Thanks for joining me for the conclusion of Spooky Surrency, and spooky it is!
If you've been following my blog for the past couple entries (and if not, shame on you! ;) then you know that I'm referring to the town of Surrency, in Baxley, Georgia. And being that I live just a hop, skip & a jump from Baxley (not to mention the fact that I'm a sincere ghost-enthusiast) I've heard quite a bit of "front-porch talk" about the mysterious events that have taken place in & around Surrency over the course of my life.
I still like to do my homework though, so I've posted an eye-witness account below, from a man who's experienced the Surrency ghost up close and personal.
So come and set a spell y'all...pull ya up a rockin' chair or park yourself here on the porch swing...kick your shoes off, grab a cold ice tea and get comfy, while we explore the strange & spooky world of Surrency, way down south in the thick Georgia pines...
From Augusta Chronical Columnist, Randall Floyd, a chilling tale told by lifelong Baxley resident, Mr. Herschel Tillman: (Originally created 05/10/98)
"Georgia haunted house was world-famous"
Herschel Tillman was only 8 the first time his daddy took him to see the ghost.
"It was on a Sunday, right after church," the 85-year-old retired postal carrier recalled in an interview. "My daddy drove us out to the old Surrency house in an old buggy. We went inside and saw and heard things not of this world." Some of those things included a clock that chimed 13 times, then spun mysteriously backwards, boots that marched around the room, plates and cups that jumped off tables and soared through the air and an eerie, scratching sound that seemed to come from within the old walls.
The biggest shock came when a shower of "hot bricks" fell onto the front porch from out of nowhere.
"That place was haunted. There's no two ways about it," Mr. Tillman concluded. "There must have been at least a dozen ghosts inside the Surrency house."
The rambling, two-story structure that once served as a railroad hotel in the tiny town of Surrency in south Georgia's Appling County was reputed to be the most haunted house in America. In its heyday, from 1885 to 1925, some 20,000 curiosity-seekers, including newspaper reporters, clergymen and scientists, flocked there to observe the strange goings-on.
After watching several ink bottles leap from a table and listening to unearthly screams inside a bedroom, a reporter from the Savannah Morning News wrote: "The whole house is clothed in darkness and . . . bears the spirit of the supernatural."
That same reporter said he watched the hands on a clock "move around with exceeding rapid motion. . . . It would pause and strike oddly, and this went on for 17 minutes."
A reporter from The Atlanta Constitution said that logs kept rolling out of the fireplace and that books mysteriously fell off shelves. The reporter fled the house when several hogs and chickens suddenly appeared in the living room from out of nowhere.
Stories about the Surrency haunting appeared in newspapers as far away as Russia and Greece. Dozens of books were written about it.
Phillip Dukes, who ran a local grocery store, remembers stories handed down by his grandmother about the house. "She used to spend the night there often because she was Mrs. Surrency's sister. A lot of times when she put her shoes under her bed at night, she'd wake up next morning and find them out in the hallway. That happened so many times she came to expect it every night."
According to the late Rev. Henry Tillman, the supernatural forces haunting the Surrency house rarely disappointed visitors. The Rev. Tillman said his father often described how objects in the house would dance on the table at mealtimes, bedcovers would roll up and down at night, and glowing red eyes would hover over the railroad tracks directly in front of the house.
"My daddy was one of the most honest men who ever lived," Mr. Tillman said. "When he said he saw those things, he really saw them."
Eager to rid their home of their unnatural guests, the Surrency family -- for whom the town is named -- sought the help of scientists, ministers, mediums and psychics. But efforts to drive away the ghost -- or ghosts -- were unsuccessful. If anything, they seemed to make matters worse. Windows suddenly began to shatter at random, doors refused to stay closed -- even when locked -- and scissors and irons flew across rooms.
Tradition has it that a murder was behind the Surrency haunting. One story says that a railroad worker was killed outside the home and that his spirit plagued the house and its occupants until the house went up in flames in 1925.
Another version holds that owner Allen Surrency was rumored to be in league with the devil. One witness recounted how Mr. Surrency once demonstrated his arcane powers by running a stick completely through his hand without spilling a drop of blood.
According to tradition, the ghost -- or ghosts -- continued to torment the Surrency family long after they moved to another home.
"That thing haunted Old Man Surrency until the day he died," said one old-timer. "But when he was buried, the haunting stopped."
Well folks...in conclusion, I just have to say that there are some things in this world that we may never understand, and I believe Surrency, Georgia is one of those things. We may get closer to the truth, but who really knows for sure what caused the crazy disturbances in that town? Scientists and researchers of many kind are still searching for the answers. It's not just the ghosts and the spook light that fascinate them, but the geological differences as well. Surrency has made them have to re-think the way they thought the earth worked. And one thing is certain...it's sure keepin' them on their toes, whether they're studying a seismic graph...or runnin' from a spook light! ;)
Till next time...this is lil Queenie saying... "Stay safe and keep those night lights burnin' bright!"