Did you know?
Located in Talbot County is the town of Talbotton, Georgia. This town holds many legends and spooky stories. Today, however, we focus on the most famous of them all, Emily Isabella Burt, otherwise known as “Georgia’s Werewolf.” This tale has been told many different ways throughout the years, but before we get into it, we must first share Talbotton’s history.
As we’ve discussed in some previous topics, Western Georgia counties were the last ones to form. In 1828, Talbotton was founded and became the county seat of Talbot. Both the county and the town were named after Georgia’s 30th Governor, Mr. Matthew Talbot.
Along with Governor Talbot and Governor Towns (37th to Georgia), there are several remarkable names to come out of the town. One of those people is the co-founder of R. H. Macy & Co. (Known today as Macy’s Department Store) and former U.S. Representative Isidor Strauss. Strauss would pass away during the famous sinking of the Titanic.
With that said, it’s hard to understand why the most popular name (arguably) in its history is that of Emily Isabella Burt (who we will call Isabella from here) until you find out why. She was indeed known and still is as a Werewolf. Let’s go over what we know to be fact.
What we do know is that she did indeed exist. She was born in 1841 to her mother, Mildred Owen Burt, who was a successful businesswoman. The rest of her family lived a very wealthy life. In fact, at the time of her death in 1911, Burt possessed a 300-acre estate among other locations.
As mentioned above, there are many tales about her, but they all share some similarities. They state that while in her youth, she loved midnight strolls and would often leave her home at late hours. When she did, unfortunately, livestock from local farmers would end up mutilated.
According to legend, this happened so many times that eventually, local land owners formed a posse to kill the beast that was responsible for the slaughters. Once the beast was found, a shot was fired. The next morning, Isabella was wounded on her left hand.
This prompted her mother to ship her off to Paris to seek help for a mental condition known as lycanthropy. Coincidentally, the mutilation of livestock ceased when she left and significantly slowed down when she returned home. It is said that even today, you can hear and see a “Werewolf” like figure “haunting” the town and howling. All of this, of course, is folklore. (There are MANY reports about the town being haunted at night, however).
History shares a different story. There is no record of her having been mentally ill or any of these stories having taken place. Instead, she was a well beloved person in the community. Even her obituary exclaims that her death “brought sorrow” to the county and that her name was “A synonym of Christian greatness and grace.” It appears she was a nurse of some kind, with her obituary also stating, “her ministering hands have brought comfort and cheer to many sick beds.“
Because this is a legendary story in Western Georgia and flat out captivating, we wanted to share. We invite you to read the stories and research them. We feel that Isabella wasn’t given a fair reputation and wanted to share this interesting piece of history with you all.
It’s also important to note that her final resting place is on a very remote, private piece of property. Sometimes, stories like these will attract vandalism and decoration, which we strongly condemn for any location. This is why we decided not to go there. Always be respectful and considerate when visiting cemeteries.
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