By Johnny Jackson
The Seasons Bistro co-owner Lynn Loggins said she has seen some interesting things happen at her restaurant during late hours of the night. Working alone at the back of the restaurant one night, Loggins noticed the chilling figure of a brunette woman clad in a burgundy velvet Victorian-era dress — a figure she said she could only see from the waist up but she could see right through. The occurrence, now, has her believing that her restaurant is haunted with 100-year-old spirits. “There have been too many things here, and people have told me that they believe it,” Loggins said. “I’ve had customers who have actually called me over (as they were eating) and asked, ‘Do you know that there’s a ghost in your bathroom?’” The restaurant’s facade, located just off McDonough’s historic downtown square, dates back to 1883. At one point in its history, the building was used as funeral pallor. Loggins’ story is one of several in downtown McDonough where store owners and patrons believe they’ve experienced paranormal activity. And her restaurant will be one of 10 stops along McDonough’s new “Ghost Tours” in downtown which begin in October.McDonough Hospitality and Tourism Director Leslie Chrysler said that the tours were long in coming with so many stories from locals of apparition-sightings and paranormal phenomena. “Since I’ve moved to Georgia, everybody’s been telling me about folklore and things about the downtown area,” she said. Chrysler recently called on the talents of McDonough resident John Quinn, a self-described ghost hunter and hobbyist historian, to conduct bus-driven tours through downtown McDonough. “Whenever John Quinn walks into my office, my lights flicker,” Chrysler said of her meetings with Quinn. Over the past seven years, Quinn has investigated paranormal activity in several McDonough establishments, many of which were built several decades ago like the century-old Planters Warehouse and Lumber building which currently houses the Bell, Book, and Candle bookstore. Whitney Asbury, who works at the bookstore, said that she was a skeptic until one rainy day a week ago she went to open the bookstore and found three small bare, wet footprints at the doorway.No one else was around to make the footprints and she, wearing shoes herself, had not entered through the door before she saw the footprints, she said. “It didn’t scare me,” Asbury said. “I thought it was interesting.” But those who work at Scarlett’s Retreat Day Spa on the other side of the McDonough Square say the occurrences in the 1826 Victorian building sometimes spark more chills than interest. Spa manager Karen Loner said she has heard the footsteps of a small child before. She said others have told her of strange occurrences, like slamming doors, after hours. Spa co-owner Annette Obanion is more skeptical than Loner.Obanion said she has yet to see or hear anything strange in the 190-year-old house. But she admits feeling what she called “outside energy” at times after hours. “There are certainly things that are unexplainable,” she said. “If we all believe there’s a next place to go, I believe that there is some energy here. Yes, we have energy here.” The McDonough Ghost Tours will be held on Saturdays in October from 7-8 and 8-9 p.m. The first tour on Oct. 7 is already booked full, said Tourism Director Chrysler.“This is our first pass at it and if they are successful we’ll start doing it year-round,” Chrysler said. “Eventually, I’d like to do Wednesday night ghost tours.” Tour reservations must be done in advance as space is limited, Chrysler said, adding that the tour had already filled before more tours were added during the month of October. Tours cost is $5 per person, which goes to pay for the tours, she said.Reservations can be made at the McDonough Welcome Center, located at 5 Griffin Street in McDonough, by calling (770) 898-9311 or (770) 898-3196. The start location of the tours has not yet been determined.