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Savannah, Georgia

The Bonaventure Jogger

An eerie smiling woman looms above the granite tombstones. 

If you’re wandering amongst the Spanish moss and live oaks of Savannah’s historic Bonaventure Cemetery at dusk, a grinning green woman with sunken eyes might jump out at you from behind a corner. Don’t worry–you’re not the first to be spooked by the bronze jogger.

The unusual monument is dedicated to the memory of Julia Denise Backus Smith, a prominent member of Savannah society, who committed suicide in 2003. As her epitaph indicates, she worked with compassion for the less fortunate of Savannah as a city commissioner. She was also the first woman from her city to compete in the Boston Marathon, and went on to win races in Georgia.

While it’s touching memorial to a woman doing what she loved, the statue’s bronze skin has now oxidized to an eerie shade of green and her eyes have gained a blackened shadow, so it can give quite the start to those unaware.