SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME, there has been a desire to understand the mysteries of life and death, creating a strong belief that ghosts, goblins and ghouls could very well be real. Ancient rituals and superstitions morphed into legends and continue to exist in modern-day art, literature and entertainment. We are curious, fascinated and sometimes even thrill-seeking enough to take on the unknown, visiting haunted houses both manufactured to terrify us or reportedly a place paranormal experts deem “officially” haunted.
Tales of unexplained noises, lights, movement and even apparitions exist in every culture around the world, and in our own backyard are a multitude of tales of the unexplained. Whether you are hoping to discover whether there is truth in reported
sightings and experiences or just looking for hair-raising fun during the darkened nights leading to Halloween, these tours and their guides may make you a believer.
DAHLONEGA WALKING TOURS
Dahlonega’s gold rush history dates back to the early 1800s, so you know there is more than just gold in them thar hills. Nearly 200 years old with original buildings lining the historic town square and the pre-Civil War burial ground that is Mount Hope Cemetery, visitors to this mountain town may feel the hairs on their arms prickle once or twice while walking on the hallowed grounds. Could it be the little girl in the long white dress known to play within the historic district buildings?
Dahlonega Walking Tours lead those with heartbeats on a 1.5-mile guided tour every Thursday through Sunday at 8 p.m. in its Historic Ghost Tour. Along about 15 stops, you’ll learn of the town’s Gold Rush days, its home to the Eastern Cherokee Nation, its role during the Civil War, and more. So rich in spirits, the 2.5-hour tour has been a part of paranormal investigations to find answers to who or what may be causing some of the unexplainable sights and sounds witnessed throughout the years.
Children are welcome, at your discretion, but for some adult-only boos, try the Grapes and Ghosts Wine Tour, which visits five wine spots around Dahlonega’s Historic Square. As you sip on samples, you’ll hear accounts of some weird and unexplainable occurrences, such as the rattling of dishes, pots and pans in restaurants on the Public Square, and perhaps have your own encounter. Although the 2-hour tour takes you for sips, alcohol is not included in the ticket price. You can enjoy this tour on Friday and Saturday nights at 5 p.m.
Another drink-and-shiver tour offered on Fridays and Saturdays is the Boos and Brews Pub Crawl. Beginning at 8:30 p.m. and running through October, this tour also is contained around the Square with three or four stops for a pint while you learn about the ghosts not only heard but seen in the very places you are visiting. Again, drinks are not included in the tour price and it’s for adults 21+ but, if you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on your desire for fright) you’ll spot chess pieces or chairs moving on their own.
Tickets for the Historic Ghost Tour are $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets for the wine or pub tours are $25 for adults over 21 and $20 for designated drivers.
Dahlonega Walking Tours, 19 East Main Street, Upstairs Porch, Ste. F, 706-482-8795, dahlonegawalkingtours.com
ROSWELL GHOST TOURS
Also approaching its 200th anniversary, Roswell’s location along the Chattahoochee and proximity to Atlanta were
ideal conditions for becoming a mill town when it was founded. Formerly the home of Cherokee, the town is named for Roswell King, who established the Roswell Manufacturing Company and harnessed the river’s power to operate the state’s largest cotton mill.
Residents of Roswell swear some of its original inhabitants are still lingering, claiming to hear the moans of mill workers trapped in the netherworld. You can hear about these not-so-departed souls while taking the 2.5hour Roswell Ghost Tour. Walking throughout the historic village and around the mill ruins and antebellum homes, tour guides will highlight the who’s—and what’s—that may be hanging around.
Meet at the gazebo across the street from the Visitor’s Center and follow guides who are also working paranormal investigators every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Cash only; adults are $20 and children 12 and under are $10. Reservations are not required but recommended.
Roswell Ghost Tours, 617 Atlanta St., Roswell, 864-5170688, roswellghosttour.com
GHOSTS OF MARIETTA
Marietta was also created on former Cherokee land just a few years before Roswell. The home to cotton warehouses and trails that abut Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, where nearly 4,000 soldiers of the Civil War died, there are plenty of spirits said to be walking amongst residents and visitors alike. Yet, it’s Marietta Cobb Museum of Art rumored to be the most haunted. Originally the post office built in 1910, it has its own resident ghost named Katherine who seems to enjoy the artwork on display.
You’ll learn about Katherine and other ghosts on the 90-minute Haunted Walking Tour, which is led by a guide carrying a lantern for extra spooky effect, or the 90-minute Scaryetta Haunted Bus Tour, which is actually held aboard one of the city’s charming trolleys. The latter visits Historic Marietta Square, as the walking tour does, but ventures on to the City Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery and National Cemetery, all the while passing historic homes filled with their own ghost stories guides share en route.
Marietta’s pubs are also frequented for the adult-only Haunted Pub Crawl, where you can enjoy spirits with spirits. Although drinks aren’t included in the price of the tour, discounts are offered.
