The Most Haunted Places in Georgia
By: Sara Humphries
Everyone loves a good ghost story. It’s all fun and games — that is, until you’re alone and something falls for no reason, or you hear an odd sound coming from the other room. What if the ghost story was real?
I’m going to tell you two authentic ghost stories. These stories will make you want to stay under the covers and make sure your door doesn’t creak open tonight.
These ghostly tales happened right here in Georgia.
One chilly October night in 1848, Elleck, a slave, was eating dinner with his wife, Betsy. Eating dinner together was necessary. For them, it was the only time they had together each day before going back into the fields.
Suddenly, Master Colonel James Austin drunkenly flings open the kitchen door, interrupts their meal, and says, “Betsy is mine for the night.” Now when Master gets drunk, he’s mean.
Elleck, worried about his wife’s safety, pushes Master to the ground. They run out of the house and into the woods, where Elleck tells Betsy to hide.
When Elleck steps from the darkness to see if the coast is clear, Master appears, running at him with his cavalry sword. Elleck takes off, with Master right on his heels. He runs into his slave quarters and climbs to the top bunk, thinking Master wouldn’t follow because he’s a very large man.
He’s wrong. Master climbs the ladder, gets to the top bunk, and starts thrashing at Elleck with his sword.
Fearing for his life, Elleck kicks him off the ladder, and Master falls headfirst onto the cold cobblestone floor.
Elleck eases over to the edge of the ladder. Master isn’t moving. Elleck hopes that he’s just unconscious. But to his dismay, Master is dead.
Now, most slaves would run away, but Elleck is different. He goes to the Gwinnett Courthouse and tells them what happened, but they don’t believe him. The sheriff takes Elleck to the jail and locks him up. Elleck worries about Betsy being all alone in the woods.
Waiting for him.
To escape, he rips off a metal slat from his bed and starts chipping away at the concrete wall.
The sheriff hears him and comes back into the cell angrily. He cuffs Elleck’s hand and feet so he can’t move. Elleck knows any attempt to escape will fail. He knows that this is his last night on earth. He sings,
“Oh Betsy, will you meet me? Betsy, will you meet me? Betsy, will you meet me? In heaven above.”
He knows his punishment will be death, and he knows he’s leaving Betsy alone in this world. His only solace is knowing they will meet again in heaven someday.
He sings until he’s hanged the next day. Legend has it that, if someone sings, “Betsy, will you meet me?” Elleck will whisper back, “Betsy, will you meet me?“
A hundred years later, his presence is felt in that Lawrenceville jail cell. Visitors report many occurrences of hot and cold spots, orbs in pictures, tugging of clothing, untying of shoelaces, and missing audio recordings. Ghost tour guides have seen spirits walking through the prison.
When you visit the prison, you can see the scratches on the wall where Elleck tried to escape. The chains that bound him and the old creaky bed remain there.
When I went to the jail to find out if the rumors were true, I felt Elleck’s spirit and him softly singing, “Betsy, will you meet me?”
This story goes back to the ‘80s. 1980s, that is.
In Canton, Georgia, there is a church called Hell’s Church that’s been around since the 1800s. Initially named New Hightower Baptist Church, Hell Church was dubbed one of the most haunted churches in the United States after a few, well, strange happenings.
On the grounds, there’s a long narrow road going back into the woods that leads to a baptizing pool. Further back, there’s a cemetery. A boy’s mutilated body turned up there. People say a cult got a hold of him and sacrificed him.
Look it up. There are news reports of the horrific event.
The church has been torched three times. Burned down to the ground. In the 90s, three kids burned it down. But that didn’t stop the murders. The cult — or cults — continued their rampage. One of their victims was a young father. When one of his children became an adult, he set the church on fire out of anger.
They say Satanists used to come to worship at the church. You can find reports of that, too. At night, people say they hear laughing and music coming outta the woods. They also report seeing apparitions and lights flashing around when the church is empty.
The “Hanging Tree” is a spot on the church grounds where people feel negative energy.
When people take pictures of the tree, they see orbs in the photo. Some believe the tree was used for lynchings. The cemetery graves — vandalized. The headstones — destroyed. Names on the cobblestones aren’t there anymore. The grounds behind the church are even more problematic. The cult left symbols on the baptismal pool’s walls. They’re painted over now.
