Thursday, July 6, 2017

HGB Ep. 210 - 17 Hundred 90 Inn

Moment in Oddity - Mike the Headless Chicken
Suggested by: Tammie McCarroll-Burroughs

During the 1940s, a very famous chicken lived in Fruita, Colorado. He was a lucky chicken. You see, Miracle Mike was supposed to be dinner, but instead, he became famous and went on tour. It all started on September 10, 1945, when farmer Lloyd Olsen headed out into the yard with an axe to fetch a chicken for dinner. He chose a five-and-a-half-month-old Wyandotte chicken named Mike. Lloyd swung the axe, but when he brought it down, he missed his mark. The axe only removed part of Mike's head. The jugular vein and ear and most of the brain stem were still intact. Lloyd took pity on the creature and decided that Mike was meant to live. Mike could balance on a perch and make attempts at crowing, preening and pecking at food. Lloyd fed the chicken milk and water with an eyedropper and threw in a few small grains of corn. Soon, Lloyd and Mike were traveling on the road with sideshows  and he was photographed dozens of times, making features in both Life and Time magazines. Mike the Headless Chicken was make $4,500 a month at the height of his career. He lived for 18 months after his head had been cut off.He died in a motel room while on tour. Somehow in the middle of the night, he had managed to get a kernel of corn stuck in his throat and he began to choke. The Olsens were unable to save him. The fact that a chicken was able to live so long without a head and also became so famous, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - President Grover Cleveland Secret Cancer Surgery

In the month of July, on the 1st, in 1893, President Grover Cleveland underwent secret cancer surgery aboard a yacht owned by his friend, Commodore E.C. Benedict. Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States and this surgery came during his second stint. The Panic of 1893 was raging that same year and it was thought that if the public knew the President had cancer and was undergoing surgery, it would cause a further panic. The cancerous tumor was on his soft palate. The entire left side of his jaw was removed along with a small portion of his soft palate while his friend's yacht cruised in Long Island Sound. The President was unable to talk until he was fitted with a rubber prostethic during a second, smaller operation on July 17th. He wore that unil his death in 1908. The public never knew about the President's brush with cancer or his secret surgery.

17 Hundred 90 Inn (Suggested by listener Sarah Kovensky)

Savannah, Georgia is a city shaped by unique people and compelling events. There have been battles, devastating fires, murders and so much more that has led this quaint city to be deemed one of the most haunted in America. Ghosts stories and legends thrive beneath the canopy of spanish moss draped live oak trees. Stately historical mansions carry histories dating back centuries and each seems to have supernatural story of its own. The oldest hotel in Savannah is the 17 Hundred 90 Restaurant and Inn, which was built in 1820. There are stories that up to three ghosts haunt the property. The most famous is the ghost that stays in Room 204 and whom everybody refers to as Anne. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the 17 Hundred 90 Inn.

Savannah was colonized by the British under the leadership of General James Oglethorpe who arrived in 1733. The Yamacraws were the Native Americans here and they were led by Tomochichi. He and Oglethorpe formed a friendship and their alliance helped to build the city with little confrontation. During these early colonial years, the city was founded as a major port. The city was platted in squares that still exist today as parks surrounded by large historic mansions. Savannah eventually became the colonial capitol of Georgia. Steele White was a planter from Virginia and he decided to build a boarding house in the steadily growing city. Construction began in 1820 on the original duplex, but White was killed in a riding accident before the house was finished. His wife Anne was left widowed and heartbroken. She moved from the house to the Isle of Hope, south of Savannah, where she lived with her sister and her brother-in-law for many years.

The year 1820 was a rough one for Savannah. A yellow fever epidemic was sweeping through, wiping out whole families. On January 11th, the Great Savannah Fire touched off and spread quickly with the help of high winds. The fire eventually reached Ellis Square where gunpowder was stored in buildings and the explosions spread the fire further. The boarding house was built in the federal style with a brick first floor and wooden upper floors. The construction was completed in 1823. The Powers family bought the property in 1888 and added the smaller eastern section at that time. The boarding house eventually became a hotel.

Today, the 17 Hundred 90 Inn is a restaurant and tavern and B & B on President Street in the historic district. We were unable to figure out how it came by its name. It certainly isn't for the year it was built and the address is 307. There is an original slate floor and bricks that predate the original building constructed by Steele White, so perhaps there was a structure here that was burned down in the fire and perhaps that building was built in 1790? But that is just speculation. The tavern is on the ground floor. It resembles a trading vessel with a charming bar in the rear. Another building was purchased across the street and the check-in desk for the B & B was relocated here. This added more rooms, a parking lot and a patio. That makes three buildings that comprise the entire B & B. There are fourteen guest rooms, some of which have fireplaces. The rooms are decorated with reproductions of 1800 styled furniture and there are journals left on bed sides for guests to record any of their haunting experiences. These experiences include glasses flying off tables and crashing to the floor.

