By HEIDI BRITZ
Low rumbles of thunder and an occasional flash of lightning in the distance set the stage for our ghost tour in Roswell. The fact that it was Friday the 13th added an extra level of spooky as my teenage son and I joined a group of 20 brave souls for our adventure. Our guide, Joe Avena of Roswell Ghost Tours, had us sign a waiver, which both alarmed and amused me (he explained why we needed to do this later in the tour) before heading out on Atlanta Street. We followed, armed with only flashlights, umbrellas and some nervous laughter.
Starting at Roswell Square, the tour took us to Bulloch Hall, past several historical homes and down to the old mill village. Joe shared the history of the homes, including ties to several U.S. presidents and the founding of the Roswell area. The traffic noises and street lights faded away as Joe began to paint a picture with stories that really helped give a sense of what life was like in the 1800s. I learned more about the area in one night than I have living here for 15 years!
As the storms subsided, we walked through the Roswell Mill village area and up a hill to Founder’s Cemetery. We stepped back in time and walked among unmarked stones, small crypts and a few large headstones of notable people such as Roswell King and the Bulloch family. I am not sure if it was the weather or the setting, but a chill settled on me as I walked among the graves of those known and unknown. My son swore he saw a little girl hiding behind a tree after hearing stories of a child’s ghost wandering the area looking for playmates. He stuck close to me for a while after that!
The land is richly embedded with the history of the Cherokee Indians, the Civil War and the Roswell Mill. Our group wound down to the Old Bricks area, continuing to hear tales of a playful ghost and Confederate widows waiting for husbands who would never come home. Several people in the group claimed to have captured pictures of something unexplainable and hear names whispered on recording equipment. As we strolled the streets, a neighbor walking his dog stopped to share an experience in his home of a radio turning on by itself.
The tour continued to a particularly unsettling area, aptly named the “Creepy House”. Joe told us stories of the sad history of the home and the parade of tenants who leased the building only to leave abruptly after experiencing scary events. A picture I took of this house developed into what looks like fire covering the entire frame. Was it operator error or something else? Who knows? No one left that area without a shiver running down their spine and I was honestly relieved to head back to the town square.
Whether you are an avid ghost adventurer, a history buff or a little of both, the Roswell Ghost Tour has enough to satisfy everyone. I will never look at Roswell quite the same way again!
Heidi Britz is a single mom of two boys/men and one large, furry toddler, Archie. She works as a speech therapist, a part time aspiring writer and a semi-professional shower singer.
Former Milton resident Blake Swayne, daughter of Suzanne Pacey and Greg Swayne, is planning her wedding to Richard Thomas Fisk, III in October. Read more on page 6.