LAWRENCEVILLE - Perhaps the wind that rustles your hair is really a ghostly presence trying to get your attention. What if that tombstone you just passed by is the final resting place for a sinister character who isn't exactly ready to rest in peace? Maybe those footsteps you think you hear behind you belong to someone long deceased. And that shadow down the alleyway? What if there really is something there?
Let your imagination run wild this October as you take a walk through historic downtowns and listen to stories of things that go bump in the night, while the truly curious and brave can join in on a cemetery ghost hunt with a professional paranormal investigator.
Ghost tours are offered in the downtown areas of Duluth, Lawrenceville and Norcross and at Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain, and you're invited to come out and see what spooky happenings may be in store for you.
Duluth Ghost Walks
Guests can take part in two tours in downtown Duluth this month for the second year: a history ghost walk and a paranormal investigation tour.
Paranormal investigator Shannon Edwards will lead tours through the city cemetery, demonstrating the use of her equipment and discussing what she does while conducting an investigation. Guests will have the opportunity to use a thermal scanner and an electromagnetic field detector during the tour.
"We've had a lot of paranormal activity in that cemetery," said Candace Morgan, archivist for the Duluth Historical Society and owner of Historical Mystery Walks, which is the company conducting both the ghost walks and paranormal investigations.
Costumed guides will also lead guests through downtown Duluth, telling stories of the spirits that remain of Indians who lived in the area, ghosts of Confederate soldiers buried in the city cemetery, the worst train wreck in Georgia's history and the ghost of the state's first woman mayor who is still believed by some to haunt the city.
"Most of all of these stories have been handed down through generations and have been researched," Morgan said.
Both tours are 90 minutes.
Lawrenceville Ghost Tours
In its fourth year, the Lawrenceville Ghost Tours feature costumed, professional storytellers who will lead guests through the downtown area of one of Georgia's oldest cities, telling tales of the strange and supernatural.
Guests will visit the former city jail, which has been the site of a paranormal investigation, walk the grounds of the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse and take a stroll down Honest Alley.
"(Guides) go from spot to spot telling different stories that are either based on legends from Lawrenceville or recent history or paranormal investigation or occurrences," said Cynthia Rintye, who has served as a guide since the tours started and is now tour director. Rintye said tours will also include information on Lawrenceville and Gwinnett history.
"This is really good, old-fashioned storytelling with trained performers who know how to capture and hold an audience's attention," Rintye said.
Tours are 90 minutes and cover about a mile and a half through downtown Lawrenceville and are given every weekend May through September and every night in October.
Norcross Ghost Tours
The city of Norcross is offering ghost tours for the first time this year throughout the downtown area and through the city cemetery.
Norcross Ghost Tours are given by three guides, Creative Illusions owner Kim Brame of Lilburn, Norcross resident and professional ghost hunter Wil Aymerica and storyteller Melanie McCullough from Stone Mountain.
Brame said each guide brings his or her unique perspective to their tours.
A lighter tour for kids and adults who scare easily is given at 7 p.m. and takes place in the historic city cemetery. Stories will be about benevolent ghosts and will also include explanations of what a grave robber does and what dead ringer means. Brame leads this tour and plays a character from the Victorian era.
A darker tour is given at 8:30 p.m. and is geared toward adults and teens. Stories will be taken from historical accounts of events in north Georgia and topics may include werewolf sightings, train wrecks and accounts of paranormal activity.
"The ghost stories are not about Norcross, per se, this year," Brame said, but Aymerica has begun researching Norcross' history and doing private ghost hunts to see what stories he may find buried with time. During his tours, Aymerica will discuss ghost hunts that have taken place in the north Georgia region.
Those who take one of the Norcross Ghost Tours can use their tickets to receive discounts or free items at all downtown Norcross merchants until Nov. 26.
Group rates are also offered for parties of 14 and more. Group tours are given any day except Fridays and Saturdays and prices are $10 for adults and $6 for children.
A Tour of Southern Ghosts, Stone Mountain Park
A Tour of Southern Ghosts is in its 23rd year at Stone Mountain Park.
Costumed guides will lead guests by lantern light through a 45 minute tour across the grounds of the park's Antebellum Plantation, stopping at six locations where storytellers will tell the tales of famous, and some not-so-famous, Southern ghosts.
Stories will be both humorous and spooky, ranging from a tale of magic and trickery to a narration about a caring ghost in a Confederate hospital, and are appropriate for children.
"We try to put a variety in because after 23 years of doing this, we have done a lot of research on ghosts," Thomas said, adding sometimes the lingering spirits of the dead are misunderstood. "A ghost is here for a reason and that reason is, many times, unfinished business," he said. "They're not here to hurt anybody, they're here to finish that business because they're caught in that place."
SideBar: If You Dare
What: Duluth Ghost Walks
When: Fridays and Saturdays, historic walks begin at 7:30 p.m. and paranormal investigation walks start at 9 p.m.; there will be no tours given Oct. 18
Where: Walks start on Main Street in downtown Duluth across from Steverinos
For more information: Call 770-403-1795
What: Lawrenceville Ghost Tours
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday every night in October
Where: Tours begin at the Aurora Theatre, 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville
For more information: Visit scarystroll.auroratheatre.com
What: Norcross Ghost Tours
When: Two tours, a 1-hour family-oriented tour at 7 p.m. and a 90 minute walking tour at 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 1
Where: Two locations - 7 p.m. tour at Norcross Cemetery, Buford Highway at Cemetery Street; 8:30 p.m. tour starts at Paizano's, 7 Jones St., Norcross
For more information: Visit www.norcrossghost.com
What: Tour of Southern Ghosts at Stone Mountain Park
When: 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and 7 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Oct. 15-19, 22-26 and 29-31; tours begin every 10 minutes
Where: Antebellum Plantation at Stone Mountain Park, U.S. Highway 78 East, Exit 8, Stone Mountain
For more information: Call 770-469-1105 or visit www.artstation.org/