By Jim Miles
Dr. L.E. Patterson spent years collecting tales of hauntings from the people of northwest Georgia. His 1982 book, True Ghost Stories of North Georgia, retold four stories from Whitfield, Floyd, and Murray counties. Here we relate a Murray County entry, titled “The Horror House”.
In 1961 the Mahaffey family moved into a century-old house, originally constructed as a one-room schoolhouse two miles south of Cohutta on Red Clay Road near the Tennessee border. A church had utilized the building, which was eventually partitioned into six small rooms. Water was obtained from a creek 75 yards distant, while the bathroom was a five by five outside shed 50 feet away from the house.
The family consisted of the parents, a 25-year-old daughter, Patsy, a 23-year-old son, Roger, and Bobby, a nine-year-old nephew. The family moved into the tiny, musty house because the rent was cheap. Their only income was the father’s social security checks and earnings of Roger and Patsy, both hired hands on a farm.
Things seemed quiet the first night, but at dawn when the mother got up to prepare breakfast she found that every can, box, and bag in the kitchen pantry had been ripped open and the contents poured out onto the floor. The children cleaned while the parents drove to a store to replenish the lauder.
When Bobby returned to the back room he and Roger shared to dress for the day, he quickly returned to the kitchen and asked, “What happened to our clothes, Roger? They’re all over the floor.” Each article of clothing had been taken from the closet and strewn across the floor.
The kitchen pantry and that closet seemed to share a ghost that emptied every item each night.
Weeks later, as Roger and Patsy sat up late watching a movie on TV, Patsy glanced into her bedroom and was startled by a sight that she pointed out to her brother. Both watched “a white ghostly form moving slowly” across the bed. Suddenly the screen on Patsy’s bedroom window detached and flew into the living room, narrowly missing the siblings.
Over time Patsy regained the confidence to sleep in her bed again, and Roger felt secure even though his bed clothes continued to be snatched off every night.
Late one night Roger was awakened by a presence at the side of the bed. It was a boy, about 12, chubby, and wearing antiquated clothing.
“Coaches pass on this road every night,” the spirit child pronounced. “This place is evil, you must leave!”
The ghost then turned and walked several feet before abruptly vanishing.
Roger and Bobby abandoned the room permanently, but a month later Bobby’s parents returned for their son and spent the night in the boy’s former bedroom. No one mentioned the previous paranormal experiences to them.
The family retired around ten, Roger bunking on the couch and Bobby settling onto a pallet on the floor, both pretending that was not where they had slept for the past few weeks. As the guests slept their blanket was lifted and a ghostly specter loomed over their legs before grasping their ankles in a strong, icy grip. The couple was torn from sleep only to find an elderly man tightly holding their ankles. As the woman prepared to scream the apparition vanished. Bobby and his parents left, never to return.
In the fall and winter shadow creatures were seen on the move throughout the house. The curtains in that back bedroom were ripped to pieces. Each sleeper had their bedclothes removed in the night, the linen either discarded on the floor or neatly folded and carefully placed in the center of the bed.
One night Roger was aroused by Patsy’s scream. Looking into her bedroom, he found her floor six inches deep in cold water. She had stepped out of bed and into the liquid. The water spread throughout the house and across the yard, despite a lack of recent rain or standing water anywhere else, and the house had no water pipes to rupture.
The Mahaffey’s moved out and never lived there again. Over the years other families rented the cursed dwelling, but none stayed for long. Three years later the structure mysteriously burned-it is not known whether that was an act of the supernatural residents or frightened human renters.
One former resident, an older woman, said, “Good riddance! It was an evil place!”
Expensive copies of True Ghost Stories of North Georgia can occasionally be found online. To consult the book you may have to find a nearby library which has it in their reference section.
From Haunted North Georgia (2017).
Jim Miles is the author of two Weird Georgia books, seven books about Georgia ghosts and eight books about the Civil War. To see all of his books go to the Jim Miles Author Page on Amazon. Order autographed books or contact Jim directly at email@example.com