Photo above is “Last Look” by Craig Gum
For centuries, the haunted south has entered our dreams and nightmares. The howling night. The sudden gust of wind. The unexplained. The chills we get when we enter a room. There are hauntings all around us. Everyone has a story to tell but no one is correct. Only the dead know. The spirits that still linger with us, trapped in this life as if they are serving a prison sentence of eternity.
Some of the spirits are peaceful. Some are not.
Death lingers. The soul refuses to leave peacefully. The mist swirls capturing our imaginations. The unrest…
In The Darkness, a Savannah Story
By Chris Allen, Owner, Haunted Savannah Tours.
In the darkness, Savannah takes on an entirely new identity. She is quiet. She is mysterious. In the darkness, one can almost hear the lost souls of Savannah’s past screaming for redemption. Screaming for anyone to notice them. A lost, hollow moan fills the cobblestone streets, echoing off the walls of buildings that withstood hundreds of years of pounding rains, scorching fires and the atrocities of wars. If these walls could talk, the stories they could tell. Maybe, just maybe, the walls can talk, and if you listen close enough, you may hear some of the best kept secrets in America’s most haunted city!
In the heart of the historic district, sits one of Savannah’s oldest cemeteries. Colonial Park Cemetery is littered with live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. The pathways wind around hundreds of tombstones and past the many brick crypts that house the former residents of the Hostess City. Each name engraved in the stone was a life taken too soon. Colonial Park was established in 1750 by Christ Church and is Savannah’s oldest surviving burial ground, but not its first.
The area where the cemetery was put was once open field. There was no plan made for expansion around it. When the city finally did expand to the area, much of the cemetery was covered by the new streets, sidewalks and homes. This was the fate for many of the city’s burial grounds and Savannah became known as a “city built on her dead.”
While strolling through Colonial Park, one may count about seven hundred markers. What won’t be seen, are the near twelve thousand graves. The bricks that make up the sidewalk on the Abercorn side of the cemetery dip up and down every few feet. Each depression was someone’s loved one.
Broken tombstones line the East wall of Colonial Park Cemetery as evidence of a war that divided America in half and left a jagged scar between the north and south that can still be seen to this day. Near the end of the Civil War, General William T. Sherman made his march to the sea, Savannah his destination. While occupying the city, many of his men were camped within the borders of the cemetery. These young soldiers became bored and would engrave the tombstones with new dates and ages. Many of these changes can still be seen to this day with many people living hundreds of years, or fathers and children dying at contradicting ages. The cemetery was finally closed in 1853 but there are those that still roam the rows of crooked headstones at night.
Maybe some of the saddest spirits that still wander the grounds are those of children. In December of 2008, a young tourist visiting historic Savannah found the fright of his life and was able to document proof of the tragedy of a lost child. While filming the serene beauty of Colonial Park Cemetery, fifteen year old Jesse Greathouse panned his camera across a row of tombstones. What he caught he may never forget. Seen in the frame of the camera’s monitor was a young child running across the cemetery grounds. The figure disappears behind some tall headstones only to reappear seconds later and fly up nine feet into a tree limb. As other tourists walk by pushing a stroller, the child falls from the limb right onto them. They, of course, do not notice. Jesse sent his video to his local news channel where it was scrutinized by experts and deemed to be completely legit.
The spirits of children aren’t the only ones who walk the graves at night. Reports of men in period clothing and a strange lady in white have also been reported. Maybe most ominous of all is the apparition of a seven foot tall shadow that seems to stalk people as they explore this beautiful cemetery. What or who could this shadow be? Maybe it is the embodiment of the end of life.
Perhaps this dark, terrifying shadow is the spirit of Colonial Park itself. So take your family and hold them tight. Hope that Death passes your door tonight. If you visit Savannah to feel her ghostly presence, you just may find the truth in the sound of silence.
Written by Melissa Piche, Owner of North Georgia Tours
One of the first things people ask me is if I believe in Ghosts. I have a stock answer: “I am still waiting for one to come up and shake my hand but I have had enough unexplainable experiences that they do make me go ‘hmmmmm.’”
