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Is Lake Lanier Haunted? The Eerie History Of The Georgia Lake Built Over An Entire Town

By Parker Diakite

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Lake Lanier has sparked controversy over the last few weeks after a series of tragic incidents claimed the lives of multiple drowning victims. Over Memorial Day Weekend, 30-year-old Reginald Terrell Whitehead went under the water and never resurfaced after falling off of his jet ski. 24 hours prior to Whitehead’s accident, 61-year-old Michael Thompson of Gainesville drowned near a boat dock on Lake Lanier. Just weeks before, on April 28th, 17-year-old Dontay Lane of Lithonia was pulled from the water after nearly drowning. The latest reports list him in critical condition.

Lake Lanier also claimed the life of 11-year-old Kile Glover, son of Usher’s ex-wife Tameka Foster who was critically injured in a jet ski accident in 2012.

As a result of the multiple incidents reported, residents and visitors alike have charged that the lake is haunted.

Located in North Georgia, just 60 miles from Atlanta, the more than 600 miles of shoreline borders five counties, including Hall, Forsyth, Dawson, Gwinnett, and Lumpkin making it the largest lake in the state of Georgia.

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An estimated seven million people visit the lake each year for recreational activities, including swimming, fishing, boating and more.


Despite its recreational purpose, Lake Lanier has a dark past that halts people from stepping foot anywhere near it.

Why Do People Think Lake Lanier Is Haunted?

Built in 1957 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Lanier is a man-made lake that was created to manage navigation and flood control from the Chattahoochee River and to supply water for residents in the city of Atlanta.

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The creation of Lake Lanier was plagued with problems from the beginning.

During the 5 years it took for the lake to fill to its intended water level, the U.S. government purchased more than 50,000 acres of farmland, which ultimately displaced more than 250 families, 15 businesses, and relocated 20 cemeteries along with their corpses in the process.

Many of the buildings and roads that were flooded out during the lake’s creation were left as is. Along the lake’s bottom, one can eerily find towns complete with roads, walls, and houses intact like an abandoned ghost town immersed in water.

A handful of gravesites had been submerged, according to a report from Newsweek. Further fueling suspicions from locals that the lake could be haunted.

“You reach out into the dark and you feel an arm or a leg and it doesn’t move. That’s creepy,” Buck Buchanan, a local diver said.

Since the lake’s opening, an estimated 675 people have died in the lake and not all of the bodies have been found, as reported in CBS 46.

Yet, even with its haunted tales, Lake Lanier is one of Georgia’s largest tourist destinations, with around 7 million visitors per year.

In an attempt to cut down on boating accidents and increase awareness around water safety, the US Army Corps of Engineers and DNR have provided a number of drowning prevention tips which include using the buddy system while swimming, not venturing into restricted areas and limiting alcohol consumption.

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