Chills and thrills: discover Atlanta’s haunted hotspots

The Atlanta History Center holds a Halloween event with Scary trails, games and food. Photos by Dayne Francis | The Signal

Disclaimer: The stories and encounters recounted in this article are based on folklore and witness experiences. Reader discretion is advised.

As October approaches, the city of Atlanta prepares to embrace its haunted history and ghostly legends. From eerie encounters to paranormal experiences, this month is the perfect time to delve into the spooky tales that have been passed down through generations.

Atlanta, known for its long history, holds a dark side that comes alive during October. Ghost stories and legends that captivate the imagination of those who dare to explore.

Haunted locations are scattered throughout the city, each with its own tale. From the Oakland Cemetery, said to be haunted by restless spirits, to the historic Ellis Hotel, rumored to be visited by a ghostly presence, Atlanta offers many locations for the brave-hearted.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, Atlanta’s haunted history is an intriguing aspect of the city’s identity. As Halloween approaches, take a step into the unknown and immerse yourself in the spooky tales that make Atlanta a destination for ghost enthusiasts alike.

  1. Oakland Cemetery:

One of the most “Thrillist” and “Creepiest” locations according to the AJC is the Oakland Cemetery, a historic landmark that holds a significant place in the city’s haunted history. With its sprawling grounds and tombstones, this cemetery has become a magnet for those seeking a glimpse into the paranormal.

Stepping foot into Oakland Cemetery is like entering another world, where time stands still and the presence of restless spirits lingers in the air. The cemetery’s history dates back to 1850 when it was established as a final resting place for Atlanta’s early settlers and prominent figures. Over the years, ghostly encounters and unexplained phenomena have turned this tranquil burial ground into a place of supernatural activity.

Despite its reputation as a haunted hotspot, Oakland Cemetery remains a place of reflection and remembrance for the city of Atlanta. Its beautifully landscaped gardens and historical significance attract visitors from near and far. 

2. The Ellis Hotel

This downtown hotel, with its storied past and intriguing history, has gained a reputation for being a hotspot of paranormal activity in Atlanta. From the moment you step through its doors, you can feel the palpable energy and sense of mystery that permeates the air. With each passing guest, the hotel’s ghostly encounters only serve to further cement its haunted reputation.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, December 7th, 1946, a fire broke out at The Ellis Hotel, which originally opened in 1913 as the Winecoff Hotel. The 15-story hotel, often advertised as ‘absolutely fireproof,’ was fully occupied at the time. The fire started in a third-floor corridor and rapidly spread throughout the building. Due to the lack of modern fire prevention measures and a single escape stairwell, the fire quickly trapped everyone above the third floor. The Atlanta Fire Department responded swiftly. However, the ladders could only reach a portion of the burning hotel.

Guests and hotel staff have cited tremendous paranormal activity. The building’s elevators have been known to act strangely and operate on their own accord. During the renovations into the Ellis Hotel, workers reported finding their tools moved or missing as well as hearing footsteps and voices coming from empty rooms. Many believe that the spirits of past guests or even former employees have chosen to make The Ellis Hotel their eternal home.

3. The Masquerade

The Masquerade is not just a popular music venue, but also a place shrouded in ghostly folklore and paranormal tales. With its vibrant atmosphere, The Masquerade has also become a hub for music enthusiasts.

According to the AJC, the building where the Masquerade Nightclub stands today was once that of the Dupre Excelsior Mill. It is believed that the building was built as early as 1890 by the Dupre Manufacturing Company. The mill was expanded after the Depression but after the Second World War the demand for Excelsior was reduced and by the 1960s there was no demand for Excelsior anymore. The mill was then transformed into a storage facility and by 1977 was shut down completely.

According to local legends, The Masquerade is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a former employee who met a tragic end on the premises. This haunting presence has left an eerie mark on the venue.

Numerous reports of ghostly encounters have been shared by those who have experienced the supernatural within the walls of The Masquerade. Some have claimed to feel an eerie presence as if they were being watched by unseen eyes. Others have reported hearing unexplained footsteps echoing through the corridors.