As the sun dips below the horizon and shadows lengthen across the charming streets of Eatonton, Georgia, a hidden world awakens, steeped in history and ghostly legends. At the heart of this small, historic town, where the past seamlessly intertwines with the present, lies a series of tales that will send shivers down your spine and pique your curiosity. From benevolent spirits to stern school principals who never quite left their classrooms, Eatonton’s paranormal history is as diverse as it is captivating.
When you arrive at Panola Hall, cast your gaze towards the second-story window. According to local legend, you just might see the ghost of Sylvia smiling back at you. Sylvia is a benevolent ghost that has haunted the halls of Panola Hall since the Civil War, and the reason why may surprise you.
Upstairs, in Panola Hall, young Sylvia is putting on her white hoop dress and rose perfume in preparation for her wedding. As her wedding music swelled up the stairs of Panola Hall, Sylvia stopped. You see, Sylvia was being forced to marry a man she did not love. In a spur of the moment decision, Sylvia decided to escape by climbing out of her window. Some say it was an escape to freedom, some say it was an escape to her true love.
Legend has it, as she climbed to her window, she fell into a large trunk that closed on her, perhaps knocking her unconscious. When her family came looking for her, they assumed she escaped through the window. Time passed, they boarded up the room, and Sylvia was never seen in her human form again.
Sylvia has become a beloved figure in Eatonton, even inspiring a supernaturally good coffee shop, Sylvia’s Coffee. Stop by Panola Hall and you might just get lucky enough to see the sweet and good natured ghost in the second story window.
The Plaza Performing Arts Center
Before it was an entertainment and arts center, the Plaza was the town’s elementary school, named the Eatonton School. The school principal was a man named Mr. Dickey, a strict leader with many rules. Mr. Dickey was so dedicated to his strict rules that he stuck around to continue enforcing them after his death.
Locals tell of times when Mr. Dickey’s picture was found in the middle of the room in his old classroom. Perhaps he wanted to make sure everyone knew he was still watching to make sure they behaved.
Today, the Plaza Performing Arts Center is home to entertainment and arts events as well as civic and social events. As you enjoy the shows and events there, make sure you sit up straight and pay attention, or perhaps Mr. Dickey will put a cold hand on your shoulder!
Featured on Ghost Hunters, Oakland Hall has quite the haunted history. Built in the 1800s, this private home with a wide front porch covered by a colonnade was home to a disabled young girl. Legend has it that she was locked away in this house by her own family.
Yet, according to local tales, this young girl’s spirit has found a way to soar beyond the boundaries that were placed on her. It is said that she has been heard playing in the home many times, turning this sad story upside down through her playful personality.
As you pass Oakland Hall, slow down and listen for the joyful sounds of a child laughing. Will it scare you or cheer you up? Do a drive past the Hall and find out for yourself.
Haunted Eatonton Ghost Tours
The best way to experience these haunted tales in Eatonton is through the Georgia Writers Museum’s Haunted Eatonton Ghost Tours. The Haunted Eatonton Ghost Tours are an approximately 2-hour walk through the heart of historic and haunted Eatonton. Tours begin after dark, when the town’s otherworldly residents are said to come alive, wandering among one of Georgia’s most architecturally renowned and picturesque historic districts in Middle Georgia. Ghost Tours are taking place on Saturday, October 28th and Monday, October 30th.