Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Dinny Addison
Where to Find Famous Georgia Ghosts
Visit these landmarks to see if the spooky stories about hauntings and spirit sightings are true.
As one of the original Thirteen Colonies, Georgia's history as a state dates back more than 300 years. Over that time, there have been spooky stories about hauntings and spirit sightings from the mountains to the coast. If you dare, visit these cities and towns, and explore some of their famous landmarks to find out if seeing is believing.
Opened in 1892, the Windsor Hotel in downtown Americus was built to attract "snowbirds" escaping the cold temperatures in the North. The 100-room Victorian building has hosted countless notable people over the years, including gangster Al Capone and President Jimmy Carter. But it's the guests that never left that add the property to our list. Ghost hunters come here to try and spot the ghost of a little girl, the daughter of a housekeeper, who was rumored to have been pushed down an elevator shaft. Another ghost reported to haunt the hallways of the Windsor is Floyd Lowery, the longtime doorman that the in-house pub is named for.
Historic Oakland Cemetery
Historic Oakland Cemetery is where Atlanta's most notable individuals found their final resting place, including Margaret Mitchell, Maynard Jackson and Bobby Jones. The men behind the Great Locomotive Chase were hanged on the outskirts of the cemetery and later buried here, along with many Civil War soldiers. Built in 1852 after overcrowding at other area cemeteries, Oakland resembles a garden with winding paths, trees and elaborate mausoleums.
Tours are offered throughout the year, but it’s the highly popular Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours during the Halloween season that tell of the hauntings over the years. Buy tickets early, though; they frequently sell out in July.
The Fox Theatre
But that’s not the only spooky place in the city. The Fox Theatre was built in 1929 as a Moorish-inspired movie palace. Today, it hosts all sorts of performances from concerts to plays as well as their tours. During the Halloween season, the theatre offers ghost tours that take guests through the historic theatre to learn about ghostly sightings and unexplained events. Apparitions of men and women have been spotted throughout the years, all in Victorian-period attire. Perhaps the most notable ghost is Roosevelt, the man who worked in the boiler room for decades.
The Ellis Hotel
Before it was The Ellis Hotel, the Winecoff Hotel was built in 1913 as a supposed “fireproof hotel.” But in 1946, packed with 300 guests, the hotel caught fire, killing 119 people. Firefighters could only reach eight of the 15 stories, and there are images of people jumping from windows. Frank Winecoff, the hotel’s namesake, was among the dead. Despite the damage, the building reopened as a hotel in the 1950s and later a retirement home before becoming The Ellis Hotel in the 1990s. Guests have reported smelling smoke, and fire alarms have gone off at the time the original fire took place.
Known as the "Castle on Peachtree," Rhodes Hall is one of the oldest mansions in Atlanta and a hotbed of paranormal activity. Built in the early 1900s with granite from Stone Mountain, the mansion has been featured on TV shows such as "Ghost Hunters" and WSB's "Georgia’s Haunted Hidden Treasures" because of the spine-chilling encounters visitors and staff have reported. Experience Rhodes Hall after dark and hear the eerie tales about this Atlanta landmark during Legends & Lore tours in October.
The town of Covington is connected with vampires on screen, as the filming site of "The Vampire Diaries," but it also has spooky connections in real life, dating back to its founding in 1822. Covington Ghost Tours share these stories through walks around the historic square with paranormal experts. The guides show video accounts of hauntings and share tales to make your hair stand on end. These tours don’t indulge in gimmicks like cheesy costumes -- just real stories.
Known as the home of Georgia’s Gold Rush in the 1820s, Dahlonega's history predates it by many years with local Native American tribes. The tragic past includes the Trail of Tears and Civil War, which plays a role in the hauntings experienced here. Soldiers have been spotted at Mount Hope Cemetery and a dark energy felt at the Fred Jones building. Dahlonega Walking Tours offers tours at night, including their Boos and Brews Pub Crawl.
Dalton's history has connections to Native American tribes that were removed on the Trail of Tears, the Civil War and other sordid tales. Among the reportedly haunted locations is the Wink Theater, where a construction worker is said to have died. Dalton Ghost Tours has been in operation for more than 15 years and visits the best of these spots.
Decatur, just east of Atlanta, also has dark legends. Led by a paranormal investigator and psychic medium, Decatur Ghost Tour visits some of the city’s oldest homes that are said to be haunted and a Civil War cemetery year-round.
