From the #1 Amazon Bestselling Author comes a series that ghost hunters are sure to love!
A TRUE HAUNTED PAST…
I want to tell you a story……about a place once called The Devil’s Furnace. A place that dates its beginnings in prehistoric times. Where Indigenous people once lived and hunted.
A place that’s known massive bloodshed……This bloodshed has stained the soil of the landscape and created a portal to another world. It’s a world where the souls of the deceased enter and exit at will.
Read about the stringy haired ghost woman…… She still roams the streets of this southern town. Find out where ghost sightings are a regular occurrence in haunted buildings and homes.
Explore the history of the city known as the Cradle of Rock-n-Roll, Elvis Presley’s birthplace…… Discover the many reasons why ghost hunters love the hills of the North Mississippi landscape.
If you love history and ghosts, you’ll love the first book in this series. Like The Haunted America series by The History Press, L. Sydney Fisher’s The Haunted is a historical narrative that explores southern sites with a paranormal past. Let’s begin…in Tupelo, Mississippi.
A note from the author: This series is a haunted history narrative. It includes local history and lore that has been thoroughly researched. Often times, this research includes interviews, visits to haunted locations, and paranormal investigations. I have spent months and even years researching a project before publication. If you like history and ghosts, you will probably enjoy The Haunted.
Follow L. Sydney Fisher’s On the Haunted Trail at Facebook each month and get a first look at the stories in The Haunted Series.
Being a paranormal researcher means that I am often contacted by people who are experiencing the paranormal. So what’s the scariest project that I’ve ever been involved in? Without a doubt, it’s the chapter in Volume II of my Haunted Series. The chapter is called The Devil’s Den and after visiting here, I knew the title would be fitting for the story.
Several months before the book’s publication, I was contacted by a woman who had abandoned her home after her husband committed suicide. I was immediately drawn to her story as she described her husband’s bizarre behavioral changes after moving into the house. Since I am an empath and clairvoyant, I absorbed the woman’s story and could feel her grief each time that I spoke with her. She told me that she and her husband had ten wonderful years of marriage until moving into the house located on a dead end road in Rural Mississippi. She said that they didn’t know much about the land surrounding the home, but they had heard about a murder that had happened there.
The family brushed aside any uneasy feelings about the home’s past and instead focused on getting moved into their new spacious home. Each of their children could now have their own bedroom, unlike having to share a room in the mobile home where they had lived before. But within two weeks, strange noises began to haunt the family. Thumping noises from the basement, footsteps, and running water (no one could find its source) were the first signs that something was wrong here. Weeks progressed as the woman’s husband battled a growing rage. He seemed to snap over trivial things and began having conversations with invisible entities.
One day when she was in the kitchen preparing dinner, her husband came up behind her with a knife and told her “I ought to slice your f—ing throat”. She immediately ran out of the house and didn’t return until hours later when her husband was gone. This family’s horror climaxed on the morning that her husband committed suicide, but the weeks leading up to the final hour was unlike anything I had ever heard. The story reminded me of The Amityville Horror, not the fictional accounts, but the part that included the DeFeo murders of 1974. Ronnie DeFeo was charged on the same day that I am writing this now–44 years ago! (November 14, 1974) And I believe that the same type of possession that entered Ronnie DeFeo’s body is also what caused this family’s demise.
I scheduled a time to go out to the property and have a look around. If the energy was as strong as she told me, then I knew I would sense it as soon as I arrived. A local neighbor and family friend met me at the house. At first, I didn’t feel anything unusual or sinister as I walked around the property looking into the windows, but as I made my way around the left side of the house, I began to feel overwhelmed with dread. I stopped and peered inside another window, but then jerked back. Whatever had been at that house before was still there and I realized that it was now watching me from inside the house. I hurried around to the front door, but before I could thank the neighbor for showing me the property, my eyes locked straight ahead on the front door side light window where an old hag with hollow eyes stood watching me. She was humpback, her eyes void of color and hollow without even an iris. Her skin was pasty white and cheekbones protruded from a sunken face. I began to breathe fast and tried to keep my composure. What if the neighbor didn’t see what I was seeing? I knew that I needed to get out of there.
