Sunday, April 22, 2018

Missing Georgia Teen-Aubrey Carroll-Found Alive and Well. This Georgia Mystery is Solved!

Usually, my posts are about unsolved mysteries in Georgia-ones that we would love to solve but cannot seem to do so. This one is different, and it is perhaps the first post I have made here about one that was solved.
In May 2016, in Spaulding County (Griffin), about 45 minutes south of Atlanta, 15 year old Aubrey Carroll seemed to disappear off the face of the earth. On May 24, 2016, fifteen year old Aubrey left school early and did not show up at home when he was supposed to do so. He lived with his father in Griffin. There were rumors that he decided to leave and go to Jones County, Georgia where he has family, but no one had seen him there either. After being missing for a few days, a huge search that involved the Griffin County Sheriff's Department and the FBI began. There were some rumors that surfaced of where he might have gone, family members who searched for him all over the areas they thought he might have gone, but no word. Finally, in April of this year, authorities made contact with his family to report that he was indeed alive and well. He apparently left and was living "off the grid" in the western part of the United States. The authorities had been tracking him for the last little while, and they had even found a Facebook page he had set up under an alias name. He was alive, well, in no danger, and seemed to be happy.
Photo courtesy of SCSD. Aubrey is pictured above with Lt. Mike Morris (Left) and Spaulding County Sheriff Darrell Dix (right).
   Aubrey has since made contact with his family, even visiting some of them in Georgia. The GRIP, a local news outlet in the Griffin area carried the full story of Aubrey's return home. Lt. Morris and Sheriff Dix said that their jaws dropped at hearing some of the stories Aubrey told about his travels and what all he experienced. However, nothing they report indicates that Aubrey was in any danger nor was in any trouble. The link to the story is here:

We are glad you are safe, Aubrey, and we hope you get to spend time with your family to make up for lost days. Stay safe and happy, young man. This was a true happy ending to a Georgia Mystery!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Body of Creature Washes Ashore at Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge-Hoax, Mistaken Identity, or Altamaha-Ha?

For those that have read my blog before, you know that I have posted about a Georgia legend known as Altamaha-ha. Also called, Altie, the alleged creature is said to be Georgia's Loch Ness Monster, which, is itself a tribute to one of the most well-known cryptids in history. As of recent, the press has been abuzz with a recent report involving the carcass of an unidentified creature that washed ashore at Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Georgia Coast.
Media outlets such as USA Today carried the story. National Geographic also offered up a story about the carcass and presented speculations as to what it might be. Some experts claimed that the whole thing was nothing more than a not so complex hoax. Others claimed that the carcass belonged to a frilled shark, albeit the absence of gills causes some problems with that interpretation. Other marine scientists express concern with lack of a body to examine, and the fact that the legend of Altamaha-ha pervades in the area, and that it is too coincidental.

There are some issues with this report. For one, there is no body left to examine-only photos. Second, the carcass does seem quite similar to models made of Altie, and third, the first two issues combined with the fact that this washed up in an area not too far from the birthplace of the Altie legend, make it somewhat unbelievable.

Here is the National Geographic report and photos submitted. You decide!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Author Appeared on Destination America's Haunted Towns-Episode 8-McDonough, Georgia

So the guys from Tennessee Wraith Chasers, better known for their show Ghost Asylum did another show for Destination America called Haunted Towns. The premise of the show is that these guys, who constitute a paranormal research group, visit towns in America that have a haunted past and are supposed to be haunted and have lots of paranormal activity. Among the towns visited were Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Vicksburg, Mississippi; Cape May, New Jersey; River Falls, Massachusetts; Salem, Massachusetts; Brisbee, Arizona, and two locations in Georgia-Savannah and McDonough. In visiting McDonough, the producers and cast hoped to learn more about The Camp Creek Train Crash of 1900 and its impact on the area, particularly if the hauntings in McDonough might be caused by the crash. Back in May, the team contacted me and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed as part of the show. Naturally, I agreed, and we did the interview on the banks of Camp Creek.  It was hot, muggy, and a lot of fun.

The show aired on October 3, 2017. The show included my interview, a visit to someone named Jill's house to talk about a doll and hauntings at her home. I have NEVER met Jill, do not recognize the home, and have never heard anything about a doll that might be possessed or have connections with the crash. Historically speaking, there is no record of any child on board the #7 train that crashed at Camp Creek, so I can say with certainty that that doll is not associated with the train crash, and it would be the better part of wisdom to assume had the doll been on board the train, it would have been destroyed. The youngest survivor on the train was a young lady in her teens who was traveling with her teacher. The other young person on the train was a young boy; I am pretty sure he would not have had a doll.  So I am sort of puzzled as to what this was all about.  Nevertheless, the episode aired, and can be seen at the Destination America website. I have provided the link below.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Bigfoot in Macon County Watches Men BBQ a Hog; Owner of Property Says the Bigfoot is a Common Presence on the Property