Next they want to know how I got started giving Ghost Walks and I tell them I am a Histaholic. That stands for history-aholic. I am positively addicted to the past and that means the people, houses, landscapes, stories, music on and on to infinity.
I went on my first Ghost Walk 9 years ago and I thought what a great way to share history so I started my research. I had no idea what I was getting into. Two years later I was ready to give it a try, gulp. I’ll be darned if I wasn’t good at it and it was fun too.
My tours are Haunted History Tours; I blend history, the people who lived it, ghost stories and local legends all together. All of that equals a whole lot of research.
The history and the people ground you to a sense of place but the ghost stories and the local legends are definitely the crux of the tours. There is not a better place to get spooked than beautiful and historic Madison Georgia in the shadows of 100-200 year old houses.
Madison was considered one of the most cultured cities in all of the United States before the War. Now being such a gloriously cultured city we had two girls’ colleges, one Methodist and one Baptist. According to Bonnie P. Harris’ book The Confederate Hospitals of Madison, Georgia both of these colleges would be turned into Confederate Hospitals. Obviously, the colleges were closed during the war and the girls were sent home to relative safety.
The Georgia Female College stood on South Main Street about ¾ of a mile from downtown. Mrs. Harris’ book indicates that “this two-story (plus basement), Greek Revival” (58) would become Asylum Hospital in December of 1863. Furthermore, “on June 23 Asylum Hospital was burdened with its highest count yet – 425” (59) patients.
This is the perfect site for an apparition to make an appearance.
One clear autumn evening Mrs. C, (I promised I wouldn’t use her name), and her husband were driving slowly down S. Main Street when they both saw a young woman in a flowing white gown step down off of the porch of the once grand home that replaced the Georgia Woman’s College. Mr. C slowed the car down because she seemed to be moving rapidly toward the street. Mrs. C said that she seemed to be gliding or flying and that once she got to the street she looked both directions as if looking for traffic. By this time they were completely stopped in the street watching her. Mrs. C indicated that she came right to her husband’s car window and looked right in at them.
They could see her beautiful blond hair and blue eyes and that they could see her very clearly. It was at this moment that another car came up the rise from the park and she turned her head toward the oncoming car and vanished. I have since been told that this is an “intelligent haunt” because it reacts to the living.
Mrs. C told me that they were in shock and sat unmoving in the street searching for her. When they were finally brought to their senses by an approaching vehicle she said they drove around and around the block looking for the beautiful girl in the flowing white dress.
Mrs. C was a sweet elderly woman that clearly didn’t spend her time out ghost hunting. She said she had never experienced anything supernatural before or after that day. I have been told a lot of ghost stories over the years and you know when they are telling their truth. It is almost like they are embarrassed, like they are whispering out a burden that they have been carrying. You know what? Mrs. C was either telling the truth or she was one heck of an actress because I believe she had an experience out there that night. When you stand out on the street at night in the cool fall weather and look at the now empty house it makes you wonder. Was that young woman sneaking out of the College to go visit one of Joshua Hill’s sons or maybe she had been over visiting a wounded soldier. We will never know but I do keep an eye out for her.
Over the years I have been touched and had my hair pulled twice and I mean hard when nobody was around. I have had flash lights stop working and then miraculously start working again a short while later. I have encountered strange smells that shouldn’t have been there. My straight laced husband has twice seen spirits in our house after I was out investigating locations for history and ghost stories. This really gets my dander up because I want to see one too. He says they probably follow me around like I am the class line leader.
I can tell you this for sure. Madison, Georgia is full of beautiful old houses that do seem a bit creepy after dark. I can also tell you that it’s also got its share of legends like the Underground Railroad. We have a Doctor that haunts the halls of the Military College, Heritage Hall and the old Meire house. If you want to hear about them and the Confederate Soldier that appears and says he wants his clothes back just look me up at northgeorgiatours.net, Trip Advisor, call 706.340.4357 or email at email@example.com. I give tours all year with a minimum of four people. See you soon and Prepare to be Scared!
