Legend Has It: The Curse of Lake Lanier

The Lake

          Lake Lanier is a manmade lake in Georgia. It was created as a result of the Buford Dam, which sits on the Chattahoochee River. Lake Lanier is also fed by the Chestatee River. As the story goes, the lake expanded beyond expectations and the spread of the water could not be controlled. This led to the water swallowing whatever was in its path – including businesses and towns. The skeletons of these buildings still rest beneath the water to this day. It’s unknown just how many deaths the rampage of the lake caused, but there absolutely were casualties.
          Today, Lake Lanier is a popular spot for scuba diving, boating, and other general outdoor recreation. The water is clear and the ghost town at the bottom of the lake is a huge attraction. And, of course, where there are people, there are accidents. Deaths, maiming, disappearances – there are numerous accounts of misfortune on Lake Lanier, leading some to posit that it’s been cursed.

(Lake Lanier from above.
via The Gainesville Times)

The Curse

          Before we get into the purported causes of the curse, let’s look at the phenomena that are an alleged result of it. First, there are reports of spirits bound to the Lake. The first is known as the Lady of the Lake. She is often seen without hands, though no one is sure why. Her individual legend has been traced to the death of Susie Roberts, who died when she lost control of her car and drove off of a bridge. A year after her crash, her passenger’s body was found…but Susie Roberts’s remains have never been located. Or so the story goes. The second specter is oftentimes referred to as a Ghost Raft – an unmanned and often-disappearing craft seen by many.
          As stated earlier in the post, there have been a concerning amount of deaths on and in Lake Lanier. The Department of Natural Resources have reported that over 160 people have died on the lake since 1994. Most of the deaths were the result of drowning, though some were a result of scuba diving or boating accidents. Individuals who met their fate on the water are often found miles away from where they supposedly drowned, inexplicably. This is to be expected on a popular body of water, but things really get weird when we take a look at people who had near-drowning incidents on the Lake. These individuals report the feeling of hands on them and the sensation of their limbs being pulled deeper into the water. Like something was pulling them under, towards the ghost town. There have also reportedly been a number of disappearances on the lake, though I was unable to find any specific cases.
          In my research I’ve come across two main theories for why Lake Lanier attracts so much negative phenomena – and really, they could both be true as they are closely affiliated. The first theory is that the upheaval of so many lives, caused by the rapid and unplanned growth of the Lake, cursed the land. The second theory also has to do with the upheaval, but in a more sinister way. Graveyards and cemeteries in its path were washed away – meaning bodies were displaced, resting places disturbed. And we all know what supposedly happens when an eternal rest is interrupted.

(The remnants of a washed-away building below the surface of Lake Lanier.
via Only In Your State)

Fact or Fiction?

           So – is this curse likely to be real? I’m going to have to go with no. I do believe that there may be spirits bound to the lake – either because their resting place was destroyed or they died on the water – but I don’t really see any compelling proof that the land calls people to their deaths. To me, the negative effects seem to be the result of it being a gathering place for people. And people are apt to do stupid things.


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