Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Haunted Crime Scenes: The Shrimp Factory

The Shrimp Factory

 

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The Shrimp Factory by Night
The Shrimp Factory by Night

The Shrimp Factory was first opened in July 1977. From the beginning, the original owner, Janie Harris, was convinced the building was haunted. The epicenter of the ghostly activities was an upstairs storage room where they kept their liquors and fine wines. Employees often reported hearing strange noises emanating from the room.

Staircase where employee "Joe" died of a heart attack.
Staircase where employee "Joe" died of a heart attack.

There are various explanations for the haunting. Some believe a man named Joe, who had a heart attack on the stairs in 1977, is responsible. Others believe the 'ghosts' come from a far more sinister place and time.

Shrimp Factory's day shift manager gave us the grand tour.
Shrimp Factory's day shift manager gave us the grand tour.

The building that houses the Shrimp Factory was originally built during the 1800s and was used as a warehouse. Slavery was in full swing at the time. During the day, slaves would stock the warehouse with cotton, and at night, their owners would chain them to the wall upstairs, so they would not escape or commit suicide by jumping into the Savannah River. The slaves' living conditions were poor at best. Infectious diseases were par for the course, and those who managed to escape such deaths often perished from exposure in the wintertime. Some folks believe it is these lost souls that now haunt the upper levels of the Shrimp Factory.

Book Cover: Georgia Ghosts
Book Cover: Georgia Ghosts

In the book Georgia Ghosts, Nancy Roberts recounts an experience one former employee had when he went to retrieve a bottle of wine for a customer. "I stood trembling while the voices around me seemed to grow to an angry crescendo. 'Doky, dokey, va Dokey!'"

According to a college lecturer quoted in the book, the language was probably a mixture of the slaves' own language and bits and pieces of English they had heard. Dokey purportedly means 'devil,' and va means 'to kill.'

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