The Summerville, Georgia home, whose name seems straight out of a horror movie, is now in ruins. In 1982, the Corpsewood Manor murders were a gruesome scene that shook the area.
Unfortunately, this is the sorrowful and cruel story of Dr. Charles Lee Scudder and his partner Joey Odom. They built their dream home in the mountains of northern Georgia and were confronted with the real evil - the locals.
Self-proclaimed ghost hunters, horror tour organizers, and believers in the backwoods like to see the Corpsewood Manor murders as Satan's work. The story is decorated with sensationalist statements, lies, and hocus-pocus to sell books and tours. But the truth, as you can see, is different.
A Dream House or Satanic sex castle
Dr. Scudder, a 50-year-old pharmacologist, zoologist, and linguist, lived in Chicago with a slightly younger Joe Odom, his housekeeper. Married twice, with four children away from home, by 1976, Scudder was beginning to see no point in his career and the antiques he had accumulated in his home.
Off the grid, without electricity, he wanted to lead a simple life in the mountains of Georgia with Joey Odom. In a self-designed, self-built brick house, far away from the city, he looked forward to devoting himself to his hobbies. He wrote about his project in Mother Earth News magazine.
For the next six years, the two lived their dream. Scudder built the Corpsewood Manor house to his liking and decorated it with antiques. These included a gargoyle as guardian of the house, stained glass windows with the figure of Baphomet, and pentagrams on the chimneys.
While Scudder painted, made music, or worked on the house, Odom baked bread, cooked, and tended the rose garden.
While the two men with a peculiar sense of design, far away in the mountains, were suspicious to the locals, visitors from the area always found their way to Corpswood Manor. The two landlords warmly welcomed visitors with homemade wine and stimulating conversations. This will lead to the infamous Corpsewood Manor murders.
Of course, there were also reservations about two gays decorating their house with "Satanic symbols."
Corpsewood Manor Murders that shook the area
It's easy to understand figures like Baphomet, masks with horns and pentacles as "devil worship." Admittedly, you can't expect anything else in the southern USA, the "Bible Belt." When asked, Scudder even described himself as a Satanist only due to his passion for offending other people.
He was also a subscriber to the Church of Satan's The Cloven Hoof newsletter. Contrary to rumors, however, he wasn't a member because he was too stingy to pay the $100 annual fee.
While Odom was a Catholic, Scudder saw in the philosophy of Satanism (the worship of self rather than a deity) certain freedom that supported his homosexuality.
The gay devil worshipers were the subject of gossip as befits a small mountain village. With their friendliness and openness, the two also attracted young people who were even invited to wine. But no one suspected that this situation would lead to Corpsewood Manor murders.
In the winter of 1982, 17-year-old Avery Brock and elderly ex-con Tony West came up with the idea of robbing the residents of Corpsewood Manor. Brock had previously scouted out the house. But Scudder initially invited his guests to the house's adjacent buildings, so Brock knew nothing about the main house's furnishings.
Judging by how the house looked outside, he was convinced that the couple was wealthy. Since Scudder allegedly seduced him into oral sex (but Brock was probably interested in it himself), he decided he was doing the right thing. It was only right and proper to kill the two "devil worshipers." And that's how the plan for the Corpsewood Manor slayings began.
Teenagers With Lust for Murder
On the evening of December 16, 1982, West and Brock drove to Corpswood Manor for wine with newly in love teenage couple Joey Wells and Teresa Hudgins. The couple didn't know that Brock and West had hatched a plan to kill Scudder and Odom.
After inhaling glue to get high, they crashed the car at the remote property, carrying with them a hunting rifle. Initially pretending to hang out with Scudder and Odom, they quickly attacked Scudder. In the beginning, he thought it was all just a game. They tied him up and shot Odom and the two dogs in the other house. Then they asked for money.
Wells and Hudgins became frightened and tried to flee, but the car wouldn't start.
Brock and West planned to torture the tied-up professor into revealing his fortune. Instead, Scudder rebelled against his tormentors. His last words were, "I asked about it," then West shot him three times in the face.
Scudder didn't ask for the Corpsewood Manor murders to happen, but he did invite his killers into the house with his outspokenness. But, one thing is sure: Scudder seemed to have a hunch that the Corpsewood Manor murders would happen. A few months before his violent death, he had drawn a self-portrait - gagged and with a gunshot wound to the head.
After the Corpsewood Manor murders, Brock and West ransacked the house and shared the few things that seemed valuable.
Corpsewood Manor Murders: killers On the Run
West and Brock fled and what happened to their two friends is unclear, but they appeared to have left the scene much earlier. The duo behind the Corpsewood Manor murders originally wanted to escape in Charles Scudder's car, but that quickly became too risky for them.
While on the run, they pulled over to spend the night at a rest stop. They saw the Navy Lieutenant Kirby Phelps in a car next to them when they woke up. He also pulled over to rest at the same place, a decision that will, unfortunately, cost him his life.
Without further ado, the two kidnapped Navy Lieutenant Kirby Phelps. Originally they wanted to leave him tied to a tree. However, as Brock was unloading the luggage from the cars, West shot the handcuffed Phelps. West and Brock then parted ways.
Brock turned himself in for the Corpsewood Manor murders to the police in Georgia on December 20, West in Tennessee on December 24.
Brock and West were both convicted. Brock got three life sentences; West was sentenced to death for the Corpsewood Manor murders. His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.
Corpsewood Manor Murders and Hounding in the Media
West and Brock tried to wriggle out saying that the two Corpsewood Manor residents were despicable infidels who deserved it with their porn, drugs, and rituals anyway. None of this is true. There were no rituals, the LSD25 found in Scudder's desk was from his university days and saved as a souvenir, and the porn collection was a couple of erotic magazines from the 1920s.
None of this prevented the sensationalist press from spreading half-truths and lies, and to this day, Odom and Professor Scudder are marketed as the gay Satanists of Corpsewood Manor.
However, the two Corpsewood Manor murderers, Brock and West, were the evil ones. One wanted to see Scudder punished out of shame at discovering his homosexuality, and the other committed cruel crimes out of greed. Another example is the uptight, sworn-in village community that doesn't allow any outsiders. Although Scudder and Odom got involved and warmly welcomed everyone, they were just two oddballs from the north.
Corpsewood Manor Murders left a haunted house
Around 1985 a fire broke out in Professor Scudder's Corpsewood Manor vacant property. Since then, the decay has progressed.
Fortunately, there is an initiative by relatives of the former residents to preserve the ruins. But as with any unwatched place, it attracts scoundrels and senseless destruction. To this day, rubbish is left behind, and the remaining walls are destroyed. Self-proclaimed ghost hunters gather to rant about energies, curses, and other mumbo-jumbo.