A One-Time Dracula
(Wormsloe Plantation, Isle of Hope, Georgia, USA)

Traveling along Harry S. Truman Parkway, connecting downtown Savannah to its southern metropolitan districts, one will find an exit named for Truman's successor: Eisenhower Drive. This presidential exit leads either towards Bacon Park (Sandfly) and Hunter Army Airfield, or towards Marandy's Soul Food and Skidaway Road, with its outdated neighborhood Piggly Wiggly supermarket. A few miles southbound along Skidaway Road, past the first open marshes found just after the supermarket, one will recognize along the south side of the street, the entranceway arch of Wormsloe Historic Site, a former private colonial era residence, now owned and protected by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The entranceway leading to the former, now vanished estate, consists of a 1.5-mile long majestic tree-lined avenue. After passing along this drive, visitors to the historic site can interact with costumed interpreters as they regale visitors with tales of Georgia history, swamp battles and southern pageantry. It all takes place during the daytime hours of 9-5pm. Then the gates are shut to the property. For many years during the early 1990s, it was possible to notice through the entrance gates, in the hours following closure by the security team, a lone man quietly and slowly passing amongst the two rows of oak trees lining the entranceway drive. There would probably have been no notice of the man if it weren't for his unusual mode of costume. Dressed in full make-up and attire matching the classic Bela Lugosi depiction of the ancient vampire from the 1931 film Dracula, the man seemed to appear around dusk on randomly selected evenings.

Never drawing much of an evening crowd at the gates of Wormsloe, yet known to most locals and law enforcement officials alike, this Dracula performer was recognized for years as a standard member of the Isle of Hope community. He had in fact, during this early part of the 1990s, just taken on his new role, having performed in the previous years as a sort of casual Rhett Butler re-enactor. The actor is said to have based those performances—which mainly took place in downtown Savannah's historic city squares and consisted solely of casual afternoon walks—on the 1939 cinema classic Gone with the Wind, starring Clark Gable in the role of Butler. It is said that the performances were actually so casual as to have not been noticed by almost anyone in the vicinity. Regular drinkers from a local cellar tavern in historic Savannah, usually open and friendly towards curious travelers' questions, retell with great joy that when asked about this casualness of performance, the actor claimed that he wished to start slow in refining his skills and abilities.

Since the late 1990s there has been no known Dracula or Rhett Butler re-enactment activity in either Savannah or nearby Isle of Hope. Upon questioning of employees of the historic site and various neighborhood residents, the only information gleaned from the situation was a possibility that the man had recently trained to become a psychic reader and was now thought to operate a so-called crystal ball parlor somewhere farther south, maybe near Brunswick.


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