About My Upcoming Title – The Outlaws and Ghosts of The Natchez Trace

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The Outlaws and Ghosts of The Natchez Trace, a working title for now, will be released in 2015. Its release will culminate a long journey of intrigue and fascination that began in the early 1990s.

At the time, I lived just outside of Nashville, on McCrory Lane. Directly across the road from me was the northern terminus of the recently-completed Natchez Trace Parkway, a modern highway that roughly follows the path of the old Natchez Trace.

The Natchez Trace was a footpath that led from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi. Created by prehistoric animals and used by Native Americans for centuries, the Trace became a major trail for European and American explorers and traders in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Despite the presence of today’s modern parkway and thousands of visitors each year, the Natchez Trace’s enduring sense of time, place, and mystery is ever present along its 440-mile path through the wilderness. Although the Trace is known for its natural beauty and rich history, it is also shrouded in mystery. Tragic, often savage events were common in its early days when foot travelers attempted to make the grueling, six-week trip from Natchez to Nashville.

Because most of those travelers carried large sums of money, the Natchez Trace became a haven for land pirates, thugs, and even cold-blooded killers. Some travelers managed to evade or fend off the hoodlums, only to succumb to disease, snake bites, or other perils of the wild before they could make it home.

With its sad and often bloody history, the Natchez Trace is the collective footprint of tragedies past. And, as one might expect, the horrendous events that occurred along its path over two-hundred years ago left behind a spiritual residue that still lingers today.

