The Curse of the Haunted Pillar - Augusta, Georgia
N 33° 28.366 W 081° 57.537
17S E 410898 N 3704111
Quick Description: Is there really a curse on this 8-foot tall hunk of concrete in Augusta, GA? Touch it for yourself and get back to us about what happens to you.
Location: Georgia, United States
Date Posted: 6/9/2009 7:08:26 PM
Waymark Code: WM6JAG
Motorists and pedestrians who pass the corner of Fifth and Broad Streets in downtown Augusta invariably notice the lone column standing on the southwestern corner. The artifact, two feet in diameter and ten feet in height, is composed of brick covered with concrete. It is the "Haunted Pillar," and there are many who believe death awaits any who touch it. Eerie events are said to occur around it.
The pillar is all that remains of the Market, two large sheds about two hundred feet long and one hundred feet wide that once occupied the center of Broad Street from 1830 until 1878. Known as the Upper and Lower Markets, the citizens of Augusta flocked there daily to purchase food from farmers, grocers, and butchers.
In the late 1800s an itinerant evangelist visited the city (although a less-authoritative source lists the year as 1829). The eccentric preacher was described as an elderly, white-haired, stately looking man whose clear voice was ''incisive even to the piercing of the human heart," one witness declared. It is variously argued that no church would host his services or that he disdained them. Again, the story varies, that he preached in the Lower Market for some time or that the managers refused him permission to speak or that he was run out of town by disbelievers. Whatever the circumstances, this Old Testament-style speaker proclaimed that a storm would soon destroy the Market, either for his being denied permission to speak there, or to punish the people of Augusta for their transgressions, or simply to prove that he was a prophet of God. Only the southwestern column would survive the storm, the preacher declared, and anyone who attempted to move it would be killed.
The prediction/curse came to fruition at 1:10 A.M. on February 8, 1878, when a tornado touched down in Augusta. It remained on the ground for half a mile, tearing a two-hundred-foot-wide swath through Augusta from Ellis to Market. Two people were killed and several houses were knocked down. The Lower Market was "totally destroyed," noted the Augusta Chronicle & Constitutionalist, leaving "a mass of ruins, timbers broken, and masonry piled in utter confusion." It was reported that the Market bell rang a single time before the destruction commenced.
Perhaps prophecy was fulfilled, but in reality the curse did not kick in until later, for the city council elected to rebuild the Market on its original site. The surviving pillar was carefully moved to the corner of Fifth and Broad, which is where the legend of its being haunted/cursed began.
Reportedly, when the street was widened, two workmen who attempted to move the pillar were struck by lightning or otherwise caused to die. Another version has a bulldozer operator dying of a heart attack while advancing against the pillar. However, a man who managed a liquor store across the street for fifty years denied the story, saying the pillar had "been moved (without injury to workers) several times because it was too close to the street."
It does seem at least to be haunted. Late at night visitors near the column have reported hearing whispered conversations between phantoms and the footsteps of invisible beings pacing alongside them. When contacted by a reporter on the Halloween beat, local police revealed that eleven traffic accidents had occurred at the intersection between January and October one year, so perhaps the pillar has an effect on cars or their operators--or perhaps careless drivers eyeing the column caused their own accidents. The pillar seems to attract its own bad luck--it twice has been struck by lightning and been hit by an errant car.
The pillar remains a great tourist draw in the historic city, attracting individuals, buses, and walking tours. At times it seems to receive more publicity than the Masters Golf Tournament. On December 12, 1996, the Haunted Pillar received its own historical marker.
Touch it for yourself and let us know how it turns out...if you dare.
Website Source: [Web Link]
What's the Real Story?: Not listed
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