Blog Post

The murders of devil worshippers at Corpsewood Manor

This is the second part of my story about the murders of Corpsewood Manor in Georgia. Click here to read Part 1.

As many times as I’d heard about the Corpsewood Manor murders – I’d even watched a true crime show on TV about them – I’d never heard the full details of the trial and the backstories of the men accused of the horrific crimes. The killers were Kenneth Avery Brock, he used his first name at times and his middle name at others, and Tony West. Brock had drawn the conclusion that Scudder and Odom had lots of money stashed in the castle, which wasn’t true. The antiques in the manor, however, were quite valuable, although Brock had no idea. He was only 17 in December of 1982 when he committed the murders and had an abusive childhood, according to Amy Petulla in her book: “The Corpsewood Manor Murders in North Georgia.” Like other teens in the area, he’d heard Scudder and Odom were devil worshippers but that they were “free with sharing their wine, and according to some, drugs,” Petulla wrote. Scudder made his own muscadine wine.

I also was initially unsure whether the claims of devil worship were true but Petulla discovered Scudder was a card-carrying member of the Satanic Church. His interest  likely stemmed more from curiosity than beliefs, although the castle was filled with numerous satanic artworks and symbols, including a gargoyle that decorated the entrance tower.

There were many creepy twists to the crimes, including, according to ChurchofSatan.com, “Earlier on the day of his death, Dr. Scudder had been playing his harp, and had used a battery-powered portable stereo to record himself playing and reciting the words to William Blake’s “The Tyger.” It was to be a gift for a friend. As the perpetrators ransacked the house, they’d mistakenly hit “play” on the stereo and in a twist of fate suitable only for a horror movie or film noir, Dr. Scudder’s sonorous voice boomed out a soundtrack to this awful crime.”

You can listen to part of the tape on this website.

ScudderPainting
Charles Scudder’s eerie self-portrait seemed to foreshadow his brutal murder.

Some believe Scudder had a premonition of his death. Blogger Ken Sommers wrote: “Months before the incident, Charles Scudder painted a self-portrait that implies he may have had a premonition of his own death. In the painting, Scudder was gagged and had five bullet wounds.” His body was discovered in nearly identical condition.

The culprits, Brock and West, were convicted and are serving life terms in prison. Brock is now 53 years old. See an updated mug shot from Coffee Correctional Facility here. West is now 66. See his mug shot from Wilcox State Prison here. If you’re interested in the case, I recommend Petulla’s book, which is filled with details of the crimes as well as the lives of the victims and the killers.

If you plan to go to see the ruins, remember they are located on private property so you visit at your own risk. Not much is left, reportedly. I plan to try again at some point to visit the site, mainly because I was fascinated by the castle and ruins and not because of the macabre history of the site.

Atlas Obscura gives detailed directions here. But take my advice and don’t go when it has been raining for a few days or the roads will be flooded.

corpsewood interior
A crime scene photo shows the interior of the spartan castle.

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