The Haunted House of Conrad Aiken
Forty-two percent of Americans believe in ghosts, according to a Harris Poll. As this is Halloween month, this story is for them. (Note: This home is not for sale.)
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Conrad Aiken was born in 1889, the eldest of four children born to wealthy parents Dr. and Mrs. William Ford Aiken. The family lived in this house at 228 East Oglethorpe Avenue in Savannah, Georgia, where sadly the parents constantly argued. Anna Potter Aiken was a socialite who liked to spend money, and the doctor suffered from mental illness. Constantly anxious about being institutionalized by a family member, when asked the simply question, “How are you?” William would answer, “For an answer to the question, I have to refer you to my lawyer.”
The Tragic Day
In February of 1901, 11-year-old Conrad listened from his room as his parents argued about money, when unexpectedly he heard his father count, “One. Two. Three.” The young boy heard his mother scream as a resounding gunshot went off, and then another. Conrad tiptoed from his bedroom into his parents’ dark room to find their lifeless bodies. His father had killed his mother, then shot himself, both age 36. Conrad immediately ran to the police station for help. In later years, he wrote, “After the desultory early-morning quarrel, came the half-stifled scream, and the sound of his father’s voice counting three, and the two loud pistol shots and he tiptoed into the dark room, where the two bodies lay motionless, and apart, and, finding them dead, found himself possessed of them forever.”
Conrad’s Later Life
Conrad went on to live a successful yet haunted life. Multiple marriages and mental illness intertwined with his great prominence in the literary scene. He wrote dreamlike, sometimes nightmarish poetry and served as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress and poet laureate for the state of Georgia. Twelve years before his death in 1973, the poet was offered the opportunity to live in his parents’ old house at 228 East Oglethorpe Street free of charge. He chose instead to purchase the house next door at number 230.
In his later years, Conrad spent a significant amount of time in Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery where his parents are buried. He even had a marble bench built next to their graves which would serve as his own tombstone.
Another doctor purchased the Aiken home at number 228 after Conrad’s death. He believed it to be haunted, seeing orbs and hearing countless strange noises, so he agreed to a paranormal investigation. An infrared video indicated more than 50 orbs, and a digital voice recording captured a male voice whispering, “Do you want to know what I know?” Investigators were led to the conclusion that the spirits of the Aiken parents are still living in the home as if nothing ever happened, and the home is considered one of the most haunted houses in Savannah, Georgia,
The house was on the market four years ago for $1.5 million. It is not currently for sale.