Al Stilo tries not to spend too much time outside at the corner of East Pike Street and U.S. Highway 29 after the sun goes down. And with good reason: this is the site of the Lawrenceville Historic Cemetery.
"It's haunted - or at least rumored to be," said Stilo, director of sales and marketing for the Aurora Theatre and co-creator of the Scary Stroll Ghost Tours in Lawrenceville.
When Stilo and the Aurora Theatre crew first began the tours last year, they weren't looking to unearth any great mysteries in the downtown square. But they found some nonetheless.
In researching the cemetery, Stilo found plenty of evidence to support the theory that the cemetery is haunted. At the forefront of his research was years-old news footage of an 11Alive camera crew camping out in the graveyard, in which the news team suddenly - and inexplicably - lost battery power on its cameras.
This hasn't been the only such report. With the help of the Paranormal Science Investigations Network - a team of investigators that studies, obviously, all things paranormal - Stilo has dug up case after case of ghost-hunting teams having camera batteries drained while scouring through the area.
The team has also recorded an odd, electronic voice in the graveyard, taken pictures with blurry, orb-like images in the foreground, and felt sudden, mysterious chills and temperature fluctuations in the area.
All of these signs, according to Stilo and the team of ghost hunters, point to paranormal activity.
"That is a very common sign of ghosts, when camera and flashlight batteries are drained," he said. "Whether it's real ghosts or what, I don't know for sure, I don't think you can know for sure. But we have gotten very high readings as far as paranormal phenomenons going on out there."
That's not to say all the areas on the Lawrenceville ghost tour have such high occurrences of spooky activities. Some stops on the tour have yet to acquire a full-fledged entourage of ghosts, but that's beside the point.
"There are some places with very high readings, but most places on the tour aren't as haunted. Overall, it's really just about having a good time," Stilo said.
The Scary Stroll Ghost Tours take thrill-seekers on a tour winding through the streets of historic downtown Lawrenceville. The tours will be offered between 7 and
9 p.m. every night in October. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children. Tours begin at the Aurora Theatre, 128 Pike St. in Lawrenceville. Call 678-226-6222 or visit www.scarystroll.auroratheatre.com.
The Lawrenceville ghost tours aren't the only way to get a few goose bumps this Halloween season. Check out our picks for the best places to get into the spirit:
Make sure you wear a belt here: Netherworld will scare your pants off. Topping the list as the scariest sensation around, Netherworld offers two haunted houses, both sure to induce a major case of the creeps. The scare factory is open from 7 to
11 p.m. nightly through Nov. 3, and is located at the Georgia Antique and Design Center, 6624 Dawson Blvd., Norcross. You can't miss it - just look for the roaming monsters and goblins. Be warned, though, Netherworld is not suitable for children.
Stone Mountain Park has morphed into a true haunting ground with ART Station's "A Tour of Southern Ghosts." Storytellers weave together 45 minutes of renowned spooky and silly legends of the South, beginning at the Antebellum Plantation.
Tours are held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Three additional tour days will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 29-31. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Call 770-469-1105 or visit www.artstation.org.
Simon says trick-or-treat a little early - the Simon Kidgits Club Fall Festival and Costume Contest will be held 1 to 4:30 p.m. today at the Mall of Georgia, 3333 Buford Drive, Buford. The festival will include hayrides, sweet treats, pumpkin decorating, face painting and inflatables perfect for jumping (and working off all that sugar). Call 678-482-8788 or visit www.simon.com.
Shadow Realm Productions, in conjunction with Red Clay Theatre, have transformed Duluth's 2nd Stage theater into "Asylum: The Haunted House." The house will be open from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday through Oct. 31 at the theater, 3116 Main St., Duluth. Visit www.redclaytheatrearts.com.
This is not just a Halloween party. This is Radio Disney's Really Really Big Halloween Party, and it's being held from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 27 at Gwinnett Place Mall, 2100 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. Halloween games, ghost stories, a spooky prize wheel and trick-or-treating are all in the works for a frighteningly fun afternoon. Call 770-476-5160 or visit www.simonkidgitsclub.com.
Shops at Discover Mills mall will open doors for trick-or-treaters from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 30 at the mall, 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. Kids should stop by guest services for a treat and list of participating stores. Call 678-847-5000 or visit www.discovermills.com.