While many may say they don’t believe in the supernatural, local folklore is bubbling with tales of things that go bump in the night at familiar places around Forsyth County.
In fact, laughter in empty hallways, cars that move mysteriously and flickering lights in abandoned buildings are a just a few of the elements that make up stories often told around the county this time of year.
Richard Webb said a spot near Sawnee Mountain Preserve on Bettis Tribble Gap Road provided spooky fun while he was growing up.
“There’s a little place right there and you would park your car and you’d swear that you were rolling uphill,” Webb said. “We always called it Booger Mountain Road because we thought boogers were behind the car pushing it uphill.”
Webb said he has since figured out the secret behind Booger Mountain Road “but to a bunch of teenage kids that was just as cool as it could be.”
“Especially the freshmen, incoming new kids, we’d take them over there and say ‘now watch this’ and some of them would get really scared,” he said.
Webb said he’s heard rumors that the Redd House in downtown Cumming, where his office is located, is haunted, but he’s disproven those too.
Denise Roffe, a paranormal investigator and co-founder of the Southeastern Institute of Paranormal Research, said she’s collected quite a few local tales since she moved to Cumming in 1998.
Roffe said while investigating a historical building in Cumming, she and her research team could hear “ghostly footsteps coming down the hallway.”
“Later, two of my previously happy-go-lucky team members became inexplicably emotionally distraught, burst into tears and had to leave the site,” Roffe said. “While continuing the investigation, a piece of equipment was grabbed out of a team member’s hand and flung across the room by something unseen.”
Roffe said she couldn’t disclose the location of the building because of an agreement with her client, but said that it’s near the downtown square.
“I have stories from literally every corner of downtown Cumming, including the courthouse,” Roffe said, adding that an employee once watched a book fly off a shelf at another co-worker who was arguing with her husband on the phone.
Like many local residents, Roffe said she’s heard stories about children’s laughter in the hallways above Tam’s Backstage in the Cumming Playhouse.
The building was the first school in Cumming. Today, it also now houses the Historical Society of Forsyth County and the Col. Hiram Parks Bell Center for Southern History and Genealogical Research.
She said historical buildings on Old Federal Road in northwest Forsyth where Blackburn’s Tavern once stood are also thought to be haunted.
“At night strange flickering lights appear in the upstairs windows of the old, abandoned buildings,” Roffe said.
A man once went into one of the buildings to investigate and found that the floors had rotted away, and there was no way anyone could be upstairs with a flashlight.
“Legend states that Blackburn buried gold somewhere near the property and his ghost is forever wandering around the grounds looking for it,” Roffe said.
An elderly couple who lived in a 100-year-old home on Sawnee Mountain were awakened one night by the sound of drums coming from their living room, Roffe said.
They’d found Native American pottery underneath their floorboards earlier that night. For days afterward the drumming would randomly start and stop.
“After their pastor blessed the house, a very angry apparition of a Native American chief was seen through a window standing in the yard,” she said. “He screamed and then disappeared.”