:31 am

I’m interested in archaeology, but now that I’ve heard of a paranormal investigator it looks interesting too. except I’m 10.

aparna says:

September 19, 2009, 6:54 am

Well, I dnt think dats a god damn true story…coz unless n until I dnt find it out myself m not gonna belive it all..huh!!!!!!!!!!! anyways…gota go back to work…

Ashley says:

February 7, 2010, 8:42 am

******* stupid Yankees.

LaDeena says:

March 21, 2010, 11:31 pm

What a beautiful story. I am sure that they (Willie and Nelly) are together, with that kinda of love and history why would they want to be anywhere else but together.I have not lived a day of my life without the paranormal in it. For me it is the normal. I grew up in a very haunted home, where my Grandfather died and never left.

Jackie says:

January 20, 2011, 1:09 pm

I was 4 months pregnant when my family and I toured this place and while I was standing in family entertainment room where the Niagra Falls painting was hanging, I suddenly felt dizzy, walked over to my husband and told him and as soon as I grabbed my son’s hand, I passed out. What I had experienced while I was passed out was surreal. I basically had an out of body experience where I was walking into the room and there was an older woman from another time period float across me! She made no eye contact, it was almost as if she didn’t want me to see her cause she probably knew I was scared as heck. Well, I finally saw myself on the ground with my husband cradling my head an across from him, on the other side was an older man, who resembled Abe Lincoln. He was leaning over me with a look of concern. I heard my son screaming and crying his head off and my husband whispering to me to wake up. Another tourist (bless her heart) calmed my son, who was in a state of panic. When I did awaken, I was exactly where I saw myself. The tour guide ushered everyone out of the room as soon as I started to talk about what I had seen.

Later, my hubby and I joked about the incident and he predicted that we were going to have a girl and that she’ll be the “reincarnated” Juliette Gordon Low. Well, we did have a beautiful girl.

Mark says:

February 15, 2011, 3:10 am

I toured this house with my Mom and Dad and my wife in the early 1990’s. I strongly felt the presence of a man standing at the top of the stairs. He was smiling. He was wearing a gray 3-piece suit with a gold watch chain. He was bald except for some hair on each side of his head. The hair was light gray. I had the feeling that he was happy and proud that people cared about his house.

rebecca milks says:

March 28, 2011, 3:11 pm

wow!I belive that barclay School is haunted.

hilda says:

November 15, 2011, 5:50 am

Hi there I saw this episode on TV a few years ago and never forgot about this Love story, is it possible for you to find what TV show it was featured in?, I researched unsolved mysteries but it not in their files, anxiouly awaiting your reply, Sincerely, Hilda

Juliana says:

June 21, 2013, 2:42 am

She spelled her name Nellie…get it right!

Patsy Hicks says:

June 22, 2013, 4:42 pm

A friend made a trip to the Low house recently and upon her way down the street she said a women dressed in a black dress of the era 1800 came up to her and ask if she liked her visit. My friend said yes and turn her head around to see if her companions were on their way down the street. When she turned back around the Lady in black had disappeared. She does not believe in ghost, so this has left her very upset. There were no doors for her to go into, as they were standing at the end of Lafayette square. The lady had black hair with gray, and a beautiful blue broach at her neck, was this a ghost or just someone playing a trick

Ellen says:

August 30, 2014, 10:47 pm

I toured the Juliette Gordon. lose house with my Girl Scouts in January 2006.
In a large presentation room while viewing a power point type history
Of the beginnings of Girl Scouts, a female ghost appeared to me. She stood in
Front of me facing the exit but her head turned and looking at me. Beyond her,
I could see my scouts and adult chaperones, almost like I could see through her.
She was smiling slightly at me and her demeanor seemed to be expressing
Approval of me for a job well done as a GS leader and for all I had done for the girls
In my troop. I was completely shocked seeing her but felt encouragement and gratitude
From her. My co-leader did not see her. Only me. As our tour began and we went
Upstairs I believe I saw her in a large portrait in the dining room. That really spooked me. It was In the parlour that our guide mentioned some of the unusual things that
Happen in the house. I had no prior knowledge that this house was haunted. This was
My first encounter with a ghost and although I had a “why me” feeling about
It , it was a positive encounter. I do not seek to meet any additional ghosts but I
Guess we aren’t really in control of whether it happens or not.

Madeline says:

June 2, 2015, 1:50 am

It’s not Nellie haunting, its Sarah.

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