October brings spooky vibes to Athens, Georgia, making it the perfect time to delve into the town's ghostly tales and legends. Southern towns often have their fair share of haunted places, and Athens is no exception. Here's a roundup of haunted spots and eerie sights in Athens during Halloween season:
Haunted Greek Houses
The University of Georgia is ranked fifth on College Candy's list of the Top 10 Most Haunted College Campuses. Therefore, it's no surprise that many Greek houses and buildings at UGA have haunted stories associated with them. You can learn more about these haunted Greek houses by checking out this article from The Red and Black.
Alpha Gamma Delta's Susie
The Alpha Gamma Delta house at the University of Georgia is notoriously known as the "Wedding Cake House" due to its striking architecture and the fact that it was a wedding gift. Rumor has it that in 1913, former state senator James Yancey Carithers purchased the house for his daughter Susie and her handsome young fiancé. According to local legend, the house is haunted by Susie, who tragically took her own life in the attic after being stood up on her wedding day.
Over the years, sorority sisters living in the house have reported paranormal activity, including doors mysteriously opening and closing, faucets turning on and off by themselves, unexplained sounds of a chair moving in the attic, and lights flickering without cause. Additionally, the antique piano in the parlor has been known to play on its own. Despite these eerie occurrences, "Susie" is a benevolent ghost, and she has brought true love and glad tidings to sorority sisters who live in the "Engagement Suite."
You can drive by the Alpha Gamma Delta house at 530 S. Milledge Ave., Athens, GA 30605.
Phi Mu's Hanna Hamilton Ghost
The Phi Mu sorority house is said to be haunted by the ghost of heartbroken Hanna Hamilton, according to College Candy. A story from The Red & Black says Hamilton lived next door to the Phi Mu house where she saw her fiancé get murdered by a member of his own family. This trauma caused her to go crazy, and it is believed she still haunts the house to this day.
You can drive by the Phi Mu house at 250 S. Milledge Ave., Athens, GA 30605.
Sigma Phi Epsilon's Haunted Resident
Next on the list of haunted Greek houses in Athens is the fraternity house of Sigma Phi Epsilon. According to an article by The Red & Black, a disturbing tale surrounds this house. It is said that the owner of the house, after having a bad day, returned home and drowned his daughter in the bathtub before taking his own life. The ghost of his daughter, Tabitha, haunts the house, adding a spooky dimension to its history.
You can drive by the Sigma Phi Epsilon house at 327 S. Milledge Ave., Athens, GA 30605.
Delta Tau Delta's House Tragedy
In the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house, formerly the Kappa Delta sorority house, there was said to be a heartbroken girl suffering from a recent breakup. She went into the bathroom and took her own life by hanging herself. Even after Delta Tau Delta took over the house and transformed the bathroom into a bedroom, her spirit is said to still haunt the premises.
You can drive by the Delta Tau Delta house at 1084 Prince Ave., Athens, GA 30606.
Haunted Cemeteries in Athens
Cemeteries are a window to the past, and it's no surprise that Athens, Georgia, cemeteries carry longstanding tales of ghosts and hauntings. A walk through these graveyards is a wonderful way to learn more about the rich history and heritage of the town, especially for those interested in both the past and the paranormal.
The Oconee Hill Cemetery
The Oconee Hill Cemetery is adjacent to the University of Georgia campus just across the railroad tracks by Sanford Stadium. Some of Athens' most prominent citizens are buried here and many creepy stories stem from the cemetery grounds. According to a 1972 article in The Red & Black, a farmer drunkenly drove his carriage off of a bridge. Legend says he still drives near his grave during the full moon.
Visit Oconee Hill Cemetery at 297 Cemetery St., Athens, GA 30605.
Old Athens Cemetery
The Old Athens Cemetery, also known as the Jackson Street Cemetery, is the oldest cemetery in Athens, with some of its occupants dating back to the Revolutionary War. This historic cemetery is located on the University of Georgia's Historic North Campus, making it a must-see stop on any walking tour of the area. The cemetery is also generally rumored to be haunted. During the 1990s, a team of ghost hunters explored the cemetery and reported finding evidence of paranormal activity.
Visit Old Athens Cemetery at 230 S. Jackson St., Athens, GA 3060
Haunted UGA Buildings
Joe Brown Hall
Many UGA students believe that Joe Brown Hall, originally a dormitory in 1932, is haunted. Over Christmas break, a boy committed suicide in his room. According to this Red and Black article, when the students returned from break, the smell of the boy's decaying body led them to his room. The wing had to be sealed off to contain the stench that reeked throughout the dorm. To this day, the wing remains sealed off, and no one can walk up the staircase that leads to this restricted area.
Visit Joe Brown Hall at 595 S Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30602.
Built in 1847, the Lustrat House was originally home to university professors, including Professor Lustrat and Professor Charles Morris, an English professor and Confederate Army major. After Lustrat's death, creepy things began to happen. Rumor says that a gray mist would form into a Confederate Army Uniform and move throughout the house. People initially blamed Lustrat, but it was later revealed to be linked to Morris' spirit, according to an article by The Red and Black. Today, the Lustrat House is the University of Georgia's Legal Affairs office.
Visit Lustrat House at 230 S Jackson St, Athens, GA 30602.
Waddel Hall was built in 1821 and still stands as the oldest building on the University of Georgia's campus. According to the Southern Spirit Guide, during WWI, a man left for the war and his lover fell for another man in his absence. When he returned from war, he confronted her and they started a tragic lovers quarrel that allegedly can still be heard to this day. The quarrel ended in a murder-suicide.
Visit Waddel Hall at 240 S Jackson St, Athens, GA 30602.
