Supernatural stories about ghosts and hauntings are common in Northeast Georgia and Halloween is the perfect time to recount some of them.
One city that stands out above the rest in the region in terms of hauntings is Athens because multiple buildings on the University of Georgia campus and in the downtown Athens area are considered haunted. In fact, in 2014 the Athens-Clarke County Public Information Office and Morton Theatre staff brought in a team of ghost investigators to hunt for ghosts at the Morton Theatre in downtown Athens.
Tracy Adkins, author of the book “Ghosts of Athens: History and Haunting of Athens, Georgia,” said another Athens location that has seen its fair share of reported ghostly encounters is Graduate Athens, a hotel located on Dougherty Street.
According to Adkins, the building which now houses Graduate Athens was built in 1850 and started as the Athens Steam Company. In 1853, a fire destroyed the interior of the building, but the exterior brick remained in place. They would later rebuild into the Athens Foundry, the iron mill that created the UGA Arch.
Adkins said things began to get “spooky” in the building after was rebranded as a hotel in the 1870s, and later into its current hotel incarnation in 2014.
Multiple hotel employees have reported seeing a figure of a man out of the corner of their eye while in the ballroom, but upon turning to look at it, the figure disappears, according to Adkins.
Adkins said her favorite stories involve room 119 in the hotel.
“You can see room 119 because it’s on the side by the road. Frequently, if you drive by at night, even if no one is checked in to that room you will see that light on,” Adkins said.
However, that’s not the only ghastly story related to room 119.
“They’ve had so much trouble with the phones … even when nobody was checked in and staying there they would get calls at the front desk from that room,” Adkins said. Adkins went on to explain that they then removed the phone from room 119, but the front desk of the hotel would continue to receive calls from the room.
In the nearby Hoyt House, a building that is also considered a part of Graduate Athens, there is a story that revolves around a hair dryer.
“Upstairs apparently, which is now a suite, several employees would report that they walked in and the hair dryer was running. They would shut it off and leave. Another employee would come in after that and it was back on,” Adkins said.
For those looking for more ghost stories from Athens, Adkins says she has a second book planned for the fall of 2021.
Lindsay Scales, Teen Librarian at the Braselton Library, said she had a few stories of her own to share.
One of those tales relates to the library itself, according to Scales.
The library had closed, no patrons were inside the building, and three employees were still working, one of whom was the manager, Scales said.
According to Scales, one of the employees, Lori, was counting money at the front desk when she felt somebody walk up behind her and whisper “Heather,” the name of one of the other employees still in the building.
Scales said Lori turned around, but nobody was near her.
Scales said her personal favorite ghost story came from a patron of the Braselton Library.
The patron told Scales that she had purchased a chandelier from an antique store that might have brought something extra along with it.
According to Scales, the patron had the chandelier installed in her living room, which was visible from a landing on the stairway.
Scales said the patron began to notice that her young daughter hated being on the landing. The daughter reportedly told her parents that she hated the landing because a boy on the landing tried to talk to her.
The patron was concerned about their daughter’s behavior, so they brought in a person that dealt with spirits, according to Scales. The investigator completed overnight testing and was able to record the boy saying “I just want to play, I didn’t want to scare her,” Scales said.
The investigator determined that the spirit was connected to the chandelier, so the patron took it down and returned it to the antique store, which resolved the problem, according to Scales.