The Haunting of Mercer Williams House Museum – Savannah, Georgia

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 5 December 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Introduction of Mercer Williams House Museum

The Mercer Williams House Museum is located in the center of Savannah, Georgia, where Spanish moss hangs down like spectral tendrils, bearing silent witness to generations’ worth of secrets. An eerie silence falls as dusk approaches, and the weathered exterior of the home takes on an ethereal sheen. Within these walls, the boundaries between history and the eerie merge into a spooky dance of the unknown, where the past breathes and shadows speak.

History of Mercer Williams House Museum

Constructed in the 1860s for Confederate General Hugh W. Mercer, Mercer Williams House Museum stands as a testament to Savannah’s antebellum grandeur. The mansion changed hands multiple times until 1969 when it found a new owner in the renowned antiques dealer and restorationist, Jim Williams.

Notably, the house became infamous in the 1980s when it served as the backdrop for a high-profile murder trial, as depicted in John Berendt’s bestselling novel, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” The trial added a layer of mystery to the mansion’s legacy, intertwining its history with the suspenseful events that unfolded within its walls.

Haunted by the spirits of both Hansford and Williams, guests have reported ghostly sightings. Hansford is often seen wandering the halls, while Williams tends to materialize in the foyer, where his life met a violent end. The house has also been a stage for phantom parties, residues of Williams’ extravagant gatherings, witnessed even when the mansion stands empty.

Historic Mercer Williams House
Historic Mercer Williams House – Credit savannahfirsttimer

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Wandering Phantoms – Ghost of Danny Hansford & James

At the Mercer Williams House Museum, a haunting legend unfolds, recounting the tragic murder of Danny Hansford and the lingering spirits that inhabit its halls. The tale begins with James Williams’ acquittal and the subsequent claims of Hansford’s vengeful ghost, setting the stage for a spectral drama.

After James Williams was acquitted, reports emerged of Danny Hansford’s ghost haunting the Mercer House, fueled by an unquenched anger and a desire for revenge. Williams, tormented by the spectral presence, sought help from a voodoo practitioner to exorcise Hansford’s ghost. Despite these efforts, the haunting persisted, with guests reporting an unsettling feeling of being watched upon entering the house.

Hansford’s apparition, often seen in the study where he met his demise, became a recurring presence. Witnesses described hearing phantom footsteps and disembodied voices accompanying his appearances. The legend expanded to include James Williams’ ghost, with sightings in the foyer and study, the very locations where he ended Hansford’s life.

The haunting took an unexpected turn during the holidays. Although the house stood empty, neighbors reported hearing live music and witnessing people dancing through the windows. These spectral Christmas parties were said to echo the wild festivities Williams was known for, continuing even after his death.

Ghostly Figure – Lost Young Soul Tommy Downs

The spirit of Tommy Downs is a new specter that joins the eerie story inside the historic walls of the Mercer Williams House Museum. A small boy is reported to have been seen on the roof, balcony, and windows in this terrifying folklore, which intensifies the unsettling atmosphere even beyond the sad events involving Danny Hansford and James Williams.

Tommy Downs’s apparition is one more piece in the Mercer House’s eerie fabric. Numerous people have reported seeing the spectral image of a small child, frequently seen standing on a balcony or roof. People walking by have seen Tommy’s eerie appearance when they glance up at the windows. Travelers taking pictures with their cameras have inadvertently captured his phantom in the windows or around the house.

The legend takes a darker turn as some claim to see a vivid replay of Tommy’s tragic demise. In the memories of those who pass by, the ghostly scenes unfold – Tommy falling from the roof, a haunting descent culminating in impalement on the spikes of the iron gate. These haunting images play in their minds like a video on an endless loop, etching the tragic end of Tommy Downs into the ghostly lore of the Mercer House.

So the Mercer Williams House Museum is home to Tommy Downs’ ghost as well as the lingering ghosts of Danny Hansford and James Williams. Visitors are left wondering about the secrets that lurk behind the mansion’s walls as the tale comes to life with sightings and scary visions that add to the mansion’s famous past.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of Mercer Williams House Museum

Renowned for its rich history and eerie charm, Mercer Williams House Museum has become a focal point in paranormal investigations. Featured in the series “Unveiling Mercer’s Ghosts,” the mansion’s haunting tales captivated audiences.

In literature, Mercer Williams House Museum takes center stage in books like “The Haunting of Mercer House: A Halloween Haunting” by Carrie Bates and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story” by John Berendt. These books dive into the spectral stories surrounding the mansion, offering captivating insights into its mysterious past.

These days, history buffs and those interested in the paranormal should not miss Mercer Williams House Museum. Its widespread representation in literature and popular culture lends a another element of attraction, drawing anyone looking for an immersive experience with its eerie and historic atmosphere.


As you step away from the Mercer Williams House Museum, the echoes of Savannah’s enigma linger in the night air. The spirits, ever-watchful, return to their silent vigil, and the tales of the past resume their haunting melody. The journey through time, fraught with chilling encounters and mysterious whispers, leaves an ethereal imprint on your soul. Remember, the Mercer Williams House stands as a timeless sentinel, its eerie allure woven into the fabric of Savannah’s haunting legacy. Until the next twilight, when the shadows again awaken, the mysteries of this historic mansion endure, a spectral symphony echoing in the recesses of your memory.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is the Mercer Williams House Museum located?

A: The Mercer Williams House Museum is situated in Savannah, Georgia.

Q: Are there any reported ghost sightings at the Mercer Williams House?

A: Yes, the mansion is infamous for reported ghost sightings, including the spirits of Danny Hansford, James Williams, and Tommy Downs.

Q: Who was Danny Hansford, and why is he associated with the Mercer House’s hauntings?

A: Danny Hansford was murdered in the Mercer House, and his unsettled spirit is believed to haunt the mansion, seeking justice for his untimely death.

Q: Tell me more about James Williams and his connection to the hauntings.

A: James Williams, acquitted in connection to Hansford’s murder, is said to haunt the Mercer House, with apparitions and ghostly echoes of his wild parties lingering in the halls.

Q: Is there a specific area where Danny Hansford’s ghost is commonly sighted?

A: Witnesses often report seeing Danny Hansford’s ghost in the study, where the tragic incident occurred, and sometimes wandering through the house’s halls.

Q: Who is Tommy Downs, and how is he associated with the Mercer House’s legends?

A: Tommy Downs is another spectral presence associated with the Mercer House, with sightings of a young boy on the roof and balcony, as well as eerie images near the windows.

Q: Can visitors take photos inside the Mercer Williams House, and have any captured paranormal activity?

A: Photography is allowed, and some visitors claim to have unintentionally captured images of ghostly apparitions, including Tommy Downs, in the windows or near the house.

Q: Is there any connection between the reported Christmas parties and the haunting of the Mercer House?

A: Yes, neighbors have reported hearing live music and witnessing ghostly revelers during the holidays, echoing the wild Christmas parties thrown by James Williams even after his death.

Q: Are there guided tours that delve into the haunted history of the Mercer Williams House?

A: Yes, guided tours are available, providing visitors with insights into the haunted legends and chilling tales associated with the Mercer Williams House Museum.

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