By Alice B. Howard
The little girl had heard the story before, but she listened intently as her Grandmother, Nancy Gholston Loveless Reed, recounted the scene which had taken place in the shade of the big red oak tree across the railroad. Two Confederate veterans seated on the steps of the porch also listened with interest. They had come to exchange wartime experiences with the little lady who had not panicked and run when Sherman’s shells fell on Adairsville.
The child sitting on the floor in the background heard the stories of battles won and lost, of long marches, lack of supplies, long nights spent trying to sleep on muddy ground. She heard it all and remembered. But it was the story of the burial of the young Confederate soldiers shot from their hiding place in the oak tree by a Yankee sharpshooter that deeply touched her heart.
Many times she had slipped away across the railroad to stand and think of Mr. Henry Johnson and the little boys who wrapped the soldiers in blankets and dug their graves. Her almost blind Grandfather George Oliver Reed was present there also, but could do little to help. She looked at the plain marble headstone simply engraved “Two Soldiers Buried 1864” and wondered who the young soldiers were, where they came from and how anyone could be so cruel to kill two boys hiding in the tree.
I WAS THE LITTLE GIRL
I was that little girl, who later with my sister Ruth, were among the band of children from Mrs. McCants’ Busy Bee School who marched down the dusty road to lay our bouquets of home-grown purple iris, peonies and pansies on the two graves.
Colonel Alex Capers, formerly of South Carolina, domiciled at Hazeldean, the Dearing home near the unmarked graves which he passed every daily. It was Colonel Capers who had the marble headstone made and placed to perpetuate the memory of the young soldiers. Many years later Sam Burns had a low white picket fence built around the graves.
The custom of decorating the graves with flowers continued while Mrs. McCants lived. Then occasionally on Memorial Day someone would remember to clean off the plot and cover the grave with early spring flowers. The public finally forgot, and grass, weeds and vines hid them from view.
Years passed while I tried to revive interest in caring for the burial site. Several times the Boy Scouts of Troop 12 helped clear away the unsightly growth so we could place wreaths of magnolia leaves tied with red, white and blue ribbon and hold a little ceremony and prayer. The boys grew up and went away. The place became a bog and seemed completely lost.
My feeling about the neglect persisted and was shown in my newspaper columns written in the hope that someone someday would volunteer to have the graves moved to Eastview Cemetery where they would be cared for properly. In one of my columns I wrote, “Are we so callous in our feelings for our soldiers of the Confederacy that we think only of the present and self? It seems shameful that a Southern town that had felt the heel of the Yankee victor should abandon the dust of these soldiers unwept, unhonored and unsung.” My writings elicited no response. I wondered if I could have had the graves moved myself but learned that it was too involved, difficult and expensive for me to undertake alone. Nevertheless I could not put it out of my mind.
THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENED
One afternoon Lena McCutchen called to ask if I would like to observe a séance. Her sister-in-law from St. Petersburg, a member of the Spiritualist Church in that city, was her guest. Of course I was interested and from a seat on the sofa in my friend’s living room I watched the visitor, Lena, and her two daughters go through the preliminary routine with their hands flat on a card table. The table turned completely around and even lifted itself several inches off the floor.
The visitor explained the procedure. She directed the “spirit” to move the table towards the person whom the message was for. Then as she repeated the alphabet the spirit was asked to move the table on the letter required to spell out the message – first giving his or her own name. I was soon convinced that here was something very strange and that the four persons at the table had no control over what was happening. Moreover, the messages were startling.
The following night I told my mother and stepfather (Mr. and Mrs. Warren Whitworth) about what had taken place the previous evening. Mama said that she did not believe in such things and that her feelings about it would prevent it in her presence. Mr. Warren said that it could happen and that he had seen the very same thing happen at his parents home when he was a boy. He then asked me to get a table and we would see if it would happen here. I put up the card table. Mr. Warren, Mama, my daughter Patricia, and I put our hands on the table. A minute passed and the table started turning around, just as I had seen it done the night before, Mama wanted to leave us with it but Mr. Warren insisted that she stay, as she was the one who doubted.
