I get a lot of comments on my Facebook Pages Shadows in the Pines and Ghosts of Northwest Georgia from people who naturally assume I am an experienced paranormal investigator. I mean, I run two paranormal facebook pages, right? Actually, even though I have been a member of Southern States Paranormal for a while ( as historian), I just went on my first investigation a couple weeks ago.
Growing up, my parents had told me of an encounter they had with a mysterious ghost horse on a dirt road near an old cemetery in Chattooga County. Later, when writing Ghosts of Northwest Georgia, I heard of this horse again- but with more detail. According to lady telling the story, the cemetery was haunted by the ghost of a horse pulling a horse- drawn hearse. Each night, according to the legend, the horse would pull the hearse into the cemetery. (More on that story in my upcoming book.)
I shared this story with my friends Matt and Adam, fellow members of Southern States Paranormal, who were also intrigued. One Saturday evening, Matt, Adam, Matt’s girlfriend, Christy, and one of my former co-workers and I set out to investigate.
Matt and Adam had brought along an EMF meter and what I think was a K2 meter. I had a camera and a digital recorder. We also brought flashlights, bottled water, and copious amounts of bug spray (after all, this is Goergia in the summertime). Another thing we tried out was an app called Ghost Radar, which I had downloaded onto my cell phone. (While I can’t say I am completely sold in the app itself, I would later be AMAZED at the EVPs I gained as spirits reacted to the app.)
Adam explained the ropes to us newbies. I had never thought about the fact that, when recording, I needed to state any noises that might be later miscontrued as paranormal activity (example: car passing, dog barking, person coughing).
For the next few hours we explored the area in small goups and as a whole group. I can honestly say that I was never frieghtened or even uncomfortable during this time. Much of the time spent on an investigation is “down time”. You spend a great deal of time watching and waiting. I can’t say I was bored, though. I found the whole thing interesting.
After about 2 1/2 hours, we had detected some spirit activity, including a rod and several orbs caught on photo. The Ghost Radar app detected a spirit that gave names and talked about military involvement and a war. We actually found these names on a tombstone in the cemtery along with mention of military involvement!
We took a few breaks and went over the recorder to check for EVPS, but found none at that time. One thing we all did experience was periodically hearing a strange popping noice. We never found a reason for this.
We were able to debunk some shadows and noises as having natural causes. The guys pointed out that, even though it is exciting to find actual paranormal activity, it is extremely important to make every effort to disprove all activity. (This makes the activity you can’t disprove more credible.)
Above: before and after taken just seconds apart. Note the bright light on the right. No known source.
As the session ended, we sat on a grassy embankment near the dirt road and quietly watched and listened. It was during this time that the sound of summer insects slightly faded and we became aware of a crunching sound on the gravel of the old road. We turned toward the noise, but saw nothing. The road was well illuminated, both by moonlight and the security lights from the cemetery. Although nothing could be seen, the sound got louder as it came closer. We could actually hear the clop of what sounded like hoofbeats on the gravel and the sound of what appeared to be old wooden wheels slowly turning on the gravel. We stood and stared. Although nothing was there, we plainly heard this sound. The phenomenal thing (well, one of the phenomenal things) was that this went on for a few minutes. It wasn’t something that happend for just a second or two. Unfortunately, the batteries in my camera were drained (typical occurrence) and the camera on my cell got nothing.
As the sound ended, we approached the road as a unit- eager to investigate what we had heard. That’s when it happened- about four feet from where we stood- you know that blowing sound a horse makes? Not exactly a whinny- my horse used to do it all the time and I never really knew the word for it. It’s kind of an exhale, I guess. And it was right there!
We were amazed, both newbie and experienced guys as well. We couldn’t disprove it. It was there! We had actually heard the ghost hearse!!!
Shortly after this, the atmosphere in the area changed. It was a foreboding feeling. The guys actually saw a grey figure walking along the road where the hearse had traveled. A couple of us experienced pains in our stomach. It was very weird. Although I had not been frieghtened all night, I distinctly became aware that something wanted us to leave. Not long after this, we wrapped things up for the evening.
And stranger things were yet to come….
Above: Before and after taken seconds apart. No known source for orange light.
I didn’t check my digital recorder for EVPs that evening. I was the only one home at the time, and the thought of hearing a strange voice was a little more than I wanted to deal with. The next day, however, I got our my little recorder and was stunned. I had actually recorded spirit voices! Some were untelligible to me, but some were quite clear. At one point, the Ghpst Radar app had said the word “cream”. (No idea why.) Adam asked, “What is cream?” I could plainly hear a man’s voice saying (as if “I can’t believe you don’t know this”), “Milk! …Milk!” Later I was examining my recorder to see wheter it was still on. A man’s voice whispered, “It’s on hold.” The EVPs were unbelievable. I caught several- and I was truly amazed. I was there. I know the voices I recorded did not belong to anyone in the group.
