Surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest is the former site of a brick mansion, now lying in partial ruin. Hand-built in 1977 by Dr. Charles L. Scudder, a retired professor at Loyola University in Chicago, and his partner Joseph “Joey” Odom, the mansion served as the couple’s dream home until their deaths.
In December of 1982, the pair were gruesomely murdered, along with their two bull mastiffs, as a result of an attempted robbery by two acquaintances, Avery Brock and Tony West. During the ensuing investigation and trial – fueled partially by a local media circus – a mythos evolved in which the victims were vilified as “evil devil worshippers,” drawing from Dr. Scudder’s interest in the occult and the pair’s open homosexuality. Despite having been very well-liked in the community by those who knew them, the horrendous mythos continues to this day, and many locals still refer to the area as, “Devil Worshippers’ Mountain,” and claim that taking a brick from the property will lead to being cursed for life.
A narrow gravel drive, unmarked after all these years, leads to this site of forgotten history in the woods. Following a turn marked by a large stone with a cross and bearing the initials “CW” in spray paint, pilgrims to the site pass through the forest via trail before arriving at the ruined remains of the couple’s mansion. Though a fire destroyed much of the manor’s non-brick elements in the mid-1980’s, much still remains intact apart from the main house; the homestead’s original outhouse, well room, and gazebo, still rising from the middle of the north Georgia mountains, suggesting the squandered potential not of devil worshippers, but two people who simply received no peace in death.
Update: The ruins are mostly overgrown as of May 2019, and the twin pillars have both been knocked down.
Know Before You Go
Turn onto Mountain View Road from the main highway (a right turn, if you are coming from Summerville). Mountain View Road ascends the mountain and becomes a gravel road. Black Springs Road is a sharp right turn off of this road, unmarked save for a small metal mile marker. After going through a few sharp curves on Black Springs Road, look to the left for a narrow gravel drive, there are 2 large stones here side by side. Park here and proceed by foot down the driveway. This trek will take you through the woods and will occasionally detour to bypass parts of the path blocked by fallen trees and debris. Continue to follow the path, and after about fifteen minutes of walking, you will see a very small clearing to the left. At this spot, look to the right, and you will see two crumbling brick columns, about three feet high. This is the entrance to the property. Turn right and proceed forward. Please be respectful of the property as you explore. Despite being private property, visiting is allowed, and local law enforcement has no problem with explorers, as long as they are responsible and respectful. Bear in mind that you may encounter other individuals or groups while exploring.
From the boulders at the start of the trail/old road, the ruins are .55 miles according to the GPS.