The Not-So “Haunted” Pillar of Augusta
Urban legend claims that an unknown preacher was denied the right to sermonize at the location. He demanded that the city pay to build him a church in order for him to speak to the masses. When the city refused to give into his demands, the preacher cursed the location. Some versions claim he cursed the pillar specifically. According to local legend, the preacher vowed that anyone who attempted to move the pillar would be killed (or struck down). This reportedly occurred in 1829.
Built in 1830, the “Haunted” Pillar once stood at the Market House on Broad Street in downtown Augusta, Georgia. The Market House stood strong until February 7, 1878 when a tornado leveled the market leaving only the one pillar. Additional stories claim that the pillar was the sight of multiple lightning strikes and an alarming number of automobile accidents.
The pillar has been moved several times. In addition, it may have undergone significant cosmetic enhancement (i.e., been rebuilt). It begs the question: Is it haunted?
Doubtful. The Internet is ripe with tales of people hearing footsteps around the pillar. People turn to the “curse” and claim the preacher is responsible. However, the story is murky. The supposed “curse” was done one year before the pillar was built. In addition, the lone surviving pillar has been moved a number of times. And it has been rebuilt and restored numerous more times.
Currently, the pillar sits at a precarious intersection, which may be the cause of all of the car wrecks. And, despite the contrary, lightning does strike the same place twice. Don’t fall it. It’s a good story, but not a haunted location.