I took time out to call Mr. and Mrs. O. B. Bishop and Mr. and Mrs. Cressy McCutchen. Claude Satterfield and Bill Bowdoin stopped in to see what was going on. Claude sat on the floor to watch (I thought) for any trickery or delusion being practiced. He also was the one who recorded the messages. He finally had a message from his mother which convinced him. Mama and Mr. Warren were the recipients of the majority of the messages. Mr. Bishop had one from his first wife, Ethel Gaines Bishop. Then there was one from Noah King; we did not then know that Noah King was the father of our late neighbor Mart King. The message was amusing, “Just passing by.” Then came the message that was beyond all expectations! It was for all present and it was from Jack Kirby. No one had heard of Jack Kirby. My question was “Have you ever been in Adairsville?”
The answer was “Yes, in 1864.”
I then asked for his message. It was electrifying: “My comrade and I were shot from the tree down by the railroad and were buried where we fell.”
I asked, “Who was your comrade?” Answer: “T. W. Furrow.”
“Where were you from?”
The Answer, “Norfolk, Virginia.”
I said, “Now we know who those boys were! And in the excitement, we left the table and didn’t ask another question.
THE SEARCH FOR VERIFICATION
Soon afterwards I was in Atlanta and dropped by for a brief visit with Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Kurtz. As always our conversation turned to The Civil War. He said that the graves of the two soldiers buried by the railroad and the one buried in the yard of the Trimble farm home should be moved to the city cemetery. I told him how I had tried to get someone interested in doing just that for a very long time. I then said “Now I know who the two Confederate soldiers were.” He wanted to know how in the world I had learned their names after so many years had passed. I said, “If I tell you I’m afraid that you will laugh or that you won’t believe me.” He replied that of course he would believe me.
I told him the whole strange story and he said the names could be verified as being Confederate by writing the National Archives and Records service in Washington, D.C. I sent the required fee with the names Jack Kirby and T. W. Furrow and received the following information: T.W. (Tice) Furrow, Confederate, Company 1, Fourth Virginia Reserves. There was no “Jack” Kirby listed but there were eight J. Kirby’s listed on the roster of Confederate soldiers from Virginia. He could not be identified by initials, but I knew that our Jack was one of them and that he was in the same company Tice.
I also learned from R.D. Barton that I could obtain a granite grave marker from the government. I applied and received one for Furrow. I made a “rubbing” of the engraving on the marker and took its dimensions and had a headstone the same size, shape and date made by the Oothcaloga Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, of which I was regent, paid for that stone.
I wrote letters to the two Norfolk, Virginia newspapers asking for help in locating any relative of Furrow and Kirby. A friend in Norfolk sent a clipping from one of the papers to Carson Furrow in Bristol, Tenn. He went to work to obtain every bit of information about Tice. Mr. Furrow, now retired, was vice president and secretary-treasurer of the Southeast Group of the United Telephone System. He spent many hours in pursuit of the history of Tice Furrow’s family. He also engaged the services of a genealogist to aid in the search.
Bit by bit Mr. Carson Furrow learned that the Furrow and the Kirby families lived on neighboring farms in Craig County, Virginia. The two boys played together and died together. He also learned of Tice’s ancestry back to 1691 when Hiendrich Furrer came to America from Switzerland. Four of his great uncles were prominent in the Revolutionary War in Pennsylvania and that records show a long list of soldiers and officers who fought and some who died in every war of our country.
Mr. Furrow’s search ended with the information that Tice was married and had an infant daughter, and that the young widow and her child left Virginia after the War “to settle in the West.” He was never able to establish her destination.
In a letter Mr. Carson Furrow wrote, “One of the newspapers stated: ‘I do not think there is any improbability concerning the identification of T. W. Furrow. I have the reporting made by his father recorded and of record today in Craig County, Virginia and with all the information you have gathered would be to reasonable people confirm that there is no improbability concerning the matter of Thomas William Furrow.’”
