Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ghost of Allatoona Pass - A Georgia Ghost Story

Railroad near Allatoona Pass
With October here and Halloween approaching, I thought you might enjoy an interesting little Georgia ghost story. It developed along the railroad between Atlanta and Chattanooga in the latter half of the 19th century.
The story first surfaced in 1872, when Georgia newspapers wrote of a mysterious "rider" on trains making their way between Allatoona Pass (near Cartersville) and the crossing at Tilton (near Dalton). Employees on the Western & Atlantic (W&A) Railroad would look back along the tops of the trains and see a strange man sitting up there:

Deep Cut in the 19th Century
...This individual appears suddenly on top of the freight cars, takes a seat and remains there for many miles, then the unknown brakesman disappears. Conductors, seeing him, have often gone out to collect his fare, but on nearing him, he would vanish like mist. - Atlanta Journal, December 1872.

The spectre was often spotted as the train made its way through the "Deep Cut" at Allatoona Pass. Other times he would disappear when then trains reached that point.  This prompted some speculation that he was the ghost of a soldier killed there during the Civil War.

The Deep Cut Today
The "Deep Cut" was the scene of the Battle of Allatoona Pass, fought for control of the vital railroad choke point on October 5, 1864. Confederate forces under General Samuel G. French tried to storm the Union forts built to protect the pass. The Federal troops could not be dislodged, despite a bloody battle that left more than 1,600 men killed, wounded or captured.  The fight inspired the famed Christian hymn, "Hold the Fort."

The connection between the ghost and Allatoona Pass prompted much speculation that he might have been killed there during the battle.

So common did his appearance on the trains become for a time, that a bold engineer decided to get to the bottom of the mystery. To read what happened in his 19th century "Ghostbusting" effort, please visit

You can read more about the Battle of Allatoona Pass at

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