Atlanta and its surrounding towns are well known for their ghost stories and spooky phenomenon. From Kennesaw to the heart of Midtown, people claim to have experiences with ghosts or apparitions. The architecture and history are as full of Southern charm as they are with stories of the past, many of them stories of Atlanta ghosts who still linger among the living. Today, we will tell two of those stories. Starting with the Kolb Farmhouse.
On June 22, 1864, a farm area near Marietta, Ga, saw a fairly small battle that became known as The Battle of Kolb’s Farm. According to many, it was less of a large-scale battle and more of a skirmish. Still, it was more than enough to leave the area with strange phenomena.
The clash happened around the time of the major battle at Kennesaw Mountain, when General Sherman and his troops tried to defeat Confederate General Joe Johnson’s troops who had dug in around the mountain. Johnson’s troops held their position, costing the union troops the loss of several thousand lives. The original farm house has been preserved as an historic place. Being witness to a bloody Civil War battle gives the farmhouse big-time spooky street cred.
After the Battle of Kolb’s Farm in June 1864, Union General Joseph Hooker used the Kolb house for his headquarters, and the Kolb family didn’t return until the 1880s after the war ended. Behind the house, the farm fields eventually developed into subdivisions for the influx of people moving to Atlanta and its suburbs.
In 1986, Katherine and James Tatum moved into their property, which was a new development on Kolb Ridge Court. Their first year passed uneventfully, but from that point they experienced unusual occurrences, which led them to believe that their home was haunted. They would see a mysterious man in Civil War–era clothing walking in the house. Sometimes unseen hands tugged their clothing, walking through cold spots, and, most frighteningly, invisible beings playing with their power tools when no one is looking.
Our next story, takes place closer to the heart of downtown Atlanta. The Ellis Hotel opened in 1913 under the name “Winecoff Hotel.” At 15 stories, it towered over the surrounding hotels – and not just in height. The Winecoff, built out of brick and stone, was deemed “fireproof” by city officials, despite not having any sprinklers or fire exits. And like the infamous unsinkable ship, Titanic, the hotel met an ironic fate.
In 1946, the hotel caught ablaze, resulting in the deaths of 119 people and earning it the unfortunate nickname “The Titanic on Peachtree.” The fire department was quick to the scene, but their ladders only reached the eighth floor and the safety nets could only sustain jumps from less than 70 feet. Within days of the tragedy, building and fire codes were changed all over the country to prevent something like this from ever happening again. The hotel was immediately closed and lay empty for many years before reopening as The Ellis Hotel. To this day it remains the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history.
Since reopening, guests and employees of the hotel report unexplained happenings. Guests often wake up to the acrid smell of smoke, though the smell never leads to a fire. Other guests report hearing blood-curdling screams in the night. Some claim to see mysterious faces in the windows of the hotel; the witnesses say the faces can be seen screaming in terror. Weirdest of all, the hotel’s fire alarm sometimes goes off at exactly 2:48 in the morning, the same time the deadly fire occurred almost 80 years ago.
These are just two of many stories that surround the heart of Georgia. There are many tours you can take around the city that are designed to scare even the bravest. Follow along as next week, we explore some of our Northern ghostly neighbors!