The year was 1982, and the pastoral countryside surrounding Summerville, Georgia, was about to have a national spotlight shone directly on them for the worst possible reason.
Two openly gay men were slayed in their own home with little remorse. The discovery of their bodies by a neighbor a week later would raise more questions than answers.
Devil worshipping, drug use, illicit pornography in a fairy-tale setting-what happened at Corpsewood?
This week, Nooga.com visited the location of the 1982 double homicide. The unimaginable crime, disturbing revelations and 30 years of neglect have made Corpsewood Manor a popular destination for ghost hunters and fans of the strange. What was a beautiful, mystical castle in the woods is now just a dilapidated shell.
But it’s still there if you know where to find it.
Local author and medium Mark Fults served as our guide to the ruins. His book, “Chattanooga Chills,” features a story about the Corpsewood murders.
Fults describes the homestead as “unexpected and beautiful” but also dangerous.
“The property is deceiving,” he said. “It’s idyllic, but there are people out there who use it for bad things. Places that have trauma sometimes attract more trauma. It’s easy to get deceived that it’s a safe place.”
Our visit took place during the midmorning, and Fults advised against visiting the location after dark.
The above slideshow is the result of our visit. A brief recount of the murders is below.
Extended information on the story is available from author Ken Summers via this website.
Images of the original structure are available here.
An openly gay couple, Charles Scudder and Joseph Odom spent years creating an idyllic, mystical castle home deep in the forest of an area called Taylor Ridge.
According to a newspaper report, Scudder resigned from Chicago Medical School in 1976 to begin building his dream home with Odom, his live-in “housekeeper.”
Well-loved by their neighbors, the two created by hand their own strange existence. Rumors of the two dabbling in the occult and “devil worshipping” were prevalent throughout the region.
Scudder’s strange collections and antiques-candelabras, gold-plated daggers and occult paraphernalia-painted a false image of wealth, which members of the town would often discuss and speculate upon.
Items recovered from the manor following the murders only fueled this belief. According to an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, two human skulls were discovered, as were “miscellaneous items of witchcraft, cult paraphernalia, black candles, etc.”
The headboard of the master bedroom featured a “devil-like statue,” and the house was riddled with “homosexual literature.”
It was November 1982 when 17-year-old Kenneth Brock befriended the couple while deer hunting. According to Summers’ account, Brock spent many evenings drinking and cajoling with the couple. It is speculated that Brock either became or was encouraged to participate in an intimate relationship with the couple.
Seeing the whimsical collection, Brock falsely assumed that Scudder and Odom maintained a hidden fortune. He devised a plan-along with his friend Tony West-to rob the couple and flee with the fortune.
Apparently, Brock visited Corpsewood on several occasions to try and investigate the layout of the home. But Scudder and Odom regulated all “activity” to an exterior “pink room,” part of a separate structure on the property.
The robbery was planned for Dec. 12, 1982. Brock and West convinced teenagers Joey Wells and Teresa Hudgins to accompany them for “free wine.”
A newspaper article from the Rome News-Tribune recounts the incident from an eyewitness testimony by Wells.
The article describes that while under the influence of a paint-thinner drug called “toot-a-lu,” the two murdered Odom first and then bound and gagged Scudder.
They also planned to torture Scudder with a soldering or clothes iron, but the house had no electricity. After a brief series of questions about money, Scudder uttered his final words-“I asked for this”-before West shot him in the head multiple times.
According to the report, additional shots were fired into Odom’s body following Scudder’s death.
Following the murders, Wells, West and Brock gathered “valuables” into pillowcases and fled the scene.
Disappointed with their haul, West and Brock fled and ended up murdering Kirby Phelps, a Navy lieutenant in Mississippi, while on the run. West shot the lieutenant while attempting to steal his vehicle.
Scudder’s possessions were pawned, and the two were later arrested after West and Brock split up in Austin, Texas.
Since the murders, Corpsewood Manor has become a favorite destination for ghost hunters and fans of the macabre.
Fults, an admitted psychic, said the location is most “active” during certain times of the year, such as equinoxes and solstices.
“For the most part, it’s usually very calm,” he said. “A lot of times with famous places or infamous places, so many people have come to experience it that it kind of strip mines the energy.”
A Google search for “Corpsewood Manor” reveals a number of paranormal investigations and articles.
Fults said that Corpsewood is a unique location, but because it’s such a famous location, the energies are often broken down over time. However, he is adamant that he believes Corpsewood is haunted with the ghosts of both Scudder and Odom.
“These people put 300 percent of their energy into building this place,” he said. “Doing rock formations and building ponds … they were industrious; they put their lives, bodies and spirits into it. And I believe when you’re so connected to your land like that, you’re likely to be still present after death.”
With every passing season, nature continues to wreak havoc on the Corpsewood shell.
The structure of the original manor is still visible but in obvious decay. The natural spring well house and outhouse structures are still standing, and evidence of campfires litters the property.
The photos in the slideshow above were taken June 28, 2014.