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Exorcising the ghosts of Savannah's retail past
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Dear Erin,

Lately there's been a lot of hoop dee doo about all these big box stores opening downtown, courtesy of a certain Atlanta real estate developer. Even before he got here, many of those buildings were unable to attract and keep financially viable establishments. What do you think drove everyone out of business: the highfalutin rents or the ghosts who didn't want them there in the first place?

I have my theories and am curious if you have any advice to help keep the remaining Moms & Pops in business.


Hi Preston,

When it comes to small businesses that are going out of business, downtown Savannah has been the perfect storm de merde. High rent, corruption and interesting choices (including a Pan Asian bistro that served the best Fettuccine Florentine in town) have certainly informed some of these scenarios, but given the astonishing number of closings in the past few years, there's gotta be something more going on.

This city was a burial ground to the Yamacraw people long before it became the site of America's most famous wars. I suspect that the disruption of this sacred energy might have something to do with it.

Years ago, my spiritual teacher Jason told me a story about a psychic reading shop he opened at a funky old flour-mill-turned-shopping-mall called Riverplace. Built along the Mississippi, this complex offered a cornucopia of unique products and services to the people of Minneapolis.

Despite its enormous popularity, most every one of Riverplace's businesses were failing, including Jason's. This was especially confounding, given that the area garnered plenty of visitors and the stores' price points were reasonable.

The lone store making a profit was a pipe tobacco shop owned by an elderly Native American man. One day Jason popped in and him the secret to his abundance. "I honor my ancestors with a peace offering," he said.

It turns out Riverplace was built atop an old Sioux burial ground. As a show of respect for its resting souls, the proprietor placed a small, tobacco-filled purple cloth, called a prayer tie, in southwest corner of his shop and thanked the spirits for their kindness and generosity each time he opened and closed the store.

Jason adopted this practice in his own shop, placing a purple prayer tie in the southwest corner and thanking the ancestors every time he opened or closed the store...even when he took bathroom breaks. His psychic reading business began thriving almost instantly.

So to all you open-minded proprietors out there who might be interested, why not give this practice a try? It just might work, if only for its placebo effect. Worst case scenario, symptoms could include increased profits.

Your pal, Erin

The Ghost Dog Diaries is a weekly advice column, inspired by the late PJ Cuddlesworth. Three hours after PJ's passing, Erin held an Irish Wake in her honor. That's when her name appeared in her beer. (Misspelled, of course. Ghost Dogs aren't equipped with Autocorrect.) Erin and PJ have been giving psychic readings and helping people connect with their loved ones who have passed ever since.

Got a question about life after death and other phenomena? Give us a shout at Although we don't give psychic readings in this column, you can learn more about private consultations at