In the meantime the authenticity of names of the two soldiers was proved in two more ways. Melvin Martin, my neighbor and friend, read a letter in the museum at Kennesaw Mountain which was written by a soldier to one of his friends, “Somewhere between Resaca and Kingston something dire happened to Tice Furrow and Jack Kirby.” While doing research on another subject among the old newspapers in the courthouse at Cartersville I accidentally came across a letter written to the Cartersville Courier by Henry Johnson who helped bury the two solders, saying that he had in his possession a letter which he had removed from the pocket of the uniform worn by one of the Confederate Soldiers that he helped bury. It was addressed to Tice W. Furrow. He would be glad to give it to a friend or relative of said T. W. Furrow. Mr. Johnson had no idea that Furrow was from Virginia.
Since so much information had been obtained about Furrow and Kirby I thought the anniversary of their deaths should be commemorated with a proper and befitting ceremony. I called Mr. Ben Fortson, Secretary of State, and asked if he would be the main speaker on Wednesday, May 15, which would be the 110th year since the Virginians had given their lives for their homeland. Mr. Fortson accepted and encouraged me in planning for the event. I wrote other friends, Congressman John Davis, Franklin Garrett, noted historian; Colonel James G. Bogle of the Civil War Round Table; Joe Frank Harris, our representative, to take part on the program. Others in the plans were Adairsville friends. All accepted graciously.
Roger Aycock of the News Tribune wrote several news stories about the plans for the occasion and Celestine Sibley helped publicize it. Many newspapers, the Associated Press and other news services picked it up, and I began getting letters from all around the country.
My friends of Oothcaloga Chapter, DAR, encouraged and assisted me in having the remains of the boys moved to Eastview Cemetery. The Cemetery Association gave the two half lots and the undertaker volunteered to exhume the remains and furnish the boxes for the re-interment.
Members of the DAR chapter assisted with every detail in preparation for the cemetery, especially my friend, Margaret Barton. The members placed Confederate flags on each Confederate veteran’s grave in East view. They helped groom the cemetery and chapel. They gave a beautiful reception at the Sans Souci Club for the out of town visitors. (It was also my 80th birthday).
On Friday before Wednesday, the fifteenth, I had a phone call from General Ripley Robinson of the Army of Northern Virginia, saying that he had heard by radio a news item about the ceremony and asked how to get to Adairsville. He also asked if all plans had been finished. I told him that all was in order except I had not been able to find someone in Confederate uniform to fire the salute with a Confederate musket. He knew the right person and gave me the phone number of Sergeant Robert E. Lee Gray, who graciously agreed to perform that duty.
The day arrived bright and beautiful but the weather report was for rain in the afternoon. The visitors arrived early and assembled in the chapel at the Cemetery. The majority were from Atlanta, Rome, Cartersville, Kingston, and Calhoun. There were couples from Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. They were packed closely in the little chapel. The rain came in torrents for a few minutes but it did not distract from the classical eloquence of Secretary Fortson’s speech honoring the heroism of those who fought for a cause they believed to be just. The presence of several members of the National Reenactment Society added a significant aura to the scene. Reporters from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Journal, The Chattanooga Times, The Cartersville newspapers, The Rome News-Tribune and Joe Cumming, Chief of Newsweek Bureau were present, and the ceremony was televised on the eleven o’clock news that night.
The day had been an exciting one –a dream realized – amid the approval and plaudits of family, friends and strangers. After being closely packed in the chapel for more than an hour, they overflowed the club for the reception, as if to savor to the last moment a most unusual occasion.
As Robert E. Lee Gray fired the salute over the new-made graves, I had an eerie feeling that Tice Furrow and Jack Kirby were present to see that after all there were still many who cared.
Written by Dianna Avena, Owner of Roswell Ghost Tours
Bulloch Hall is one of the three main antebellum mansions that Roswell is fortunate to have. This grand home was built in 1840 for Major James Stephens Bulloch and his family.