I quickly said my “good-byes” and started for the car, but just as I opened the door, I witnessed a massive black shadow zoom past me and toward the trees at the front of the property. I literally could not believe my eyes. I felt its supernatural power as it soared off the ground. It seemed to put on a show, flaunting itself as it paced back and forth along the tree line. A part of me wanted to stay and explore, but I heeded my body’s warning signs urging me to leave the property. When I arrived home, I raced to my computer and messaged the homeowner. I asked her to describe the spirits that they had seen while living there. To my horror and with my mouth hung open, I watched as her words zipped across Facebook messenger as she described exactly what I had just witnessed minutes before.
Days later, I found myself unable to sleep. Thoughts and visions tormented me about the evil that still dwells on this abandoned property. The widow continued to contact me, and I confessed everything that I saw and felt while there. She pleaded with me to go back to the house and go inside. She wanted me to try and make contact with her deceased husband, but I declined. To this day, I believe that the only energy that still resides in that house is the evil that caused a young woman to kill her baby and a man who had a loving family finally take his own life after months of demonic torment.
If you would like to read the family’s story, you can find it here~ GET THE BOOK
Situated on a hillside in the Columbus Historic District is the renowned Lincoln House built in 1833. The two level, wood framed house was once home to Columbus mayor, C. L. Lincoln. The house has been in the family for more than 135 years. It’s one of the oldest pre-Civil War homes in the city and in recent years past, the home was a popular bed and breakfast.
Noteworthy features of the home include a front porch with original wavy glass jib windows, white columns, and a front door with the original blue and red Venetian side lights. The house also includes a basement where the original kitchen was located along with a carriage house and stables. As decades have passed, the house has undergone modern updates and the addition of brick floors in the original English basement. The Lincoln Home is the recipient of a Heritage Trust Award (1999) and an award winning landmark in the history of Columbus.
The present day home owes its gratitude to the owners, Sidney and Brenda Caradine who have lovingly preserved the house, but a number of eye witnesses have left the Caradine’s wondering if some of its ghostly residents are still there, reminding us of its beloved past.
In November of 2017, a friend and I purchased tickets to the Ghosts and Legends Tour that’s held annually in the Fall. After arriving in downtown Columbus at the Tennessee Williams home and Welcome Center, we boarded a bus for an hour long tour. The bus navigated through the downtown area, stopping at various points along the way. Each time the bus reached a tour stop, all guests exited and were joined by guides wearing costumes relative to the historic period and story that they narrated.
We made a few stops before we reached The Lincoln House, and even though I had already heard that the house was haunted, I didn’t know any details about the place. The bus driver turned at the corner of College and 7th Street, slowly making his way along the dimly lit street. Then just as we approached the house, I noticed a man standing near the right end of the porch and a lovely, brown-haired woman gazing out the front window. Both of them were dressed in period costumes with the woman’s hair pulled up and tucked into a loose bun at the crown of her head. Her ivory dress was a floor length, chiffon gown with a high-neck lace collar. The gentleman standing outside on the porch was dressed in captain’s attire with a poet sleeve, white shirt and a bayonet by his side.
The bus pulled forward a few feet from the steps leading up to the top of the porch where we all exited and gathered in a semi-circle at the bottom of the steps. We were greeted by the home’s hostess who was dressed as Mother Goose. As she stood on the front porch steps, we listened as she narrated The Lincoln House story in a rich southern dialect that echoed the southern belle’s voices of the past. Then we were introduced to Sidney Caradine who finished the narration with another ghostly tale.
At the completion of the stories, I was surprised that we were being led back to the bus. I looked beyond the steps and toward the window where the Victorian lady stood just moments before. Wasn’t she a part of the tour? I assumed that we would be entering the front parlor of the house to hear another haunted story. However, my assumption was not only wrong, but the woman in the window had now disappeared!
