Update: Unfortunately, Stairway to Heaven Antique Mall is now closed. Please support Coweta businesses to prevent the loss of great shops like Stairway to Heaven.
Being history lovers, it is no surprise that we love antique stores. Each object for sale is an artifact of a bygone era.
It’s fascinating to browse objects that were once in everyday use and now are not always instantly recognizable to twenty first century inhabitants like us.
Stairway to Heaven Antiques is exactly what an antique store should be. The shop stretches back into several rooms with antique lined walls and tables full of old treasures.
The first thing you notice after you ascend the steep staircase is the wonderful smell of old wood and used books. It’s the rich, spicy fragrance that lingers in all the best antique stores.
The gorgeous hardwood floors creak as you walk across them, attesting to the many feet that have been there in the past.
Owners James and Christy Johnson, who purchased the store from the previous owners about a year ago, claim that antiques are not the only inhabitants of Stairway to Heaven. A number of unexplained incidents have led many to believe that this antique store is home to ghosts.
Long before the Johnson’s owned Stairway to Heaven, the store was having a lull one afternoon when a girl and her mother came in to shop. The mother was chatting with the cashier while her daughter played in the back room.
When it was time to leave, the mother went to retrieve her daughter and found her laughing and chatting. When questioned, the girl claimed she was talking to a little girl in a fancy dress. There were no other customers in the store.
The Johnson’s do not have to rely on second hand testimonies of ghost sightings. They have seen enough throughout their time in the store to convince them that there is something out of the ordinary in the shop.
They say when darkness falls there is an eerie feeling of being watched. Customers have felt jabs and pokes when there was nothing near them and things frequently fly off the shelves.
The many cameras in the store provide the opportunity to go back and review footage. James recounts a day when he and another employee were hanging clothes. A military helmet that was on a mannequin fell, causing a loud crash.
When they reviewed the camera footage, James describes the helmet as briefly levitating off the mannequin before it crashed across the room.
In a similar incident, a wooden purse was flung so violently from a shelf that it flew across the room and was broken on the wooden floor.
When paranormal author and investigator, Christina Barber visited Stairway to Heaven with a recorder, she captured what sounds like a ghostly warning.
According to James, she was chatting with a customer about ghosts. When he stated that he did not believe in ghosts, the recording picks up a voice that was not audible in person saying, “you better start”.
The paranormal activity does not seem to bother James. In fact, he first visited the shop after hearing stories of ghostly activity. He liked the place enough to rent a booth and later become the owner.
One room of Stairway to Heaven is completely dedicated to military surplus and antiques.
James seems to have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of modern military history.
Each artifact has a story behind it. We could have listened all day.
We saw an armband worn by observers from the Auxiliary Women’s Service during WWII. These volunteers were tasked with keeping radio communication with radar operators. When they saw suspicious activity in the sky they would radio the closest observer who would go look to see what the aerial activity was.
We also got to try on a helmet from the Second World War. They were incredibly heavy and we wondered that the men on the front did not have constant headaches. Christy described to us how the helmet would serve as not only protection from shrapnel, but also as a multitool for soldiers in the field.
The men would use it for cooking, drinking, digging, storage and even as a makeshift toilet.
In the front room of the shop, there was a display set up to honor the life of Mayhayley Lancaster. She was a notably eccentric woman who lived in Heard County well into the twentieth century. The display is meant to represent the cabin she made her home.
She did not like to get rid of anything, and her home was crammed with old newspapers, furniture and cash, which she stuffed into any available space. At a time when women were just beginning to find a voice, she was the first woman in the state to run for the Georgia Legislature.
She was a lawyer by profession, but she also had a legendary reputation as a fortuneteller and prophet. People would travel from all over the south to have their fortunes read and ask their burning questions of future love and lost items.
We thoroughly enjoyed our walk through history in Stairway to Heaven.
The Johnson’s are in the process of expanding the popular military surplus section of their store. They are opening a standalone shop next to the antique store.
There will be a larger selection of military antiques and tactical gear and James may even display some of his extensive private collection of military antiques.
For those who love the supernatural, James gives ghost tours. The tours through downtown Newnan go into the details of the compelling history of some Newnan’s paranormal activity.
Ghost tours can be booked by making reservations through Stairway to Heaven.
To see new products and get the latest information on sales, visit the Stairway to Heaven Facebook page.