Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was written by John Berrendt and published in 1994, is known in Savannah simply as “The Book”. It chronicles the lives of a wide range of eccentric personalities in and around the city of Savannah, Georgia. Voodoo, Murder and debauchery intertwines the pages, each turn takes you deeper into Savannah’s strange, eccentric underbelly. The book was made into a movie which was directed by Clint Eastwood in 1997. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, was well received and stayed as a New York Times best seller for 216 weeks after it’s debut. This of course, sparked an interest about Savannah in the public eye. Is it really like the book depicts it?

Jim Williams

Jim Williams

The main catalyst in the book revolves around Jim Williams. Jim was an antiques dealer, historic preservationist and a self made millionaire. In 1969, Jim purchased a home that was originally built for General Hugh Mercer, the great-grandfather of famous singer, songwriter Johnny Mercer. It had sat vacant for almost a decade since it’s last owners, the Shiners, had used it as their Alee Temple. Jim hired a young man named Danny Hansford as his assistant. Jim would also pay for Danny’s drugs, alcohol and new car on the side in exchange for sexual favors. In 1981, Jim Williams claims he shot Danny dead in self defense. One shot ended up in the back of the skull execution style. Jim was arrested and was the only person in the state of Georgia ever to be tried four times for the same crime. After his fourth trial, he was acquitted by a jury in Augusta, Georgia in 1989. On January 14, 1990, six months after the trial, he died unexpectedly in his home, aged 59, from heart failure. Or was it heart failure?

Minerva of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Savannah attorney Sonny Seiler stands with Valerie Fennel Aiken Boles in this photograph dated 2002. Boles was better known as the voodoo priestess “Minerva” in the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

Jim believed very much in the Hoodoo of the local Root Doctors. He would often call upon the services of Valerie Boles, known in The Book as Minerva. Valerie was the wife of the infamous Dr. Buzzard. When performing a ritual, she would do it at her husband’s grave which sits somewhere in Beaufort, SC area. From 11:30 to Midnight is for working good magick. From Midnight to 12:30 is for working evil magick. Is it possible that Jim Williams died as a result of Hoodoo? Or does the Mercer house itself hold a curse?

The story of Haunted Savannah and the Mercer house, goes far beyond that of even the book. It follows the tragic stories of past owners, the death of a young innocent boy and delves into the mysterious Savannah Root Doctors. So, what really did happen at the Mercer House?

Be sure to take our adult’s only, uncensored Midnight Voodoo Tour to find out….