New book coming just in time for Halloween
Haunted North Georgia will be available for purchase in early October.
By David R. Altman
Books & Writers Editor
If you’re always looking for a good ghost story—even one you can check out for yourself--there’s a new book coming in October that will be right down your alley.
It’s called Haunted North Georgia, written by author Jim Miles of Warner Robins, and it’s part of a three-book series about ghost stories from each of Georgia’s 159 counties.
This book is an easy read. In fact, for those young adult readers who might want to do a book report on the topic of ghost stories, Miles has made it very easy.
The north Georgia edition actually covers more than what most of us consider north Georgia, as it conveys stories from Rockdale County to Cobb County and, yes, those counties closer to home, including Pickens, Gilmer and Fannin.
Author Miles says the book is “about all of Georgia from rural to metropolitan.”
While it’s impossible to summarize the book’s 53 stories in the space we have here, there are a few which stand out.
From Bartow County, we have a story that’s entitled “Barnsley Speaks from the Grave,” which goes into some detail about the old mansion at Barnsley Gardens. It begins back in 1840, when a Savannah cotton farmer bought 3,600 acres in north Georgia that was ultimately to become Barnsley Gardens.
After a change of ownership and several family tragedies, including a young man who was murdered by his brother and who is said to frequent the grounds to this day, Barnsley remains “…one of Georgia’s most haunted sites.”
There is even an eerie connection to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in the Barnsley story, but I won’t give it away here.
Closer to home, there’s a chapter from Gilmer County called “The Black Vehicle, A Mountain Legend,” that dealt with the Elf House, a small house vacated by a retired doctor.
Apparently, several visitors witnessed a “black car with tinted windows and no engine noise” when they went there.
“It’s a place best left alone,” said one woman, who went to explore the house after hearing of its reputation.
“The cold there goes deeper than any chill I’ve ever felt, and I won’t go back there,” she said.
The chill doesn’t begin or end in Gilmer County, as Dalton has its own ghostly structure.
The Wink Theater on Crawford Street is apparently haunted by a worker who died during its construction in 1938.
“I think anybody who goes inside that theater whether you believe in ghosts or not, will sense a presence,” according to a visitor quoted in the book Haunted Dalton Georgia.
And then there are the ghosts of Stephens County, where spirits have been witnessed around Camp Toccoa, made famous in the 2001 history book (and TV series) Band of Brothers, by Stephen E. Ambrose.
If you’ve seen that series, one of the greatest TV series ever produced, you’ll remember Currahee Mountain, where the men trained. Today there is a Currahee Military Museum on the site and according to author Miles, “…the museum had not been opened long when volunteer workers reported hearing footsteps in empty spaces, sudden cold breezes…and anomalies on photographs.”
And, yes, if you are wondering, there is a story about Pickens County, which centers around the old Georgia Marble Company store at Tate back in 1928.
I won’t spoil it for you, but a voice was heard on July 8th of that year that said something was about to happen to one of the workers at the site. You’ll have to look it up if you want to know what happened one year later, but the title of that chapter is “Pickens County: Premonition of a Tragedy”, so that should give you some idea.
Miles, who has written extensively about folklore in Georgia, as well as Georgia Civil War stories, provides for readers in this collection of stories an interesting look at some places we might know, but not know about their ghostly connections.
While many of them have been told (or published) before over the years, each ghost story is only about a page and half long.
There are 53 counties covered in the north Georgia edition of the book, which also includes stories about hikers on Lookout Mountain, ghosts on Sourwood Mountain (Fannin County) and “Ghosts in the Outhouse”, a haunted little facility in Athens near the intersection of Barber Street and Boulevard Street where spirts were first sighted in 1893.
Haunted North Georgia, along with its companion books, Haunted Central Georgia and Haunted South Georgia, will be available in early October from historypress.net or amazon. com.