Skip Haunted Houses and Explore These Eerie Abandoned Places in Atlanta Instead
Enter if you dare.
Whether you’re superstitious or not, Georgia is home to some of the creepiest spots in the country. Between old nuclear testing grounds, abandoned prisons, and old roadside signs, there are plenty of places that will give you goosebumps if you dare explore them. Sure, these spots aren’t necessarily haunted, but there’s a good chance something creepy is lurking around the hallowed halls. And doesn't the mystery make it that much scarier? To celebrate Halloween in Atlanta, take a trip to experience these eerily abandoned places and havens for paranormal activity—just know you'll leave with a racing heart and sweaty palms.
The New Manchester Mill Ruins
Located at Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs, the New Manchester Manufacturing Company Mill was built in the late 1840s, and at one point made uniforms for the Confederate army—until Union soldiers burned it down in 1864. Now, all that remains of this former textile mill are the walls and its run, which makes for the perfect site if you’re feeling like Indiana Jones. In 2017, the ruins reopened back to the public and is only a short hike from the SCSP parking area. Be sure to check out the ruins’ downstream water just off the Red Trail.
Constructed in 1894, Harville House has become legendary for its rumors of paranormal activity. A second story was added to this house 10 years after it was built, giving it a total of 14 rooms. You would love a home this big if it wasn’t overtaken by massive shrubbery and lots of hideouts for ghosts. Now considered a landmark in Bulloch County, much of the site has been cleaned up—but it’s privately private property, so it's suggested that you only take photos from the road.
This Cumberland Island mansion went through a series of changes since being built in the 1730s. After a big fire in 1959, it lost its luster. Previously owned by powerful families like the Carnegies and the Dungeons, currently, only the ruins remain. Still, the mansion is still one of the most visited places in the state of Georgia. You can explore the house and other buildings on the grounds on your own, or you can do a guided tour for the full experience.
Scull Shoals Mill Ruins
If you’re a believer in bad juju, this place will surely give you a scare. Located on the Oconee River, the land was once occupied by the Cherokee tribe. It later became Georgia’s first paper mill before a big flood in the 1800s made it practically unsustainable. It was sold to the feds in the 1930s, and today, only a few of the warehouse’s walls still remain, along with the wooden covered toll bridge. It definitely gives off some Sleepy Hollow vibes, so make sure you tread lightly.
Atlanta Prison Farm
The Honor Farm, as it is also known, is an abandoned prison where incarcerated people would grow produce for the region’s prison system. Throughout its history, the facility has suffered from multiple fires, but the walls have since been covered in colorful graffiti by the dozens of artists that have traveled here in recent years. It’s been “closed” since 1995, and to be honest, it’s the perfect place to shoot a music video or traditional horror flick.
The Horton House
James Oglethorpe, who “founded” Georgia but was British, had a colonial buddy named William Horton who he trusted with military leadership back when they were settling the land. Horton had a two-story building created of tabby (basically a concrete-ish substance made with oyster shells), and the place is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the state. A few hundred yards away you can find another structure Horton built—Georgia’s first brewery, which he used to supply beer for soldiers.
Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory
Back in the day, the military was thinking of building a nuclear-powered airplane. Fortunately, they were smart enough to test it, but unfortunately, they did it in a building in the middle of Dawson Forest and built underground bunkers where white-coated dudes would run after activating the nuclear reactor so they could see what happened. The lab was shut down in the ‘70s, with some of its remnants—which include a train house and a gnarly reactor—still very much intact.
Woody’s General Store
One of the last buildings still upright in the gold-mining ghost town of Auraria, just south of Tennessee, this place sold goods to the miners who discovered more than $20 million worth of shiny metal during the rush of the 1820s around Dahlonega. Apparently if you look inside there are still old soda bottles stacked on the shelves. You can tell via the old Coca-Cola sign that they weren’t having any of that New Coke crap around them there hills.
Georgia Girl Drive-In
This old sign from a defunct diner can still be found on US Highway 17 along the coast in Woodbine. Still an attention-grabber even after being abandoned for so many years, the inside has pretty much been gutted, with a few random objects and materials still remaining.