A bewildered expression covered my face as I turned to our guide, Dr. Bridget Pieschel, a local expert on the town’s history and also an English professor and Director of the Center of Women’s Research and Public Policy at MUW (Mississippi University for Women, 1884).
“Aren’t we going inside the house?” I asked.
“No, we don’t go inside.” Dr. Pieschel answered, shaking her head.
“Oh.” I replied with a downturned smile as I started for the steps, and then I stopped. I turned and looked back at the porch.
“There was a woman in the window.” I said pointing to the front of the house. For a moment, I worried if I should mention the work that I do. Paranormal research wasn’t for everybody, but I felt a strong nudge to mention it.
“Well, this is Mother Goose. You know, she just narrated a part of the story here on the front steps and Mr. Caradine was on the front porch, but they’re the only two hosts here.”
I shook my head and responded with a nervous laugh. Fearing I might sound crazy, I leaned forward and whispered.
“I saw a woman in that window. She was standing right there.” I pointed to the window to the right of the front door. Mr. Caradine’s wife joined us on the sidewalk at just that moment and introduced herself to me.
“I’m Brenda Caradine. You must have seen Miss Sue.”
“Miss Sue? Oh, is she inside the house?”
“No, you must have seen her ghost. She’s the ghost that appeared to the women who stayed in the downstairs room.” She said with a genuine and bold confidence.
A tingling chill crept over my body. I rubbed the goosebumps now evident on my arms and nodded. Then without hesitation, I asked Mrs. Caradine if I could come back at a later time and interview her. If the image that I saw standing in the window was, in fact, a ghost then I knew that I had to know more about The Lincoln Home and its history.
“Mrs. Caradine, would it be okay to contact you in a few weeks and schedule a time to talk with you. I am a writer and paranormal researcher.”
Mrs. Caradine’s approval was immediate as her eyes lit up. “Oh, yes. Please do!”
“Okay, I will be in touch with you in a few weeks. And thank you so much.” I shook her hand and then followed Dr. Pieschel back to the bus.
Just as I sat down next to Lisa, she immediately noticed the expression on my face. She looked at me as if she was waiting for me to tell her what was on my mind. As the bus began to move, I turned to look back at the house.
“Lisa, when we first pulled up to the house, did you see a woman inside that window?” I pointed toward the front porch.
“Yes, she was standing by the front door.” Cold chills spread across my arms again.
“What did she look like?”
“She was wearing a white dress. Her hair was in a bun—
“Oh my God.” I mumbled as I covered my mouth.
“Lisa, I saw the same thing, but I saw the image of that woman standing on the inside of that window. The owner of the house just confirmed to me that no one was inside the house at the time they were telling the stories.”
Lisa smiled and nodded. “Wow. We just saw a ghost.”
“I believe we did. And if it’s the same ghost that they spoke of during the story, I have to know more. I’m coming back.” I promised as the bus pulled away from the curb.
Two months later, I phoned the Caradines and arranged to meet Sidney at The Lincoln House. After driving for an hour, I arrived in front of the house and parked along the street. I got out of the car and grabbed my backpack and camera case before climbing the same steps that had led me to the front of the house just weeks before when I first saw the ghost.
I paused for a moment on the sidewalk and studied the front porch area. The nervous flutter of “butterflies” in my stomach consumed me as I began to put one foot in front of the other. I walked steadfast toward the front of the house when all of a sudden the front door opened, and I was greeted by a tall gentleman dressed in a red, button down shirt and wearing a baseball cap. He closed the door behind him and introduced himself.
“Hey, I’m David. Can I help you? Maybe carry something for you?” He asked, extending his hand.
I smiled and replied. “Oh, thank you, but it’s not too much.”
“Did you have a nice drive over?” David led me to the door.