Bulloch Hall is the childhood home of Mittie Bulloch. She was raised here from the age of five until she became a young adult, and then married Theodore Roosevelt in December of 1853. They went on to have their son, Teddy Roosevelt who came to Roswell in 1905 to visit his mother’s childhood home. Mittie and Theodore had another son by the name of Elliot who fathered Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor of course married Franklin D. Roosevelt who was a distant cousin.
The Mittie and Theodore wedding is a major event in our city of Roswell, as the wedding took place in this very home, here at Bulloch Hall. As you can imagine, it was quite a big deal to have many Roosevelts coming down to little old Roswell at that time, the city was hardly on the map at that point in time. An article was written all about the famous wedding by Margaret Mitchell no less, the famous author of the epic novel, Gone with the Wind. This wedding was so significant to Roswell’s history and to the history of Bulloch Hall, that there is a re-enactment of this historic wedding every mid-December. What is interesting to many is that there have been multiple reports by these re-enactors about unexplainable issues regarding the lit candles and electrical lighting during these events. They have explained how there may be six lit candles in a row, but some will blow out for no apparent reason at all. No drafts, no vents kicking on, no one (visible) running by them. They’ve reported that they have even witnessed candles being lit all on their own as well as being unable to physically blow out some candles themselves.
We can’t help but wonder if these events are connected to a well-known legend here in old Roswell. There have been many reports of a young black girl, around the age of fourteen, having been seen on Bulloch Hall’s property. There is no formal documentation of this, but local legend has it that this young girl died in a well behind Bulloch Hall’s main home, some time in the mid 1800s. The well is still standing today and there have been reports by some of our tour guides that there have been sounds of a girl sobbing coming from that very well. The cries are heard by all present at all times after dark. According to this legend, the girl that fell in the well had a job at Bulloch Hall during her young life. Her job was to make the candles, and tend to the candles and oil lamps within the home. Are the unexplainable candle and electrical issues this girl’s way of showing us she is still at the property?
Electrical issues are quite common at this property. Many, many stories involving unexplained electrical issues have been reported over the course of many years. For instance, one fall night a guide was giving a tour and while standing in front of the house with his tour group, he noticed that the attic light was on. He remarked out loud that he had never seen that light left on before. As the guide walked on to the next stop, he was approached by a woman who had scurried up to him. She said that she was a docent here at Bulloch Hall and that she had personally turned off all of the appropriate lights, set the security system, and locked up. She saw no reason for that light to be on. She called the tour owner the next morning to say that after the tour had finished, she drove by Bulloch Hall on the way home and was astonished to see that the light was no longer on. She was much too rattled to go inside to check anything out herself, so she went home. She came in the next morning and entered the old home when others could enter with her. They saw no signs of anything having entered, the security system had never been triggered, or even turned on and off, so they saw no way that someone could have manipulated that attic light.
One October night during a tour, a young boy was particularly intrigued by the stories of the unexplainable lighting issues at the house and decided to do a little experiment of his own while there. He clapped twice, and yelled “Lights… on!” And lo and behold, the entire group gasped as they saw the attic light come on.
I myself feel that I’ve had several unexplainable experiences at Bulloch Hall. A couple that lives next door to us in Roswell went out to dinner with my husband and me. We stopped by the front of Bulloch Hall on the way home to look around a bit. It’s very beautiful at any time of course, but particularly after dark. There are a couple of lights at the tops of the columns that shine down onto the front porch, as well as couple on the grounds in the front of the home that shine up onto the front. It’s quite breathtaking to see the home in all its glory as you’re driving up Bulloch Avenue where it dead ends onto this grand property. Once we got to the beginning of the driveway to Bulloch Hall, the wife got a little unnerved and wouldn’t get out of the car and asked me to stay with her. The men got out of the car though and walked up to the front of the house. As we ladies sat in the car and watched the men and the house, we noticed that as the men got closer, the drapes on the top right-hand window started to shake back and forth. I thought it must’ve been a vent nearby that kicked on, but we noticed it wasn’t flowing uniformly; it was more like they were grasped in someone’s fists and being aggressively shaken back and forth. As the men walked back towards the car, the drapes stopped. We sat and watched for a few more minutes since the guys hadn’t seen it and we didn’t see it happen again. The split second that our headlights came off of the house as we backed up to leave, the exterior lighting on the main house went off as well. That includes a large light on a tree that shines up to the house, as well as lights around the tops of the home’s columns that shine down to the front porch. I’ve since checked with some of the women that work at Bulloch Hall and found that the lights are on a timer, to go off in the wee hours on the morning. This occurred at exactly 10:37pm.