This was truly one of the most amazing, awe-inspiring moments of my life. This is why I love the paranormal! Those moments when something so amazing happens that you can’t disprove. The moments that remind us that, as William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
It’s been quite a while since I posted on this blog. It isn’t that I have nothing to say. (I ALWAYS have something to say!) I signed a contract with a publisher (dream come true)! Now I’m working like crazy to get my book lined up and into the correct format.
I have LOVED collecting ghost stories from Northwest Georgia. To me, the best are personal accounts- not just hearsay. I’ve met some of the kindest people on earth and I have loved every minute of the time I have shared with them.
I have always loved a good ghost story. Even as a child, I devoured every ghost story book I could find on the shelves of my local library. I remember discovering Kathryn Tucker Windham’s “13 Ghosts…” series when I was around 12 or 13 years old. I loved them! Later I moved on to Nancy Roberts. When I worked as a Media Specialist in an elementary school I realized that most kids DO love a good ghost story. Most adults do, as well… Of course, I get a lot of “Aw, I don’t believe that mess!” Well, I don’t believe Spongebob is real, nor does my child…but he is on our TV as I write this. Evidently we are enjoying him anyway….
Collecting ghost stories isn’t easy. Some people are reluctant to share their stories. They are afraid of being ridiculed. I don’t use a person’t real name, nor do I share an address. Sometimes a person has a story but it isn’t enough to fill a chapter. Example- “My grandma’s house is haunted. I saw a man at the foot of the bed!” Not that those aren’t great stories…but it isn’t exactly going to fill up a chapter…
I almost drove myself crazy trying to get enough stories on Little River Canyon..but as far as I can tell, there just aren’t any. Other than a Little Foot sighting here and there and a few chanting voices…nada. I found one fantastic story, then I read an article where a guy admitted he made it up. That may be OK for him, but there is a difference between fiction and creative non-fiction. Passing one off as the other is as bad as passing Pepsi off as Coke. It just “ain’t right”. That’s just my humble opinion.
I get excited every time I open up my email and find someone with a story to tell. I read every email, message, and comment that I receive from this site and both my facebook sites (Shadows in the Pines and Ghosts of Northwest Georgia). You never know when that next fantastic story will come along!
Here’s hoping you have a great day! If you run into a ghost… be sure and let me know!
The curse of an angry minister lead to the demsise of an entire town- and became one of Georgia’s most famous stories.
Jacksonborough (later renamed Jacksonboro), Georiga replaced the town of Rocky Ford as the seat of Screven County in 1797 when Solomon and Mary Gross donated 50 acres of their property for the cause. Named for the Governor of Georgia, General James Jackson, Jacksonboro was a rough town with a terrible reputaton. Saloons outnumbered all other businesses combined. Fighting and drinking were the local pasttime. In 1849, George White wrote in Statistics of the State of Georgia that, “in the mornings after drunken frolics and fights you could see the local children picking up eyeballs in tea saucers”. In other words, Jacksonboro needed redemption.
Enter Lorenzo Dow (Oct. 16, 1777-Feb. 2 ,1834), also known as “Crazy Dow”. Originally from Connecticut, the odd little man with long hair and hunched back was a traveling Methodist Minister of the fire and brimstone persuasion. As further evidence of his strangeness, it can be noted that Dow had buried his first wife, Peggy, not in a coffin, but standing straight up in the grave wrapped in layers of woolen cloth. He felt this would help her get to heaven faster. (Her epitaph reads, “Peggy Dow: Shared Vissitudes of Lorenzo”.) Lorenzo Dow was known for preaching against the evils of slavery and drunkenness. Jacksonboro had it’s share of both.
Upon his entrace to the wild town of Jacksonboro (in 1820 or 1821, depending on the source), Dow passed out handbills announcing his preaching that night at the local Methodist church. The handbills were passed around in the bars and saloons, whose barkeeps and patrons were not impressed. They began making plans…
While Dow made ready for his evening preaching at the home of fellow Methodist and Mason Seaborn Goodall, the town ruffians made ready for Dow. The ringing of the church bell called the good citizens of Jacksonboro (few that there were) to the meeting. It also signalled to the hooligans that the time was right.
As Dow preached his sermon, a rowdy crowd gathered outside and began yelling, throwing rocks and bricks through the chuch windows, and shooting pistols into the air. After his sermon, an angry Dow followed the crowd into a local saloon where he grabbed an iron tool and split open a barrel of whisky. The crowd stared at the amber liquid quickly covering the floor, then immediately began to beat the daylights out of Dow. Luckily, Seaborn Goodall entered the saloon, seized Dow, and took him quickly to the safety of his home.
