Interview tomorrow on Shadows Radio!

I will be interviewed live tomorrow night (Monday, February 6) at 9 PM EST on Shadows Radio! Please tune in and check it out! I’m very excited!

I will also be at Dogwood Books in Rome, Georgia Saturday, February 11 from 1:00-3:00 selling and signing copies of Haunted Northwest Georgia.

Please join me!

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Haunted Northwest Georgia- the Book is Here!

My new book is now available! What a great gift for the paranormal enthusiasts and history buffs on your Christmas list! Get your copy today from Schiffer Publishing or from Amazon.com !

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The Sad Disappearance of Ottie Cline Powell

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November 9, 1891 dawned dreary and cold, with a promise of rain. Dark clouds gathered over the community of Dancing Creek in Amherst County, Virginia. The children of Rev. Ed and Emma Belle Powell set out for school, including the youngest, Ottie Cline. Ottie, who was a few days away from his 5th birthday, said good-bye to his mom then stopped where his father was husking corn and asked if he might skip school that day and stay with his father. Being a responsible parent, Reverend Powell told Ottie he should go on to school. It would be the last time her ever saw Ottie alive.

Miss Nannie Gilbert, the teacher in the one -room log school house then known as Bluff Mountain, was running short on kindling. A three- inch snow and ensuing cold snap the week before had depleted her sources. At recess that day, she instructed her students to each bring back one arm load of wood to use in the school’s wood stove. The girls took their five-minute recess first. After they returned, the boys set out. Young Ottie trailed behind, struggling to gather wood behind the older boys. The path the boys took behind the school lead through a dense forest of chestnut, oak, and pine. By the time Ottie has gathered his wood, the older boys had returned to the school. Little Ottie set out alone, thinking he was following the boys back to the school. Unfortunately, he had gone the wrong way.

About 20 minutes passed before Miss Nannie Gilbert realized Ottie had not returned. In those days, it was the job of older students to watch over the younger. She had assumed he returned with the older boys. When she realized he was missing, all the children set out to find him.

When they could not find Ottie, they were sent to gather parents and neighbors to help search. In spite of their efforts, Ottie could not be found.  An evening rain began to fall. An ice storm was brewing over the community of Dancing Creek.  Searchers found the place where Ottie had dropped his load of kindling, but still could not find the little boy. As they searched and called, a Mr. Henry Wood set his dog out on Ottie’s trail. The dog and Ottie were fond of one another and the dog set out readily after the little boy’s scent. The dog headed up the ridge and was gone for a very long time. (Mr. Wood wondered later if the dog had not actually gone to the little boy.) Around 10 pm that night, the search ended.

Newspapers all over the area carried stories of the little boy’s disappearance. Around 1500 volunteers came to help in the search. They walked in circles surrounding the school in an area that got wider and wider. Still. Ottie was never found. No one searched the old Indian trails leading up Bluff Mountain. The trail was so steep, it was thought no child could ever climb that high.

Reverend Powell hired a detective. After two weeks, the detective returned, saying he could find no trace of Ottie. Undaunted, Reverend Powell offered a reward for his son to be returned alive. Throughout that long snowy winter, Reverend Powell never gave up hope of his son’s return.

On April 3, 1892, a party of hunters on Bluff Mountain followed their barking dog along an old trail through the forest. They found the dog beside the body of a young boy. They knew immediately that they had found Ottie Cline Powell. He lay curled as if asleep, still wearing his brown hat. His pants were full of holes, torn by the briars and brambles as the little boy struggled along the trail trying to return to school. His feet were missing, evidently taken by wild animals.

Two hunters set off down the mountain with the news, while the others remained behind with the body. The Reverend stopped his sermon as the hunters entered the church house that day, informing him that his boy had been found. Reverend Powell threw up his arms and began thanking and praising God for answering his prayers that his boy be found.

Ottie was brought down the mountain at last. It was determined, after examining the contents of Ottie,s stomach (three chestnuts, undigested, eaten at recess that day) that Ottie had died that first evening of his disappearance. He had collapsed from exhaustion and fallen asleep beneath a large tree as the rain began, and had never awakened. At long last, Little Ottie was laid to rest in a local cemetery.

Emma Belle Powell became depressed at the loss of her youngest child. He grief began to threaten her health, so her husband had Ottie’s casket exhumed and reburied near their home. He thought that, since Emma Belle could now look out the window and see Ottie’s grave, she might find comfort. However, she only became worse.

Finally, the family moved to a new home near an intersection where Reverend Powell opened up a general store. Emma Belle never recovered, and eventually succumbed to her grief in 1897. She never got over losing her Ottie.

