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Barnsley Gardens: A Local Haunt Spot

Presly Edwards, Writer

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Barnsley Gardens, located in Adairsville Georgia, is a resort built in the late 1840s where you can go to relax and let loose by playing golf, riding horses, and going to the spa. It is also a very popular place for weddings and photo shoots. But is it really as idyllic as it seems?

If you mention “Barnsley Gardens” around town, you might encounter someone who believes the historic sight is haunted. There are three stories the local people have heard. One involves Julia Barnsley, the wife of Godfrey Barnsley. Another pertains to a small girl living in The Adair House, and the final one includes The Rice House.

I asked around town if people have ever encountered the paranormal at Barnsley Gardens. On a personal level, my own Dad used to work there so he’s had his own experience. He worked the night shift, and reports: “It was three a.m … and I heard what sounded like little girls laughing. I always heard things like that while driving around on the golf cart.”

It would make sense, considering many people have mentioned seeing a small girl flickering the lights in the attic of the Adair House. Some employees have also said they left toys in one spot in the attic and when they returned the toys were in a different place, as if someone had played with them.

Another famous story is that at night, you may spot Julia Barnsley walking around the residence. In 1842, Godfrey Barnsley decided to build a mansion for his wife. Although he was warned by an old Cherokee man that the land was sacred to the tribe and if he built there he would be cursed, he moved forward anyway. Julia would later die in the summer of 1845 due to Tuberculosis. Godfrey said he still felt her presence and continued to build the mansion. It wouldn’t be surprising if her spirit still lingered there.

The final story involves The Rice House. The Rice House is a restaurant on the property, although it was previously an average nineteenth century farmhouse. Some have reported seeing a man in a suit and a top hat standing with his arms crossed, staring. Others have reported hearing doors opening and closing in the middle of the night.

Perhaps we’ll never truly know what goes on at Barnsley Gardens during the witching hours of the night. It is fun, though, to listen to the infamous stories passed down through the years. And if you’re truly brave, go explore Barnsley Gardens for yourself ($10 for walking tour of the grounds), and see if it is as haunted as they say. 

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