books

Book Excerpt: “From Turkey Creek – A Memoir”

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.

(more…)

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!

 

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

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

Pat Fitzhugh - More Ghostly Cries From Dixie

About My Upcoming Title – More Ghostly Cries From Dixie

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

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……

The Death of Sarah (An excerpt)

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.

Late Summer Update

Hey! Long time, no see! I’m sorry for the prolonged absence, but a half dozen projects have kept me busy. The “fun” projects include working on the Bell Witch Thirteenth Anniversary Edition, and editing Turkey Creek one last time before I send it off to the REAL editor. That poses a problem because I keep recollecting boyhood stories that I want to add, yet when I am editing, my goal is to cut, cut, cut. Since beginning my edits–and working through all seven passes–I’ve managed to cut about 200 pages. And the stories I want to add? They equal… about 200 pages.

The paperback copies of The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge, signed by author Lori Crane, have arrived and are on sale. I will join Lori by signing and personalizing them (I wrote the foreword). You can snag your copy here. Any copies not sold online will be signed and sold at lectures and signings.

Speaking of book signings, I am proceeding with the fall signing and lecture tour, although I won’t be swinging by some of the regular, out-of-state venues. Projects, along with several local events and private engagements, are keeping me close to home this fall. In October, I will participate in a panel discussion about folklore and historical research, and I’ll discuss the methods I’ve used in researching the “Bell Witch” case over the last three decades. This is for the Tennessee Society of Historical Archivists, I believe. Several fall signing and lecture events are also in the works, and will be announced soon. Stay tuned.

Book Signing and Storytelling Event

Sunday, October 27th, 3-6 PM Central

Author Pat Fitzhugh will be on hand for Bell Witch storytelling and signing the books, “The Bell Witch: The Full Account,” “Ghostly Cries From Dixie,” and “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge.”

Chester’s Halloween Costume Ball and Karaoke
Shady Acres Activity Center — Old Rink Plaza
1649 Murfreesboro Rd.
Lebanon, Tennessee

Also: DJ and costume contest!
ADMISSION IS FREE!

Signed Paperbacks Now Available

After a two-year break from signing, personalizing, and direct-selling paperbacks from my living room, I am at it once again!  To receive a signed, personalized paperback, you must order through the link provided, below. 

The titles I am signing are Ghostly Cries From Dixie, The Bell Witch – The Full Account, and The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge.  I will not be signing The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge until late August, when author Lori Crane and I will be able to sign it (she wrote the book, I wrote the foreword).

Once you’ve read the book descriptions and made it to the PayPal ordering page, make sure to check out the “combo” discount for buying “Bell Witch” and “Ghostly Cries” together; it will save you a few bucks.

Enjoy your signed, personalized book!

 

Click here to order your signed paperback(s)!

 

Interview on “The Fringe” Radio Show

Saturday June 15th — 7PM MOUNTAIN / 8PM CENTRAL / 9 PM EASTERN

Tune in for an hour of fun discussion about the Bell Witch, the paranormal, and my writing, on “The Fringe” radio show at KTKK AM 630 (K-TALK) in South Jordan, Utah.

Listen live on the internet at: http://www.fringeradioshow.com/pro/
Listeners may call in with questions to:  801-254-5855