Lake Lanier is one of the most popular get-away destinations in north Georgia. Every summer, it's swarmed by boaters, swimmers and people just looking for a place to relax.
Cold water crashes onto an empty shoreline in October and tourists have left the lake for the season but not everyone here feels alone.
Buck Buchannon has been diving the waters of the lake for decades and he knows what lies at the bottom. He's seen the beauty but he's also felt the dead.
"You reach out into the dark and you feel an arm or a leg and it doesn't move. That's creepy," says Buchannon.
Creepy. That's the reputation this man-made lake has carried since the government flooded a few towns to build the body of water in the 1950's. In the process, several grave sites were dug up.
David Coughlin is a Lake Lanier historian. He believes most of the folklore surrounding the lake being haunted is linked to digging up the dead.
"On Lake Lanier, there's probably thousands of them and for a lot of the graves, they were so old," said Coughlin. "A lot of them didn't have names on them and were unknown and they still had to move them."
The unclaimed bodies. The restless spirits. Many believe they're still moving beneath the surface. Since Lake Lanier was built in 1956, experts say 675 people have died in these waters. Not all of the bodies have been found.
Tom Stepnowski owns and operates Lanier Boat Charters. He's heard all of the stories about Lake Lanier being cursed. He doesn't buy it.
Nicholas Baggett of the Army Corps of Engineers says there's been hundreds of suicides, drownings and boat accidents on the lake. He says some of the bodies are still here. He also says without a body, there's no closure.
"There have been some victims of drownings that have not been recovered," said Baggett.
For divers like Buchannon, no claimed body means there's more company underneath the water.
"They spook because they're unclaimed," says Buchannon. "Nobody has been able to lay them to rest. They're on the bottom of Lanier. Hopefully you find them before they find you."
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