In Search of the Gravesite of the Werewolf of Georgia, Part Two
First things first. If you’re ever in the area and are thinking about seeking out the grave of Emily Isabella Burt for yourself, DON’T. Just don’t. For one thing, the grave is located on private property. I had permission to be there. Also, if you’re thinking you can find the cemetery where Ms. Burt is buried, you won’t. Trust me. You won’t. *I* had directions, good directions, relatively speaking, and it still took me several hours to locate it. In the process, I was almost mauled by a pack of country mutts and halfway eaten alive by mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, fire ants, and every other species of flying and crawling insect indigenous to Georgia and prone to biting. And then there are the locals. I saw signs where the landowner literally said that he would shoot anybody caught trespassing on his property. As it turned out, I probably WAS trespassing at some point, unintentionally. The point is, those folks ‘round those parts aren’t exactly welcoming towards strangers. (I DID meet one very nice gentleman who TRIED to offer me directions, but he would appear to be the exception rather than the rule, if one is to go by all the NO TRESPASSING signs posted, including the one with the gun and the threats.) Dogs, bugs, rednecks. And the fact that it took me HOURS to locate the grave, and that’s WITH directions to the site. Trust me on this one, peeps. Don’t try it. Let me do the heavy lifting for you.
And on that note…
The directions I was given included the phrase “turn down this old logging road.” The problem was, there were at least six passages that could by defined as “logging roads” in that three-mile area, with one being open to debate.
I trekked down three of those before chancing upon the right one, the one that LEAST resembled a logging road, or any other type of road. It barely qualified as a TRAIL and is totally impassable except on foot, and even then required some climbing of felled trees and negotiating of brier thickets.
(Did I mention that the heat index was 105 FREAKIN’ DEGREES that day? Never let it be said that your intrepid reporter isn’t willing to suffer to bring you the story!)
I entered the woods, and maybe a quarter-mile down the “road” I found this old building. It could have been a house, but to me it looked more like an old school or a church. (Back in the olden days, one building would have been used for both purposes, just like on LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE.)
After passing through the copse of trees, I came upon an open field. I don’t know what type of crops were planted, but there were some trees that I took to be fruit trees planted at regular intervals, tied to stakes for support. The screenshot of a map I had been provided showed the “logging road” as continuing on the opposite side of the field. By circumnavigating the latter, I found the path at what I would estimate to be the halfway point. Then there were more woods. More buzzing, biting bugs. And it was STILL a heavenly 105 degrees.
I was almost right up on the cemetery before I even realized it.
It is that grown-up. The woods are reclaiming it. I have to admit, the thrill I experienced when I saw that first marker through the branches of a mimosa made all the sweat and bug bites worth it.
The cemetery has a low wall around it, almost completely hidden by brush. I had to hop up on the wall, then lower myself down on the opposite side, which wasn’t easy to do considering how grown-up the graveyard was. At that point, I was no longer worried about insects. I was worried about snakes. I love snakes. I think they are beautiful. But I was a long way from my car, should I get bitten by one of the venomous variety.
“I’ll make a deal with you, snakes,” I said aloud. “I will try my best not to step on you if you will try your best not to bite me.” I never saw a snake, so I don’t know if there were any present to hear my offer or not.
After finding the cemetery and hopping the wall, I had a new fear. What if I had succeeded in finding the graveyard but wouldn’t be able to find the specific GRAVE? The cemetery appeared to be fairly large, and it was so overgrown that making my way through it would have been difficult in the extreme. Fortunately, Ms. Burt’s grave was located on the side of the cemetery I had entered. I found it within five minutes of commencing my search.
I removed my hat despite the blistering sun and stood for a moment in silence, my head bowed, to offer respects to the people buried there in that cemetery, and in recognition of a lady who may or may not have been a werewolf but was, according to verifiable sources, a nice lady who was well thought-of by her neighbors in her later years. It made me sad that she and the others were in this place, forgotten by the modern world. Upon reflection, though, I decided it was poetically perfect, and that she had not really been forgotten at all. After all, I was there, wasn’t I? Knowing that I would write this article describing my trip, and that you, all of you out there, would be reading it someday?
I’d like to think it would bring a smile to Ms. Burt’s face to know that she is remembered. Who knows, maybe she does, and maybe it does. I hope so.
Stay tuned for more on Emily Isabella Burt, the Werewolf of Georgia, in future posts!
P.S. I must offer my profound thanks to Denise Roffe of the Southeastern Institute of Paranormal Research for helping me secure permission to visit the site, and without whose assistance I would NEVER have found it. Despite being under the weather the day of my visit, Ms. Roffe made the extra effort to assist me by telephone. I am most appreciative.
P.S. (Again) I must not fail to comment on the serendipity of the name of the road I passed on my way to the site or the name of the county in which the site is located!
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!