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Radio Interview – May 19th

Tuesday May 19th — 8p Central / 9p Eastern, I will be joining Michael Johnson and Steven LaChance for a discussion of the Sultana Disaster, the Bell Witch, and more! This will be on THE FEAR radio.

Click here to listen live!

Thanks for listening!

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Lecture and Signing Event — Batesville, Mississippi

Thursday, April 23rd, 7:00 PM Central

Batesville Public Library
206 Highway 51 North
Batesville, MS

This free event is open to the public, and is being held in conjunction with a regular meeting of the Panola County Historical Society. The discussion will center on the “Bell Witch” legend, with special emphasis on its local Mississippi ties. The limited supply
of books to be sold and signed include, “The Bell Witch – The Full Account,” and “Ghostly Cries From Dixie.” Light refreshments will be served.

Photos From the Chattanooga, TN Lecture Event

Here are a couple photos from my lecture event in Chattanooga, TN on March 5th. The venue, a large retirement center, was situated atop a huge mountain. Talk about cold and windy…whoosh!

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More events will be announced soon!

Winter Update

Ice, bone-chilling temperatures, more ice, and very stressful driving. That’s what Tennessee winters are all about. We get little snow, but lots of ice. Kentucky’s weather isn’t any better.

I would like to extend a big thank-you to the many people who braved 5 inches of snow and 2-degree temperatures last Thursday night to attend my Bell Witch / Southern Ghosts lecture, Q&A, and book signing at the library in Bowling Green, Kentucky. After having done a TV filming in Adams, TN, earlier in the day, followed by a slow, 1.5-hour drive over Kentucky’s backroads toward Bowling Green, I was warmly relieved to find so many upbeat and welcoming people at the end of my journey. It was a lot of fun. Thank you!

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On March 5th, I will be traveling to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to give another lecture (to a private organization) and then spend the evening of March 6th performing paranormal research at possibly the Read House or the Choo Choo, followed by an investigation at UT Chattanooga and a nearby location. Then on March 14th, it will be an all-night paranormal research and investigative session at Octagon Hall in Franklin, Kentucky. The following week, I will likely return to The Thomas House for some research and possibly some writing. The rest of my year looks about the same as this; it’s going to be a very busy and productive year.

Several more lecture and signing appearances will be announced in the near future, including another visit to Kentucky (Owensboro) on October 15th. New book releases are also in the works. It’s going to be a fun year. Stay tuned!

 

Fall Update

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……

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

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?

Chattanooga Trip Highlights and Info

In a recent post, I mentioned going to Chattanooga, Tennessee for a few days. Now I’m back. What’s up with Chattanooga–why several trips in only two months?

The focus of my southeasterly travels has been the Delta Queen, a legendary, 90-year-old steamboat that is currently a floating hotel in Chattanooga. Only two hours down Interstate 24, the Delta Queen affords me three opportunities: 1) To see, feel, and essentially “live on” a boat I’ve been passionately interested in since my childhood; 2) to have a fun yet cozy “instant getaway,” anytime I need it; and 3) to study history and ghosts (two of my favorite subjects), and do some writing along the way. Ghosts? Yes. Read on.

Several of the Cabin Deck’s rooms (106, 109, 110, and 111) — the last two, in particular–have seen their share of weird, unexplainable activity. This includes water faucets turning on and off by themselves, guests feeling “watched,” personal items being moved or rearranged, and “whispering” sounds emanating from the walls. Also on the Cabin Deck, The Forward Cabin Lounge (aka the main lobby) has seen spooky activity in the form of ghostly figures of old ladies and men decked out in suits and ties peering into the lobby from the decks outside. This phenomenon is especially noticeable in photographs. Although plenty interesting things happen on the Cabin Deck, it is only the beginning; ghosts inhabit the entire boat.

Staterooms on the upper decks often experience the alarming sound of someone (or something) desperately trying to open the doors to the rooms. The sounds range from the repeated jamming of a key into the locks, to the doors actually being jarred back and forth, violently, as though someone were trying to force them open. Startled guests have awoken to the noises and, when not too terrified to move, tried to find the culprit. They never find anyone outside their doors; and the 285-foot deck is void of people. Another upper-deck room has, on one occasion, echoed a woman’s mischievous giggles. The incident occurred about 4AM, when most guests were asleep. No one was staying in the adjoining cabins.

