At the very heart of the conflict between paranormal researchers and common thrill-seekers is the mutual understanding that they cannot coexist in close quarters. Where one group chooses to conduct themselves in a clandestine manner akin to thieves, the other group is often present to suffer the retribution of those actions. There is no truer example of this struggle than at Devil’s Turnaround in Marietta, GA.
Originally a cemetery for a local Baptist church which I won’t name here, Devil’s Turnaround received its name from the primitive, circular path that makes the front half graveyard accessible by car, and by a series of urban legends first created during the “Satanic Panic” of the 1990’s. Visitors claimed that they would leave the area with claw-marks on their skin, having been chased out by unseen forces that particularly detested visitors wearing religious jewelry.
Of course, the spot’s overall location didn’t help things at all. Devil’s Turnaround is located on a spooky road, across from what used to be several abandoned homes, half a mile from the nearest streetlight and about a mile from a notoriously haunted battlefield.
Several rumors about Devil’s Turnaround can be traced back to its listing on The Shadowlands website:
“Large objects will be thrown if set on the ground, orbs, lightning, mist, very cold winds, shrieking, kids laughing, chanting, yelling, screaming all around a bad place to go. [Author’s note – I’m leaving the horrible grammar intact here to illustrate the professionalism of the witnesses.] People have come back and had large bruises and fang marks on legs, upper arms, wrists and necks. Crucifixes, holy water, prayer only make whatever is there mad. If you go, wear no crosses or anything Christian like. Weekends are the worst time.”
To those who have never been, this description seems to be written by a haunting realty agency: “Five types of audible evidence, three physical sensations, one beefy poltergeist – all in a demonic neighborhood! Not to mention that things are most active precisely when you don’t have to get up and go to high school the next day!” If you ignore this rambling, teenage nonsense a very different view of this old church cemetery begins to emerge.
The “turnaround” within the cemetery itself separates the land into two sections; the newer front section with graves installed as recently as the late 1980’s, and the older back section which has been completely void of upkeep for decades. This is particularly upsetting when you take a closer look at the few remaining headstones near the back-end of the property and you see a rich and colorful history slowly fading into obscurity. These are the precise circumstances in which historical societies and preservation clubs get involved. Unfortunately for Devil’s Turnaround, they received attention from neither – just one very angry woman named Nicole Mullennix.
Ms. Mullennix got involved with Devil’s Turnaround sometime around May of 2007, when she began inundating Cobb County Police with calls of reckless behavior in the cemetery and conducting amateur stake-outs of the area. At one point, Nicole even went so far as to record the license plate numbers of vehicles travelling down the adjacent roads at night and posting them on her personal website, “Southern Cemeteries USA”. It should be noted that Devil’s Turnaround is the only cemetery Nicole seems concerned with, negating the plurality in her website’s title. After somehow attaining “legal custody” of the cemetery, Southern Cemeteries USA amended their website to include the phrase “paranormal idiots” somewhere amidst the throngs of cringe-worthy spelling errors.
So, after all of these public and private resources were thrown at the problem, surely there’s been an improvement in the condition of this historic piece of land?
Well, at least the “paranormal idiots” and “thrillseekers” stopped visiting, right?
Nope. The initial crackdown caused only a brief disruption in the visitation to Devil’s Turnaround.
Worst of all, Southern Cemeteries USA’s website hasn’t been updated in over three years, and no effort to restore the cemetery was ever made. If nothing else, the numerous “no trespassing” signs have averted ALL foot traffic from the land, including those curious about the history contained within. Numerous attempts to contact Ms. Mullennix have yielded no response.
But was Devil’s Turnaround ever haunted?
Maybe. When I run down the roster of legitimate paranormal researchers in the Atlanta area, it doesn’t take long. On this short list are a few people here and there who have had some experiences at Devil’s Turnaround, but the consensus has always been that there’s more bark than there is bite.