Wait. The Swanson’s Haunted? (Perry)

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying a visit to the little town of Perry, Georgia, chances are you have eaten or at least driven by today’s location.  Our topic of discussion is a home style restaurant called The Swanson.  Before digging in, let’s paint a picture together, shall we. This is the case of “The Swanson.”

As the presenter of Middle Georgia’s History Uncovered, I have had the honor to meet with many wonderful people in our area.  All of them understand that I have a mission to help Middle Georgia, whether it’s to bring awareness to preservation, fight trespassing and vandalism, or even share the jaw-dropping fact that a location has more to it than just a business.  Middle Georgia is my home and meeting with like-minded people is always the best.

With that said, one of my favorite visits came when meeting with Christi from The Swanson.  As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by its staff and directed to sit down with one of the owners in the “blue room.”  Unlike some of the other locations of the cases covered here, this one is a family owned eatery.  They also quickly made me feel like I was a part of that family.

Once Christi and I got past the laughs and smiles of meeting each other, we got down to the interview.  Yes, it is indeed true that there are reports of “spirits” in this home, now converted to a dining area.  But first, it’s history.

According to the menu, The Swanson actually predates the 1800’s, starting as just a livery stable.  Because we are fact based, we wanted to share that the Perry Area Historical Society does dispute the exact time frame of its origins, but nonetheless, the back portion of the restaurant is much older than the front portion that its guests have come to know and love.  It actually was a horse stable for the area. (Houston County wasn’t officially settled until 1821, when it became a county.)

In the 1880’s, then Mayor Cox added a three bedroom home to the front part of the property.  His family lived there for decades, and the property was sold in the 1910’s to the grandmother of the woman who is responsible for its namesake.  During that decade, a hall and two bedrooms were added.  That is when this beautiful house took its shape that you will find in current times.

The granddaughter, Ms. Norine Swanson Jones established Perry’s first kindergarten in the 1930’s.  During the early times of Perry, nearly 80 schools were born as education was different during that period.  The appropriately named Swanson was the beginning of that, at least for the younger children.  During our research on the property, we found it touching and inspiring that the Sheridan family named it after the woman behind the school in 2002. 

In that year, after cooking for Perry United Methodist Church for a while, many people loved the cooking of Mrs. Sheridan, thanks to her, we now have this hidden gem.  From great service, low lighting, and napkin-in-lap experiences, you almost feel at home in the dining rooms.  If you need anything or have an issue, all you have to do is bring it to the attention of the staff.  In this eating house, you just mean more to the staff than most places.  Now, onto the haunted history.

It’s important to note two facts about the property.  The first is that there are zero “recorded” deaths involving the property.  The second is that it is not common for a residence to have any record of death.  With there being families having been raised here over the centuries, it’s highly likely there were deaths in the home.

During our interview, Christi stated that children who visit this southern food haven are drawn to the “blue room.” Also, Some adults actually have reported feeling uncomfortable in that same space. The temperature in the room never changed from 70 degrees the entire meeting, but we did get a little chilly. Was the mind playing tricks on us? Also, on this same day, before arriving, the staff stated that actually poltergeist activity reported in the kitchen area.

The “spirits” lingering between its historic walls appear to be friendly and almost childlike, so the reports say.  From tickling feet to making a marble appear and disappear.  Water faucets turn on and off on their own.  One manager was reported to have had issues with the “spirits” so much that they quit, according to Christi. It’s important to note that they are the only report of a negative nature here. As always, you be the judge.

Christi Sheridan provided us with this picture. We do not know the group that investigated the restaurant

The owners also state that the property is known to have cats around it, despite being nestled next to a busy Washington Street.  There are also many pets buried on the property, reportedly.  Upon leaving the interview, we did note two cats roaming near the location.  Unrelated but worthy to mention, I have had three separate reports of people seeing a “Civil War era soldier” marching down Washington Street, Main Street, and Ball Street, always disappearing before reaching The New Perry Hotel.  I’ve written about that in another case, titled “A Ghost In Perry? The Case of the Civil War Soldier).

It’s important to also share that previously a “paranormal investigation” showed plenty of “evidence,” including the provided picture of a “Ghost boy” under a table in the now aqua room, which was known as the yellow room before recent renovations.  Because of this, the owners claim that it has been scientifically confirmed that someone other-worldly resides here.  It also shows the lengths that the owners have gone to make sure their “paranormal happenings” won’t be a problem.  Nonetheless, I encourage you to come here for the food, the southern style experience, and if you’re open to it, maybe a spooky conversation.

Photo from tripadvisory.com



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