Ghostly images were evoked Friday on a cold, damp night on the campus of Brenau University.
From an Indian chief who died on an uncompleted journey to a suicidal student, from tornado casualties to ethereal children, the Fifth Annual Northeast Georgia History Center Ghost Walk offered myriad tales of the strange and mysterious for those who braved the weather.
Six storytellers spun their yarns with hushed tones and dramatic pauses, at times leaving some of the tales up to the imagination of their listeners. Was there evidence of ghosts at the 1900-era Wages House when objects turned up out of place?
"I’m not going to speculate — I’ll leave this up to you," speaker Linda Martin said ominously.
Scott Fugate, as "Joe the newspaper guy," a hardscrabble reporter from New York, challenged his audience’s disbelief in ghosts as he told of what went on in an old mill hit hard by the tornado of 1903.
As all the other stories, Fugate’s tale was rooted in fact, drawing on Gainesville’s history of modern-day folklore.
Kathy Amos, one of the principal figures behind the Ghost Walk, said that’s the appeal of the event for the several hundred people who take the tour each year.
"I think what they like is it’s not just about jumping out and scaring you," Amos said. "Every story we tell has some basis in fact, and I think that intrigues them."
Amos said the walk has attracted all types — "non-believer just out for a night’s entertainment to the skeptical-but-maybes who want some kind of validation."
Laura Johnson of Alpharetta took the tour with her family to celebrate her 13th birthday. She thought the final stop at the Adams House was the best.
"I liked it," she said. "I like scary things."
Said Amos, "I think everybody wants to be scared."