‘Cursed’ lake where 700 people have died has creepy mystery hidden underwater

Every year millions of visitors flock to Lake Lanier in Georgia to enjoy the cool water, hot sunshine, boating and watersports during long summer days.

But while the pleasant scenery draws people in, the manmade lake is actually among one of the deadliest in the US — estimated to have claimed hundreds of lives since its creation in 1956.

Urban legends credit its deadly legacy to a "Lady of the Lake" who haunts the waters and a "curse" said to plague the area.

READ MORE: Eerie 'zone of death' where people 'step off face of Earth' and Bigfoot and UFOs 'roam'

The story behind Lake Lanier begins and ends with death and unbeknown to many visitors, its dark history is still hidden beneath the surface, with the remnants of a town with a horrifying past lurking right under the water.

In the depths of the lake lies what's left of Oscarville, a town formed in the 1800s and made up of a "strong Black community" of carpenters, blacksmiths, bricklayers and farmers, 11 Alive reports.

But in 1912 horror struck the bustling town when the body of Mae Crow, a 19-year-old white woman, was found in the woods near the town.

Mae had reportedly been raped before her death and a violent racist mob immediately turned on the Black community of Oscarville.

As evening fell, a gang known as night riders raided the town, reportedly throwing firebombs at the church and setting buildings alight, forcing residents to flee for their lives.

George Rucker, a descendant of Oscarville residents, recalled how his great-grandfather Byrd Oliver had to leave everything behind.

He told the local news outlet: "Night riders came through – they had to leave everything, the main thing they left was property and my grandfather had 100 acres."

George said residents headed to the Chattahoochee River as the mob chased them and as they got to a bridge they were given two options.

He recalled: "They were told they either had to swim or drown. Most of them didn't make it.

"My grandfather, one of them that did make it, he lost some brothers and sisters."

George's mother told him that when Byrd would recall the story, he would "just sit and cry".

White families took over the remaining properties and in the years that followed, the land was gradually sold off to the government so they could build the Buford Dam to provide Atlanta and nearby counties with power and water.

In 1956, 38,000 acres of land, including the remnants of Oscarville, were flooded to make Lake Lanier.

Around 250 families and 15 businesses are reported to have been displaced by the creation of the lake and before they filled the land with water, workers with the US Army Corps of Engineers demolished dangerous structures like bridges and large barns.

But they weren't the only thing removed from the historic town — the Army Corps "relocating" 20 cemeteries in the process.

They identified, dug up and moved the marked graves but it's likely some unmarked graves were left behind and still remain under the lake's eerie surface, CNN reports.

Cesar Yabor, a spokesman for the US Army Corps of Engineers, told them: "While the Corps made every effort at the time to locate unmarked burials the limited capabilities of the time make it probable that unanticipated finds of human remains are possible, whether from the antebellum and Civil War periods or of Native American origin from pre-colonial and ancient times.”

The displacement of graves and remains of ancient cemeteries beneath the lake have fuelled myths of a "curse" and just two years after the lake's creation tragedy struck, leading to legends of a ghost who has long haunted the waters.

In 1958 a car carrying two women, Delia Mae Parker Young and Susie Roberts, ran off a bridge and into the lake.

The following year a woman's body was found by fishermen, reportedly wearing a blue dress and missing her hands.

Her identity couldn't be confirmed and for decades locals reported spotting the ghost of the woman, dubbed the "Lady of the Lake", wandering the bridge at night — with some claiming she would attempt to lure people into the murky waters.

In 1990 the mystery of the Lady of the Lake was solved when workers constructing a bridge discovered human remains inside a 1958 Ford Sedan pulled from the 110-foot depths of the lake.

The remains were later identified as Susie's, leading authorities to believe the Lady of the Lake discovered in 1959 was Delia.

But the discovery didn't put an end to creepy incidents at Lake Lanier. Since its creation, 700 people have died at the lake and 200 of those deaths happened after 1994, Miami Herald reports.

In 2017, experienced diver Buck Buchannon also told local TV station WGCL-TV he'd encountered many body parts during his dives in the deep waters.

"You reach out into the dark and you feel an arm or a leg and it doesn’t move," he said.

The lake is so dangerous that this year one of the most popular beaches, Margaritaville, has banned swimming to "prioritise the safety" of their guests, erecting a fence in the water to keep people away.

But while many locals blame hauntings and curses for the high number of drownings, authorities told 11 Alive there was a more logical explanation.

They said remains hidden under the lake, including old structures from Oscarville and trees up to 60 feet tall, make it easy to become trapped in debris and drown.

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