Ghost tours stop on a regular basis at the tavern for stories and drinks. This is one of the more famously haunted locations in Savannah and has been featured on reality ghost television. Room 204 is said to be the most haunted area of the B & B. Several times a year, people staying in this room end up leaving in the middle of the night. To add to the creepiness, a life-size female mannequin dressed in a period dress is set up looking out of a second story window. The spirit that haunts Room 204 has been named Anne, but this is not the wife of the original owner. The specter likes to move guest's objects and rearrange items in that room. Disembodied sobs have been heard and these are accompanied at times by a shadowy figure that lurks in the the dark corners of the room. Bed sheets are tugged as well.

So who is this Anne and what is her story? People claim that she was a heartbroken woman who threw herself from a second story balcony to the stone street below. The Powers family had an Anne, but she lived into her 80s and had a husband named Patrick who lived into his 80s as well, according to the 1920 census. Obviously, the spirit may not even belong to someone named Anne. There are no reports that we could find anywhere for a death at the hotel, but it could be someone who was attached to the building in some way. A ghost tour guide named James Caskey tells a story about a waiter named Sean. He says that Anne seemed to really dislike him. Sean was collecting the B & B meal cards from the first, second and third floors and he had a feeling of apprehension and felt like someone was watching him. There was an odd coldness that increased as he reached the third floor. Suddenly he felt as though something picked him up off the floor about six inches. When he was released, he ran down the stairs. The Travel Channel wanted to interview Sean about his experience. They were going to conduct the interview in room 204, but Sean was unable to enter the room. Something was physically barring him from entering.

A woman named Lynn was on a trip from Florida to New York with her daughters when they decided to overnight at the 17 Hundred 90 Inn. They were aware of its haunted reputation. The only room available was 204. After they entered the room, Lynn immediately noticed a teddy bear on the fireplace mantle and she recognized it from an episode of Ghost Hunters. It had a purple ball between its legs and had Mardi Gras beads wrapped around its body. The paranormal investigators had used the bear as a trigger object. Her daughters started using Snapchat to send pictures to friends and they began to tempt the spirits. They called out, "Are you there, Anne" and "Anne, do you want to play?" Suddenly, the ball between the bear's legs flew off the mantle and stopped in the center of the room on the floor. Lynn picked up the ball and placed it back with the bear. She wanted to believe that somehow it had rolled off all on its own. She tested it several times, tapping the ball lightly to start it rolling down the mantle. It never rolled far enough to land in the center of the room. The girls turned on a lamp and then flicked it off before going to dinner. When they came back to the room, they attempted to turn the light on and it would not come on. They discovered that the lamp had been unplugged and none of them had unplugged it. The women spent the evening having a hard time falling asleep as the windows rattled, the doorknob jiggled and something kept scratching at the end of the bed post.

A couple reported after staying in Room 204, "When we were packing up to move our stuff the next morning, I had put my little camera bag on the bed. I had left it in the room when we went down for breakfast. Before leaving, we did our usual idiot check to be sure we didn't leave anything behind. We had already moved our stuff down to the car, when I noticed the camera wasn't in the bag. I got the key from the desk and Tom went back up to the room to take a look. He immediately saw it in plain site sitting in the middle of the chair by the window. The camera wasn't in the chair when we had first left the room because we would've seen it. The maid hadn't been in the room yet, so it must have been the entity of Anne returning the camera after she had looked at it."

Kal wrote on TripAdvisor, "For our second night, we decided to move up to the 'haunted' room, 204. While we didn't expect anything to happen, we thought it would be fun to say we stayed in the haunted room. Well, we definitely experienced some unexplanable things! Nothing happened at first, but as the night went on, we were absolutely graced with Anne's presence. Anne is the ghost. She hid our keys, pulled a vitamin out of a pocket and placed it on the fireplace, unzipped my purse a couple times... it was crazy!"

Anne is not the only ghost. There is reportedly the spirit of a Voodoo practitioner here. The kitchen is a favorite haunt for this ghost and it generally presents as something sinister and dark. The spirit has a dislike for women and has thrown pots, pushed and slapped women and pulled pranks on them. She jangles her bracelets at them as well. Employees claim to hear people in the kitchen when no one is in there and also the sounds of metal jingling and pots banging around. The spirit is said to belong to a former cook at the hotel who practiced Voodoo. She occasionally leaves the kitchen and ventures into the restaurant where she pushes silverware off of the tables. A maintenance man was doing some work in the hotel when he heard the sobbing of a woman coming from the kitchen. He investigated to see if he could be of some help and he found the kitchen empty.

The ghost of a merchant marine is reputedly at the 17Hundred90 Inn, also. This is a friendly apparition that has been helpful to the staff and enjoys music. He is seen dressed in his uniform and walking through the garden room or sitting and listening to the piano player. He once helped shut a light off for a staff member who could not reach it without stepping up on a chair. A TripAdvisor review mentions a ghost named Thaddeus who we assume would be this spirit.

Is the 17Hundred90 Inn haunted? That is for you to decide!


  1. I enjoyed reading about Mike the Headless Chicken as I lived in Colorado for many years and have attended the festival they still have in Fruita in his honor.

    1. Wow! They have a festival for him? How fun! I wouldn't have believed the story had it not been for the photos. Thanks for listening!