The ghost story of an indentured servant from Ireland searching for her baby in Wright Square is one that Linda Sickler won't easily dismiss.

Plus, the Guyton woman has her own experiences with the supernatural: A woman Sickler best describes as a farm wife from about 1900 appeared in the doorway of her in-law's home in Illinois - then disappeared.

"And I thought, 'Did I just see a ghost?'" she said.

Sickler, a reporter for Savannah Morning News and DO Savannah, later saw that tired-looking woman in a Victorian framed picture her husband found while cleaning out the home.

"She hangs in my living room today," Sickler said.

But it's local ghosts that concern Sickler and Michael Harris, co-authors of "Historic Haunts of Savannah," released this month.

In the book, story-loving Sickler and research-savvy Harris dug behind their favorite ghost stories of what's repeatedly listed as one of America's most haunted cities.

They took popular legends "that everybody thinks they know," found out what was true and fleshed it out, according to Sickler.

"There's got to be more to Alice Riley than just her looking for a baby in a square," said Harris, referring to the aforementioned Wright Square ghost. "They had lives they lived."

A lot of books discuss why ghosts do or do not exist, according to Harris.

Or authors focus on why a place is haunted following war or violence.

"We're interested in the story," he said.

And telling stories "is just my gift," Sickler said.

Harris, a seminary graduate, also writes, and he and Sickler started the book in May 2013.

They picked their favorite local ghost stories, the ones they really wanted to know the truth behind, they said.

"This is a new look at old stories," Sickler said.

Both know the old stories.

They work for Old Town Trolley Tours: Sickler acts part-time, and Harris is a supervisor for Ghosts & Gravestones tours.

And they wanted to know the facts.

"We did find discrepancies," Sickler said.

The Riley story, for example, is often told without knowledge of the instigation of the crime that led to Riley's hanging.

It was Riley's fellow servant Richard Wright who concocted the scheme to kill their harsh master William Wise, Harris said.

And Wright was not the father of Riley's baby, Sickler said.

"People want the romance in there, and it didn't happen," she said.

"Research is my thing," Harris said, later mentioning letters and Colonial records he combed through.

"He really dug deep," Sickler said.

"He tried hard to be historically accurate," said the book's illustrator George Hicks.

It's hard to know what Savannah looked like in the 1730s when Riley was hanged, Hicks said.

But his illustration in the book depicts the scene after Harris searched for period-related ideas.

Another story, the duel between two 20-something socialites in the 1830s, is both Hicks and Harris' favorite in the book.

The duel happened at the former City Hotel off Bay Street where Moon River Brewing Company is now, Harris said.

And no, he said, the angst between James Stark and Philip Minis didn't begin with a horseshoe-match-turned-sour.

The two men were already on somewhat poor terms, and ethnic overtones played a part.

Minis, who was Jewish, eventually killed Stark and later faced a trial conducted with somewhat anti-Semitic prejudice, Harris said.

But Minis was acquitted.

The authors wanted to put the "person" back into the ghosts they wrote about, even if Harris doesn't believe in ghosts.

He's never had an encounter with what he defines as an appearance of a deceased human being.

"I do believe people can be haunted by people from the past," he said.

Harris calls it "the uncanny" when someone has an experience that they both understand and don't understand at the same time.

"There is a mystery to existence that I don't truly understand," he said. "Human beings are mysterious creatures."

"And we want the mystery," Sickler said.