Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Haunted Crime Scenes: Mercer House


VIDEO: Danny Hansford's Grave

Danny Hansford's grave
Danny Hansford's grave

Danny was buried in section 8 of Greenwich Cemetery, next to the more famous Bonaventure Cemetery. Scenes from the book and movie indicate that his spirit remains restless. Described by one female character as "a good time not yet had by all," he was a high-maintenance hustler and alleged drug dealer and abuser who thought rather well of himself and did not hesitate to make demands on Williams, his benefactor. Reportedly, Williams had bought him a car, given him money, and paid his expenses, but Hansford failed to fully appreciate the opportunity. In Haunted Savannah by James Caskey, Judge George Oliver from the Williams trial was quoted as saying that he believed Jim Williams had shot Hansford in cold blood. Then he added that Hansford was "trouble with a capital T" and that "sometimes, people just need killing."

In a scene from the book (Midnight) in another cemetery, Jim Williams and John Berendt met Minerva, a voodoo practitioner, who told them that to understand the living, one must commune with the dead. She described "Dead Time," wherein the good spirits come around during the half hour before midnight and the bad spirits for half an hour post-midnight. She hoped to persuade Hansford's spirit to forgive Williams, but it seemed not to have worked.

We went to Hansford's grave and I turned on a digital recorder, a device used to capture voices that the human ear cannot hear. I often get no results at all and expected none on that afternoon, but to my surprise, after I asked if anyone wanted to communicate (meaning anyone dead), I recorded a voice that sounded like, "It ain't me?" or possibly, "It ain't D?" Oddly, it sounded to me as though it was posed as a question. Some in our party thought it sounded like an elderly woman, and in fact the graves of four sisters were next to Hansford's (one of whom had died at the age of 98). Yet others in our party were certain it was the voice of a young man about Hansford's age. Personally, I can't decide.

When I listened to an enhanced version of this voice, it seemed less a question than someone insisting, "This ain't Dee." But that didn't enlighten me about what it means.


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