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One of my favorite poems in the Poetry Archive is written in the voice of a frequent character, Art’s childhood friend, “Sassafras John.” (John deserves his own blog post, and he’ll get one soon.)

I don’t remember ever being afraid of ghosts in a concrete sense, but I’ve always excelled at being drawn into a well-told creepy tale and becoming completely and utterly freaked out. “The Legend of Spook Hill” always had that effect on me. The story of an innocent man hung, and his haunting revenge:

They stood him up in a wagon box
Where a rope hung down from a tree;
But, before he died, his voice rang out,
‘I’ll git you…jist wait an’ see.’

From a stylistic perspective, I’ve always loved that recurring line. I remember when my dad would read this poem to my brother, sister, and me, and holding my breath in gleeful terror while he’d whisper the last line of the poem.

bonaventure

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Ga. My solo visit was made in bright daylight -- and I still managed to scare myself.

More than that, the poem preserves a little-known piece of local history that has nearly faded away. I might never have heard of Spook Hill without it, but a generation older than me can recall when Spook Hill scared the pants off anyone silly enough to go there. Here’s one remembrance from a local journalist.