11. Georgia’s Civil War Battlefields
For part of the Civil War, Georgia was insulated from the fighting. It wasn’t until the latter years of the war that fighting took place on Georgia soil. The first major battle fought on the state’s soil occurred near the small town of Chickamauga in September of 1863. Chickamauga National Military Park (3370 Lafayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe) now preserves much of that battlefield as well as a number of remaining spirits. Here the typical residual battle noises, sights and sounds are still experienced along with a legendary apparition known as “Green Eyes.” While the existence of this malevolent entity may be argued, it has garnered an esteemed place in the annals of Georgia folklore.
As the Union army fought its way towards the prize of the City of Atlanta, battles were fought throughout northwest Georgia along what is now the corridor for Interstate 75. One of the largest battles fought in this area was fought at Kennesaw Mountain, now preserved by the National Park Service as Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, Kennesaw). With the sprawl of Metro Atlanta constantly extending outward, preservationists have had a hard fight to preserve sacred battlefield land here in Kennesaw. The Kolb Farmhouse which witnessed some of the bloodiest fighting still stands but the farmland around it is covered with modern housing subdivisions. Many of the neighborhoods built on battlefield property have seen paranormal activity with residents seeing shadow people and soldiers in their homes and yards. Recently, a father and his son driving one of the roads that crisscross the battlefield at night were startled when a Union cavalry officer on horseback dashed across the road and disappeared through a fence on the opposite side.
Despite Atlanta’s sprawl and the construction of the nearby I-75 corridor, Allatoona Pass Battlefield (Old Allatoona Road, Allatoona) remains as one of the most pristine battlefields in the country. The battle, fought in early October of 1864, was an attempt by the Confederate to capture and destroy this important mountain pass on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, thus destroying Sherman’s supply line. The well entrenched Federals repelled the attack in a gruesome five hour battle. Legends at this site date to not long after the war when a Confederate soldier (believed to be the spirit of an unknown soldier buried next to the tracks) was seen. More recently, the sounds of battle, cries of the wounded, spectral soldiers and an overpowering sense of dread have been reported here.
12. Georgia Guidestones (Highway 77, Elberton)
While not haunted, this mysterious location outside of the “Granite Capital of the World” has attracted attention from the paranormal community. Six large granite slabs were erected here in 1979 under contract from a mysterious group. The slabs are carved with a series of 10 guidelines in 8 languages and a shorter message in 4 ancient languages. The setting is near the place believed by the Cherokee to be the center of the world. Since the unveiling of the monument conspiracy theorists have created many explanations for the monument while visitors have noted feeling energized and sometimes uneasy in this location.
13. Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site (1 Public Square, Dahlonega)
In 1828, gold was discovered in the Cherokee territory in North Georgia. Whites poured into the area with a glint of their eye and a dream of striking it rich. This event and the history of the area are now depicted in the Dahlonega Gold Museum in the old 1836 Lumpkin County Courthouse along with a few ghosts. The museum has a small stamp mill, a machine used for extracting ore, on display which will sometimes begin working when no one is near it. Staff members have also heard disembodied footsteps and had lights turn on and off on their own.
14. Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel (215 Clisby Austin Drive, Tunnel Hill)
Chetoogeta Mountain was the largest obstacle blocking the building of a railroad from Augusta to Chattanooga, Tennessee. A tunnel was completed in 1850 and when the nation was stricken with war more than a decade later, the tunnel was strategically important and a series of skirmishes took place here. Following the war, it remained in use until it was replaced by a modern neighbor in 1928. The abandoned tunnel was renovated recently as part of a historical park and it is here that visitors, re-enactors and staff have experienced full bodied apparitions, odd lights, phantom sounds of battle and occasionally, the smell of rotting flesh.
15. Jekyll Island Club Hotel (371 Riverview Drive, Jekyll Island)
Built as an exclusive getaway for America’s richest families in 1888, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel preserves the spirit and even some spirits of the Gilded Age for the non-millionaires of today. Among the spirits that still walk the cool halls and comfortable verandas are Lloyd Aspinwall, former president of the Jekyll Island Club; Samuel Spenser, a former head of the Southern Railroad Company; and a spectral bellhop who knocks on doors asking for laundry.
The ghosts of Georgia are marvelous and varied. As well, they have been documented in numerous books. I hope that for your next Haunt Jaunt you’ll keep Georgia on your mind.
Lewis Powell IV is the author of the blogs Southern Spirit Guide, which explores Southern ghosts and hauntings, and The Southern Taphophile, which explores Southern cemeteries. A graduate of Columbus, Georgia’s Columbus State University, Lewis resides in LaGrange, Georgia.