Exploring Georgia's Local Haunts
The Peach State is rich with ghost stories and local folks eager to share them. Here are just a few.
Whether you are a true believer in the supernatural or a skeptic, everyone loves a good ghost story. According to real live phantom hunters, Georgia has more than its share of haunted houses and paranormal activity.
The Windsor Hotel, Americus
There are plenty of reasons for ghost hunters to head down south to Americus. Located about 140 miles from Atlanta, not only is it adjacent to Andersonville, a town whose soil is rich with the blood of the Civil War dead, but it’s also home to the historic Windsor Hotel. The foreboding structure with its Romanesque tower and Flemish stepped roof was built in 1892 and inhabits close to an entire city block. Speaking of inhabitants, the Windsor apparently has several that never managed to check out. An in-residence housekeeper and her daughter died after being pushed down the hotel’s elevator shaft. Guests on the third floor reported the chilling sounds of a child's laughter and the eerie cries of a woman. And according to employees, the ghost of Floyd Lowery, the hotel’s former doorman and elevator man for more than 40 years, can be spotted on a regular basis. Belly up to Floyd’s Pub and they’ll tell you all about it.
Anthony’s Restaurant, Atlanta
Located in the center of Buckhead is a 1797 structure that was originally located in Washington, Ga., which is 117 miles east of Atlanta. In 1963 the mansion was dismantled and moved to Piedmont Road just south of Peachtree. It first operated as Josephine’s and was then acquired and renamed by restaurateur A.J. Anthony around 1975. For more than 30 years the establishment entertained its fair share of dignitaries, celebrities and phantoms alike. Employees repeatedly reported ghost sightings all around the home, especially in the wine cellar and the attic, a place where some refused to go. Even diners reported hearing voices in the restrooms and felt taps on their shoulders when no one was there. In 2012 it ceased to exist as Anthony’s when an investor hatched a plan to turn it into a members-only yacht club. After firing most of the staff, he tore out the home’s centerpiece Tiffany-glass window and had it auctioned off. That plan lasted roughly six months and Anthony’s longtime general manager and partner recently died suddenly — some say of a broken heart. It now operates as a special-events facility called The Estate; we think they may have one more occupant.
Forsyth Park Inn, Savannah
Historic Savannah is lousy with ghost stories and locals will be happy to share them with you on any given night over beer and oysters and beer. And after John Berendt penned his bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the historic coastal town’s Bonaventure Cemetery became overrun with the curious. One of our favorite stories, however, is a tale of murder and intrigue that took place in the garden of the Forsyth Park Inn. It is a story of a childless couple that “adopted” a baby girl named Lottie. When Lottie was a teenager her Aunt Anna came to live with them. Lottie and Anna became fast friends and formed an immediate bond. So you can imagine how upset Lottie was when she caught her father and Anna in a compromising position. Fearing her mother would be replaced with this interloper, Lottie poisoned Anna’s tea one afternoon in the garden. Turns out that Aunt Anna was really Lottie’s natural mother. After learning this, Lottie went off the deep end and was committed to an asylum where she died. Hotel guests have reported seeing the figure of a woman in a long white flowing gown, especially in the garden.
The Willis-Jones House, Atlanta
Apparently moving a home from one location to another and its consequent hauntings go hand in hand. Originally located on Peachtree Road across from the Randolph-Lucas house (which is in the process of being moved), the Neel Reid-designed Willis-Jones mansion was hauled over to West Paces Ferry near the governor’s mansion in the late '60s. Its skeleton sat there for many years and mischievous local teens dared each other to spend the night in the shell, though no one lasted an entire evening. They reportedly heard footsteps across floorboards where there were none and knocks on doors that didn’t exist. The home was returned to opulent splendor in the '80s and we’re not sure of its ghostly status. What we do know is that the home is hauntingly beautiful.