“Yes, it’s been a sunny February day.” I answered with a smile.
“Come on in and have a seat. Sidney is on his way over from his house next door. He also owns the Amzi Love House that’s been in his family for over a hundred years.” David motioned toward the front room on the right.
“Oh my! That’s intriguing.” I marveled.
As I entered the wide open entry from the foyer, my senses immediately alerted me that we were not alone. I sat my backpack and camera bag down on the corner of the sofa and then moved toward a pair of wingback chairs positioned right in front of the window where I had seen the woman’s apparition. David followed me taking a seat in the chair to the left of me.
No sooner had I sat down than the image of a man dressed in a dark suit appeared before me. He stood near the entry to the parlor and appeared to be uninterested in us until David handed me a photo. Then without warning, the now invisible man stood over me, leaning down as if he was looking at the picture in my hand. Amused and slightly unnerved by the drop in temperature near me, I leaned toward David.
“He’s standing over me!” I blurted out before I could stop myself.
David glanced at me, his eyes wide open and fixed on the space directly in front of me. Although I felt like an idiot, I couldn’t ignore how the entire left side of my body was now icy cold. I rubbed my arm in an attempt to warm myself. Then I twisted my body in the chair and faced David in an effort to ignore the ghostly presence. I placed a notepad on my lap and began to write down important details as David talked about the history of the house and some of the paranormal stories that had surfaced over the years.
Shortly thereafter, we were joined by Sidney and Brenda Caradine. I was immediately charmed by Mr. Caradine’s gentile manner as I observed him with his wife. Due to Mrs. Caradine’s failing health, Sidney had assumed a more protective and nurturing role, but both of them still exhibited a passionate love for the house as they shared stories of family history and legacies left behind for the last 185 years.
One of Sidney’s most intriguing stories involved the paranormal encounter with a large, handcrafted replica of a trolley car that still sits in the parlor today. Years ago, friends of the Caradine family came to stay at the Lincoln House. After enjoying a southern dinner and fellowship, the couple retired for the evening. Nothing unusual had happened in the home since their arrival and they had no reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary, but sometime after midnight, they were awakened by a loud and unexpected sound coming from the foyer.
The two of them lay quiet with bewildered looks and creepy goose bumps as they listened to the sound of Louie Armstrong singing It’s a Wonderful World. The music was crisp and clear as the sound bounced off the walls of the Lincoln House, and then as the couple slowly edged off the bed and out into the hall, they were shocked to find the music coming from the trolley. A handcrafted trolley that had been in the family’s heirlooms for decades without anyone ever knowing that it was a music box!
They all examined the trolley the following day and found the hidden mechanism that was responsible for activating the music, but after examining the switch and finding it difficult to slide forward, it seemed impossible for it to come on without someone manually moving it. And so the mystery remains to this day. Who turned the trolley on after decades of silence?
I listened and watched Sidney’s pale blue eyes as they widened and filled with awe while he told the trolley story, and Mrs. Caradine’s almost childlike wonder burst forth each time she took a breath while telling her own personal account with the ghosts of the Lincoln House. It was enough to convince me that I had to spend the night there, even if it was only once. And before the end of our interview, my reservation had been made.
Thrilled and now committed to contacting the ghosts of the Lincoln House, I had to find a team. A team of ghost hunters who wanted to make contact here as much as I did. In just two weeks, the ghost hunt would commence.
While L. Sydney Fisher was writing the book, she often experienced paranormal phenomena in her home that included loud crashing noises, the sound of something being dragged across the floor, scraping sounds, and an unseen ghostly visitor who often breezed past her chair during night-time writing sessions.
During the audio production of the book, the narrator, Robin Ericsson reported that he and his family had bizarre experiences. In a message to Sydney Fisher, Mr. Ericsson confessed to hearing several children’s voices and even reported seeing the apparition of a male figure wearing a red flannel shirt who often watched him while he was recording in the studio. Devon Bradford often wore flannel shirts when he was alive.
