Outside of Civil War reenactments or driving down Moreland after dark, Atlanta doesn’t have much going on in the horror genre, unless of course you’ve been to Atlantic Station on a Friday night.
We’ve already covered some of the bloody past of Atlanta, but we decided to do a little more digging for the Halloween season. So if you want to stop stuffing your face with candy corn and learn something, here are 5 horrific facts about our fair city.
Air France Flight 007
On June 3rd, 1962, an Air France Charter flight was departing Paris’s Orly Airport en route to the United States. Unfortunately, the plane was unable to lift off due to a mechanical failure. 106 Atlantans were killed. The world was shocked as it was the worst single air disaster to date.
There’s a memorial to the plane crash in in front of the High Museum. It’s a Rodin sculpture called The Shade. The French government donated it to the city of Atlanta in 1968.
The Atlanta Ripper
In the spring of 1911, an African-American cook by the name of Belle Walker was found with her throat slit outside of her house. As two more bodies were found over the next couple of months the press came to the conclusion that there was a serial killer in Atlanta. They dubbed him the Atlanta Ripper.
By the end of the year the body count added up 15. The victims had all been women in their early 20′s that were either black or dark skinned. The police believed momentarily that they had captured the ripper when they arrested a man by the name of Charlie Owens who was a suspect in one of the murder cases. Unfortunately, while he was in custody the ripper struck again.
The killings went on until 1914 with the police arresting many suspects but never making any convictions.
The Potter’s Field
Scenic Oakland Cemetery is known for its famous historical residents Margaret Mitchell and Bobby Jones, its downright hugable monument to the dead Confederates and the annual zombie walk that appropriately launches from within its walls. However, it’s also home to one of the South’s largest mass graves. Over 17,000 people have been interred in the Potter’s Field, the low-lying grassy area in the cemetery’s northeast corner.
Most of the deceased were from poor families who couldn’t afford a single occupancy plot or were unfortunate enough to die in a fashion that left them too mangled to identify or who were such assholes in life that their relatives wouldn’t even go near their corpses. An excavation crew in the early 2000s, sent in to repair subterranean pipes in the area, unearthed layers upon layers of bones.
An American Werewolf in Georgia
In Talbot County (a little bit south of Atlanta), Georgia in the late 1800′s cattle and sheep were found slaughtered for sport and drained of their blood. Emily Isabelle Burt, an introvert who suffered from insomnia became the prime suspect due to her long walks through the fields at night. Because of her shaggy eyebrows, unkempt hair and supposedly pointed teeth the story goes that she was thought to suffer from Lycanthropy. In the late 1900s that was just referred to as bad hygiene.
Hoping to cure her of her ailment she was shipped off to Paris to be treated. While Emily was abroad the brutal death’s of the farm animals stopped, unless you count when they were brutally murdered to be eaten.
Atlanta Prison Farm
If you drive down Moreland Avenue past the drive-in and take back roads to a place where banjo music plays and every dirt yard has at least one wild-eyed dog chained to a post, you’ll find the remains of the Atlanta Prison Farm. Built in the early twentieth century, this low-security prison held skilled inmates who worked for the state as blacksmiths, farmers, carpenters, etc. However, the facility’s use was discontinued in the 70s and there were several fires in the following decades the the Atlanta Fire Department allowed to burn freely because there wasn’t much to save anyway. The place has now become a hot destination for would-be photographers of urban decay.
We decided to check it out for ourselves one Saturday and found the place overgrown with briars and kudzu. It’s completely covered in graffiti, and there are wild dogs running about freely. The place is now mostly used by gothy rednecks as a place to conduct animal sacrifices and pray to the heathen gods that the South will rise again. Apparently it is also haunted.