Night of Terror at Hell’s Church
* This story is based on actual events. Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals*
I went to Hell’s Church with my girlfriend, an expert in paranormal activity, two friends Matt and Joseph, and Jack, a skeptical nonbeliever. We went around midnight during a full moon. The three hours we spent there were, without a doubt, the most horrifying experiences of our lives.
A wave of uneasiness hit us just on the church’s outskirts. When we drove onto the property, we noticed that we were the only ones there. When we got out of the car to go inside, we saw a woman walking towards us. We wondered where she came from because we didn’t see a car. She told us she had parked off-site — said she was with someone who stayed around the church to make sure kids like us didn’t get into trouble. She asked us if we wanted a tour of the grounds. We said, “Yes,” and our night began.
First, she took us to the church’s front door, where she told us to knock on it to see if we could get the “spirits” to respond. We knocked, but I heard nothing. My girlfriend and Matt and Joseph said they heard whispering and knocking when they approached the door individually. Jack, the one who didn’t believe in anything, approached the door, making crude jokes and mocking the spirits before knocking on the door. After a few knocks, he turned to face us and started laughing. Then someone, or something, started banging on the door and pushing on it with so much force that the door bent. Everybody screamed and jumped back.
We must’ve looked terrified because the guide asked us if we wanted to continue the tour.
I wanted to leave, coward that I am, but my girlfriend and my friends didn’t want to, so we continued. But no one, not even Jack, was making fun at this point. The guide led us further back into the woods to a pavilion behind the church. I remember it was partially lit by a streetlight, but the other half was entirely dark. Black! I don’t know how to explain it, but something pulled me towards the darkness, and before I realized it, I was standing in the middle of the pavilion.
My friends begged me to come out, but I couldn’t. I was paralyzed. Even though it was pitch-black, I could feel someone standing in front of me, but I couldn’t see them. Then, outta nowhere, we all heard a child’s scream, “Help me!”
My friends and I took off running.
When we regrouped, the guide found us and asked if we wanted to continue to the infamous baptismal pond. Again, we said, “Yes.”
Two-by-two, we started walking down the trail. I protested the whole way. It was eerie, but we kept walking. Then, I heard a noise coming from the church. Just me, though. Couldn’t figure out why no one else heard it.
When I looked back, I saw a silhouette with arms as long as its legs, clinging to the side of the church like Spiderman. It turned its head, and I could see its horns and red eyes. When it realized that I saw it, it disappeared.
I told my girlfriend, but she didn’t believe me.
When we got to the pond, the guide insisted that we not disrespect the spirits any further. Jack ignored the request and leaped into the water, threw his hands up, and mocked the spirits—again.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” the guide said before she led us in a call-and-response session.
She chanted, “Spirits if you’re here, make yourself known.”
We waited. Nothing.
“Spirits, if you’re here, make yourself known.”
Jack climbed out of the pool.
Then, out of nowhere, a loud screech cut through the air. We scrambled to turn on our flashlights. When we did, we found Jack doubled over on the ground, vomiting. He started hyperventilating. We couldn’t get him to calm down. Then, suddenly, he stared off into space and said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
My friends and I picked him up, and we rushed back to the car. Up the trail. Through the darkness. In the silence. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears.
We had almost reached the car when I saw the red glowing eyes again—this time right in front of me. I screamed at the top of my lungs, and the monster came right at me, so I closed my eyes and said a prayer thinking I was about to die. When I finally opened my eyes, it had disappeared.
When we got to the car, we realized the guide hadn’t followed us. We leaned Jack against the car and caught our breath.
I looked down at my hands. They were covered in blood. I looked at Jack, and through the streaks of moonlight, I could see that his entire back was drenched with blood.
We pulled up his shirt to find claw marks. We hopped in the car and rushed him to the hospital.
To this day, we all refuse to speak about what happened that night. The remnants of the claw marks are still etched into Jack’s back.
Stories like these make you want to never turn off the lights and never go into a room alone.
These stories are authentic. Georgia isn’t as safe as you think.
If you ever had a paranormal experience or know anyone who has, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll make sure your story is told.
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