In 1925, a teacher from Buena Vista, J.B. Huffman interviewed Ottie’s family members and older members of the community in order to write a book about Ottie’s death. He was so touched by the tale that he built a wooden cross form, filled it with concrete and , when it was set, hauled it up Bluff Mountain to the site of Ottie’s death. Here it remained for 43 years.

As more travelers and tourists began to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail, a new interest was generated in Ottie’s story. In 1968, Huffman used the proceeds from the sales of his book to purchase a new memorial for Ottie. This monument still stands today. There are a couple of errors on the plaque, however. It reads:

THIS IS THE EXACT SPOT.

LITTLE OTTIE CLINE POWELL’S

BODY WAS FOUND APRIL 5, 1891*.

STRAYING FROM TOWER SCHOOL HOUSE **

NOV.9, A DISTANCE OF 7 MILES.

AGE 4 YEARS, 11 MONTHS.

For many years, hikers on Bluff Mountain have told tales of encountering the ghost of Ottie Cline Powell. A Journal at nearby Punchbowl Shelter holds many tales of a “brat” child ghost that poked them with sticks in their sleep.

One 2009 hiker left a tale of his encounter with Ottie. The hiker heard crying around 10 pm, but assumed it was a wild animal. Later, he was awaked by a loud thunderstorm. In two consecutive flashes of lightning, he saw a young boy crouched in the corner of the shelter. When he grabbed his flashlight and shined it in the corner, the boy was gone.  The next day, he found all his clothes removed from his backpack and folded into neat little squares. On top of the clothes was a small pile of chestnuts.

Resources and additional reading:

http://blueridgecountry.com/archive/favorites/ottie-cline-powell/

http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=287943

http://www.delbridge.net/ottiepowell

 

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Smoky Mountain Ghosts Part 1

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I’ve been doing some research on ghosts of the great Smoky Mountains National Park. I know there are some so-called “haunted tours” in the surrounding towns. I’ve made it pretty plain in earlier posts where I stand on these. However, as old and mysterious as these mountains are, you just know there have to be some great hauntings here.

I’ve been coming here all my life. These mountains are like a second home (although I’m not lost on the fact that thousands of people lost their very homes in order to make this place possible). These mountains are old… they exist in a space and time all their own. They have an unsurpassed beauty that defies mere words. I have no patience for the mindless morons who never venture outside the towns of Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge and yet insist they have visited the smokies. Indeed, they have not. They may have seen them in the distance, but that is all.

If someone tells you they have been to Gatlinburg, but then say they don’t know anything about Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail..well, dear, they haven’t been to the Smokies. Speaking of Roaring Fork…I’ve been reading up on a ghost here named Lucy. Supposedly, she died in a fire around 1909. They say she tries to get a ride with unsuspecting visitors. She is barefoot and gives off an unusual warmth.

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Ther road through Roaring Fork where Lucy is said to ask for rides from usnsupecting tavelers.
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Scene near the mill on Roaring Fork

I hear there is a little girl ghost on Mt LeConte that is seen standing at the foot of visitor’s beds at exactly 3:33am. Why 3:33? I’ve read that 3:15 is the most powerful time of night- the time when the veil betewen our world and the spirit world is thinnest. But 3:33? Maybe this is the time she died?

What about Cades Cove? I love to come here on “off” days of “off” seasons- otherwise it is so crowded one can scarcely breathe, much less get a feel and appreciation for the place. I want to camp here, but the waiting list is long, and I’m the spontaneous sort on those matters…I’ve read about a man named Basil Estep that was struck by lightning in his own bed at night. This wasn’t a freak accident- it was the revenge of his former wife’s ghost. You see, she was born during a thunderstorm and feared both storms and sleeping in iron beds. When Basil remarried, the wife’s ghost couldn’t bear him sleeping with the new wife under one of her quilts- and on an iron bed at that! So when poor Basil met his end in such a way, well, it was thought to be fitting I suppose.

There are some interesting paranormal photos taken in Cades Code that are circulating on the internet. Whether or not they ar authentic, I can’t say. I take these things with a healthy dose of speculation. I’d love to hear more about the hauntings of Cades Cove, if anyone has some stories they’d like to share.

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Church in Cataloochee

If Cataloochee isn’t haunted, well, I’d be greatly disappointed. The very road from Cosby to Cataloochee takes you back at least 150 years. Honestly…you’re rolling along on a narrow road seeing nothing but mountains and forests for, oh, about 28 miles or so..This is an awesome way to let your kids see the wonder and beauty of this place. (Just be sure they potty before you leave and pack snacks…) I can just imagine traveling this road at night. No telling who (or what) you might meet.