A special walking tour is offered throughout October that gets ghost hunters inside the Root House Museum. As the oldest surviving home in Marietta, the museum is decorated for a time of mourning in honor of Hannah Root’s father’s passing in 1850. The Ghosts and Grieving Tour guides explain superstitions and practices around mourning, and you’ll see what a funeral looked like more than 150 years ago.
Tours are offered Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets for the walking and trolley tours are $20 and $30 for adults and $15 and $20 for children 12 and under, respectively. Meet at the corner of North Marietta Parkway and Polk Street, outside of the Root House Museum and Gardens. Private tours with a minimum of eight guests can be arranged.
Ghosts of Marietta, 770-425-5755, mariettaghosts.com
ATHENS HAUNTED HISTORY WALKING TOURS
As home to the University of Georgia, Athens was established more than 200 years ago as a settlement along a Cherokee trail to become home to the country’s first chartered state university. Named as an homage to the Greek capital and the world’s center of learning, it seems some alumni love the town so much that they never left. Sightings of ghosts at numerous sorority houses run rampant, from Tabitha at Sigma Phi Epsilon to Susie at Alpha Gamma Delta to Hanna at Phi Mu—each broken-hearted for lost loves.
There are tales of more ghosts found across the campus as well as Athens’ graveyards, and you’ll learn of them all on one of the tours led by local historian Jeff Clarke. Clarke’s two-hour walking tours reveal the depths of Athens’ afterlife uncovered over the years and through personal encounters with things that go bump in the night. So renowned, Clarke has appeared on the Travel Channel, the Discovery Network and Georgia Public Broadcasting to share what he’s uncovered.
Reservations are required for the downtown tours that begin at 8 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays throughout the year. Tickets are $20 for adults and free for children 10 and younger. Tours are not offered on holidays or when UGA football games or festivals occur in the city.
During the fall, Clarke also leads a haunted history tour in Watkinsville through the Oconee County Tourism office, 706-310-3611.
Athens Haunted History Walking Tours, 706-521-2556, athenshauntedhistory.com
HAUNTED BLUE RIDGE GHOST TOURS
Although the town may not be as old as some of the North Georgia cities closer to Atlanta, Blue Ridge’s roots extend longer than its creation as a railroad town. Nestled into the Appalachians, which date back billions of years, this land was home to Cherokee, Chickasaw and other indigenous people for thousands of years and is home to plenty of old souls, including quite possibly Colonel W.P. Price, who created the town in 1886 and is said to be spotted now and again, perhaps keeping an eye on things.
Take the History, Haunts and Haints tour to learn about Native ghosts running about with the spirits of long-deceased children, lovers and fighters. This new tour launched in June takes place in Downtown Blue Ridge, highlighting legends and scary tales on the one-mile, hour-long walking tour. Meet at the corner of East Main and Church streets at 7:45 on Friday nights. Adults are $22.50 and children ages 5 to 12 are $12 (free for younger children).
Haunted Blue Ridge Ghost Tours, hauntedblueridge.com
DOWNTOWN CARTERSVILLE GHOST TOURS
For a limited engagement from October 21 through October 29th, downtown Cartersville rattles the chains of their specters and spooks with the Downtown Cartersville Ghost Tours. Sponsored by Pumphouse Unlimited, this approximately 2.5-mile walking tour of historic downtown will be “part history, part haunting and all fun!” Groups will start and end their tours at the Legion Theatre and will last roughly two hours as they cross the Church Street Bridge to Douglass Street and back again. Ghost hunters will be provided a map of designated tour stops at the beginning of the tour. Groups will depart every 30 minutes starting at 6 p.m. and pre-registration is required. The tour guides do not recommend bringing young children on the tour. Tickets are $18. For more information, please email [email protected].
On any tour, guests are welcome to bring cameras. Guides often suggest reviewing photos for things the naked eye may not have noticed while taking the tour. Who knows? Maybe you’ll spot something unusual when scrolling? Have a boo-tiful time!
Ghosts Further Afield
Looking to investigate more haunts? Of course, Savannah is filled with ghost tours, but you’ll find more scattered about the state without having to travel to the coast.
DECATUR GHOST TOUR
Tours led by psychic medium and paranormal investigator Boo Newell. Historic Decatur, 404-296-7771, decaturghosttour.com
CHATTANOOGA GHOST TOURS
Three options are available: Haunted Walking Ghost Tours, Murder & Mayhem Haunted History and Deluxe Tour and UTC Cemetery Ghost Hunt with Equipment. Chattanooga, TN, 423-8005998, chattanoogaghosttohttp://chattanoogaghosttours.comurs.com
COVINGTON GHOST TOUR
Not recommended for children under 12, ghost tours are 2.5 hours in length. Historic Covington, 404-455-1594, covingtonghosttours.com
Tour Midtown Atlanta during these nightly 1-hour tours departing from 814 Juniper St NE. atlantaghosts.com
Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery offers its Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween tours from October 20 through 30, led by a Victoriancostumed guide. Tickets are $50 for adults and $28 for children ages 4 to 12. Oakland Cemetery, 248 Oakland Avenue SE, Atlanta, 404-688-2107, oaklandcemetery.com