Monday, October 18, 2010
Watkinsville, Georgia is in Oconee County-the county just south of Athens-Clarke County, which as most Georgians know, is the home of the University of Georgia. As a UGA student, I traveled through Watkinsville a lot of Fridays headed home and on a lot of Sundays headed back. The Tavern is a landmark in the city, and it is a reminder of a bygone era in Georgia's frontier history.
The Tavern is owned by Oconnee County and the State of Georgia today, and it serves as a welcome center and local tourist destination. It has a very long history. Built in the early 1800s, the site was said to have once been part of Fort Edwards. The fort stood in this area where Creek and Cherokee Indian territory once intersected, and the fort was placed there by the state of Georgia as a way to protect against the frequent attacks by natives in the area whose hostilities, while directed at each other, were often directed at white settlers to the area. After 1820, the building became a stagecoach stop for coaches traveling back and forth between Athens and Milledgeville. The building housed not only a tavern, but also an inn, which I am sure was a welcome sight to weary stagecoach travelers in the early days of the 19th century.
The Eagle Tavern has not only been the site of rest for travelers and a place to find drink for the revelers, but it apparently is also a place where something evil still resides. According to Corinne Underwood in her book Haunted History: Atlanta and North Georgia, the Eagle Tavern has had its share of specters and weird happenings. One employee at the welcome center described the sight of a dancing lady. The apparition appeared to her out of nowhere and was wearing a pink dress. On other occassions, employees have heard the sound of loud/heavy footsteps in the facility when noone else was present, as well as the smell of cherry tobacco while noone was present who smoked in a facility that was non-smoking. Additionally, a group gathered outside witnessed what looked like a finger and hand in the upstairs window, but upon examination, noone was there (Underwood 27-30).
These instances have not caused a great deal of alarm at the Eagle Tavern; however, one startling event did. According to mediums who have visited the Tavern, there appears to be an evil presence in the basement. Paranormal experts refer to this entity as non-human or elemental. An employee had such negative experiences in the basement that she fears returning there. First, after coming in to contact with the presence, her eye became irritated, then infected. A sensitive told the employees at the Eagle Tavern that they should not go in to the basement because the entity could do physical harm. This was proven so true when members of the East Georgia Paranormal Society visited the Tavern and did an investigation. One member was physically attacked. The entity bit his hand and broke bones in it. Investigators said that you could hear the bones crushing on camera. During another investigation, a different research group picked up an EVP in the basement saying, "I wish you would die." Yet a third group investigated the Tavern basement when one of the researchers felt a pressure on his lower back as if he were wearing a heavy backpack. The video showed that there was a black figure standing over the man with what appeared to be elbows pressing down on the man's shoulders (Underwood 31-33).
Is there an evil presence in the basement of the Eagle Tavern in Watkinsville, and if so, what is it? Why has it decided to physically harm visitors to the basement? Could it be possible that this is an evil entity spawned by a tragic event in the tavern's past? The historic landmark has been a common sight to college students for ages. I wonder how many of them have taken the time to visit and find out what lurks inside. I know I didn't!!