Ghosts of weary travelers, friendly innkeepers, and infamous outlaws keep a vigilant watch over the old Natchez Trace. Who were they? Why have they not moved on? Is there something they want to tell us?

~~~

As an avid, lifelong researcher of history and the paranormal–and a Southern author to boot–I have studied the Trace for many years. The place has always intrigued and fascinated me, and no fewer than one-hundred people have told me that I “definitely” need to write a book about the Trace. But that was easier said than done.

Although living on McCrory Lane had its advantages, such as spending every weekend and holiday driving the Trace and scouting all of its trappings, another book project lay in front of me, one that I had been researching ever since I was a child in the 1970s–the Bell Witch. After the 1999 “short version” was released, followed by the comprehensive, 406-page version some time later, pressure from the reading public forced my writing and research to take a more paranormal turn. So that, I did. And I still do. History and exploring historic locations is my first love, and the paranormal is my second.

It gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to finally be able to commence working on the Natchez Trace book. Although I will cover lots of paranormal locations and stories, the book’s common thread will be history. And, most notably, the history of those who MADE the Natchez Trace such a haunted location in the first place: the ruthless, throat-slitting, disemboweling scoundrels who made it their sinister playground.

I am looking forward to weaving this nasty and unnerving tapestry of greed, bloodshed, and the supernatural.

The Outlaws and Ghosts of The Natchez Trace
ISBN: 978-0-9705156-7-4
Coming in 2015!

Official Facebook page for updates, excerpts, and signing & lecture informationhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Outlaws-and-Ghosts-of-The-Natchez-Trace/1574089829479013

About My Upcoming Title – More Ghostly Cries From Dixie

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From the murky swamps of Louisiana to the misty hills of Appalachia, the American South is enshrouded by a mystical element that rouses the senses and kindles the imagination. This mystical element has for years inspired tales of ghosts haunting old houses, creatures roaming dark forests, and headless figures waving lanterns along train tracks.

Every little town and rural community south of the Mason-Dixon, it seems, has a resident ghost and a dozen stories to tell. These stories will never go away or become outdated. They, along with the landscape of our region, are permanently etched into our human experience.

In this chilling collection of ghostly tales from the land of moonshine and magnolias, Pat Fitzhugh artfully recounts Dixie’s most terrifying legends and the disturbing history behind them.

From a ghost-infested bed and breakfast in Tennessee to a cursed Civil War battlefield in Georgia, and from a rural spook light in Arkansas to a creepy mansion in the Appalachians, More Ghostly Cries From Dixie is sure to intrigue, captivate, and fascinate readers of all persuasions. Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, you will be left wondering about–or perhaps admitting to for the first time–experiences of your own that you can’t explain.

More Ghostly Cries From Dixie follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, Ghostly Cries From Dixie, which was published in 2009. The author’s approach remains the same–to dissect the stories, research the characters and events, and compile his unique version of each story. The history behind a haunting is often more frightening than the haunting itself; the living do more harm than the dead do.

Come on a terrifying journey down the road less traveled, where ghosts, spirits, and scepters stand vigilant watch over the dismal swamps, decrepit houses, and forgotten graveyards of Dixie. But whatever you do, don’t look behind you.

More Ghostly Cries From Dixie
By Pat Fitzhugh
ISBN: 978-0-9705156-3-6
Coming in 2015!

Official Facebook page for updates, excerpts, signing and lecture information: http://www.facebook.com/MoreGhostlyCries

Facebook Pages for Two New Books

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The Facebook pages for two of my three upcoming books are now online. They’re new, and I’m still moving in, but please feel free to “like” those pages. By doing so, you will receive periodic updates on the progress of each book, as well as release dates, signings, and other events! Just click on the title.

The Outlaws and Ghosts of the Natchez Trace

MORE Ghostly Cries From Dixie

Fall Update

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I hope everyone had a great Halloween and is enjoying this creepy fall weather.

I’ve been involved with several projects as of late, one of which is more ghost hunting and paranormal investigation. If you write books about ghosts and the paranormal, you need to live the part. Right? I’ve been to several places over the past year, most notably The Thomas House in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee. Why there? Why so many times? That’s because it’s one of those places where you will always be guaranteed action. I like action, lots of action. With its sordid past, the place stays active around the clock, every day. It’s also a short drive for me, the overnight room rates are cheap, the food is great, and the place makes an excellent getaway for reading, writing, or just relaxing and rebooting the old mind. It should come as no surprise that I am including The Thomas House in the sequel to Ghostly Cries From Dixie, which I am currently working on.

The sequel, still unnamed but using “MORE Ghostly Cries From Dixie” as its working title, will be released in the spring of 2015. As was the case with its predecessor, it will be a compilation of weird and ghostly tales from the South. Sound easy? Given the South’s reputation for haunted places and campfire tales, one would think it easy to find plenty stories for the book. Not so. Finding ghost stories for inclusion in a book is one the hardest projects I’ve ever worked on. The story needs to be rich enough in history to create a backdrop and backstory, yet creepy enough to be consistent with the book’s theme. Well-grounded ghost stories, especially those from the South, contain not only spooky elements, but also a strong sense of place.

During my search for bookworthy ghost stories from the South, I kept finding stories from the Natchez Trace, a footpath through the Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee wilderness back in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Apparently, some of the early travelers along the old path, who never made it home, are still wandering up and down the trail or lurking in the nearby woods after more than 200 years. There were a few Native American attacks, a couple disease scares, and a handful of natural deaths, but most of those who died on the Natchez Trace were murdered by outlaws and bandits. Money was not always the motive. Some “land pirates,” such as the Harp Brothers, killed people just for the sake of killing. They thought it was fun. The Natchez Trace is full of history, outlaw stories, and ghosts. So, guess what? In addition to the “Ghostly Cries From Dixie” sequel, I am also writing a book about the infamous ghosts and bandits of the Natchez Trace. Look for it in the summer of 2015.

Also, at some point, I will hopefully get From Turkey Creek – A Memoir and the Bell Witch update book done as well.

Later……

Update on October Event

