In McDonough, right off the square on what is known as Jonesboro Road, sits a beautiful white home that is now owned by a couple who have renovated it and made it an events center of sorts. The home is often called the White House or simply the Dickson Home.
The home was once the residence of one of McDonough's most prominent citizens, James Buchanan Dickson (J.B.). J.B. Dickson served as mayor of McDonough in the late 19th century, having also been a successful merchant in town, as well as involved with the running of the First National Bank. J.B. was born in 1856 and died in 1929, right as the Great Depression was beginning and the same year of the great stock market crash. This is fitting given the tragedies that befell Mr. Dickson during his life.
Mayor Dickson's life was consumed with business. He was a successful merchant in Locust Grove, which is where he met and married his first wife, Mattie Sullivan. The Dicksons had two daughters, and then a son. However, his son died in 1889, and as if to add insult to injury, his wife, Mattie, died the same year, right after their son, just three years after moving in to the new home in McDonough. A few years later, on November 11, 1891, J.B. Dickson married his second wife, Grace Foster, and the two had a son, Gordon Dickson, on October 3, 1892. Three years later, another son, Ralph Foster Dickson, was born on July 17, 1895. It appeared that tragedy was visiting someone else now, as the Dicksons seemed to be happy and secure. By this time, they had been in their new home on Jonesboro Street for almost ten years. But this was not to last. On July 9th 1898, three year old Ralph Foster Dickson died at their peaceful home. Sadness was mixed with joy that month, as the passing of Ralph was met with the arrival of a new baby girl, Ruth Elizabeth. However, Ruth Elizabeth's ending was marred with sorrow much like her arrival.
The years moved along and in 1902, another child arrived, this time a son, Howell. However, as if a giant page were turned, another child was snatched up by the prongs of death when an infant son was born in 1904 and died that same year. It seemed as if the Dickson family could not win for losing.
More tragedy visited when on April 12, 1908, Elizabeth L. Sullivan, the mother of Mayor Dickson's first wife, was visiting and took critically ill. She died a few days afterwards in the Dickson's home. With so much death in that one house it seemed as if no more tragedy could happen, but on November 27, 1929, Mayor J.B. Dickson himself succumbed to the pains of a prolonged illness and died in his home. His wife Grace lived on for eleven more years before passing on January 1, 1940.
Perhaps the biggest tragedy to befall the family took place on July 11, 1944, when Gordon Dickson, who had moved out of the house and left his sister Ruth Elizabeth there to live alone, came from his home next door to check on her and found her dead, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This was the eighth death to happen inside the Dickson house.
Investigative teams have been inside the home checking it and looking for any spirits that still walk the halls of the home of Mayor J.B. Dickson and his family. Their question: Is this house cursed? Many EVPs have been recorded in the house, including those saying "I am here," and "Gordon." A female voice could be heard saying "Lillie," and investigative teams have also been frightened by the sounds of a child singing a lullaby upstairs, rattling coat hangers, and the loud scream of someone coming from the second floor. Perhaps the most frightening experience was a voice saying, "Get Out!"
Other phenomenon seen at the house include orbs that show up in pictures, lights appearing on the wall over a fireplace, red mists, and unidentified sounds coming from all the home. Freelance Paranormal Society and Atlanta Ghost Hunters have all done investigations in the house and reported findings.
One of the things I think roams the halls of this house is an evil spirit. As I was discussing with a reader of this blog via email, evil manifests itself through the appearance of loved ones or just in human form. My best friend reported that his mother would talk about how her grandfather would come to visit her in her and her husband's house, and she would sit and have conversations with him. It was no time later that her husband, my best friend's father, hung and shot himself in the doorway of a bedroom in that house. When the family sold that house and my best friend was doing one last sweep through the house to make sure he had not left anything behind, he walked past the room where his father had hung himself. The door to the room was closed, but underneath the door, he could see what he thought was someone walking back and forth along the floor right in front of the door. However, noone was there, and there was nothing in the window or outside that could have cast a shadow and made it appear that there was someone there pacing. My best friend, as well as his siblings, believe that whatever had been visiting with their mother masquerading as the grandfather was the entity that tormented their father and told him to take his own life. My friend commented that when he saw this underneath the door, he left in a hurry, and as he was closing the front door, he yelled, "You can HAVE IT!!!"
Believe it or not, demons do walk among the living, and they masquerade as innocent and benevolent looking humans in ghost forms, sometimes even our lost loved ones. We must be careful. We must not tempt these things, lest we fall in to their trap. Is this what is up in the Dickson House? Well, it sounds like it to me, but I could be wrong. I do not think Ruth Elizabeth Dickson committed suicide on her own. I believe she was told to do it, or she was just plain murdered. What investigators, the owners, and tour groups have been hearing in the Dickson house is probably what is left of the evil that lured Ruth Elizabeth to her death. I have been in there, and I felt fine. I plan to go to one of the Murder Mystery dinners that are held there. But I never plan to tempt fate, and I certainly do not plan on doing any ghost hunting there.