The original court transcripts of Devon Bradford’s murder trial mysteriously disappeared while L. Sydney Fisher was doing research. After intentionally placing the court files in a separate box in the storage room of the circuit clerk’s office, all the transcripts and original documents vanished two weeks after the author’s last visit. When Sydney questioned the circuit clerk, she was told that an attorney probably took the file and did not return it. Why would an attorney want the court records of a trial that was more than three decades old? The accused was also now deceased.
Unknown to L. Sydney Fisher who changed all of the real names in the book, she identified the real life lover of Liz Bradford by giving a character in the story his real life name. The author did not know of Liz Bradford’s lover or his identity until the Spring of 2018 when a former acquaintance of the Bradford’s contacted the author after reading the book. The author believes that the ghost of Liz Bradford communicated with her during the research for the book.
The courtroom where Devon Bradford stood trial in Tupelo, Mississippi still has the original witness stand and furniture from the 1970’s trial, but the courtroom is now locked and used for storage.
The real life judge who presided over Devon Bradford’s trial met L. Sydney Fisher at a book signing several years ago. After the author confessed that he was the real judge who presided over the 1975 trial, he became a friend and has attended many of the author’s book signings.
The original manuscript was handwritten in a notebook that was tucked away inside a closet and untouched for more than a decade before it was published.
The Haunting of Natalie Bradford first originated as part of a writing assignment for a class the author was enrolled in.
Rebecca and Audrey Bradford are the only living Bradford children who appeared in the story. Natalie Bradford died from an overdose in 1991.
The site where Liz Bradford was murdered is still a popular restaurant and is known for having the best steak in town. The restaurant, now known as Woody’s, was also featured on Robert Irvine’s Restaurant Impossible in 2011. The author had a brief camera moment on the show. The establishment is also known as one of the most haunted locations in the city and reportedly has more than one ghostly resident. Paranormal activity is as frequent as the “regulars” who dine there.
The kindle e-book and the audio book version for The Haunting of Natalie Bradford are both #1 Amazon Bestsellers in multiple categories.
Natalie Bradford did not believe in ghosts until she lived at Lindenwood.
L. Sydney Fisher carries two permanent reminders of her time at Lindenwood. On the author’s right index finger is a scar that she received from broken glass. She gained the second scar, now barely visible on her left foot, after being pushed by an unseen force on the stairs.
Natalie Bradford tried to get her three-month marriage annulled from Devon Bradford, but she was forced to file for a divorce and pay her own attorney’s fees to escape Devon’s grasp.
Lindenwood is the fictional name given to the haunted house where Liz Bradford lived and operated a small hair salon on the first floor. The home was decorated with Liz’s taste in colors and furnishings. Years after her death, the home was abandoned by the Bradford’s and fell into ruin. It was demolished by James Bradford who built another home on the property and lived there until he died in 2016.
I remember being mesmerized by The Bell Witch stories when I was a child. I read at least 3 or 4 different books on the subject and vowed that I would someday travel to the small town of Adams, Tennessee where the famous Bell Witch once lived. Now three decades later, I can now mark it off my bucket list and instead pencil it in on my “Must Return” list.
Last Saturday May 26th, 2018, a friend and I traveled to the farm located about 55 miles north of Nashville. Upon entering the small community of Adams, Tennessee, I immediately sensed the remnants of a time past as Katy (not to be confused with Kate Batts) drove us down a rural county highway, following the Bell Witch signs strategically placed along the roadside. The rolling hills extended for miles on what was once hundreds of acres of farmland owned by John Bell, Sr. The lush, green grass and wooded landscape was surrounded by white fences that gave the property a warm and inviting feel unlike the memories that the Bell Witch had left behind 200 years before. Although Katy and I reveled in the beauty of the area, we both couldn’t deny our apprehension as we approached the entrance to the site of the Bell Witch Cave.
