The Spirits at the Jones-Leibel House
Spoons laid out perfectly in a line on the floor, ornaments flying across the room, and objects like wine glasses being pushed off the shelves are just some of the many incidences that happen in The Jones-Leibel House.
In the small public square of Dahlonega stands a tan and brown Victorian-style house; it is called The Jones-Leibel House. Formerly known as the Jones-Conner House and the Conner House, the building was constructed in 1885 by Dr. Charles Hammond Jones, a young physician and two-term mayor of Dahlonega. Dr. Jones lived in the house and practiced medicine until his death. After his passing the house remained with the Jones family until 1973 when it was bought by the retired Air Force Colonel Frank R. Tiller Jr.
Within two years, Col. Tiller re-roofed, repainted, installed new floors and provided new screens for subletting the house. Meanwhile, tenants moved in and out, operating shops to appeal to tourists. Glenn D. Conner soon discovered that Col. Tiller was selling the house, but only to someone who would promise to keep and maintain the house and the trees surrounding it. That was when he decided to buy the house back from Col. Tiller in January of 1980. Since he bought the house, Conner refurbished it by installing a heating system, digging out a cellar, refitted doors, re-plumbed and rewired the house, all while keeping the house in its original Victorian image. The house has since then been purchased and recently refurbished again by Steve Leibel, a local attorney of Leibel Law.
Of course, with The Jones-Leibel House sitting in Dahlonega, you would not be surprised if there were any spooky ghost stories surrounding the building. Penny and Jeremy Sharp manage Dahlonega Walking Tours, a tour site where locals and visitors are able to experience the town through historic ghost walks, food and wine tours and much more. With their tours, we have collected a few stories surrounding the house; the first story actually revolves around the founder of the house, Dr. C.H. Jones. Penny told me a few years ago, a clairvoyant had visited the house once and mentioned that she had seen a man with a beard walking around. He paid no attention to anyone and no one paid any attention to him. She immediately knew he wasn’t human. As soon as she was about to approach the ghost, he looked her way and vanished. Since the discovery of his spirit, shop owners and Penny have tried to figure out who this ghost was. After connecting some dots, many believe that the man walking around is Dr. C.H. Jones himself. Another story is that on one of the windows downstairs, there are letters carved as “C N Jones” in the handwriting of a child; when the house was refurbished the windows had been replaced, but only a few days later the initials had reappeared. It’s been said that the initials stand for Dr. Jones’ son who had passed away, though many do not know what his actual name was.
While Penny showed me The Jones-Leibel House one day, I was able to meet a few of the shop owners inside of house. Each tenant had their own ghost encounter. One ghost I was told about is Joseph. Joseph was between the tender ages of eight and twelve, and a mischievous little boy he was. Shop owners first discovered him when they noticed some patterns happening in the house. It was a regular weekday when one shop owner was setting some of her art pieces for display on a counter. After she walked away, she heard a thud on the floor. Turning around, she saw that one of her art pieces had fallen. That was odd, she wondered, since she knew she had just placed that one on the counter far away from the edge. But without much contemplation on the incident, she picked it up and continued her work. A few days later, she noticed another odd activity. When she was fixing a frame on the wall and had walked away, she heard a crash; the frame had fallen off of the nail. She was puzzled at first but figured it was just a fault in the string, so she placed it back where it was and continued her work. A few weeks had passed, and she was saying goodbye to some customers. About a minute or two later, she heard light but fast footsteps going down the stairs. Someone was in a hurry. She thought maybe it was a customer who was left behind and was trying to catch up to their group, but after 30 seconds, no one had appeared. “Hello?”, she called out. No answer. Then right in front of her eyes, she saw one of her art pieces fall off the counter. She knew a little ghost had made his presence known.
Aside from Joseph, Annie also lives in the house. Annie is a little ghost who likes to lurk in one of the shops. She was first noticed when a couple of customers took a photo one day and saw a shadow in the corner. Spooked, but intrigued, they studied the photo a little more and were able to make out the outline of a young girl. Since Annie’s appearance, in one of the shops which used to be an antique store featuring porcelain dolls, every night when the shop-owner would lock up, he made sure all the dolls would be facing front, but when he returned the next morning, the would all be facing downward. He noticed this happening every day. It appears Annie may have been playing with the dolls each night. I asked where Annie came from and it’s believed that she moved in from next door when the building was torn down. With nowhere else to go, Annie wandered to the closest place... the Jones-Leibel House.
With the profound history and all the ghosts surrounding the house, on January 11, 2018, the Dahlonega Walking Tours partnered with the Dahlonega Paranormal Investigator to conduct an investigation. Hollie Abston, a psychic and the lead paranormal investigator and her son Dylen Prince operated the investigation to which she describes that night as “very active” due to a very negative entity in the attic though she was not sure who, or what it was.
The day before Hollie mentioned to one of the shop owners that she had the impression of a presence in the house by the name of Adam. Hollie was right. Adam did live in the house and his discovery is chilling. I was told that there used to be a shop in the building that now houses the "19 North" restaurant, and the ladies who worked at the bar hated using their restroom at night. This was because one night when one young lady went to use the women’s restroom she suddenly felt uncomfortable so she quickly flushed the toilet and washed her hands, and as soon as she turned her head to towards the window a chill went down her spine and the hairs on her arm stood because she saw a young boy with a pale face and dark sunken eyes staring right back at her. Screaming, she ran from the restroom to alert the others that a boy with a bowl cut hair had been watching her use the restroom. Since then, no one was able to catch whoever the boy was. It was then believed that the boy was a ghost based on his appearance and the fact that the restroom was on the second floor. Other incidents like this would keep occurring to where women would stop using the lady’s restroom at night for the fear of the young boy peeping in on them.
