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 http://PatriciaDusenbury.com 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.
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