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The paranormal meetup and investigation the weekend of October 24-25 (come one night, or both nights) is shaping up nicely. It was almost sold out two weeks ago, and I’m sure it probably is by now (I haven’t had time to call and check).

I hadn’t planned on bringing any books to sign and sell, but several e-mails from interested parties changed my mind. But not a lot. I’m bringing one copy of The Bell Witch, and maybe four copies of Ghostly Cries From Dixie. That’s all I have.

I’ve been working on a mini-movie for the event. The hour-long show features footage from several ghost hunts at The Thomas House earlier this year. I’ve made it a point to spend lots of time (and MONEY, for the creation software) and effort on getting it right, including the historical and story aspects of the place. I plan to show it at the October event and future ghost hunts (in person), only. It will mean more to people if they can watch it when they are actually there and experiencing the place. Also, I don’t want to dilute the movie’s value, or cheapen all the hard work I’ve put into it, by blasting it out to “the masses.” I want to make it special. Plus, the finished product’s file (which technically isn’t finished) is too big to upload to YouTube.

The only problem I’m facing with the mini-movie is a time to show it. This year’s event schedule is very aggressive, with a new activity kicking off every hour for half the night, each night. I think I will have to combine the movie showing with the book signing–at breakfast each morning.

If anyone is interested in the event, check out the link at the beginning of this post. It is likely sold out, but it never hurts to call and see, if you’re interested!

Upcoming Radio Interview

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I will be a live interview guest on The Paranormal Roundtable radio show this Thursday night, September 18, at 7 PM Central / 8 PM Eastern. We’ll be discussing the Bell Witch legend, and possibly some other cases. You can tune in by clicking the this link, and then clicking “Live Streaming.”

Fall Paranormal Get-Together and Investigation

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Where: The Thomas House Bed and Breakfast, in Red Boiling Springs, TN.

When: Weekend of Oct. 24-25, 2014 (pick one night, or stay all weekend!).

Join Southern authors and researchers Dr. Sue Clifton and Pat Fitzhugh for a weekend of fun, food, frights, and paranormal investigation, at CNN’s #3-ranked most haunted place in America–The Thomas House Bed and Breakfast!

- EVENTS (held both nights):

Afternoon …. Check-in.
5:00 PM… Introductory/historical tour for newbies (Clifton, Fitzhugh)
6:00 PM… Storytelling (Clifton, Fitzhugh, others)
7:00 PM… Country dinner buffet (David and staff)
8:00 PM… Play: “Ghosts of the Inn” (Tennessee Ghost Hunters)
9:30 PM… Haunted candlelight tour (Tennessee Ghost Hunters)
11:00 PM…Paranormal investigation of building, grounds, and church (Clifton, Fitzhugh)..lasts until the last person falls asleep.

- RATES (includes room, dinner, breakfast, play, tours, EVERYTHING but tax):

$75/one person/room/night (single occupancy)
$140/two people/room/night (double occupancy)
* Suites are available at a higher rate. Please
check with The Thomas House directly for information.

- RESERVATIONS

Call The Thomas House directly at 615-699-3006, and make sure to join the event’s official Facebook page, linked below, to RSVP.

- Adults only (under-18 teens accompanied by adult is fine).
– No alcohol on ghost hunt.
– No smoking inside building (but plenty on the balcony and porch).

The Thomas House is 1.5 hours northeast of Nashville, in the hills of Macon County, Tennessee.

Official Facebook Event Page — Click here!

New Venture in Video: ParaTakes (First Segment: Bell Witch)

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This is the first of many ParaTakes With Pat Fitzhugh that I intend to produce and distribute. A ParaTake is my short take on any topic related to the paranormal. The first few ParaTakes will cover popular myths and misconceptions associated with Tennessee’s infamous Bell Witch legend. Why the Bell Witch? Although there is more to my work than just the Bell Witch, I’ve spent two-thirds of my life researching the terrifying legend. Over the course of decades spent researching a legend, the researcher accumulates a list of pet peeves. And naturally, the researcher occasionally feels the urge to share them. Sounds like a job for ParaTakes!

Filmed in Mississippi, this first ParaTake segment features my analysis of the so-called abuse theory, which has been used in several recent attempts to “explain” the Bell Witch legend. Before we watch the video, please take moment to familiarize yourself with the story. Here’s the condensed version…

“From 1817 to 1821, a Tennessee family experienced a series of terrifying disturbances at the hands of an invisible, malevolent entity. Known as the Bell Witch, the entity beat on walls and floors, tugged on the children’s bedcovers, sang hymns, and predicted the future. Along the way, she mercilessly brutalized the family’s youngest daughter, Betsy, and killed her father.

“Scholars have attempted to explain the mystery for almost 200 years. Although nearly everyone has an opinion about the so-called Bell Witch, a provable explanation continues to elude researchers. A popular theory posed in recent years suggests that the entity evolved from Betsy Bell’s subconscious mind as the result of her [allegedly] having been abused by her father.

“In this ParaTake, author and longtime researcher Pat Fitzhugh provides his take on the oft-controversial abuse theory.”

And now, the video…

ParaTake #1: The Bell Witch Legend’s Abuse Theory — Fact or Speculation?

The Death of Sarah (An excerpt)

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Below is a short paragraph excerpt from my forthcoming sequel to Ghostly Cries From Dixie. The excerpt comes from a chapter dealing with Tennessee’s infamous “Thomas House,” one of America’s most haunted places. Scheduled for release in the fall, the “Ghostly Cries” sequel follows in the terrifying footsteps of its predecessor by serving up a bewitching concoction of weird and ghostly tales from the American South.

The Death of Sarah

In the summer of 1929, eight-year-old Sarah Hanning and her parents visited the Cloyd Hotel and Spa in hopes of curing her rare stomach condition. Her doctor believed that bathing in the water from nearby springs would help her. She tried to stay active and cheerful throughout her stay at the resort, but her stomach ailment often brought intense pain and weakness.

Sarah’s daily trips to the spring did more harm than good; in just two weeks, the color had faded from her skin and a yellow puffiness had begun to fill her eyes. Her health deteriorated rapidly, and it wasn’t long before she couldn’t muster enough energy to get out of bed. One sultry July morning, Sarah began shaking violently and vomiting profusely. Over the next few minutes, she rolled around in her bed and covered her mouth with her hands to try to stop the vomiting, but to no avail. When the violent spell finally subsided, she developed severe chills and passed out. She lay motionless in her mother’s arms while her father and Mr. Cloyd went to fetch the local doctor. By the time they returned, Sarah was dead.

End

If you haven’t already snagged a copy of the first book, Ghostly Cries From Dixie, you can get eBook and paperback copies by clicking here and following the Amazon links. If you prefer a signed and personalized copy, click here. To keep tabs on all of my writing forays and initiatives, click here to join my official Facebook page.

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