Friday, July 29, 2011

The Sweetwater Mansion Debacle - Part I

The Sweetwater Mansion Debacle - Part I

A Guest Commentary By

Sarah Savant

All my life I've been surrounded by people who volunteer to improve the community. I've always worked with various well-established school clubs and when I volunteered to work with Sweetwater Mansion, I expected it to be the same. I couldn't have been more wrong.

My first day as a volunteer was in the middle of August, and the director immediately handed me a camera and told me to take photos inside the house and on the grounds. Cynthia Johnson told me she was specifically looking for orbs that would suggest a ghostly presence. I do believe in ghosts, but I had volunteered to help restore the mansion, not take snapshots of what Ms. Johnson wanted to prove was on the property.

Nevertheless, I followed her instructions, and several of us volunteers took photos for Cynthia. After we finished up, Cynthia told one young man he had captured the image of a werewolf in his photos. She then proceeded to show off what she called her psychic powers by offering predictions to our group. My friends and I thought the whole set up was odd, but we believed that the director really cared about the house so her behavior didn't bother us that much at the time.

When we returned in October to begin the tours, we found that absolutely nothing had been done to restore the old home. These things take time and money, so we told ourselves "Rome wasn't built in a day." Cynthia told us that restoration would begin in earnest in early December, and we still had no real reason to doubt her.

As Cynthia began to tell us about the history of the house, she mentioned she had been William McDonald's personal assistant at one time. We found this impressive, but then she continued to tell us about Susan Leigh Smithson, the property's owner. According to Cynthia, Ms. Smithson had been a high fashion model in her younger days and was now a fashion designer. I consider myself pretty fashion savvy and had never heard of Ms. Smithson, so I decided to Google her when I returned home. I found that Susan owned a shop in Atlanta that specialized in prom dresses and she had some odd comments and reviews attached to her name.

Things definitely weren't adding up. I was left to wonder just what other statements we needed to take with a grain of salt...

Tomorrow: Part II (Things begin to deteriorate rapidly.)


Yes, it only gets odder, folks. Many thanks to "Sarah" for sharing her experiences. Stay tuned...