Amy Petulla’s book on the murders at Corpsewood will be released tomorrow on Monday August 8th. The author gave All On Georgia a sneak peek at the book that covers a fascinating tale, replete with satanism, LSD, reports of orgies, a former Loyola professor, claims of the creation of a demon, and a hand-built castle in the middle of the national forest, complete with its own “pleasure clamber” that all happened right here in Chattooga County and caused many to call that part of the mountain, devil worshipers mountain.
Petulla describes the plot, setting and characters as: “Tiny Chattooga County, Georgia’s bevy of characters ranged from street preacher turned world renowned artist Howard Finster, to a sheriff so imposing, he brought New York City traffic to a standstill, to gay Satanist Dr. Charles Scudder. In 1976 Scudder and his companion Joey Odom brought a houseful of Renaissance furniture, two human skulls and 12,000 doses of LSD from Chicago and built their castle, Corpsewood, by hand in the middle of Trion’s national forest. The pair invited the sketchier side of humanity and, rumor has it, the occasional upstanding citizen on the sly to share sex, wine and more in their Pink Room. The bacchanalia came to an abrupt and bloody end in December, 1982, when Tony West and Avery Brock came calling, bringing a rifle & using the professor’s own revolver. The murders set the stage for a trial vibrant with local color, including a judge who reportedly did not believe the Constitution applied in his territory, a District Attorney who spat tobacco and invective, and eventually a world-renowned lawyer said to be the inspiration for the Matlock television show.”
Though the case is long gone, Corpsewood continues to haunt Chattooga County to this day.
The book covers background on the victims and other key people as well as the town, details about what happened that night, the subsequent trials and appeals, the property, the alleged haunting, and the aftermath. Law enforcement sources furnished Petulla with photos from the crime scene, and the book contains over 50 photos, including several never published before, along with many details never shared publicly before, and corrections of some of the common misconceptions about the victims and the events.
Petulla shared the infamous self-portrait done by Scudder some time before his death, bound and shot five times in the head, just as he was found with All On Georgia.
The photos in book are all in black and white, but people have wondered for years about this particular painting, “and though eerie and perhaps gruesome, it is also glorious in color,” commented Petulla.
Amy Petulla came to northwest Georgia in 1986 after graduating from law school, to be an assistant district attorney for DA David “Red” Lomenick, and from the time she arrived, she heard over and over about the “devil worshipers’ murder case” that had occurred in 1982. In 1987, she went to work for Chris Townley, who was appointed after the appeal and handled the negotiated plea on the case.
When she retired from practicing law in February 2007 she started a new business, Chattanooga Ghost Tours, Inc this was when she, “began hearing about Corpsewood from an entirely different perspective- that of the scores of people who claim the ruins of the manor are haunted and that a curse bedevils those who dare to take anything from the property.” She decided to write a book on Corspewood in October of 2014, “I began doing research and prepared an outline, began contacting witnesses, and poured through the court file.”
“Initially, I had planned to do a book focusing on Corpsewood, but also including the numerous other very bizarre crimes in and around or somehow connected with Trion Georgia- the Judy Neelley case, the Hayward Bissell case, the Tri-State Crematory case- tied together with speculation about this demon that was said to still linger in the wake of the murders of Charles Scudder and Joey Odom. I had always wondered how the residents of Stephen King’s Castle Rock could not have noticed something so bizarre going on in their town, but as I was writing this book, I came to realize how that could have happened. I even got Mr. King’s permission to make the comparison. But the publisher wanted to limit it to Corpsewood, so while the book contains a mention of the others, they are not covered in detail. Those stories may well make it into a sequel.” Petulla spent considerable time referencing over 70 books, articles and other sources in her book.
Petulla says the book, “also has a lot of colorful tales from the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is one of my favorite books, and I wanted to couch this story of the evil inflicted in a book that also included that kind of entertaining insider’s look into the community, particularly the legal community.”
- The Town
- The Victims
- The Manor
- The Church of Satan
- Life in Trion
- The Killers
- The Crimes
- The Discovery
- The Sheriff
- The Prosecution
- The Judge
- The Trial
- The Appeal and Plea
- The Property Case
- The Haunting or Curse of Corpsewood
- The Bodies
- Rest in Peace
The book is available online through barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com and walmart.com.