Halloween is near and many haunted house attractions are cropping up from Ringgold’s Haunted Depot to Sir Gooney’s Haunted Carnival. But what if a commercial haunted location is not your cup of tea? Some scare hunters opt for real ghosts and ghouls during this time of year. Below if a list of truly haunted locations in and around Northwest Georgia. Happy Haunting.
Okay, yes, Ringgold’s train depot does put on a commercial haunted house every year for thrill seekers, but what some may not know is that the depot is really haunted by former Civil War area ghosts. One former employee that I had the pleasure of talking to and who shall remain nameless, told me that such odd occurences are common in the depot. For example, trash cans will be moved upon opening in the mornings, strange noises can be heard from tapping to moaning and even a few pictures of shadowy figures and mists have been posted online for your perusal. Don’t worry, though, these ghosts won’t harm you, they just want your attention.
Boynton is one of the oldest sections of Ringgold, boasting a slew of homes built in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. I actually lived in one on Boynton Drive long ago that was built around 1890 and had few strange goings-on such as unexplained noises. One house in Boynton, in particular, is home to the ghost of a Union Soldier. Although the house was built in 1918, the soldier had died on the land during the Civil War. It is said that he walks the grounds awaiting a letter from his sister up North. Reports also state that he will perform tricks for visitors if he favors them; however, if he does not he will bang on walls and tap on furniture in attempt to scare off unwelcome intruders. Some visitors even claim to have awoken in the mornings to see him standing at their bedside.
Chickamauga Battlefield is a federal government military park located in Chickamauga, Georgia. Setting on 5,300 acres of beautiful scenery, the battlefield is home to a few notorious ghosts of its own. The legend of Green Eyes is a local tale that has been passed down since the Native Americans inhabited the land. Natives told of a demonic being with glowing green eyes that tormented their tribe. Later, after the Civil War, the legend was changed stating that Green Eyes was the ghost of a Confederate soldier who had lost his head during the war. The soldier, of course, had green eyes and is wandering the battlefield searching for his head. Many visitors have claimed to see Green Eyes after dark and teenagers used to park on the grounds at night as a dare, hoping to catch a glimpse of those green, glowing orbs. Another ghost said to inhabit the battlefield is that of the Lady in White. It is said that she is the wife of a slain soldier who committed suicide upon hearing of her love’s death by jumping from the tower located in the center of Chickamauga Battlefield. Of course, this story is not exactly accurate as the tower wasn’t built until the early 1900s, after the war had ended. Although she couldn’t have jumped from the tower, many people claim to feel cold spots and see mists forming in front of the tower itself. Pictures have also surfaced on the Green Eyes Facebook page of a misty apparition at the tower gates.
Western Atlantic Railroad Tunnel
Located outside of Ringgold in Tunnel Hill, stands the Western Atlantic Railroad Tunnel constructed in 1848. Its main purpose was to connect Augusta, Georgia to the Tenesse River Valley by travelling through the Chetoogeeta Mountain. Houses were soon built in Tunnel Hill to accomodate railroad workers and their families. The tunnel is no longer in use; however, it does offer walking tours and the possibility of a ghostly encounter or two. It is said that in the early 1900s, a circus train was passing through and one performer was admiring the scenery atop the circus train, although reports from a 1916 newspaper report states he was sleeping. Not seeing the tunnel in time, he was killed when his head came in contact with the tunnel entrance. Further ghost stories include the presence of several Civil War soldiers as the railroad was the main supply route for the Confederate Army. Experiences of visitors vary from cold spots, to seeing full body apparitions and the feeling of being touched by unseen hands. The most unsettling claim is the smell of rotting flesh around the tunnel and battlegrounds of Tunnel Hill. Unexplained campfires can also be seen in the distance, and some have claimed to see full Confederate Army encampments near the tunnel itself.
Many residents of Ringgold and Tunnel Hill are more than willing to share their ghost stories from their very own homes. Since both towns were major Civil War towns, it is no surprise that the death tolls reached during that era have opened a doorway to the supernatural. One woman states that her trailer is haunted by a small girl who likes to play with her at night, saying things like “Boo, I’m going to get you” and laughing. Another resident claims that at night, you can hear heavy bootsteps walking down the hallway on the second story of his antebellum home. One woman claims that when she is lying in bed, she will feel someone kick the end of it and will look up to find she is alone. She also states that she sees shadows at night, walking her living room and kitchen and hears footsteps often. When asked if these occurences phase her she states “Not at all. Ghosts are simply humans without a body.”
Whatever your haunted desires, there are plenty of stories and locations to go around in Northwest Georgia in the small towns of Ringgold, Tunnel Hill and Chickamauga. Any good ghost hunter cannot forget the proximity to Chattanooga, Tennessee and the haunted locations there such as the infamous Radisson Reed House and Mocassin Bend. So, enjoy reading these ghost stories and visiting these haunted locations, just remember, before you leave, make sure these spirits don’t follow you home.