The city of Helen and the surrounding area is rich in history, but did you know that some say that the spirits of the past are still hanging around? Although we've never heard of any haunting at our cabin rentals (that's a relief!), the region is still a lot of fun for those who are interested in the unexplained past.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Regardless of whether you are just interested in learning about the former inhabitants of northern Georgia or are hoping for an up-close and personal encounter, you're sure to find the adventure you are seeking when you stay in Helen. In this post we will explore the following ways in which you can connect with the spirits of the Helen area.
- Burial Mound of Sautee and Nacoochee
- Intersection Grave of Princess Trahlyta
- Booger Hill
- Roswell Ghost Tours
Let's get started with the most popular one in the area.
Burial Mound of Sautee and Nacoochee
A different take on the classic story, is the story behind the Romeo and Juliet Indian Mound.
The legend goes...
A man named Sautee from the Chickasaw tribe and a woman named Nacoochee from the Cherokee tribe fell in love with each other. Unfortunately, the two tribes opposed one another, which made their relationship unacceptable among their people.
Even so, the love between Sautee and Nacoochee could not be stopped. One night they met in the forest and ran away to Yonah Mountain. There they spent a few wonderful days together. Nacoochee decided that the only way that their relationship would work, would be if the two tribes could make amends. So, upon her return from Yonah Mountain, Nacoochee shared this idea with her father, who was the Cherokee chief.
This idea infuriated her father, so he ordered Sautee to be thrown from a high cliff on top of Yonah Mountain. To make matters worse, he forced Nacoochee to watch as her lover plummeted to his death. As he fell, she broke free from her father's arms and fled to the edge of the cliff, where she jumped off to join Sautee.
Legend claims that once they had both reached the ground they painfully crawled into each others arms for one final embrace.
Nacoochee's father was so deeply saddened and touched by their undeniable love that he decided to bury them just as they were, still embraced. A burial site was made for them near the Chattahoochee River where they have remained in each other's arms ever since.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
The Romeo and Juliet Indian Mound Today
The burial mound is located in the green Nacoochee valley below Yonah Mountain, near the banks of the Chattahoochee River. Besides being called the Romeo and Juliet Indian Mound, it is also referred to as the Nacoochee Mound. This name was given on behalf of Nacoochee, the chief's daughter.
Today, when you travel to the mound you will see a beautiful, intricacy detailed gazebo resting on top, which was built there in 1890. To build it, Captain Nichols who then owned the site, had to remove the first 2 feet of the mound, reducing it's height to approximately 14 feet.
Since then, the site has been excavated by archaeologists twice; once in 1915 and again in 2004. A book called "The Nacoochee Mound in Georgia" was written about the site and published in 1918. During the first excavation it is said that 75 human burials were found layered upon each other from different time periods. Later, on August 20, 1986 the site was added to the National Register of Historic places.
Today, people from all over the region visit the mound for it's great history and of course, it's legendary love story. To sum it up, one visitor said, "The story was so sad, took lots of pictures, the gazebo on top of the mound was beautiful." Per their indirect advice, be sure to bring your camera along when you visit the site.
How to Get There
To visit this historical site as part of the Helen, GA attractions on your to-do list, you do not have to go far. The burial mound of Nacoochee and Sautee is only 2 miles south of Helen where State Route 75 and State Route 17 intersect.
If you're coming from Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals, follow Zeppelin Strasse southwest and turn left on Brucken Strasse. Then, make another left onto Edelweiss, until you reach State Route 75. From there, head south to State Route 17. At the junction of these two roads, you will be able to see the Indian Mound to your left, on the southeast corner.
Viewing the site is free and you can do so year round. When you visit, not only will you leave with a great lesson in history, but also with a romantic story of love. Of the many Helen attractions available to see, be sure to swing by the Romeo and Juliet Indian Mound.
Intersection Grave of Princess Trahlyta
A short drive from the Helen, in the city of Dahlonega, you might be surprised to find a pile of stones in the middle of a traffic intersection which covers the grave of Cherokee Princess Trahlyta. According to legend, her tribe knew the location of the magic springs of eternal youth from the Witch of Cedar Mountain.
When Trahlyta rejected a young suitor named Wahsega, he kidnapped her, took her far away, and she lost her youth and beauty. On her deathbed, Wahsega promised to bury her near her home by the magic springs.
A tradition arose wherein the Indians (and today, visitors of the area) would drop stones on her grave for good fortune. To receive a bit of her spirit's luck, you can drop a stone at her grave in the intersection where US 19 and Highway 60 split (approximately 8 miles north of Dahlonega).
Ask anyone living in Cumming (about one hour southwest of the Helen), about Booger Hill and they will have a story to tell you. It has been said that in the 1850s, there were two slaves who were accused of murdering a young girl. They were captured and hung, by the KKK in the woods, on what locals refer to as "Booger Hill".
Bettis-Tribble Gap Road runs right between the two large oaks where the slaves were rumored to have be executed. This gravity hill mystery spot is spooky and fun, as if you line up your car with the two ominous trees, switch off your headlights, and put your car into neutral you will roll down the hill before making a complete stop and slowly begin to be pushed back up the hill while still in neutral. The belief is that the spirits of the slaves are trying to keep people out of the area and that if you put flour on the hood of your car, you will be able to see hand prints from the ghosts.
Be mindful that although the road does not receive much traffic, it is a public road and safety precautions should be taken. Your experience at Booger Hill will still be effective, even if you use your emergency flashers.
Roswell Ghost Tours
If you're planning a day trip down to the Atlanta area, be sure to visit Roswell Ghost Tours. The year-round, 2 1/2 walking tour encompasses the true tales of current paranormal phenomena that are regularly experienced by local residents, business owners, and even tour attendees. The spirits are alive and kicking the areas surrounding Helen, and you can keep them going by learning their stories.
Share Your Thoughts Below
What do you think? Have you experienced any of these places or know one not listed? Share your thoughts below.