BFRO researcher David Bakara, and owner of Expedition Bigfoot: Sasquatch Museum, investigated a Bigfoot sighting in Macon County, Georgia recently.  The sighting, which took place in early 2017, happened as the witness and his father were grilling a hog.  Standing there attending to their grill, the men looked up and saw a large, dark and hairy figure looking back at them. The witness who reported the incident to David Bakara said that he immediately grabbed his cell phone to take a picture, and as soon as he snapped the photo, the figure was gone.  The link to the report has the cell phone photo.
The figure is indeed dark and hairy. Afterwards, the men went to the area where the figure was standing and investigated. Per their recollection of where the figures head paralleled the tree it was standing near, the figure was around 8 feet tall. Perhaps more interesting than anything else concerning this sighting was the remark of the property owner who, when asked about the incident by the witnesses and showed the photo, remarked that he sees this figure on the property all the time.

Check out the report and the picture.  It appears that there is something weird in the photo.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Spook Bridge-What Kind of Crossings Happen Here?

Not far from Valdosta, Georgia there is a location that not many know about outside the area, but is quite legendary in the Lowndes County and Brooks County communities.  The locals began to call it Spook Bridge, a simple enough name, and it stuck.  As the internet and social media become a larger part of our everyday lives, the bridge and its "spooky" legends are getting more attention.  I first read about this legend in Jim Miles' book Weird Georgia. However, as our college has a campus in Valdosta, I began to ask folks from that campus about it and some of them had interesting stories to tell. I felt that it would be worth my time looking in to and possibly posting to the Georgia Mysteries Blog, so here it goes.

The Youtube video above is one of the most visited links relating to Spook Bridge, and it is posted there for you to view. There are others posted on Youtube. As a matter of fact, there seems to be several uploaded by a user named Pat Clendenning.  I would check all of those out.

The bridge has quite an interesting history.  Built somewhere around 1920 near land owned by the Walter Cunningham family, the bridge led to a well-known resort named Blue Springs. It attracted visitors from all over the state to its natural spring called the Blue Hole.  It appears that there were a few drownings at the Blue Springs Resort during the years of its operation, and the wreck of a gas truck back on the bridge in the 1940s took out several dozen feet of railing that were not immediately repaired.  Natural disaster took its toll on the resort when in the late 1940s, a flood washed out the roads leading to the bridge, which made the passage unsafe for travel.  Later, the state built another route and bridge nearby that diminished traffic through the area to the resort, and by the 1970s Blue Springs was no more.  Later in the 1970s, vandals began  to venture out to the abandoned bridge and spray paint graffiti and satanic messages on its sides and railings. Others report that cult activity occurred in the area, particularly at night.  The legend of Spook Bridge, as it began to be called in the late 70s, was born.

Of course, with the bridge abandoned, having a very colorful history, and surrounded by dark woods and a rushing river below, legends and stories did crop up.  A few of the legends that have surfaced and become part of the fabric of Spook Bridge include the deaths of a few people.  One, there is a story that includes a couple who lived in a nearby house.  The legend states that the couple walked along the bridge one day, and the husband pushed the wife off the bridge, leading to her death. I sort of wonder what led him to do such a thing, but the legend does not include that pertinent piece of information. Perhaps the couple quarreled, or one of them was pugnacious in nature, but whatever the case, the wife died. Legend has it that she haunts the bridge and her ghost can be seen trying to climb from the murky waters below to get back on the bridge with her husband. Another legend includes this same couple, albeit the husband kills the wife in their house nearby and then commits suicide.  Their ghosts, as you can imagine, took up residence near the bridge.

Another legend focuses on a high school couple who visited the bridge and wrecked when they ran in to the railing on the side of the bridge, broke through, and their car was swept away by the river below.  A third legend focuses on a school bus full of children that ran off the side of the bridge in to the river below. I have seen very little to substantiate either legend, but I did not look that hard either.  Perhaps you can find it, or the proof that dismisses the legend.  It is also said that people who visit the bridge have experienced what they think are fists and hands pounding on the hood of their cars as they approach the bridge.

Of course, this area is dangerous, and wrecks most certainly could occur on or near the bridge, as it has been washed out in part and is structurally unsound in other places.  The road leading to the bridge has been ripped apart in places, there are rips in the asphalt in the road and bridge, broken glass is everywhere, and there are signs of gang and cult activity in the form of graffiti and paraphernalia left in the area. The local sheriff's department does its best to patrol the area and keep visitors and legend seekers away, or at least in areas where they will not get hurt.  The bridge is known to flood when it rains, as there is a river beneath. If you decide to visit, I would clear it with local authorities first.  As with all legend trips, there is danger involved.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Spooky Georgia: Book Review

