In this blast-from-the-past interview with Lucy Pireel in her Author Spotlight blog, I discuss several facets of authoring and how I handle them. Click. Read. Enjoy.
It has been a busy yet productive fall, winter, and spring, and new BELL WITCH-related lectures, books, and other items are on this year’s horizon! More on that in the coming weeks. This is, of course, in addition to several other projects I am currently working on.
I will also be talking more about the Bell Witch development I posted recently, regarding an old, 1856 reprinted account of the BELL WITCH that recently surfaced, and its impact on a theory recently popularized by the skeptical community.
Meanwhile, I am leaving you with photos from two BELL WITCH lectures and storytelling sessions I did last fall–one in Sparta, Tennessee, and another at the McCracken County Public Library in Paducah, Kentucky. Enjoy.
Talk to you soon!
As many already know, From Turkey Creek – A Memoir is a long-term work in progress. It is my childhood memoir of growing up at the most remote, fun, and wacky place in the world: Turkey Creek, in Humphreys County, Tennessee. This is a short, transitional chapter I wrote, which describes the “general stores” that dotted the countryside near Turkey Creek back in the day.
ON COUNTRY STORES
Nearly every dirt road out in the country had a general store. Within an eight-mile radius of Turkey Creek, there was Nolan Sulley Grocery, Thomas Freeland Grocery, George Harris Grocery, Leonard Barnes Grocery, Clyde Rose Grocery, Harold Smith Grocery, Dudley Jones Grocery, and William Covington Grocery. Usually named for their retiree owners, these rural mom-and-pop institutions were the places where good country folk met, talked politics, and engaged in long, serious talks about the lack or overabundance of rain. Women bought what they needed and left; the men stayed and gossiped.
Author’s note: This was originally posted to the Facebook fan page several months ago; I have recently decided to move forward with publishing it to a wider audience. — Pat Fitzhugh
One of the more popular “Bell Witch theories” to emerge in recent years centers on the first book ever written about the case, published by Martin Ingram of Clarksville, Tennessee, back in 1894, seventy-five years after the supernatural disturbances allegedly happened.
A “first book” is often the starting point for those researching an old case, and the researcher’s first job is to try and validate the author’s claims. What happens if the author is deceased? What if the author’s sources were destroyed by the proverbial “courthouse fire,” or simply went missing? It comes as no surprise that many first-published accounts of allegedly true events are open to conflicting interpretations and harsh, relentless scrutiny. People read the accounts, draw their own conclusions, void of any proof, and then argue their conclusions as “fact.” Welcome to the Bell Witch case.
Because Martin Ingram is long deceased, and his source document–Richard Bell’s Our Family Trouble manuscript–has yet to be found, his Bell Witch book has become the prime target of inquisitives, conspiracy theorists, and skeptics alike. Many even think he made up the legend. Did he? Welcome to the jungle. (more…)
Time truly flies when you’re having fun–and when you are busy. I apologize for the long delay between updates; it has been a very busy and productive last few months. I plan to post a lot of pictures, videos, and news in the coming weeks.
As 2017 reaches the halfway point, I am repointing and refocusing my efforts on current research and writing projects, and fewer ghost investigations. Not that there is anything wrong with ghost hunting, but planning the investigations, the travel involved, and spending weeks reviewing evidence takes a LOT of time. And so does writing. Finding the time to investigate hauntings, research cases, and write books, all at once, and hoping for the proverbial “big bang,” is daunting at best. Any more ghost investigations? You betcha–but just not as frequently (for a while). It is now time to catch up on my writing projects.
I have several works in progress, some of which are near completion. In my queue is a new, revised edition of “The Bell Witch: The Full Account,” a sequel to “Ghostly Cries From Dixie,” entitled, “More Ghostly Cries From Dixie,” and two new, first edition books: “The Outlaws and Ghosts of The Natchez Trace” and “From Turkey Creek – A Memoir.” The Natchez Trace book is in its early stages, and Turkey Creek is almost finished.
You will be hearing much more about these titles, as well as release dates and upcoming appearances, through more frequent updates of this web site/blog. I will also be sharing pictures from various ghost investigations and my travels.
In the meantime, I leave you with a video from a ghost investigation near Jackson, Tennessee, conducted on January 21, 2017. Three of us investigated an 1850s-era church building and Masonic hall, and the graveyard behind it, which dates back to the early 1820s. Activity was fast and furious, so much that we brought a much larger group for another investigation on June 24th; we encountered the same results. The area is chock full of history. Watch the video and read the captions for more information!
Thanks for watching. See you soon!
It’s amazing how I can be shoveling January snow one day and observing Memorial Day the next. Time moves too quickly. I wish it would slow down or, better yet, recycle itself. For that matter, I wish I could, too. The past few months, while exciting beyond words, have kept me super busy.
I still have several books in progress, but I’ve decided to keep them on the back burner while I pursue some exciting new opportunities. But of course, “back burner,” in my realm, only means putting the book together (typesetting, layout, pagination, TOC and index, cover design, and so on). I write the books in my head, then commit them to memory; I save the dirty work until later.
Exciting things are happening behind the scenes, and will continue to happen on into next year and beyond. Hint: Keep an eye on the Appearances page and watch [some of it] unfold. That’s all for now.
Thursday, April 23rd, 7:00 PM Central
Batesville Public Library
206 Highway 51 North
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.
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
Coming in 2015!
Official Facebook page for updates, excerpts, and signing & lecture information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Outlaws-and-Ghosts-of-The-Natchez-Trace/1574089829479013
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
Coming in 2015!
Official Facebook page for updates, excerpts, signing and lecture information: http://www.facebook.com/MoreGhostlyCries
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.