If you don’t know the tragic story of Corpsewood Manor, otherwise know as the little castle in the woods, happening upon the ruins could make your imagination run wild. Since this structure was designed to have no electricity, phones, or running water, you really wouldn’t know if it was built 20 years ago or 150 years ago.
In actuality, it was built in the latter half of the 1970’s by Dr. Charles Scudder to facilitate his desire to leave his associate professors job and “get away from it all”. In the spring of 1981, he wrote this article about the trials and triumphs of building this home with his friend and housekeeper, Joseph Odem. Little did he know that in just 20 months they would both be the subject of every type of perverted innuendo a small north Georgia mountain town could dream up based on items reported to be in the home and then brutally murdered. If you google Corpsewood Manor you will run into snippets here and there of what supposedly happened shortly before Christmas of 1982. These were the days before the internet, and information is sketchy at best. Everybody has “their” version of what happened, but unless you were to try to access all the police records and court documents, all these versions have to be taken with a grain of salt.
Accusations of devil worship, child molestation, and drug driven homosexual orgies that took place in what was known as the pink room, located in a separate building next to the house that also housed their chickens, are just a few of things these men were accused of. Rumor had it that Dr. Scudder & Mr. Odem were lovers and built this home deep in the woods of Chattooga county so they could practice their “deviant” lifestyle in privacy and residents of the county soon started referring to the place it was built as Devil Worship Mountain.
Regardless of the rumors, the fact is, they (and their dogs) were cold bloodily and brutally murdered on the night of December 12, 1982 by Kenneth Brock and Tony West, two men who got themselves invited to dinner and planned to rob the two men because they mistakenly thought they were wealthy. This internet article gives a pretty good synopsis of what happened that night.
There was, of course, a big trial, and a big deal was made of figuring out who died first as this would determine who’s family ended up with the property. Whoever ended up with it, didn’t really keep it up and the house was subjected to fires by vandals, and just left to return itself to the earth that helped sustain it.
Only a small part of the spiral staircase remains, and kudzu and ivy climb and cover what is left of the crumbling brick walls that formed the house, slaughterhouse, outdoor bathroom, water pump, and chicken house. It is no real secret how to find the ruins and for the last 31 years people have made the trek through the woods like it is some sort of paranormal Mecca. Evidence of drunken parties litters the grounds and Ouija boards and cameras have been found left behind as if the users got themselves into something that terrified them.
Like scores of other paranormal groups before us, Dave and I decided to take the leisurely 2 hour drive and attempt to see it for ourselves. The hike is not that bad, our only real concern was the constant barrage of gun blasts we heard while climbing over trees and navigating of flooded areas of a road that is no longer in use. We eventually found the ruins and spent time trying to figure out what each section was while taking pictures. I had read that people reported feeling the “evilness” of the place while there, but honestly, to us, it was extremely peaceful and we didn’t feel any oppression at all. I tried, unsuccessfully, to understand why Charles and Joseph would WANT to live in that kind isolation with no modern conveniences and came to the conclusion that I really do not want to be around for any sort of apocalypse because I wouldn’t last a week.
We turned on the SB7 and voice recorder and tried to talk to either Charles or Joseph for over an hour, asking every kind of question we could think of. Below, you can hear the ONLY response we got the entire time, and I think it is kind of telling about the rumors people seem to have no problem spreading about people when they are no longer there to defend themselves. Was it the spirit of Joseph, whose cremated ashes were scattered in the rose garden communicating with us? Or was it Charles? We may never know.
We do plan on going back in the winter, when the kudzu has died off for the season, so that we can see exactly how much of the ruins are not visible during the spring, summer, and fall. I would like to go back in December around the anniversary of the murders, but I have a feeling there would be way too much corporeal traffic for my liking.