LAKE LANIER, Ga. — Beneath serene Lake Lanier and its tranquil waters, rises…a curse.
At least that’s the chatter on Twitter after two major incidents made national news.
The first to call attention to the lake took place June 18 when Jake, 9, and his brother, Griffin Prince, 13, were killed after their pontoon boat was struck by a fishing boat. The fishing boat's driver was charged with boating under the influence and may soon face other charges.
Days after the brothers were buried, an accident involving water activities in Gwinnett County's portion of the lake deemed an 11-year-old brain dead and sent his 15-year-old friend to the hospital with serious injuries.
On July 9, Kile Glover, 11, son of Tameka Foster, ex-wife of pop singer Usher Raymond, of Johns Creek, was declared brain dead after a family acquaintance ran him over with a personal watercraft at Big Creek.
He died Saturday July 21, two weeks after the lake incident. He was taken off life support.
Summer deaths and injuries at Lake Lanier are not new. They are an expected consequence to many locals and authorities charged with patrolling its borders in five counties — including Forsyth.
But to an outsider, the lake’s history and accumulating death count plague it with a different image.
Five people so far have been killed in the lake this year. In 2011, there were 17 total deaths, officials say. The lake sees some 7 million visitors each year.
Tweet after tweet, the online community was abuzz about how the lake is nothing but trouble, a “death trap,” and how it should be avoided because it is…cursed.
Twitter’s @toigreen chimed in, “Every year [there’s] nothing but deaths and injuries.” (sic)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction of the Buford Dam in 1956. The lake’s 1950s formation sent some 250 families packing in its area of more than 38,000 acres of water and comprising 692 miles of shoreline.
And that’s where the legend of a cursed lake begins to take shape.
To make way for the lake, the Army Corps moved six churches, 15 businesses and 20 cemeteries. Yes, there are bodies buried under the lake. It also swallowed Looper Speedway, whose stands could be seen during the recent drought. Land back then sold for about $50 an acre.
Over its history, the lake has claimed many lives. Swimmers, boaters and drivers, who’ve lost control of their car and ended up on the lake, have all been killed.
But at the end of the day, there is no curse at the lake. Just lots of buried history, punctured by lakeside bonfires, booze and parties — all of the ingredients needed for a tragic finale.