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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Haunted locations of Liberty County, Ga.


The Frame Gallery on South Main Street
The Haunting
The former owner of the Frame Gallery store reported hearing noises and footsteps emanating from the second floor. Store merchandise was reportedly being moved around or placed, teetering, on the edge of display tables. A candle holder was thrown across the room, former employees saw apparitions and the activity was describes as being mischievous more so than malicious. The activities increased as the Christmas Holidays approached.
This building was investigated by a paranormal group that picked up children’s voices on digital recorders as well as other unexplained voices. The investigators detected the odor of camphor in a certain room on the second floor and captured a few Orbs on camera.
The History
The building where the Frame Gallery was located was owned by Peyton Way and housed a drug store on the first floor and the first Hospital in Liberty County on the second. Dr. T. W. Welborn (1887-1962), who was a physician for the Dunleivie Lumber Company in Allenhurst, worked at the hospital and was a family doctor for hundreds of Liberty County families for more than 40 years. Welborn was instrumental in securing a Hill-Burton hospital, which became Liberty Memorial Hospital (formerly on Highway 84). Welborn was also the City of Hinesville Mayor for three terms before and during World War II several years. Welborn was married to Mary Elizabeth Sullivan Welborn and several children bur his son T. W. Welborn Jr. was accidentally shot and killed by a playmate in 1928.
The investigating crew later learned the owner of the store had found old glass IV bottles in a closet of the second floor and that the second floor had a surgery room and pharmacy. Camphor was used medicinally as a local anesthetic and camphor is commonly used today in products like Vicks VapoRub.
Were the voices and sounds collected those of former patients? Were they the children still running around their former drug store/soda pop hangout? Could one of those children be Dr. Welborn’s son?
     Ghost rating: three ghouls
This building is privately owned and not open to public investigations.
The Caswell House on North Main Street
The Haunting
A local historian once wrote about the house saying several people have died in there and one room in particular, located on the second floor, seems to be the home of a ghostly spirit. Pets reportedly refuse to enter that room and someone who once occupied the room fled the house terrified after experiencing a ghostly presence. Legend has it that a traveling salesman began courting a married woman who lived in the house around 1914 and the two fell in love. The woman’s husband eventually learned about the affair. One cold October night he hid behind bushes across the railroad depot on Main Street knowing the salesman was coming to meet up with his wife. Upon seeing the salesman the husband fired three shots and left the scene never returning to Hinesville. The salesman was brought to the woman’s room on the second floor and within the hour he died. The woman left Hinesville and was never heard from again.  Since then people have reported seeing a face or figure staring out that window.
The History
In 1904, then homeowner J. R. Bagley moved this structure to its current location at North Main and Memorial Drive (formerly Washington Street). It was reconstructed to a two story home by owners Enoch Caswell and his wife Ellen Long Caswell and the two front rooms of the first floor was the first home of the Hinesville Gazette which later became the Liberty County Herald (which is now the Coastal Courier).The Caswell’s also boarded rooms at the house and even opened a hotel just down from their home. Ernest Groover purchased the home in 1951 and he lived there with his wife, Susie Taylor Groover until the last of the two died in 1976. Since then it has been used in different capacities including a physician’s office, boarding house, psychiatry office and is currently being used as a physician’s office again.
This house has not been investigated by a paranormal group but the wood frame two-story building gives off a vibe, especially on moonlit nights. Some say the figure in the window is the salesman peering out and looking for his long lost love.
    Ghost rating: three ghouls
This building is privately owned and not open to public investigations.
The Old Liberty County Jail
The Haunting
Creaking sounds, cell doors slamming shut and unknown voices have been reported at the Old Liberty Jail. According to Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Director Vicki Davis people have been physically stopped as they try to go up the stairs that lead to her current office located inside the former prison. The building was investigated by a paranormal group in 2009 and captured the sound of a male voice saying “So sorry,” as well as a traveling flashing orb and a mist moving about the upstairs corner office that was once solitary confinement. Investigators described sensing the presence as if one hundred years worth of bad elements still lingered inside their cells.
The History
Placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1992 the old Liberty Jail housed the county’s prisoners from 1892 until 1969. When it was built it contained modern amenities such as indoor running water and toilets. For almost one hundred years it housed Liberty County’s criminal elements and was a co-ed facility with cells in the front portion of the building housing women. In 1970 the jail was purchased by the Liberty County Historical Society. It was later donated to the City of Hinesville. The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce briefly used the building and occasionally it was used as a haunted house for Halloween activities. Former Liberty County Sheriff Paul H. Sikes served at the jail from 1936 until his death in 1959 during his term in office. His son Robert Vernon Sikes was elected sheriff shortly afterwards and served for roughly 50 years, minus one term when he chose not to run and Bill Phillips was elected. Phillips was in the middle of his second term when he died in office and Sikes ran again and won serving until J. Don Martin was elected sheriff in 1992. Sheriff Martin passed away during his term in May 2010. Liberty County’s current sheriff Steve Sikes is the grandson of Paul Sikes. The jail sat in disrepair for several years before being restored in 2008. Peeking through the wrought iron bars on the exterior windows, the cells lead base paint was chipping away and the cob webs were strewn across the cell room doors while the building sat in disrepair for several years. It looked creepy and even with a fresh coat of paint and some upgrades many say it still feels creepy.
 Are the spirits of the former prisoners still serving their time? Is the former sheriff still keeping a watchful eye over his inmates?
     Ghost rating: four ghouls
The old jail currently houses the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority. The facility frequently hosts art exhibits and social community events. Folks are encouraged to visit the facility to learn more about the jail’s history. To inquire about tours call 877-4332.
Midway Cemetery
The Haunting