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The road through Cataloochee

I remember walking a few miles out to a beautiful white church in Little Catalochee once. We passed old home places, crossed some creeks, saw a few old apple trees here and there- reminders of the pioneers that once called this place home.Being me, I had to wonder if any spirits remain. In the dead of night does a lone horseman walk soundlessly down this old road? Do children from another time play in the creek?

The road to Cataloochee helps emphasize to the casual visitor how remote the mountains actually are. Their rugged isolation is what preserved so much of the culture here long after it was obliterated in the rest of the country. The people who settled here brought their beliefs and practices from their homelands- Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and these were mingled with the Cherokee who had been here for years before the white man. The Cherokee revered these mountains as a magical place. Their legends of the Little People and the spirits that roamed these mountains were here before the first white man ventured here.

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hillside cemetery in Cataloochee

I hope to gather stories from this area- both of the public paces (like Lydia of the Greenbrier Restaurant) and personal stories. Have you ever experienced anything you can’t explain while you were visiting the Smokies?

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Ghosts of Mentone and Fort Payne, Alabama

Last Sunday was a beautiful day. I talked my husband into taking a ride up tp Mentone and Little River Canyon -sites of some haunted places I’ve been researching lately. I have always loved Mentone- it is in its own little world up there on the Mountain- with quaint little restarants and shops.

First, we visted the site of the Mentone Springs hotel. It burned March 1, 2014, taking a huge part of our hearts and memories with it. The Grand Old Queen of Mentone, she sat high on a hill watching over the town for 130 years. I had heard stories that one of the rooms was haunted by a woman. I have yet to hear the full story. (If you know it, contact me, please!)

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We quietly walked among her ruins. There were no words for a loss like that.

Next, we headed out to DeSoto Falls. A part of the DeSoto State park (but located about 7 miles from the main park) this is one of the most beautiful waterfalls around. It takes your breath away. I was hoping we’d have a sighting of Granny Dollar and Buster- the spirit of a Native American woman and her dog. Granny Dollar was 105 years old when she died in 1931. (Buster was 20.) Upon her death, the money she had saved for her tombstone was stolen. The story circulated that she walked the area of the falls and her cabin seeking justice. We tried to find the cabin, but no luck. I hope to go back soon and try again. The full story of Granny and Buster will be in my book.  She ws an amazing woman and lived quite an interesting life.

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Even without Granny Dollar and Buster, the falls were a sight to behold.

Next stop, Little River Canyon National Preserve. The largest canyon east of the Mississippi, The Canyon was made a National Preserve in 1992. The Canyon Rim Drive is a must -see with breath-taking views and one of the cleaniest rivers in the USA.

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The Canyon is supposedly haunted. Visitors report hearing chants and otherwordly songs coming from somewhere deep in the canyon. I’d love to talk to someone who has heard them.

Eberhart Point on the Canyon rim is also the site of what once was Canyon Land Park. Though little-known outside the area, Canon Land is a favorite memory of all who grew up in this corner of the south. (Who could forget a chair lift that took you over the edge and DOWN IN TO the canyon?!) I still remember being scared of that thing.

A place like Canyon Land would never survive in today’s safety- concious , lawsuit- laden society- the sky lift going down into the canyon, swimming and picnicing in the river below… We 70’s kids were a tougher bunch, I guess. We thought the place was just GRAND! There was also a zoo and campground in addition to the rides.

Today, Canyon Land lies deserted and quiet, a few remnants left here and there to remind us of what once was a summertime tradition. A For Sale sign stands out front. (Anyone want to buy your own amusement park?!)

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Stories abound that, when the Park closed in 1982, the zoo animals were turned out into the wild. There have been sightings of cheetahs, chimpanzees, and other exotic animals in the woods surrounding the canyon.

There is also an obscure tale of a ghost that haunts one of the old buildings . I’ve been chasing that tale for a while now, though, and come up with dead ends.

Haunted or not, Cloudland Canyon Park is a huge part of our growing up years. (I am going to keep on hunting the story of that ghost…)

 

If you have any memories or tales from therse places (or others in the area) please comment or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you!

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Ghosts of DeSoto Falls and Canyonland Park

I’ve been researching a couple of places in Alabama. The first is the ghost of Desoto Falls in Mentone, Alabama. I love Mentone! What’s not  to love? Quaint restaurants. beautiful scenery…

I was quite surprised to learn that the DeSoto Falls area is haunted by an old woman and her dog. Supposedly, when the woman died in 1931, thieves stole the money she had set aside for a tombstone. She then haunted the site around her old cabin. Many people saw her walking with her dog. In recent years, someone bought a stone for her grave. Apparently, since that time, sightings have decreased dramatically.

 

Does anyone remember visiting Canyonland Park? As a child, my mom would take me there all the time. We’d load up the car (with picnic food and kids and my grandmother) and go. I remember being terrified of the sky lift.

