SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Almost everyone in Sylacauga knows that Avondale Mills was brought to the Marble City in 1913 by the Comer family, who also owned other mills in locations across Alabama. But most don’t know that a related Comer property is reportedly haunted.
In 1928, 185 acres of land overlooking Phillips Inlet was purchased by Robert E. Hicks, and he started construction of the lodge and other buildings two years later. The Comer family wanted a place to take their employees and their families, so they purchased Phillips Inlet in Panama City from Hicks in 1932 as a vacation destination. Twelve cottages and a recreation hall were built, and the property was renamed Camp Helen.
Many Avondale employees and their families visited this resort every year, and several people have claimed to have seen spirits around the camp. There are supposedly three main ghosts on the property: a girl killed in 1843, sometimes seen walking the beaches; a boy, who drowned in Lake Powell, seen by fishermen; and a ghost, who spoke to Comer after he bought the property.
A popular story among tourists is the Legend of the Ghost of Captain Phillips of Phillips Inlet, often seen near the hiking trail. Reportedly, Captain Phillips appeared to Comer when he went to sleep in the camp’s log cabin. Comer saw the ghost lurking in the darkness, and it spoke to him saying, “This is my house, get out of my house!”
When the State of Florida purchased the property in 1996, it was renamed Camp Helen State Park. The Friends of Camp Helen Organization held family friendly ghost walks in the past, and park visitors would be guided through specific locations to hear the stories of these ghosts and their history.
Jennifer Keith for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.