Perhaps the most haunted place on the Delta Queen is the expansive Dining Room, named “The Orleans Room” and situated on the vessel’s lower deck. From the shoreline outside the boat, visitors have reported seeing “shadow people” moving about the dining room at all hours of the night, even when it is closed. Others have noticed a heavy, dark shadow suddenly looming over them as they worked in the kitchen. The shadow disappears after a second. Phantom footsteps are also commonly experienced in the Dining Room, along with the sound of dishes being clashed together and moved around in the kitchen, even when the kitchen is void of people. On one occasion, the piano on the Dining Room’s entertainment stage reportedly played by itself.

What proof do we have that the Delta Queen is haunted? The most convincing evidence comes in the form of unaltered photographs, their authenticity to which I can attest. Also, over the past few years, paranormal investigation groups have obtained very convincing EVP’s. In my opinion, there are TWO parties happening simultaneously on the Delta Queen. The first is the here and now; the present day, you and me. The second party happened many, many years ago, and is constantly replaying itself with the passengers, crew, sights, sounds, and even smells, of a bygone era being played out aboard the Delta Queen. And, at rare moments when the veil thins, we can partially see and experience the ghostly sights and sounds. But, aside from the boat’s glamorous, romantic past, a few tragedies also deserve mention.

In World War II, the Delta Queen served as a hospital transport boat in San Francisco Bay. It transported severely injured and mortally wounded soldiers from ocean-going “hospital ships” to medical facilities in San Francisco. Shortly after the War, Greene Steamboat Lines of Cincinnati, Ohio purchased the boat and began offering cruises of the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers. From 1947 to 1949, Captain Mary Becker Greene, America’s first female steamboat captain, was at the helm of the Delta Queen. She died on the boat, in room 109. She was 80. A benevolent spirit, her presence is consistently felt throughout the vessel. Later, in the 1950s, a chef in the kitchen was killed with a meat cleaver after he pulled a knife on the butcher (go figure–you DON’T pull a knife on a butcher, ever), over a poker debt. Others also have died on the boat. Packed with such tragedy and triumph, and blanketed with the spiritual residue of four generations, it’s no wonder that the Delta Queen is literally infested with ghosts.

That’s all for now, but I’m sure I’ll write more on the Delta Queen in the coming months. Also, the full Delta Queen story, including all of its haunted history, will appear in my next collection of ghost stories (the sequel to Ghostly Cries From Dixie).

Last but not least: Here is a link to the boat (hotel’s) Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/DeltaQueenSteamboat

 

Year-End Thoughts

It was a busy 2013, with lots of promotions, writing, editing, and new research–the usual stuff. Ok, I’ll take some of that back. I didn’t do much writing this year; instead, I chose to concentrate on editing and promotion. Promoting my current titles and platform will build a stronger base from which to release my 2014 and 2015 titles. Likewise, editing moves those titles along to completion. Yes, my eyes are on the future. With 2013 being a paradigm-shifting year for authors, publishers, and most of all, readers, it was important to reevaluate, redesign, and rebuild my author platform. The REAL “three R’s.” I hope other authors have done this, too, as times are changing.

The final edit of From Turkey Creek – A Memoir is now complete, and I’m still looking for a suitable cover. I’ve been searching the past three years and haven’t found anything that comes even close to visually capturing the “Turkey Creek experience.” But then again, that’s why I’m writing the book in the first place–it was the most unique place on earth! I’m not releasing the book until I “get it right,” which includes the front and back covers. Regarding other titles, the new and updated Bell Witch book is coming along nicely; I’ll continue writing until June, and then I’ll do the pre-edit before sending it to a REAL editor. Also, several awesome short story and research opportunities have surfaced lately, and I plan to become heavily involved with all of them.

I have finalized the list of stories that will appear in my next ghost story book, which will be similar to Ghostly Cries From Dixie.