19 North is still in the house, and so is Adam. Hollie began the investigation with a voice box to communicate with whatever was present, she asked, “What spirits are in the room?”. There was silence for a minute and then a small voice replied “Adam”. There was a gasp of shock and surprise by the crowd. “How old are you?” asked Hollie. Another minute of silence passed, and finally “Seven”, he said. Hollie proposed another question, and everyone waited for an answer, but Adam would no longer cooperate.
As the night progressed, Hollie and Dylen decided they would like to see what was upstairs in the attic. Since Hollie had sensed a dark energy from above, they advanced up the stairs, however, as Dylen went up step by step, he felt a sudden push and fell a couple steps down. This was dangerous because the stairs didn’t have rails, so should he fall, he could have fallen off the side and onto the floor; that was enough for him to leave. Whatever was up there did not want company and was willing to do harm to anyone to dared approach it. I asked Hollie what exactly this dark energy was and where it came from and she believes the attic carries dark energy due to negative emotions; as it adds up, it grows larger and stronger. It’s a mystery, but it’s even more mysterious with what happened the next day. Hollie received a photo from one of the shop owners. It was one of the doors under the attic with a sign on it saying “private” which seemed to have been ripped off from its hinges. Perhaps the dark energy was trying to communicate something.
These are just some of the several stories we have heard about The Jones-Leibel House, but if you were to ask anyone from the Dahlonega Walking Tours, any shop-owner or even any local, everyone would tell you the house is haunted for sure. To find out more about the Jones-Leibel House or any other haunted sights in Dahlonega, join us on one of our ghost tours!
Why is Dahlonega So Haunted?
By Alexis Walker
Nestled in the lower reach of the North Georgia Appalachian Mountains, you will find a little town by the name of Dahlonega. Found in the center of Lumpkin County, Dahlonega harbors a quaint ambiance and a community thriving on its inimitable closeness. However, its small size and overall charm can be deceiving as Dahlonega has been home to some of the most historical events in all of southern America. As one of the first gold mining towns in the United States, Dahlonega has experienced innovation, violence, and the rise of political controversy. Because of this, with each visitor that comes through looking for a tour of our little intriguing town, we are always asked, “Is Dahlonega haunted?” Quick and definite, I always answer, “Yes.” And now I’m going to tell you why.
Dahlonega was founded as an official town a few years after a man named Benjamin Parks claimed to have stumbled over a piece of gold in the area in 1829. With the subsequent rush of people into the area after Parks’ discovery, the violent controversy began as the white settlers invaded the homeland of Native Americans, destroying what was rightfully theirs and sending them off on the Trail of Tears. As the starting point of the Trail of Tears, Dahlonega’s history started off on troubled footing. By the mid to late 1830s, the town begins to expand, and while more civilized after the introduction of the courthouse in the center of town, the region continued to be a rougher area as saloons and bordellos remained the predominant types of businesses for a number of years. Because of this and its following involvement in the Civil War, the atmosphere of Dahlonega at the time may be seen as what many of us perceive as the wild west.
Eventually, Dahlonega begins to form into the little town we see today, with its historic architecture still in place, and rough and tumble beginnings cited as the chief reason for the town’s hauntings. However, Dahlonega’s hauntings run deeper than ghost stories and myth. For the citizens of our town, the hauntings and atmosphere rooted in history give rise to a kind of force surrounding the town. To elaborate upon this, Penny Sharp, owner of Dahlonega Walking Tours, tells me, “While Dahlonega’s hauntings are a result of our home’s difficult beginnings, they exist because of the energy that has rose from the dynamic vigor of Dahlonega’s incredibly active past. Everyone carries a sort of energy with them, and the characters we see in our history, people like Frank Hall, Maggie Meaders, and Harrison W. Riley, are all so powerful, each bearing an energy with them that transcends history, they leave that vitality here to resonate throughout Dahlonega”.
Penny is not the only person to feel this energy surrounding our town. One night while I was hosting one of our company’s pub crawls, I met a woman from Florida that was here visiting a friend. She was clearly a very spiritual person, someone that spent her life as a therapist, aiding and connecting with those that lost their pets. A unique woman, she relayed to me that throughout her entire visit in Dahlonega, she had experienced an energy surrounding our town unlike any other. She told me it felt as though Dahlonega was stopped in time, with the energy of all its past citizens and ancestors remaining as present as the moment they were still alive. I remember that being the moment I realized how distinctive Dahlonega really is. I agreed when she said there was no town quite like it, recalling all my own memories of Dahlonega’s hauntings and how they felt so alive and fueled by the energy that had been left behind in life.
But it isn’t just the people of the past fueling the energy of the present. Scott Tolbert, lead investigator with Inner Light Paranormal, describes the kind of impact Dahlonega’s many gold mines have on the energy of the town stating, “The town is built on top of some of the most purest [sic] gold veins in the world,” relaying to us that after thirteen years of investigations, the most haunted areas were “always built on top of stone like granite, limestone, and gold”. He tells us that "These particular types of rocks have been proven to hold and conduct energy fields”. This, combined with Scott’s agreement that the energy also comes from the past lives of Dahlonega’s many active citizens, only furthers my belief in the all-encompassing atmosphere of Dahlonega.
After spending the last fifteen years of my life in North Georgia, and after having traveled and experienced a number of other towns similar to mine, I have yet to find another place with quite the same feeling or impact as Dahlonega. With each home and building I enter here, the overwhelming ambiance of the living past within them never ceases to amaze me. The more I learn about the past and the people that lived here, the more I am able to connect the dynamic energy moving through Dahlonega with the occurrences I’ve experienced myself. So, whenever you come through our town, envision the bustling past and remember that it is all still alive, bringing its energy to each and every person that visits.