The Midway Cemetery is among the more notable spots in Liberty County known for its share of ghosts. The most well known tale from the cemetery is that of the crack in the wall on the north side of the cemetery. During the construction of the cemetery, the brick walls were placed together using the labor of slaves. Two slaves began to argue and were forced to work late since they had fallen behind on their work. Instead of working the two became entangled in a fight and one man was struck in the head with a brick and killed. The other man buried the body within the wall of bricks and the next day told his co-workers that the other man had run away. Within days the brick wall started to crack and shift. Years later, they discovered the man’s treachery when they found the bones in the wall. After the bones were taken out, the wall was repaired. But, to this day, the crack in the wall remains. On the west end of the cemetery people claim to see the apparitions of two young lovers Anthony and Sylvia. Sylvia’s father did not approach of their budding romance and hung Anthony from a tree branch and stabbed him with a knife to the heart. Upon discovering her lover’s fate Sylvia used the same knife to kill herself. Many local residents have claimed to see ghostly apparitions in civil war attire walking about the cemetery grounds. Others say they have seen ghosts sitting on top the brick wall as they drive by the cemetery.
The History
The Midway cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1973) and the oldest grave is from 1754. The tall monument in the center is dedicated to Revolutionary War heroes Daniel Stewart and James Screven. The cemetery and the adjacent historic Midway Church are part of the Midway Historic District. The settlers in this area were very political and took an early stand for independence. In May of 1775, Lyman Hall (a Midway Church member) was sent to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia as a delegate from the parish of St. John (now known as Liberty County). A year later Hall and St. John's Parish resident Button Gwinnett signed the Declaration of Independence. Another Midway resident, Nathan Brownson, served in the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1778.
Are the ghosts of the city’s former settlers still keeping a watchful eye over their church and grounds? Are former lover still meeting? Is the slave still looking for his murderer?
     Ghost rating: five ghouls
The Midway Cemetery is privately owned and managed by the curators of the Midway Museum. Every year the cemetery offers a “Tales and Legends Tour” recounting the stories about the cemetery and information about its history. For more information on the Museum, cemetery or church call 884-5837.
Dorchester Civic Center
The Haunting
Even before being restored the Dorchester Civic Center (formerly the Dorchester Consolidated School) was said to be haunted with the spirits of former pupils and teachers. Folks claimed to hear children’s voices and laughter especially in the common area used as the auditorium/cafeteria. Some folks swear they heard someone playing the old piano, even though it was broad daylight and no one else was in the building. Footsteps could be heard throughout the hallway and some folks have captured what appear to be children peering out the school windows, even when there was no window glass in place. Paranormal investigators captured several bright orbs and picked up children’s voices on audio. One investigator posed the question, “Do you prefer duck, duck, goose or itsy bitsy spider,” and receive a child’s voice replying, “Duck, duck,” on audio.
The history
The school was built in 1927 and was used to consolidate the schools at Sunbury, Colonels Island, Riceboro and Jackson Chapel. The school served grades one through seven. The original building burned and new one was constructed on the same site 1938. The school was used until 1951. In 1958 the Dorchester Civic Center purchased the building from the Liberty County Board of Education for $10 and it became a meeting place and community center. Over the years the building was less used and fell into disrepair and closed. 
Are the former students still having play time? Are the teachers still holding class?
     Ghost rating: four ghouls
In 2008, Dorchester Civic Center, Inc. reactivated and began a concerted effort to restore the historic building and it’s currently used today to host community events. The 7,400 square foot building includes a large auditorium, five classrooms, which can be used as meeting rooms and a full kitchen. For more information call 884-2026.
Other notable sites:
·         Walthourville Cemetery: The Walthourville cemetery was established in 1872 and is the burial ground for many of the people who settled Walthourville. One of the legends surrounding the cemetery is that of the Walthourville witches. There are three graves where the frames over the tombs were made of galvanized wire over concrete. Many claim it is because these were three sisters who were considered witches at the time. They say the concrete was used to ensure their evil spirits remained buried. Two of the three small tombstones face west instead of east, a nontraditional placement of a tombstone considering the religious background of the folks in Walthourville. The cemetery was investigated by a paranormal group who found that other than a few orbs caught on camera, the cemetery was tranquil and historical significant.
     Ghost rating: two ghouls
·         Mills House on Highway 84: The 124 year old structure that sits on the corner of Highway 84 and Memorial Drive (formerly Washington Street) served, for some years, as the office of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority. When those two entities moved to their new locations (see below) the house sat abandoned for a while and was vandalized. Partially obscured from the road by glorious oak trees the house began to take on an ominous appearance. Some folks claim to see lights come on and off and reported hearing noises emanate from the house. Paranormal investigators captured relatively little evidence inside the structure but found many interesting anomalies and orbs present within the exterior grounds of the property. The building was donated to the Midway Museum in 2009 but funds to move the building are still needed. In the meantime several community organizations have received permission to use the facility to host fundraisers and community gatherings.
Ghost rating: one ghoul
·         Bryant Commons/ The Liberty County Development Authority Building (both on Highway 84): The two sites sit on an old battlefield (Skirmish at Hinesville 1864) and folks report hearing the sounds of cannons and muskets firings as well as see weird lights. The former home of Glenn E. Bryant is currently the Independent Telecommunications Pioneer Association’s National Office and Museum and is reportedly haunted. Paranormal investigators did capture strange voices and anomalies in several photographs taken there.
Ghost rating: two ghouls
·         Old hospital site on Highway 84(Liberty Memorial Hospital): This is another location where folks have experienced strange lights and sounds even though the building has been demolished for years and the land is currently vacant.
     Ghost rating: two ghouls
·         LeConte Woodmanston Plantation (Riceboro):  The Plantation was established in 1760 by John Eatton LeConte as a working inland swamp rice plantation. One of LeConte’s sons Louis trained as a medical doctor. He put his training to use in caring for his family, slaves and other families in the area. By 1813, due to his keen interest in botany and horticulture, he began developing a botanical and floral garden at Woodmanston that soon became internationally famous. The plantation is located in the Bulltown Swamp and was the site of a battle that took place during the American Revolutionary War. John LeConte first home was burned during that battle by the British. Louis LeConte is reportedly buried somewhere on the Plantation. The LeConte’s owned around 231 slaves who worked the rice fields, gardens and plantation grounds. Many plantation workers faced disease and malaria during the harsh summers. Paranormal investigators captured the sound of a musket gun firing while recording around the former hunting lodge building. Several orbs and strange mists were captured on camera around the area where the slave cabins reportedly once stood. LeConte Woodmanston is open by appointment only. Call 884-6500 to schedule an appointment.
Ghost rating: four ghouls