Spooky Georgia: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Other Local Lore by S.E. Schlosser is one of a series of books in the Spooky Series written by the same author with Globe Pequot Press as the publisher.  Schlosser is a researcher and frequent writer about American folklore.  Her series of books gives a decent account of interesting legends and tales of the supernatural in the various states she examines.  Potential readers should not be fooled by the title.  Not all of the tales recounted by Schlosser are spooky or hair raising in nature. In fact, there are a number of Native American legends included. The most interesting of the Native American tales told in the book is that of the Nunnehi.  According to legend, these are beings that inhabit Blood Mountain and are there to help those travelers on the mountain who have lost their way, are hurt, or feel frightened and confused.  Of course, there is much history and folklore already associated with Blood Mountain, as it is the location of one of the most intense battles between the Cherokee and Creek peoples of Georgia, the two leading historical tribes in the state's history.  The beings, often called "the immortals," are a part of Cherokee Indian legend, and have found a place among the many Native American tales associated with the tribe.
Schlosser, who also traveled part of the state in search of folklore and legend to include in her book, divides the text in to two parts, one solely dedicated to ghosts and hauntings, the other dedicated to good and evil presences in other forms.
One tale in particular that interested me was titled "On the Tracks," and is credited to the city of Lawrenceville, a city located in Gwinnett County in the Atlanta metro area.  As most of my readers know, I have published the only book on record about the legend of Sasquatch in Georgia, and that will most certainly explain why I was drawn to this tale.  As a matter of fact, as I pored over the table of contents in the book, I spotted that entry quite quickly, and I turned immediately to it and read it first. I won't spoil the story here, but I will definitely say it is one of the better ones in the book.  I must confess, I did not quite get to this account when writing Bigfoot in Georgia; however, Ms. Schlosser did, and she even read my book, as it was used as a source in her book.
I really enjoyed the book, especially since it was a Christmas gift from my dear mother, but there were a few things I feel the author missed.  One, she recounts the tale of "The Meanest Man in the South." This story is a very popular one in Georgia history and recounts the story of the Walker Family.  The tragedy centers on the death of the Walker son, Josiah.  However, the author, who makes sure she puts the name of the community from whence these legends arose on the opening page, credits this story with the city of Midgeville. As a native Georgian, having lived here all my life and written extensively about the state and its history, I would know if there was a place called Midgeville. To my knowledge, there is not.  In actuality, this legend stems from the antebellum capital of Georgia, Milledgeville.  Of course, this could easily be a typing error, but it appears over and over in the story. That weakens the book, in my opinion, as the city itself (Milledgeville) is not a city that lacks importance in the state and its history.
I really enjoyed the fact that many of the tales were told as they are related in legend.  This is specifically true in tales like "The Old House" from Cairo, and the aforementioned "On the Tracks."  I also admire that Schlosser traveled to places in Georgia, particularly Savannah and Atlanta, to personally research the state's folklore and legends.  Schlosser also seems to have immersed herself in the study of legend and lore for most of her life.  In addition to checking out this book, I would also encourage you to take a look at her website.  The link is below.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Book Review: Legends, Lore and True Tales of the Chattahoochee by Michelle Smith

I realize I haven't posted much in 2013. Let me rephrase that. I haven't posted ANYTHING in 2013, but I am working on changing that this year.  Recently, I ran across a great book on Georgia legends, myth and folklore. The title was published by The History Press, and it is Legends, Lore and True Tales of the Chattahoochee.  Author Michelle Smith has done a fantastic job relating the plethora of legends associated with the Chattahoochee River that borders Georgia and Alabama.  In her book, she talks about Native American legend, folktales from local peoples, stories from history, and African American folklore stemming from the days of slavery.
Smith was educated at Auburn University, a fact I do not hold against her. (Dawg fan and alum here Michelle; you have to understand.) Her background is in the field of criminal justice. She is also an experienced historical and paranormal researcher who actually is involved with a paranormal research team near her home.  In addition to this title, it is my understanding that she has also assisted with other titles published about Alabama ghost stories.  The History Press has those titles as well.
So what makes the book a worthwhile read in my opinion?  First, it is definitely "right up my alley."  Any work on folklore and legend is worth my time reading it, particularly if it is about Georgia.  Second, it is chock full of legends and folktales I had never heard or seen anywhere.  While there are a few that I have seen here and there, most were new to me.  The story of Hugging Molly, the Wampus Cat, the Tie Snakes that are rumored to live in the Chattahoochee, and the Nunnehi, are all mystifying.  Third, Smith sprinkles bits and pieces of history in her story telling.  As I have always known and stated, good folklore stems from history, mostly local history, but history nonetheless.  Reading about legend and folklore never should leave you wanting for more local history, and Smith's recounting of the many legends and pieces of folklore from the Chattahoochee Valley certainly does not.
There are a few things that could have helped improve upon her work. There are a few places where her historical facts are either the result of typos or a confusion of dates.  For one, she mentions the federal government and their deal with the State of Georgia in 1763. I think that is supposed to be 1793 or possibly 1803.  There was no "federal government" or State of Georgia in 1763, as this was the end of the French and Indian War and a good 13 years away from the Declaration of Independence, an even longer 24 years until the Constitutional Convention that brought us the Constitution of the United States.  However, this is not an error that would derail the value of this work.  Still, I very much recommend selecting this one for your personal library.