The Story of a Ghost that Remained to Guard its Treasure

treasure story
Some ghosts stick around houses to protect their concealed treasure.

By Jim Miles

The Ghost Story

According to the Atlanta Constitution of October 27, 1968, famed ghost sleuth Hans Holzer was scheduled to visit Atlanta and investigate a house located two miles from Lilburn.  The 1803 building, with log walls eight to ten inches thick, was owned by Harry Varner of Decatur, who rented it to several different families, each with their own tales of ghosts-footsteps pacing ahead of residents (most seem to follow people, not lead them), strange noises and weird lights, and the laughter of phantom children.

The current occupants were a couple and their five children, who had resided there for five years.  The woman of the house spoke with several former residents who all heard the odd noises and several “moved away because of the ghost,” which didn’t bother her.

Many times the woman had stood at the foot of the stairs and listened as heavy footsteps descended the stairs almost to the bottom, then turned and led the way back upstairs with her in pursuit.  Upstairs was one large room.

“The footsteps always crossed the room to one certain corner, then it sounds as if a door opening-but there are no stairs there-and it’s gone.”  The solid wall of logs proves there had never been a door there.

The family firmly shut and securely locked the front door each night.

“Any time we heard the footsteps, we find the front door open the next morning…one rainy time last winter I heard the footsteps and the next morning there was a trail of mud going up the stairs.  The door was locked that time too.”

When a sister-in-law and her sons slept in the upstairs room they observed a blue light bob across the room to vanish at the spot of the invisible door.

“The two boys went under the covers.  They were that scared.  My sister-in-law just lay there and watched it.”

The nephews, in a huge lapse of judgement, started digging in a cemetery on the grounds but stopped when they encountered a marble slab.  Just after dark that night the boys were alone in the front yard,” when everybody else was in the house and not a soul and…something threw rocks at them.”  One was struck by a thrown stone.  “I saw a round red spot on his back made by one big rock”

Afterwards the boys refused to enter either the cemetery or the upstairs room.

The Treasure Story

The woman’s father-in-law, deceased, had been a psychic and thoroughly described the property before he saw it, including a big cedar tree sacrificed by road builders.

The clairvoyant father-in-law also saw a treasure buried under that tree.

“He said it was in a metal box about 8 inches by 12 by 10 inches,” and four feet beneath the surface was a buggy spoke.  He also knew that it was true currency, not counterfeit or Confederate bills.

The family took shovels and went to work.  Four feet down they encountered the buggy spoke and enlisted the assistance of a metal detector.  As night fell they detected a metal object he believed was three feet deeper.  Exhausted from excavating the hard packed clay, they called it a day.  The next morning “he probed 10 feet in every direction without a trace of metal showing up…I’ve heard that ‘treasure will run’ if you don’t get it when you first find it, and I guess that money ran.”

Shortly afterward they found an 1887 penny, green with age, lying on the upstairs bed.

“One old woman who lived here for a year said she often heard children laughing downstairs when she was upstairs-or upstairs when she was downstairs.”

The current residents had never heard the children’s laughter, “but my sister-in-law did,” the day after the blue orb phenomenon.

The Ghost Stole the Treasure

In the cemetery is the grave of Elizabeth Hale, who died in 1842.  A 15-year-old girl attempted communication via Ouija board and contacted Elizabeth’s husband, Thompson.  He revealed that Elizabeth was the house haunt.

“He said she had been here ever since her death, because it was her money.  She’s guarding it and she’s the one who caused it to move while we were digging.”

Jim Milesufossavannah 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

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