2 comments:

  1. Is the Midway Museum haunted? I will leave that up to you. My family decided to visit the Museum. So, I bought a new camera and was trying it out at the Museum near Christmas time, approximately 2008. During the tour I had the chance to view a bedroom which belonged to a little girl, whom died many many years ago, at a very young age. I noticed numerous dolls, but one in particular caught my eye, a small doll that was over a hundred year old, very pretty and in great condition. I thought the doll was unique, so I took several photos of the her. A few minutes later I went downstairs and was looking through my pics and noticed the doll was smiling, showing off her pearly whites. As I view the next few photos I noticed something different about the dolls expression. I kept going back and forth viewing the pics, she was still smiling but her pearly whites/teeth were missing. I begin to show them to my spouse and was amazed that the same picture taken in the same spot, only magnify, the teeth were missing. I turned my camera off and back on and the numerical order at the top of the photos showed 666. I like freaked out; showed this to my husband and shared with others, this was unbelievable. Later, when I turned the camera off and back on the number was gone; but the doll was the same, one photo with teeth, the next without. I shared the photos with numerous people. One of my daughters downloaded the pics to her computer, which later, the hard drive went out. As time went by, the disc went missing and I have not found to this day. I hope to retrieve the pics from the computer soon, to prove my findings. Having this experience made me believe in haunted places/things. If this had not happened to me, I would have made a comment like most, "Yea, right"! Until then, never doubt what you see.

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  2. Lene:
    The Midway Museum is indeed haunted.

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