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Sweet Tea & History: Haunting tales from ‘Seven Churches Road’

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 10:00 AM EDT
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NEWTON, Ga. (WALB) - Since it’s the week of Halloween when this episode goes live, I thought an episode on ghost stories would be absolutely perfect!

So, this week’s episode comes from Baker County, near Newton, on a road deemed by locals “Seven Churches Road.” And thanks to photographer Jessica McDaniel, I get to share some amazing photos from the area.

“It’s just a hobby of mine, sort of a historical preservation thing. That and I just generally like spooky stuff, it’s exhilarating, I’ve been to most ‘haunted’ places in the area, and a few that I feel probably were, and I’m not particularly superstitious!” Jessica told me.

It was a dirt access road that was off of Hardup Road in Albany years ago that has since grown over.

However, while the road may be gone, the ghost stories from it live on.

Before I go on, I must make it abundantly clear that the area that was Seven Churches Road is not only overgrown and gone but also, now privately owned. Anyone trespassing on the property could be arrested and charged with trespassing. The stories my guests told me for this episode were from years ago. No one should go out to that property without the expressed permission of those that own it both for safety and legal purposes.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s continue.

Let’s start with the ‘seven churches’ part. There were only ever four churches, however, according to one of this week’s guest hosts, WALB’s Foster Bamford, the story goes that you had to find other dirt paths off of the road to get to the other three churches. However, the ghost story continues with the fact that “Seven Churches Road” didn’t want you to finish it, so you would never be able to find all of the churches.

There is also a story about a Bible in one of the churches that if you attempted to remove it from the pulpit, it would get heavier and heavier as you approached the door. By the time you reached the exit, the book would be so heavy you wouldn’t be able to lift it anymore, making it impossible to remove from the church.

There is also a popular ghost story about a girl in white who Jessica said the story goes that she “wanders up and down the road, and you can hear wailing as you drive or walk along.”

There are several others about the area, but when you’re talking about old abandoned buildings, there usually is no shortage of ghost stories. And Hardup/Seven Churches Road is no exception.

“There are many ‘haunted’ places thought the Albany area, as well as legends of monsters and UFOs, all very interesting really,” said Jessica.

In fact, there is an author, Jim Miles, who has written several books about haunted areas in Georgia, including one about South Georgia that even has a chapter on Hardup/Seven Churches Road.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, sometimes it’s just fun to sit around and tell scary stories, which is essentially what this entire episode was about.

And while I touched on some of the more common ghost stories told, at least in my circle of friends, my guest hosts, Foster and his friend Derek Thornton, had their own creepy tales to tell from when they visited the area as teenagers.

However, Jessica told me her experiences were very different and far less eventful.

“You do get a sense of danger, like the hairs on the back of your neck prickling, but that’s been the extent of my experience,” said Jessica.

So, if you like ghost stories, just want to hear about a couple of kids getting scared in the woods or are just feeling the Halloween vibe, then take some time to listen to this week’s episode of Sweet Tea & History!

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