This story might be best reserved for printing at the end of next month, but it’s too intriguing to wait that long. Who says that small towns are boring? With it’s rich Civil War culture, Marietta, Georgia has many a tale to tell. The historic battlefields surrounding the town serve as the final resting place for soldiers who fought the battle for Atlanta.
The Kennesaw House on the Marietta Square has always had a rich history. Since it was built in 1845 as a cotton warehouse, the building has been a hotel, Civil War hospital and morgue, retail shop, office complex, and is now the home of the Marietta Museum of History. But a vast number of people and emotionally charged events have made their home in the 164-year-old building, and those legends bring a different kind of history to the Kennesaw House.
Michael Hendrix, Georgia coordinator/case manager with the Southern Paranormal & Anomaly Research Society, brought about a dozen fellow SPARS investigators from North Carolina, South Carolina and various parts of Georgia to the Kennesaw House a few weeks ago to conduct an in-depth paranormal investigation on the building.
“We had heard that there were some pretty neat ghost stories here, so we gained permission and brought the team out to find out for ourselves and hopefully find out what’s going on,” Hendrix said.
The Kennesaw House’s ghost folklore has been featured on CNN, The History Channel and PBS. Dan Cox, CEO and Founder of the Marietta Museum of History, said that he does not believe in ghosts, but has had a number of unusual experiences in the building.
The museum owner and former Marietta city councilman said that multiple photographs have been taken of what appear to be ghosts from an old television monitor that overlooked the elevator doors on the second floor. “I bought a cheap security system with a camera and one day I saw something on the monitor but didn’t have a camera nearby, so the next time I saw something I grabbed my camera and took a picture of it. We’ve gotten pictures of a woman in what appears to be a full, Victorian-style dress, a little boy, and it’s interesting that they’re all in front of the elevator and facing the same way,” Cox said.
The monitor has been changed, and Cox said there have been no ghost photographs in front of the 30-year-old elevator since.
Cox said that he has smelled cigar smoke before when no one was smoking, heard his name called twice, heard footsteps when no one else is in the building and has even seen the ghost of what the staff believes to be a Union soldier and doctor. “I was talking with my wife one afternoon and I just happened turn my head and saw a man in a black felt hat and cream colored coat that went about mid-calf standing right next to me. He seemed to be ignoring me, and he was gone so quick I couldn’t tell you for sure but something about him told me he was a medical doctor,” Cox said.
Dix Fletcher, one of the former owners of the Kennesaw House, had a nephew who was a Union soldier and doctor, and Cox said he and his staff believe the man he saw was the nephew, whom they call Dr. Wilder. “I’m not the only one who’s seen him, though,” Cox said. “One of my employees heard a noise when he was working late one time and opened his office door and went out into the hall to see if someone needed help. He said that a man in a cream coat and black hat walked right past him and disappeared, and from what he told me about how he looked, it sounds like the same person.”
Cox also said that the elevator will leave the ground floor where it stays and go to the top floors, open its doors, and return to the ground floor when the building is closed and no one is riding the elevator. He also heard a loud tapping once when he was in his office speaking with two visitors. “It sounded like someone was climbing the stairs and was tapping their wedding band on the iron rail of the stairs in sync with their steps. I stepped out of the office four times to see who was there or what was going on, and each time I would go back in my office without having seen anything and it would start again,” Cox said.
Hendrix said he and his team would use techonological devices as they explored the building in the dark to try to pick up voices on recorders that can’t be explained and capture pictures on video and digital cameras.
SPARS is not the first group to explore the historic building, though; Cox said that several ghost hunting groups have investigated the Kennesaw House as he waited for them to finish into the early morning hours. “People read about the stories or see them on TV and want to come. I get a big kick out of meeting people from all over and am amazed with all the stuff they bring along,” Cox said. “I’ve never felt ill, cold, or threatened. I don’t try to provoke them or anything. Our ghosts, if that’s what they are, are friendly and I’d like to keep them that way.”
Mariettans love their history and they love their ghosts!