March 6, 2016

Patricia Dusenbury’s Ghostly Georgia

Georgia is known for her beautiful Sea Islands, the world’s busiest airport, and the mountains where the Appalachian Trail begins. But what about her ghosts? A history marked by war and slavery and war again has left a haunted state. I’d like to take you on a ghost tour.


We’ll start in Savannah. Mist from the river floats wraith-like amongst giant trees hung with Spanish moss; patches of fog drift across historic squares. Or was that a ghost? Built upon a Native American burial ground, a refuge for pirates, and a major port during the slave trade, Savannah is the most haunted city in America.

Hungry? The Olde Pink House is known for its low-country cuisine and for the ghosts of mischievous children who lock women guests in the ladies room, even though the locks were removed years ago. Thirsty? The Moon River Brewing Company offers micro-brews, small plates, and paranormal experiences. In the 1820s and 30s, this building housed the City Hotel, where men came to drink and gamble and visit the women upstairs. Some have never left. Gambler James Stark still damns the man who shot him; drunken Toby bumps into customers; a lovely young woman materializes, orders a drink at the bar, and then vanishes. Don’t annoy the ghosts. Angry spirits have been known to grab or slap visitors.

I-16 takes us to Macon. Our first stop is City Auditorium, a building the style and size of Athens’ Parthenon, where sounds of parties past echo in empty rooms. Macon’s haunted jewel is the Johnston-Felton-Hay House. Completed in 1859 when few southern homes boasted indoor plumbing or kitchens, this 24-room mansion had hot and cold running water, central heat, a ventilation system, and an elevator. Today it has a ghost, an elderly woman dressed in clothing from the mid 19th century and, perhaps, distressed by the tourists wandering through her family home.

On to Atlanta. Georgia’s capital is an optimistic city focused on the future, but the past will not be denied. The Confederate Lion sleeps in Oakland Cemetery, just southeast of downtown. Nearby, row after row of simple white crosses speak of war’s cost. Listen carefully and hear their eerie roll call. Visit Margaret Mitchell’s grave and vow never to jaywalk on Peachtree Street—it can be fatal. Wander over to Bobby Jones’s grave and see the golf balls chipped onto it, in homage, by mortal golfers.

Homage should be paid to Blind Willie McTell, too, and it is—now. The hottest blues spot in Atlanta bears his name. Bob Dylan wrote a song about him, and the Allman Brothers covered his Statesboro Blues. But fame came only after Blind Willie’s death. Back in the 1940s and 50s, he walked the streets of Atlanta, playing his twelve-string and singing for his supper. Sometimes, on warm summer nights, the breeze still carries the sound of Willie’s smooth tenor singing You Was Born to Die.

I hope you enjoyed the tour. There are many more ghosts in Georgia, but these are my favorites. Ghost stories fascinate me, and the ghosts of past events figure prominently in my books. In my latest mystery, A House of Her Own, the house in question is haunted by evil unpunished, a young runaway, and some say, by a vengeful poltergeist. 

Patricia offers a free copy of A Perfect Victim, the first book in the trilogy.  If you’ve been lucky enough to read the first book, a copy of the second, Secrets, Lies & Homicide.  Visit here  to learn more.Just comment here for your chance to win.

Before she became a writer, Patricia Dusenbury was an economist and the author of numerous dry publications. She is hoping to atone by writing mystery stories that people read for pleasure. Her first book, A Perfect Victim, won the Electronic Industry 2015 e-book award for best mystery. Book 2, Secrets, Lies & Homicide, was a top ten finalist in the Preditors and Editors 2014 readers’ poll. Book 3, A House of Her Own, released in October 2015, completes the trilogy.

When she isn’t writing, Patricia is reading, gardening, hanging out with the grandkids, or exploring San Francisco, the fabulous city that is her new home. Or, if it is late April/early May, you’ll find her in New Orleans, soaking up the sounds of Jazz Fest.



  1. We were exploring a piece of land outside of Athens, just a possibility if my wife actually did decide to go to vet school.

    "Fine, we can move," I'd said with reluctance.

    "Woof," added our only dependent.

    So, we'd driven down from New York, looked around the city, admired the school of veterinary medicine, and contacted a Realtor. All in a quick trip.

    We walked around the brier-wrapped acreage until the four-legged member of the family decided she'd had enough of red clay and plants that clung to her thick coat. Plopping herself down with a slight cry of disgust, Uncle assumed that special posture, the one that said, "Either get me the hel out of here or buy me a drink."

    I picked her up. "Want to get back in the car, Girl?"

    Uncharacteristically, she planted her tongue on my face.

    Opening our tan Fiat's front door, I plopped her on my wife's seat. Uncle barked her appreciation. But, as soon as I closed the door, she was out the window, back at my feet, crying her protest and assuming that same posture.

    "Well," I said to my laughing wife, "I don't think the dog likes Georgia."

    Back to New York we skedaddled.

    Don't get me wrong, we liked Georgia fine, a peachy state if you'll allow, but sometimes, the kids have to have the last say. My best guess, she missed the hydrants of Long Island.

  2. Very interesting blog, Patricia. I love all things Southern, being a Southern girl myself. And ghosts are a big part of our culture so this was especially entertaining. And I'm sure your books reflect this as well and I wish you much success with them.
    PS Ken's comments were entertaining as well.

  3. Oh my! This is the first time I'd heard Georgia described this way and it's all so exciting. This gave me chills as ghosts, or Night Marchers, as they're called in Hawaii, are common here in The Islands. You make your state sound like a must see for me. Visiting and seeing ghosts first hand would be another way to soak up some of the history there.

  4. Such an interesting post!
    I went on a Ghosts and Gravestones tour in Savannah .... LOVED it!
    Hope to go back there and do some more exploring in this beautiful state.
    Good luck and God's blessings.

  5. Interesting tour. I've spent some time in Georgia, but didn't encounter any ghosts. Sure would have liked hearing Blind Willie play.

  6. I have photos of me & a number of orbs in a friend's house in Savannah. They actually moved when I did. Five people were shooting pics at the time and everyone picked them up. I lived in Bluffton, SC, 20 min from Sav. and my house was definitely haunted.
    My son is a musician in the Atlanta area and has played at the Allman's Suwanee Festival. I spent a lot of time driving up to Roswell along I75 from Florida. North GA is gorgeous, especially in the Helen area and up in the mountains. Great apple orchards. Thanks for the memories of GA.

  7. Always up for a good ghost tour. I don't think I've visited Savannah, but it sounds intruiging.

  8. My sister is a a paranormal investigation team in California. This was so interesting!

  9. Great post. I live in Georgia so I really learned some new things. Best of luck with your book.

    Marilyn Baron

  10. Interesting and atmospheric post. I always find the idea of ghosts both fascinating and disturbing. So many stories from so many different places--and so much we don't understand! (I love the term "Night Marchers.")

  11. Thanks so much for this mini travelogue! I've long wanted to visit Savannah, so appreciated comments about that city. (There is a ghost--the "Red Bride" in my novel, "A Wedding to Die For"--set largely in the haunted 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, AR. Ghost tours nightly.)

  12. Thank you all for reading and commenting. Did anyone recognize Greg Allman standing in front of the Blind Willie backdrop? The photo was taken in the Blues Tent at JazzFest a few years ago.

  13. Never been to Georgia. Might have to visit some day. Love to read about ghost stories, since as old Will said, "There are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Believing the unbelievable makes life so much more interesting.


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