Eatonton's most famous apparitional resident is Sylvia. She allegedly roams the rooms and stairs of Panola Hall, a stately mansion on N. Madison Ave. In 1891, Dr. Benjamin Hunt purchased Panola Hall after marrying Louise Prudden. The Hunts believed "Sylvia" was a daughter of Panola Hall's first owners. Rumors around town suggest she fell down the stairs or jumped to her death from her upper-story window upon hearing of her fiance's untimely death. Learn more about Sylvia and other spirits in town on the Georgia Writers Museum's Haunted Eatonton Ghost Tours.
Known as the Covered Bridge City, Euharlee is a historic part of North Georgia with plenty of haunted tales. A local restaurant is said to be visited by an early settler who wanders from the neighboring cemetery. The Euharlee Covered Bridge also has been the site of hauntings. Be sure to ask locals for their ghost stories and swing by the bridge when you're in town for the Euharlee Covered Bridge Fall Festival.
The Jekyll Island Club’s past comes alive after dark with ghoulish and ghostly stories on the Gilded Age Ghosts & Ghouls tour! Begin your experience at Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum, where you’ll learn about the Gilded Age traditions of All Hallow’s Eve and pick up some treats. As you ride the trolley to one of the island’s historic homes, hear the real paranormal experiences of current staff members working in the Historic District. Conclude the experience with a visit back in time to the Club era, where dearly departed former Club members introduce you to some of the island’s ghastlier tales.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, north of Atlanta, was the site of a bloody battle of the Civil War in 1864. More than 4,000 men perished at this fight, mostly on the Union side. These days, the grounds are open to the public, with hiking trails and exhibits on the war. An eerie energy has been reported, as well as sightings of men in battle attire and smoke similar to what came from the cannons.
While some of the state’s larger historic cities might get the attention for their local haunts, fall visitors to LaGrange looking for a spooky experience will be pleased with the Strange LaGrange Walking Tour. Join the entertaining spirit guide and docent Lewis Powell, who guides fellow ghost hunters on a tour through historic downtown, the LaGrange Art Museum, City Hall and more. Learn about history and get in the spooky spirit with this family-friendly event!
In Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville Ghost Tours offers seasonal walks with guides from the Aurora Theatre. The oldest city in metro Atlanta, modern improvements on historic buildings disrupted spirits, causing a spike in sightings. The Old Jail is an especially haunted place visited on the tour. Their Haunted Cemetery Tour is especially spooky. Adults who enjoy a pint along with a fright, the Brews & Boos Hunted Pub Crawl is a wicked good time!
There's no shortage of places with ghost stories around Macon, from the sighting of a soldier at Fort Hawkins to the apparition of the late managing director at the Grand Opera House. The Hay House has also seen its fair share of odd circumstances, including ghosts of former employees of the mansion. Don't miss the chance to wander the cemeteries, including Riverside Cemetery and Rose Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of the Allman Brothers.
Stroll through the shadows of historic Madison and hear tales of hauntings, local legends and a heaping helping of local history. Haunted History Tours are available all year, and extra tours are added during October.
Historic Marietta may be only a few minutes from downtown Atlanta, but it feels like its own town, especially with the buildings along the square and the railroad tracks, which were the site of the Great Locomotive Chase. It’s also home to Marietta National Cemetery, a Civil War cemetery, and buildings that have been home to hauntings like the Kennesaw House. Visit these locations on a ghost tour with Ghosts of Marietta, which offers general ghost tours, haunted pub crawls and a haunted trolley tour.
Nearby Roswell has a similar past, which Roswell Ghost Tour dives into on their year-round walking tours. Operating for nearly 20 years, the 2.5-hour tour is led by paranormal investigators that tell stories of Confederate soldiers and houses with dark histories.
The Hostess City has long been known as the “most haunted city in America” with macabre stories around every corner. Paranormal lovers have no shortage of places to visit. Start with historic homes like The Hamilton-Turner Inn and 17Hundred90 Inn and Restaurant, both of which have former residents roaming the halls. The Marshall House was used as a hospital in the Civil War and during Yellow Fever outbreaks, while The Kehoe House was a funeral home before becoming an inn. A lady in white has been spotted at Moon River Brewing.
Coastal Georgia also has its share of ghost stories. Mary the Wanderer is the ghost of a woman who lost her love at sea and took her life. Flickering lights of a husband visiting his wife have been spotted at Christ Church Cemetery. Lighthouse Trolleys shares these stories with visitors.