GOOD BOOKS

Ghosts and other mysteries haunt North Georgia

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By CANDY WAYLOCK
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Whether you are a believer or a skeptic in the world of the paranormal, October has a way of putting us in the mood for a good scare.

And apparently Georgia has its fair share of things that go bump and “boo” in the night; in fact many of them lurk a bit closer than you think.

Retired educator and author Jim Miles of Warner Robins has had a fascination with paranormal sightings in Georgia since he was a teenager. About 10 years ago he began organizing all of the information he gathered over the years and crisscrossed the state to document events and ghost stories.

The end result were seven books about the paranormal in Georgia; five were featured by The History Book Club. Miles' goal was to detail paranormal events in each of Georgia’s 159 counties (plus the two that no longer exist) and found more than enough stories to fill the pages.

Haunted North Georgia
Published by Haunted America; Division of The History Press

Just in time for Halloween, “Haunted North Georgia” was released this month focusing on the “most terrifying ghost stories” from the 52 counties that stretch across the top third of the state.

Contained within the 151-page book are stories of ghosts who have taken up permanent residence in antebellum homes, restaurants and even an outhouse!

Miles provides more than just interviews from the haunted; he also provides insight into the possible identity of the spirits and why they linger.

In Forsyth County, the Cumming Playhouse is the featured “haunt” where ghost activity has been reported for years.

Ten years ago, a ghost hunting team investigated the building and picked up the presence of a ghost who met his human end at the end of rope. The building was originally a school in Cumming, and it is thought the ghost may be a teacher caught in an illicit love affair that led to his demise.

But the teacher is not the only one who roams the hall. Other “spirits” have been reported, including a sailor, and two children, all of whom fall into the friendly category of haunts.

In Alpharetta, the city’s only remaining pre-Civil War building also contains the most active haunting. The Skelton-Teasley House on Roswell Street in downtown Alpharetta hails from 1856 and appears actively haunted.

Owners have long cited footsteps, slamming doors, moving objects and loud sounds, even forcing one family from the home back in the 1990s. Miles said the spirits may be the four children of the Skelton family who died in the house.

Mysteries of Georgia’s Military Bases
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

Unlike its companion book, “Haunted North Georgia,” the paranormal activity detailed in this book are off limits to ghost hunters. A strong warning on the book’s cover warns the curious visitor that these sites are security zones where “drop-ins” are highly discouraged.

This book delves beyond the garden variety ghost, to also include UFO sightings, reports of alien visitors, and even numerous sightings of “Bigfoot.”
Georgia has some of the most prominent military bases in the country, and Miles focuses on 13 of these bases including Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Fort Gillem and Fort McPherson, all near Atlanta.

The ghost stories focus primarily on interviews with witnesses who either saw or heard paranormal activity, as either civilians, military personnel or their families. The stories are a wide range of experiences, from friendly ghosts who lived in harmony with the residents, as well as those who eventually drove them out of their homes.

Miles notes that military bases are naturally haunted because of the association with conflict, anguish, injuries and death. Some military personnel leave the base, never to return, leaving their survivors behind to mourn.

“Perhaps the souls of those who died [return] seeking loved ones or the last place they knew peace,” he writes. ■

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This month's issue

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