Greetings, Friends and Enemies:
A year ago today, I was relaxing after a busy last few years and contemplating much of the same for 2018. As it turned out, I was right. Although I haven’t “rested up” from the whirlwind called 2018, and probably will not for some time, I must admit that it was a great year on all fronts and I couldn’t be happier.
On the musical end, I did several key projects this past year. And more importantly, I made many new friends and contacts along the way. It is an honor and a privilege to know and work with them.
The paranormal world was busy as well, with investigations, lots of behind-the-scenes research on some alternative and new-to-me areas of the field, several special guest appearances at conventions, a handful of radio interviews, three TV appearances, a musical guest appearance with the OrbTones (a rock band composed of paranormal researchers), and some well-attended lecture and book signing events.
To those who attended any, or some, of the events listed above, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You (fans and friends) are the folks who matter, and are why I’m here and do what I do; you have my full loyalty. The paranormal activities and events are special in the same way that musical activities are special. They afford me the opportunity to meet many exciting people and make strong, lasting friendships, and offer me the privilege of being able to relate to, and learn from, those people.
Having been in the paranormal field since 1978, I have seen the field recycle, reinvent, and redefine itself many times. Interest reaches a peak every five years, and then resets in the sixth year. 2019 will be the fourth year of the current cycle. Look for more great things; not only from me, but from others as well. We are only a year away from the very top of the roller coaster. Enjoy.
Looking to the future, I first think of all the “new me” statements people make, especially on social media. Why? I mean, let’s reason together. How often does a new year—a predetermined date on a calendar—automatically and suddenly alter a person’s life and attitude? It doesn’t, except for rare cases when someone manages to keep their New Year’s resolution.
This brings me to my own New Year’s resolution for 2019, which I should be able to keep because it hasn’t changed in 40 years: “keep on keeping on, stand strong and firm in my convictions, maintain my standards of research, and don’t change a thing.” The “new me” is still the “old me.”
A couple exceptions might come into play, however. I am looking at extending my efforts and research into an area that I feel would greatly benefit from it, but as with everything else, I look before I leap. And, I am still looking. I am also pondering some new and big paranormal opportunities that have recently been offered to me. (Side note: I will not discuss them, so please don’t ask). As good as the opportunities sound, I can’t lose sight of the fact that everything usually looks good on paper, but paper often amounts to nothing more than the proverbial “sheep’s clothing.” I must evaluate the opportunities very carefully, and wisely.
But, most importantly, I would like to wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2019!
Many thanks to fans who braved the chilly weather to be a part of my storytelling and book signing events in Sparta, TN, yesterday and last night. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout and everyone’s enthusiasm. As always, your interest and support are greatly appreciated; people like you are why I have been doing these and similar appearances for almost 40 years now. I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s events! We’ve only just begun.
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.
Giving a word of thanks to those who came out for the lecture and book signing at the Batesville, Mississippi, Public Library last Thursday. Thanks so much for coming. It was great, and we had a ball!
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also: DJ and costume contest!
ADMISSION IS FREE!