The Alpha Gamma Delta sorority house in Athens, Georgia hosts more than exclusive parties and secret initiation rites. This 116-year-old home is also said to harbor the heartbroken ghost of a beautiful young woman abandoned at the altar.
The Tragic Tale of Susie Carithers
According to local legend, former state senator James Yancey Carithers purchased the home in 1913 for his daughter Susie and her handsome young fiancé. The happy couple planned to marry in the home, nicknamed the wedding cake house for its intricate architectural detailing, but sadly the blissful union was not meant to be.
On the day of the wedding, Susie donned a gorgeous white dress and waited to marry her long-time sweetheart. However, something went wrong. The groom was late, very late, and wedding guests began to whisper about a jilted bride.
Despite her growing anxiety, Susie clung to hope that her beloved would arrive. She paced the home, wringing her hands and peering out windows, desperate to see her fiancé riding into the drive. However, minutes passed, than hours, and still no sign of the missing groom. Guests trickled out of the house, murmuring their condolences, and a devastated Susie gave up hope of ever marrying her sweetheart.
The heartbreak and humiliation were too much to bear. Still wearing her white dress, Susie slipped away to the attic and hanged herself from the rafters. Her parents raced up the stairs when they heard the crash of a falling chair, but it was too late. Susie was dead. The beautiful young bride would agonize over her missing groom no longer.
Soon after this gruesome discovery, Susie’s fiancé arrived, frantic and full of apologies. A bridge was out, he said, the result of a powerful storm. Another version of the tale blames the groom’s tardiness on an overturned carriage, but either way he arrived too late. Susie was dead and no one could ever bring her back.
Is the tragic tale of Susie Carithers true? Probably not. According to genealogical records, James Carithers had no children and there are no newspaper accounts of a missing groom or suicidal bride. Alternate versions of the tale say Susie was the daughter of William Winston Thomas, not James Carithers, but William’s daughters were named Gertrude and Isabel. However, even if the tragic tale is a complete fabrication, something strange is definitely going on at the modern-day sorority house.
The Haunted Sorority House
In 1939, the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority purchased the wedding cake house from James Carithers’ widow. Since then, AGD members have reported a number of strange occurrences including unexplained noises, shadowy figures, and objects that move by themselves.
In 2004, a student filming a story about the haunted home recorded a framed photo tumbling from a bookshelf. Sorority sisters also report doors opening and closing on their own, faucets turning on and off, the sound of a chair moving in the attic, and lights flickering with no explanation. The antique piano in the parlor has also been known to play by itself, its rusty, discordant notes echoing throughout the home. Some girls report seeing faces in windows, while others have seen a wispy figure in their bedroom.
“Every year she’s supposed to come through the windows to commemorate her death,” resident Shae Virtue said in the 2004 video report. “She walks through the panes, walks through the room, opens our door, and then walks back up to the attic.”
However, the ghost, whoever or whatever it might be, isn’t out to harm residents of the sorority house. In fact, the spirit many know as Susie actually serves as a sort of matchmaker. Legend has it that the girls who live in the room directly below the attic get pinned or engaged within a year of moving in. Members who see the spirit in other parts of the house can also expect to find love in the near future. Perhaps the melancholy bride wants other women to find love even though her own life ended so tragically.
Sources: BLVD, Red and Black