Over the next few days, however, I’ll be in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to research another haunted location–one that’s completely INFESTED with ghosts–and I might do a little writing, as well.

“Elly Hays” Book Release Tour — Stops Here Nov. 6th!

Elly Hays of Tennessee

by Lori Crane

 

At 2:15 a.m. on December 16, 1811, residents of New Madrid, Missouri were shaken from their beds by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake. The ground rolled, snapping trees, destroying homes and barns, and creating large fissures in the earth. In some places, the mighty Mississippi flowed backwards, and some people simply disappeared without a trace. The earthquake was felt in an area as large as 50,000 square miles. (In comparison, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was felt in a 6,200 square mile area.) Church bells rang as far away as Charleston and Boston, sidewalks cracked in Washington, D.C., and chimneys toppled in Cincinnati. The initial earthquake was followed by two more large quakes: one on January 23 at 9:15 a.m. that registered 7.5, and one on February 7 at 3:45 a.m. that registered 7.7. The year 1812 saw more than eighteen hundred aftershocks shake the region, registering between 3.0 and 7.0.

In late 1811, Shawnee Chief Tecumseh was traveling the south, encouraging the various Indian Nations to unite against the white settlers. Somehow, he used a prophecy of coming earthquakes to convince the nations to follow him. He promised arms and ammunition from the British, who were gearing up for the War of 1812 and who needed help from the Indians to defeat the Americans. For the Creek Indian Nation of Alabama, the difference in opinion as to whether or not to join Tecumseh resulted in a civil war called the Red Stick War. Alabama saw the Creeks fighting among themselves, against the U.S. governments, and against the white settlers who were continually encroaching upon their tribal land.

It was during this time, a white pioneer family left their shaken land and destroyed home in Greene County, Tennessee and moved to Alabama for a fresh start. Unknowingly, they were moving into the middle of Creek territory—into the middle of a hornet’s nest. The Indians taunted them, stealing their livestock, destroying their crops, and the final straw, burning down their house and everything in it.

The wife and mother of this pioneer family was Elly Hays Rodgers, and she is the heroine of my new book, Elly Hays. She is in fact my 5th great grandmother, and her story is one of courage, fortitude, and determination. She was a brave and protective mother who faced the frightening Creek warriors head on. “Elly Hays” is the third book in the Okatibbee Creek series, following Okatibbee Creek and An Orphan’s Heart. They are stand-alone stories and do not need to be experienced in order.

Elly Hays is the epic saga of a fearless warrior with nothing to lose and a young mother on the verge of losing everything.

"Elly Hays," by Lori Crane

“Elly Hays,” by Lori Crane

 

GIVEAWAYS

1. EBOOK!  Every comment on this post during the Elly Hays book tour (Nov 4-16) will be entered to win an ebook of the 1st or 2nd book in the Okatibbee Creek series, OKATIBBEE CREEK or AN ORPHAN’S HEART. Your choice of Kindle or Nook. One winner will be chosen. Prize will be delivered by email. Winner will be posted here in the comments on November 17, 2013. Visit each stop of the tour to increase your chances. An ebook will be given away at each stop. Tour schedule is posted at www.LoriCraneAuthor.com.

2. $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD! If you sign up for Lori’s newsletter by November 16th, you will be entered into the drawing for a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card. One winner will be chosen. Prize will be delivered by email. Winner will be announced in the newsletter on November 18, 2013. Sign up at www.LoriCraneAuthor.com.

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Lori Crane

Twitter Chat for Authors and Aspiring Authors

Ever thought about writing a book? Ever wonder what it’s like being an author? Have you wondered what’s involved with writing and publishing a book?
Do you know the best ways to promote a book? Do want the lowdown on book signings and how to make them work for you?

Whether you’re an author or an author wannabee, come join historical fiction author Lori Crane, myself, and four other authors as we discuss our careers, our thoughts, our processes, our books, and the secrets (and pitfalls) that all aspiring authors need to know about!

Saturday, November 16, 2013 – 4p-5p Eastern, 3p-4p Central

Go to TweetChat (www.tweetchat.com) a few minutes before the chat, to sign up. Then, simply enter the following hashtag to follow and participate in the chat: #ellyhays