The next morning, Lorenzo Dow left the town of Jacksonboro crying.”Repent, Brethren, Repent!” at the top of his lungs. An incensed crowd threw tomatoes and rotten eggs at the preacher, who according to some sources, broke open another barrel of whisky. When he reached the bridge at Beaver Dam Creek, Dow removed his shoes and shook the dust of Jacksonboro off his feet. He then placed a curse upon the town, claiming that God would surely bring his vengeance upon the place the same as He had done for Sodom and Gommorah. The crowd laughed in his face.
A short time later, however, the good citizens of Jacksonboro realized that Lorenzo Dow’s curse was no joke. Windstorms came up suddenly, blowing roofs off many local buildings. Others were destroyed by mysterious fires. Beaver Dam Creek, always docile, suddenly became prone to flash floods that sept away entire houses. Slowly, the town of Jacksonboro began to disappear, with the exception of one home: that of Seaborn Goodall. Even when General Sherman passed thorough the town on his famous March to the Sea, Seaborn Goodall’s house was spared. It is said that Sherman camped in the home’s front yard.
On October 28, 1949, the last citizen of Jacksonboro, Georgia passed away. “Uncle Richard” Bryant , age 105, had been born into slavery in 1844. He remembers the last white citizens of Jacksonboro giving up and leaving for Sylvania (the new county seat) when he was around three years old. He spent his life in Jacksonboro, and his death brought an end to the curse of Lorenzo Dow. Jacksonboro was gone.
Seaborn Goodall’s home, now known as the Dell-Goodall house, still stands to this very day. It is located off Highway 301 at the intersection of SR24. Even when left in disrepair for years, the house stood intact. It was later restored by the Brier Creek DAR. The house is open for tours on the first Saturday of every month April- November.
Was there really a curse of Lorenzo Dow? He made no mention of the town in his writings. However, historians feel certain that he did visit the town. After 1821, quite a few children born in the area were named Lorenzo. Although some scoff at the story as merely folklore, others point out that many business have tried to establish themselves in the town since the curse, but none have survived. The lone standing structure remains the home of Seaborn Goodall.
Matthew 10 13:15
13“If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.14“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15“Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
A couple years ago I found an article in the Waynesboro Citzen (Burke, County Georgia) from the 1800’s. The article claims that Colonel S. H. Attaway was having problems with a ghost on his plantation. According to the article, a house on the plantation was haunted by a rather noisy ghost. (I am curious as to whether the house was the main house of the plantation or another house located there.) It seems that no one could remain overnight in the house without being tormented by the ghost. It not only made scary, gutteral sounds, but also opened doors and slammed them shut. Footsteps could be heard walking up and down the stairway. Col. Attaway, himself, admitted to the haunting. He had searched for the source of the haunting, but never found anything.
Sam McClelland claims to have stayed several nights in the house. During this time, doors would open and then slam violently. Doors he distinctly remembered shutting would be found open. He, too, witnessed the mysterious footsteps, moanings and groanings of the Attaway Plantation ghost. Anyone else attempting to stay there overnight told the same story.
I was intrigued by this story. After all, the house had gained enough noteriety to be featured in a local newspaper.
In doing a little research, I found that, while there was a plantation owned by Attaways in Burke, County, Georgia, I could not link a Col. S. H. Attaway to the plantation. The plantation was named Mount Pleasant and was burned by General Sherman on his march of destruction. If any pictures or records of this plantation exist, they have escaped me.
As for Sam McClellend, he did exist. I found evidence of a Sam McClelland living in Burke County during this time period. In fact, both the McClelland and Attaway surnames are quite prevalent when researhing Burke County, Georiga.
Perhaps there was a haunting on the Attaway Plantation… I’d love to know more. Wouldn’t you?
In researching tales of the southern states, I came across a tale that takes place in Cloudland Canyon State Park- a hidden gem in Rising Fawn, GA. According to legend, the park is haunted at night by the ghost of a Native American on Horseback. Campers often see him as he quietly passes through the park. However, this spirit doesn’t incite fear in guests. Evidently, he makes them feel safe- as if he is watching over visitors to the park.
Here’s the thing- In searching the web and the Heritage Room at Sarah Hightower Library, I can find nothing on this haunting. I posted the haunting on my FB page Ghosts of Northwest Georgia. No comments. No takers. SO… I am beginning to wonder- is this a true tale, or did someone make this up? And for what reason? To gain readership? To gain visitors to the park?
Maybe the ghost is for real. Maybe he just has a small following….
Have you ever heard of the ghost of Cloudland Canyon? Have you seen him?