Katy followed the signs until we saw the entrance to the tour. A bright red barn with bold white lettering on the front greeted us at the main entrance as we made our way to the gift shop. Rain clouds loomed overhead as we hurried to park and get our tickets.
After booking our tour, we were taken to a cabin (replica, not original Bell cabin) where we listened to an audio presentation of the Bell Witch haunting and toured a cabin that was set up with furniture and props staged to look much like what the original Bell house would have looked like at the time of the spirit’s visitations. Although the home was not the original site, our EMF (electromagnetic field) detector started acting crazy, the lights zipping back and forth while we were in the front of the house. When we moved to another room upstairs, the EMF detector stopped for a few minutes as if whatever had been present was suddenly gone. At that time, I began experiencing a strange pressure on my neck/chest area near my throat that caused me to cough. The feeling intensified a couple of times and startled me to the point that I felt the need to take deep breaths. I knew that I was sensing something paranormal.
After the audio presentation that lasted about 30 minutes, we were escorted to another part of the cabin that housed artifacts and pictures of the original site. Included in the mini-museum was a black cauldron that belonged to the Bell family when they lived in the house where the hauntings occurred. I intentionally let myself be the last guest to leave the room so that I could stay behind and touch the large stone that sat on the floor and was reportedly a part of the original Bell house fireplace. I placed my hand on the rock, but unfortunately, I did not pick up any residual energy. Then just as I turned and walked out of the cabin to follow the rest of the group to the Bell Witch Cave, I was overcome by a wave of nausea that did not subside until I reached the cave entrance.
We were greeted by Kris, our tour guide who narrated the fascinating history of the cave and the land. She informed us of the area’s known American Indian burial grounds linking parts of the area’s history to the Bell Witch legend. But within minutes of entering the cave’s second room, I felt that our 10-person tour group was no longer alone with just our tour guide. The distinct sound of children’s laughter filled the front room that we had just exited.
I spoke up and said, “I hear children laughing. Are there other people coming?”
But no one else seemed to hear the children and our tour guide continued to narrate. I looked down the long, narrow hall of the cave’s stone walls toward the cave’s entrance and saw no one, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were not alone. Our guide then showed us pictures taken by guests who had captured spirits and strange orbs while on the cave tour. Suddenly, my suspicions were validated.
We finished up the tour about fifty feet inside the cave. I marveled at its beauty and the markings that were visibly noticeable on the walls and ceilings left behind by ancient Indians. When we exited the cave entrance, Katy and I walked several feet and were suddenly startled by the appearance of a bare-chested young man with dark hair and a long black beard. The color of his eyes was pitch black and he wore only black gym shorts while sitting high on the heavily wooded hillside outside the cave entrance. Directly below us was the Red River often mentioned in the Bell Witch stories as being near the original site of John Bell’s home located just two miles away. The man studied me as I walked closer to him, his piercing dark eyes glaring at me as if I was intruding on his space. I glanced down the hill at the river and looked around to see if he had a canoe or kayak nearby, but I saw nothing that indicated that he had been on the river that day. He was just standing alone on the steep slope studying me as I now paused on the rocky path. I turned and called for Katy who was several feet behind me. She finally appeared and joined me only to feel the same creepiness as the stranger watched us pass, my eyes locked with his. Who was he? How did he get up that steep slope without shoes on his feet? Was he a shapeshifter placed there for us to see? We still don’t know, but we won’t forget the unease that his sudden appearance caused.
If you dare to visit the site of the famous Bell Witch, take no souvenirs such as rocks from the cave and make sure you say a prayer as you leave. Although I never heard The Bell Witch’s cackle that day and thank goodness, I never saw any weird animals, I still felt the remnants of her spirit and those of many others who still haunt the landscape where she once roamed.
For more of L. Sydney Fisher’s adventures, On the Haunted Trail, check out her book projects @LSydneyFisher.com or join her at the group page of @Ghosts, Unexplained Mysteries, and The Supernatural on Facebook and remember…