There have been several different people over several different nights that have seen a young boy in knickers running around the front lawn picking up sticks, or they have seen him running along a white fence on the property. There was one tour attendee who said she first felt that a child was trying to grab at her hand while she was listening to the tour guide. She looked down expecting to see a child who mistook her for his mother, only to see this young boy run out onto the front lawn and vanish into the night. Also, there have been reports by several that have heard the sounds of men’s voices by the reconstructed slave’s quarters on the property, only to find that there is no one else around.
One night a long-time worker at the Bulloch Hall museum was on the upstairs level and something caught her eye on the stairwell as she passed through the hall. This was after hours; no one else was in the house besides herself. She turned towards the stairwell to see a tall, dark figure of a man on the stairs. She noted that he had a long dark coat on, a top hat, and had a bearded face. She ran after the figure to see that he had vanished.
She tells of another unexplainable occurrence that happened when she and one other person were in the house after museum hours. She said that she remarked out loud that she didn’t’ believe the house was haunted. Just then, a loud banging occurred that made the two of them bolt out the front door. Eventually, they decided they’d try to find a natural reason for the loud noises. She said it sounded like large iron skillets had all hit the floor repeatedly, but they found nothing on any of the floors.
It’s common knowledge to those that work at Bulloch Hall that the rocking chairs on the front porch will routinely be seen rocking by themselves. I have seen this myself on two separate occasions while I had a tour group at that stop. We watched, expecting it to slow down and stop. This didn’t happen; in fact there were times where it appeared to pick up speed instead of slowly stopping. I have taken the opportunity to sit in that very chair in broad daylight. I immediately felt as tho someone unseen had their face in my face, making me feel that I was absolutely taking a seat in someone else’s rocking chair. I got up and sat in another, where I felt quite at peace and welcomed.
Several of Roswell’s police report that for many years, particularly during the years when Bulloch Hall was abandoned, they would get calls that the security system was going off, or from people saying they’d see “intruders” inside the home. The police would constantly be sent out there to investigate only to find that there was no one inside and no signs of break-ins.
Another night while giving the tour, the stories were all told and the guide proceeded to walk onto the next stop. She was abruptly stopped by one of the tour-goers and asked who currently lived in the home. The guide reiterated that fact that no one resided there any longer and hadn’t for many decades. She again told her that it was a museum and there is no one inside after hours. This tour-goer stopped everyone else in the group’s tracks when she told of seeing a family in the attic window many times prior to this particular night. She explained how she had lived in the area for a few months at this point and how she jogged through a street that takes her by the front of Bulloch Hall’s property. She stated that she kept seeing this family stare out at her. She had tried to wave to be friendly at first, but the “family” has never waved back, they only stand and stare. The tour-goer was really hoping to find out about the family whom she thought was residing in the old home because she had hoped to find out what was up with these very odd people.
On yet another night, one fall evening, a gentleman and his wife were particularly intrigued by the ghost tour. They went home and spoke of the stories to their teenage son who happened to have several of his friends over visiting him. The son and his friends decided to drive over to the area, particularly Bulloch Hall, to do what one should not do. They parked their car and proceeded to run around the front lawn and yell out certain things like “This place isn’t haunted. There are no ghosts here. This is all made up!” It was a very still night, but the boys reported that limbs, large and small, began to drop from the large tree, barely missing them as they scurried away from the property with fright.
