"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

This curious little tale of a haunted park appeared in the “Atlanta Georgian,” May 25, 1912:

So many witches and ghosts flit and moan about and generally haunt Springvale park that T.L. Bond, of the Atlanta park commission, has today seriously advised his colleagues to drain the lake, plow up that stretch of land and sow it with salt to drive away the evil spirits, while W.L. Percy and J.H. Porter head petitioners who want the lake made over into a sunken garden. Perhaps the board will adopt Mr. Bond's suggestion. Anyway, its members are investigating his emphatic claim that hobgoblins can’t abide a salted field and if their probe shows that ghosts do really cavort o’ nights about that park, as many folk thereabouts avow, nobody need wonder at seeing a plowman plodding his way through one of the fairest strips of land in all Atlanta, nor marvel if, suddenly, the saline trust increases its prices.

Up to that time some years ago when a very good looking young woman hung herself to a tree that overhung its mirroring lake, Springvale park was one of the most loved recreation spots in Georgia. Nestling in the heart of Inman Park, it smiled up at the lording terraces at its sides and flowers laughed out from the grass that mantled its bosom. Down in the vale a clear, cool lakelet rippled in the sunbeams between the weeping willows that fringe its banks, and it was all so beautiful that bevies of little children played there all day along with squirrels and the birds of many brilliant hues. By daylight Springvale park seemed veritably the haunt of all the good fairies.

Then the girl came there, despondent, and killed herself above the lake, and after her came the ghosts and ghouls. It is still quite well remembered that she was a poor girl who had journeyed to Atlanta from some outlying town in a desperate hope that she would find work here and a chance to earn the honorable living that she craved. She found no work, and after many days when the last of her money was gone she made her way one evening to the dark pond of water in the heart of Springvale and took the life that she thought hopeless.

Next day, when they found her swinging from the tree limb, quite dead, frightened children who hovered fearfully about cried out that they saw her phantom floating in the lakelet beneath the tree.

Of course, that was the shadow of the girl's body cast upon the water, but it was terrible enough for little ones, and for weeks after that no children went to play in the park. Then residents of the Inman Park district caught the morbid infection. Many said they heard the whippoorwill singing in the park at dusk and that its cry sounded like the wail of a spirit damned. One or two, more timorous, began to tell about that those cries were not the whippoorwill's calls at all, but the plaints of ghosts that might be seen flitting dimly about above the shrubbery through the late hours on all dark nights.

The more practical residents thereabout laughed these tales to scorn, but they also had their complaint, and they took it to the park commission with a demand that the Springvale lake be drained to rid it of its suddenly acquired pest of frogs. The park board didn't drain it. They took the word of Joel Hurt, who built Inman Park, that there weren’t enough frogs to speak of. When Hurt, backed by Major Guinn, offered $1 for every wiggletail found in the lake the commissioners declined to investigate further any claim that Springvale reeks with pests. The board also accepted Mr. Hurt’s denial of another claim that mosquitoes had appeared. The sanitary commission did take action. It put oil on the lake surface to drive away the frogs, and for a time things were a bit more quiet. But a little later Inman Park residents began to see strange men lurking in the shadows. A burglary epidemic happened around there about that time, and those who weren't superstitious joined the police in the belief that that park had become a rendezvous for tramps.

But the ghost stories would not down. They have gained such credence among certain folk in that vicinity that children do not play as much in Springvale, even by day, as they used to before the despondent girl hanged herself to the tree there. The residents' disagree about the visitations, but complaints recur, and they have forced the matter up to the park board again, with the renewed demand that something strenuous be done to rid the place of the nuisances—whether they are ghostly or things in nature. Sorely puzzled, the commissioners have been casting about for a solution of the problem for weeks.

While they consider Mr. Bond's plan for a salt sowing they are also giving heed to a petition headed by W.L. Percy and J.H. Porter urging that the lake be drained and made over into a sunken garden. But Mr. Bond insists that the complaints of the superstitious will never be stopped until the saline sesame is employed, and more than one of the commissioners think the scheme, however silly, might not be a bad plan by way of winning the board some peace of mind.

Springvale Park still exists, but, thankfully, any ghosts it may once have had seem to be long gone. Maybe it was the salt.


  1. A sad tale, if she s no longer there I hope her spirit is at peace

  2. Salt is an enemy to the supernatural - but I would rather hope the girl's spirit was never in the park, and was always where she deserved to be.


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