 

 

Today, the park is abandoned. Stories abound of zoo animals turned out into the woods. According to local legend, exotic animals can still be seen in the woods surrouding the abandoned park.

What ghosts haunt this place that was once so full of happiness and fun?

Here is a facebook page link dedicated to the park:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/CanyonLandAL/

I’d love to hear from anyone who has visited these places. I’d love to hear your experiences.

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I’m Still Here…

Ok, SO I know what you’re thinking…she starts a new blog and already she’s negelcting it…
But that’s not how it is…

I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time this weekend researching the haunting at the Old Floyd County Prison. Seems everyone knows about Big Red- supposedly he was so terrible his fellow inmates murdered him. However…no records that I can find tell WHAT he did that was so terrible, when and HOW he was murdered….  so that doesn’t exactly make for a good story, now does it? (And I would WELCOME any comments from anyone who knows more of this story…)

Another thing keeping me busy/ crazy is that I now have my own webpage, independednt of blogger, but setting it up is taxing my hamsters, you know? Learning a whole new language/ layout… hope to have it running soon. I will post a link here and I actually plan to transfer this page over to the new one. Don’t ask me how… I mean I read how last night but… Mandarin Chinese makes more sense at this point.

I have also been researching the Cowee Tunel haunting for my next book-stay tuned….

I would like to say THANKS to eveyrone faithfully visiting this page. I promise it will get better as I move it over to its new home.

 

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Resaca Confederate Cemetery

I first heard of this cemetery from a non-ghost-believing friend. However, my first visit was with a couple friends from Southern States Paranormal. We spent an afternoon walking and talking in this quiet, beautiful place.
This was the first Confederate Cemetery in the US- actually, it was created at the same time as a cemetery in Virginia, so both carry that distinction. Created by the daughter of a southern planter, the cemetery is dedicated to the memory of those who died in the Battle of Resaca.
Although peaceful during the day, the cemetery takes on another persona as night falls.  Spirits roam here. An invisible guard walks back and forth before the cemetery gate. Other soldiers march back and forth on the hill surrounding the cemetery. A little girl is said to haunt the grounds as well.  Ghost hunters have recorded EVPs as well as taken photos of orbs, vortexes, and even a soldier or two.
The problem with visiting the cemetery (at any time) is the crime rate here. There have been several incidents (non-paranormal) that have taken place here. This is a remote area. making it ideal for drug dealers and others with less than honorable intentions.
I visited the area with a couple of good friends during the summer of 2013.  Long story, but we ended up having to call the police- after getting cornered in the cemetery by some ill-intentioned creeps.
While a beautiful place to visit, and full of history, this is not a place to venture into alone. As  I mentioned, the crime rate here is considerable, and the creepier element thrives in this remote area. Be forewarned.
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The Ghost of Cloudland Canyon- True or Hoax?

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In researching tales of the southern states, I came across a tale that takes place in Cloudland Canyon State Park- a hidden gem in Rising Fawn, GA. According to legend, the park is haunted at night by the ghost of a Native American on Horseback. Campers often see him as he quietly passes through the park. However, this spirit doesn’t incite fear in guests. Evidently, he makes them feel safe- as if he is watching over visitors to the park.

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Here’s the thing- In searching the web and the Heritage Room at Sarah Hightower Library, I can find nothing on this haunting. I posted the haunting on my FB page Ghosts of Northwest Georgia. No comments. No takers. SO… I am beginning to wonder- is this a true tale, or did someone make this up? And for what reason? To gain readership? To gain visitors to the park?

Maybe the ghost is for real.  Maybe he just has a small following….

Have you ever heard of the ghost of Cloudland Canyon? Have you seen him?

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A Different Look at Southen Ghosts

I thought more than once about starting this blog. I wavered back and forth for some time. I knew I wanted to write about ghosts. I began a collection of ghost tales from Northwest Georgia a while back. My Facebook page, Ghosts of Northwest Georgia , has developed a small following. I love the emails, stories, and comments I get there. (I hope to publish my collection of Northwest Georgia tales very soon.) My page has brought me a great deal more enjoyment that I ever expected. I love hearing from people who, like me, love true ghost stories.

I guess, then, this blog is one more step in a natural progression.  I’ve always loved ghost stories and tales of the unexplained.  In elementary school, I devoured every book of ghost stories I could find- in my school library, my local library, monthly class book orders… I couldn’t get enough! Why this interest in the supernatural? Who knows? It’s just a part of who I am. I’ve never lost my interest and, combined with my love of writing, this is where I am today.

I hope to spark discussions, learn new stories, and explore old and little-known tales of the American South. I’d love to hear from others who are like-minded. I’d love to hear any tales you’d like to share.

Add your comments, email me with your tales…..

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