On a cold rainy day in December, Sweetums and I were driving through the mountains of North Georgia when we realized we were quite close to a site we’d always wanted to visit. The only problem was, the location was far off the beaten path and we had only rough directions. Still, we didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to visit one of the creepiest sites in all the South: The ruins of Corpsewood Manor.
Corpsewood was the site of two horrific murders in 1982, but that’s not how it came by its name. It was named by the two men who built the isolated makeshift castle and lived in it for five years before their untimely deaths. Charles Scudder and Joey Odom were a couple who came from very diverse backgrounds. Brock was a well-do-to, one-time professor, while West came from a poor background and had led a difficult life. The men decided to “drop out” of society and bought an isolated plot of land in the middle of the Chattahoochee National Forest.
They built their brick home by hand, living in tents until it was completed. The name, according to legend, came from the body of a dead horse that was on the property the day the men moved to the site.
When completed, the manor had a turret and moat and was quite primitive. It had no power or amenities. By all accounts, Scudder and Odom were happy out in the woods, despite the fact that the people of the nearby small town of Summerville, Ga., had little clue what to make of them. Rumors swirled that the men were having wild sex parties and performing Satanic rituals, tales that turned out to be true. Still, the men weren’t harming anyone with their peculiar behavior and mostly stayed to themselves … until they made the mistake of inviting a local man to one of their parties.
I had just read a book on the incident, “The Corpsewood Manor Murders in North Georgia” by Amy Petulla, and was curious if any of the ruins of the castle remained. Sweetums and I took one route to try to find the spot on the map, turning down roads that grew narrower and more rugged the farther we went. Finally, we came to a one-lane dirt road that twisted around the mountain and out of sight. But a few feet from our car the road was flooded. So we turned around and, determined, tried to come in from the other side of the mountain. We encountered the same problems. I have to admit, the area grew increasingly spooky the closer we came to the site, although that could have been the effect of the gloomy day and creepy stories of the murder. We had no choice but to give up for the day.
Check back Monday for part 2 of this story….