Candler Hall was formerly a dorm and home to 23-year-old senior, William Samuel Lloyd, who lived on the first floor of the building. After returning from dinner with his roommate one night, Willie picked up a loaded pistol and playfully spun it on his finger. In a tragic accident, the pistol discharged, hitting him in the lower abdomen. He passed away in his dorm room. Willie was buried in his family's plot at Ebenezer Methodist Church in Atlanta, but some say he never really left Candler Hall, according to a post from the UGA School of Public and International Affairs.
Visit Candler Hall at 202 Herty Dr., Athens, GA 30602.
Fine Arts Building
While there haven't been many recent reports, the Fine Arts Building at UGA is said to be haunted by the spirit of deceased actor James O'James. O'James is blamed when something goes wrong in production. He has also been blamed for other odd disturbances like objects being thrown in the halls and loud noises echoing throughout the building.
Visit the Fine Arts Building at 255 Baldwin St., Athens, GA 30602.
Demosthenian Hall is haunted by one of its most famous alumni, Robert Toombs. Toombs attended UGA in the 1820s and was chosen to be the class speaker for graduation. However, Toombs was dishonorably discharged a semester before his graduation for a card-playing vice and therefore could no longer give his speech at the ceremony. So instead, he returned to campus and gave his speech under a large oak tree, now known as the Toombs Oak which was later moved to Demosthenian Hall. It is rumored that the tree was struck by lightning at the exact moment Toombs died, so his ghost returned to UGA to haunt the halls of Demosthenian at night.
Visit Demosthenian Hall at 105 Herty Dr., Athens, GA 30602.
More Haunted Places in Athens
Built in 1845, the Ware-Lyndon House is rumored to be haunted by Dr. Lyndon himself. Those who work in and visit the house have seen a man pacing on the landing. He wears black pants, black shoes, a vest, a white shirt, and a tie. This man is assumed to be Dr. Lyndon, a former surgeon who became a general practitioner after suffering through the horrors of the Civil War.
Though many believe Dr. Lyndon is the ghost of the Ware-Lyndon House, not everyone is convinced. According to a story in the Athens Banner-Herald, some believe the ghost could be a man by the name of Lonnie Spalding
In 1895, Lonnie and Nellie Spalding, traveled to Athens for Mr. Spalding's lumber business. Mrs. Spalding was pregnant at the time and unable to make the railroad and carriage ride to Downtown Athens. So, the couple stopped at Dr. Lyndon's home where he agreed to look after Mrs. Spalding while Mr. Spalding conducted business downtown.
On the second day of Mr. Spalding's business trip, Mrs.Spalding went into labor and Dr. Lyndon's assistant rushed downtown to notify him. When Mr. Spalding found out, he excitedly ran out into the street and got hit by a horse-drawn wagon. The collision crushed his skill, and he died on the spot. Legend says it is Mr. Spalding who paces back and forth on this porch, waiting for the child he never got to meet.
Who is the ghost that paces the porch of the Ware-Lyndon house? We'll let you decide.
Visit the Ware-Lyndon House at 293 Hoyt St., Athens, GA 30601.
Parking Lot on E. Dougherty St.
To this day, many people hear weeping as they walk by the parking lot on E. Dougherty Street. It's a cry so distraught and heartfelt that 21 police reports have been filed about the noise. The parking lot was once an 1860s antebellum home. It is believed that these cries come from a 16-year-old girl who lived on the property with her family, the Gilmores.
The girl lived in Athens alongside her parents, two older sisters, and her boyfriend. Her boyfriend went off to fight in the Civil War, but the two vowed to get married upon his return. Tragically, one evening in December 1862, the Athens-Banner Herald reported him as a casualty of battle at Fredricksburg. Gilmore was inconsolable--wailing, screaming, and crying. She locked herself in her room for three days, eventually hanging herself from the oak tree in their yard.
The Georgian Hall Basement
In 1909, the Georgian, the first luxury hotel in the area, installed its first elevator. People from all over town came to watch the elevator go up and down. At the time, an elevator operator would ensure a brass gate blocked the elevator shaft. However, the one time he forgot to close the gate, a child fell down the shaft. Since that day, strange noises and occurrences have been heard from the hotel's basement.
There have been reports of mysterious physical disturbances that can only be attributed to poltergeists and ghosts. No one knows if it is the child or not, but people can allegedly hear giggling sounds and things shifting around. Boxes in storage units are disheveled, opened, and moved around. Yet, nothing is ever taken out of the boxes.
Today, the Georgian is home to apartments, condominiums, an event venue, and South Kitchen restaurant and bar. It is located at 247 E. Washington St., Athens, GA 30601.
The Graduate Hotel
The Graduate has a rich history of opening and closing its doors. Today it stands as a stable hotel, venue, and recently added restaurant. However, both current and former employees have shared tales of strange happenings at the location. As detailed in a Red and Black article, bartenders and other staff members have recounted sightings of "shadow people" during their late-night shifts. Furthermore, there are claims that Room 119 is haunted. Front desk personnel have received phone calls from what should be an empty room, and lights have been known to flicker on and off on their own.
You can stay in Room 119 at the Graduate Hotel at 295 E. Dougherty St., Athens, GA 30601.
Take a Haunted Athens Ghost Tour
Athens Haunted History Walking Tour
Local historian Jeff Clarke offers two-hour, easy-paced Athens Haunted History Walking Tours. With a deep knowledge of Athens' past, Clarke brings to life the haunted stories of the city. His engaging storytelling and dramatic flair give a behind-the-scenes look at various Athens landmarks. He's been featured on the Discovery Network, The Travel Channel, and GPB/ PBS. Book a tour today! Tours are offered year-round.