You don't have to wait until the weather cools and Halloween draws near to indulge in a little spooky fun with your older kids.
Georgia has some amazing ghost stories and some truly creepy (allegedly haunted) spots throughout the state.
Though not a great idea for the little kids, take a trip with your teen and experience some spooky fun together this summer.
Andersonville Civil War Prison
760 POW Road, Andersonville, Ga. 31711. 229-924-0343. www.nps.gov/ande/index.htm
Anytime you look for haunted spots in the state, the Andersonville Historic Site is one of the first names that pops up. The prison there — formerly Camp Sumter — was a prison for Union soldiers during the Civil War. The conditions were horrific, with more than three times the number of prisoners the camp was designed to hold.
Visitors to the historic site claim to hear echoes of gunfire, loud cries, whispers in their ears and yelling. According to the Andersonville website, visitors have reported feeling fearful for no reason and also of a foul smell that seems to linger in certain spots. There are other reports of seeing ghostly figures walking around when the day is coming to a close.
The Andersonville grounds are open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., as is the cemetery. While not as noted for spooky activity as the prison, the cemetery has its fair share of cold spots and feelings of despair for visitors as well.
Tilley Bend Cemetery
Tilley Bend Lane. Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
A classic story about two feuding families is said to be the source of the haunting at this old church in the mountains. According to legend, Elizabeth Bradley was a witch with two daughters. One married a Tilley, the other a Stanley — two families that didn't get along. One day a group of Stanley family members came to Tilley Bend Church (which is on the same property as the cemetery) and started shooting while the Tilleys were inside worshipping, killing one of Bradley's daughters. Next, a group of Tilleys went to where the other family lived and shot many of them, killing Bradley's son-in-law; her other daughter died during childbirth soon thereafter.
Legend says that Elizabeth Bradley was so angry over the deaths of her daughters that she placed a curse on the church, that no babies would be born to its members. According to the Cherokee County Paranormal Society, that is why there are so many infant graves in the cemetery. In 1906, Bradley was hanged for being a witch and was buried under an oak tree. Her grave faces west since it was believed that she was a witch. People have reported seeing a woman in a long dress walking around the cemetery and church, hearing moaning and feeling cold spots. It's a lovely drive into the Blue Ridge Mountains, and while the church has no specific address, if you pop the name on Google Maps it will pull directions up for you without issue.
Old Allatoona Pass SE. Cartersville, Ga. 30121. www.georgiatrails.com/gt/allatoona_pass
Whether the ghost that's allegedly haunted the railroads around Allatoona Pass is a fallen soldier from the war at Allatoona Pass or a brakeman from one of the trains that ran after the Civil War is unknown. However, as far back as the late-1800s men who worked on the trains said they saw a ghostly figure riding atop their trains as they passed the area. Some have reported seeing a ghost walking around the battlefield. They have also reported hearing train whistles and shots, as well as screams, as they hike through the area. Allatoona Pass is open to the public and well-maintained. Trains have long been re-routed from the Lake Allatoona tracks, and you can walk along them.
Concord Covered Bridge/Concord Cemetery
Concord Road SW. Smyrna, Ga. 30082
You can visit the Concord Covered Bridge and then follow it along to Concord Cemetery (about three miles away) on the Silver Comet Trail. According to the Urban Baboon, a couple of little girls drowned (or were drowned) in the waters below the bridge. According to the lore, if you park your car at night, turn it off and leave some chocolate on it, you'll hear the girls climbing on the car and laughing. When you turn the car back on, the candy will be gone and there will be handprints on your car. However, it's a highly traveled road, so it's not a good idea to turn your car off. You can go to the cemetery, where some say you'll feel the temperature drop by several degrees if you put your arm out the window. As for the cemetery, legend says there's a witch buried there – whether or not that's true, there have been sightings of dark figures, movements in peripheral vision and voices whispering if you listen hard enough.
Altamaha Swamp/Rock Oven
Near the city of Jesup, Ga. www.georgiaconservancy.org
Though no exact address exists for this location, it is a few miles from the Edwin Hatch Power Plant and is easily accessible through hiking or kayaking. Jesup was home to Creek Indians who ceded the land to Georgia in the early 1800s. As the story goes, the Creek used the caves around the swamp, specifically Rock Oven, to perform their sacred (and secret) rituals. According to "Haunted Places: The National Directory, Ghostly Abodes, Sacred Sites, UFO Landings and other Supernatural Locations," the spirits of the Creek can be heard performing these rituals near that cave. Some report seeing strange green lights move through the swamp. Many people have also reported seeing the ghosts of American Indians dancing at the entrances to the caves.