Bulloch Hall’s curator has a journal written by a young woman in the Bulloch family, from the mid 1800s. She was rooming in one of the bedrooms whose window looks over the backside of the home. In her journal she wrote of seeing the procession of slaves with their lit candles moving through the trees in the middle of the night behind the home. That is when the slaves buried their dead, in the quiet and stillness of the middle of the night. What this journal entry tells us, is that there may be a countless number of slaves buried in unmarked graves on Bulloch Hall’s property amongst the trees behind the main home and behind the well.
Oftentimes, tour goers will email us photos that they had taken on their ghost tour, and want my opinion on whether it’s paranormal in nature or not. We disregard that vast majority of these as being able to be explained away. This one though, we absolutely cannot explain. We have the added benefit that I was the tour guide this night, so I was able to see right away, as the tour goer showed me her photo, that there was no one on the property. She turned around to take one last photo as we were leaving the property. This figure seems to be extraordinarily tall and slender. Perhaps one day we will find out who he was and why he’s still lingering around Bulloch Hall.
Written By Boo Newell, Owner of Decatur Ghost Tour
On the Decatur Ghost Tour you will meet some of the most notable of Decatur’s ghostly denizens. One of them is the ghost of a young mother in her early thirties from 1913 who is seen at Decatur Presbyterian Church. Parishioners have watched in disbelief as this ghostly mother walks up and down the aisles of the church. She’s also been seen wandering the grounds around the church. They call her the sad lady because when seen, she’s always crying, tears streaming down her face as she reads the letter clutched in her hand. The contents of the letter are informing her that her sixteen year old son has gone missing at sea. He had run away from home one afternoon, jumped a ship in Savannah and gone to sea. That was the last he was heard from. The shipping company wrote the family that they didn’t know if he fell overboard, jumped or was pushed. He just disappeared at sea. She mourned him till the day she died. Always dressed in a beautiful black mourning gown, she makes a tragic figure indeed. One can tell she was from a wealthy family because of this gown. It has beautiful hand done lace around the hem and a double row of black jet beads going down the bodice. In fact, her husband was a wealthy merchant of the area. Two things are holding this mother on the grounds of the old Presbyterian church. One of them is guilt; the other is hope. The guilt is coming from the fact that the boy’s father, the successful merchant, wanted him to start training to go into the family business. The young man had other ideas; he rebelled. They were always arguing over this issue. Finally the young man had enough, and that is when he impulsively ran away and went to sea. The mother blames herself that the young man ran away. In her ghostly confusion, she feels that if she had only spoken up for her son against his overbearing father, the boy wouldn’t have felt that running away was the only course of action open to him. What she is forgetting in her confusion is that women back then didn’t have a voice. They were barely allowed to run the household, and that was only if the man gave them the money. They weren’t even allowed to vote in 1913. Do you really think her opinion would have been valued if she had spoken up? Not at all. But in her confusion she doesn’t remember the reality of the times. To her, she let her boy down. The other issue holding this ghost mother on the grounds of the church is hope. Periodically, people who have witnessed this ghost have seen her look up and get all excited, extreme joy and happiness lighting up her face. They can almost hear her exclaim, “Yes! There he is! My boy has come home! I knew it- he’s alive! He’s come back to me!” Then she realizes- it’s not him; he’s not there. Sadness and grief once again cross her face. The issue is that she never got closure over the passing of her son. She’s thinking in her confused mind, “What do they know? He’s alive! Mama’s not going to let him down this time. I’m alive! I won’t let him down. I’ll be here for him, no matter how long it takes!” The problem is, her boy has long since moved on- crossed over to the Other Side. They’ll never be reunited as long as she keeps herself trapped in the ghost realm. But she doesn’t realize this. How long will it be before she does, freeing herself from the ghost realm? No one knows. But when she does, it will allow her to move on to the peace and joy of the Other Side, where her son awaits her.