Meet the ghosts of Camp Helen State Park

Some visitors and rangers say Camp Helen State Park has a haunting history. (WJHG/WECP)
Some visitors and rangers say Camp Helen State Park has a haunting history. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: Oct. 29, 2019 at 7:15 PM CDT
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Tucked away off Highway 98, on the border of Bay and Walton counties, sits Camp Helen State Park.

The state has run the park since 1997... But its history starts much earlier than that.

The first property owner faced tragedy.

"The little boy was named George he was the grandchild of Mrs. Margaret Hicks, one of the builders of this home, and he passed away when he was very small while he was down here visiting his grandmother,” said Clayton Iron Wolf, Park Ranger, Camp Helen State Park.

Though George died in the early 1900s, some guest say they saw him last year.

He was reported playing by the dock and heard walking around the upstairs of the cabin.

"Seems like he is engaging them to try and come up and play with him," said Iron Wolf.

But before Hicks settled on this land, a shipwreck brought its crew to this beach.

"A wooden sailing vessel which came up onto the beach during the course of a storm in 1843. And it was damaged up here along with its crew and a young slave girl by the name of Rose. And what happened was a group of Native Americans attacked the ship and its crew, and killed several of the members,” said Iron Wolf.

Three years ago, visitors told the park ranger they saw a young girl, who matched the description of Rose.

"People kept giving calls to the park, saying that they saw somebody walking around in the sand dunes and walking on the beach, when the park was not open, and over the course of time, people started saying it was the ghost of Rose,” said Iron Wolf.

Rangers investigated by they never found anything.

"We've never seen any tracks of anybody, which is another thing, where they're saying that they definitely saw somebody walking in an area,” said Iron Wolf.

Another ghost from the shipwreck is the captain.

"When Avondale Mills had the property, starting in 1945, they actually had one of their VIP visitors in the room that had been Mrs. Hick's bedroom, and he was sleeping in there, and he was awakened by a male figure that, for some reason, they decided was the visage of Captain Phillips, and he was telling the visitor to get out of his house that this was his house," said Iron Wolf.

Despite its haunted history, those who work at Camp Helen said the ghost sightings are part of the park's appeal.

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