- 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.
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I’ve been a long time fan of the show, Ghost Hunters and Taps and rarely missed an episode! It’s going to be a SPOOKY good time on the air tomorrow with Jason and Jim. I hope you can join me.
Sleep with the lights on,
L. Sydney Fisher
Get yours~The Devil’s Board
A note from Sydney…
While doing research for The Devil’s Board, I was contacted by two different individuals who did not know each other and who did not attend Riverside at the same time. Both of these individuals told me about personal experiences they had while a student at Riverside. To my amazement, one of the individuals revealed that they once lived in the very same dorm room where Amber Simmons used the Ouija board in 1987. This person disclosed that they had experienced inexplicable mood swings and depression while living in the room, but they had no knowledge of what had transpired there four years before. And both of the people who contacted me told me that they once paid a visit to Sister Elizabeth Williams, pleading for help.
To this day, students still play the mysterious board game in the campus dorms at Riverside College, and the legendary horror story of Ryan Banks lives on.
Sleep with the lights on,
OUIJA~A board game used to contact the spirit world. Developed for commercial distribution in 1891. Named by Charles Kennard, founder of Kennard Novelty Company. While Mr. Kennard was playing the game, a spirit spelled out the word “Ouija”. It is an ancient Egyptian word that means “good luck”.
Rachel Thomas swept her long, tousled brown bangs out of her eyes. She steadied her hands on the steering column as she raced away from the haunted house where she had grown up. Plagued by the spirits of an unknown entity that had dwelled in her home for more than ten years, she had managed to accept her paranormal existence in a world where most people had never heard of such things. Or maybe they just didn’t tell anybody about their experiences. Maybe there were many more people just like her who were afraid to talk about real life hauntings. But this was a time of new beginnings, the beginning of the rest of her life when the hopes and dreams of the past could become the realities of the future. If she could put the hauntings to rest, she could concentrate on what was before her. In just two weeks, she would be starting classes as a freshman at Riverside Community College.
Riverside was a small town college nestled near a centuries old river where Indigenous people once lived and played. Riverboats filled its waters, and the Spanish explorer, Hernando De Soto once crossed its shores. The river had a history that seemed to stretch as far as its 200 mile long waters, but it was a history of prosperity, tragedy, and death that still lived on in legendary ghost tales.
Rachel drove her silver 1983 Buick Regal into the front parking lot that faced her future home. Kendall Hall was one of eight dormitories for housing students. Although Rachel had been unable to secure her first choice of living arrangements in the college’s most updated facilities, she was excited and anticipating the arrival of her new suite mate whom she had never met.
She turned the ignition off, pushed the door open with her foot, and got out of the car. She stretched her hands above her head and stood still for a moment as she surveyed the empty parking lot and vacant grounds surrounding her. She thought about the first day of classes and how congested the campus would become. Year after year, the college’s Fall enrollment had grown. With more than 3,500 students attending college at Riverside, the odds of finding an empty space close to classrooms would be next to impossible.
Rachel sighed and quickly turned her thoughts back to the car crammed full of clothes and personal décor taken from her room back home. Moving in would take a couple of hours. She slammed the car door shut and turned to look at the building’s second floor windows. She contemplated the number of trips it would take to haul several loads of her personal belongings up the stairs. And although the housing department had already guaranteed that the room would be ready to move in, she hesitated to unload anything before checking it out.
Rachel walked toward the glass front entrance and opened the door. The stone gray building smelled like pine sol as she entered an empty foyer with two closet-like doors to the left and an apartment to the right that served as a residence for the Dorm Parent who oversaw the needs and security of the dormitory’s students.
Rachel slowly walked straight ahead to the stairwell entrance that led to the second floor. The air near the stairwell was stuffy and hot causing her to cough, and the smell of fresh paint stung her nose. The building was eerily silent, and it reminded her of the late nights at the nursing home when she had gone to her mother’s workplace after the old people had gone to bed.
She stepped forward onto the bottom steps and began to climb the stairs. First the bottom steps and then a turn to climb the last stairwell to the top. She stopped at the last step and pulled another door open that led to the second floor hallway. The steel door was heavy and creaked loudly as she opened it. The bottom of the doorplate slid across the floor, creating a long and creepy noise that echoed down an empty hall.
For a minute, Rachel felt an unease that she had often known before, but for reasons she couldn’t explain. She glanced into the hallway before her and stepped forward letting her fingers slowly release the door as it closed shut, its spring mechanisms creating the sound of metal on metal.
Rachel stood still, her body rigid but fully aware of her surroundings. Her bare arms were covered in goosebumps as she tried to rub them away, but just then a loud bang echoed from the right end of the hall. She jerked around and faced the source of the noise only to observe an empty space. Her eyes were wide as she stared down the dimly lit hall now filled with an eeriness that she couldn’t dismiss. It never failed. If there was an otherworldly spirit present wherever she went, it always seemed to find her.
Her breath seemed to hang in her throat, and she had to remind herself to breathe. She took a long, deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment. She then turned back around, brushed off her fears as best as she could and walked straight toward the left end of the hall where her dorm room was located.
She stopped in front of the door and reached for the silver doorknob. She twisted it to the left and pushed the door open, eager to get inside and settle in. The room was painted a blinding white with white mini-blinds, two dull, steel gray bunk beds, and a white tile floor. Inside the double closet was a small chest of drawers also painted white. And against the inside wall and facing the hallway was a built-in desk with shelves. Painted white.
Rachel let out a sigh. The place felt like a hospital room or worse a morgue minus the cold air. She walked over to the window beside the two bunkbeds and noticed that it was locked tight. She fidgeted with the locks, snapping them back and forth. She then inspected the bathroom that she would be sharing with her suitemates and found that it included a half tub/shower combination and one toilet. Four girls with one bathroom. That should be interesting.
Rachel’s eyes roamed the room again as she considered what it would take to liven up the place. Color, décor, girl stuff. As she became swept away with the thought of college life and living in a dorm with her closest friends, she forgot about her unease just minutes before. And although her dorm room offered anything but a cozy feeling, she relished in the idea of college living.
She surveyed the room, deciding which bunkbed would be hers. Which side of the room would be hers for decorating? Closet space and desk space? She was silently considering it all when the abrupt sound of a door slamming shut brought her back to the present.
“Hello.” The raspy and friendly voice of Josie Norton echoed in the empty room, bouncing off the white cinder block walls. She stood just inside the door that Rachel had left standing open.
Rachel whirled around and faced her new roommate who stared back at her with a bright, toothy smile and crystal blue eyes. Her messy, dark brown hair was hanging partially out of the ponytail she had fastened earlier that morning, and her extra-large AC/DC t-shirt hung loosely over a pair of faded blue gym shorts.
Rachel smiled with a slightly startled look and responded. “Hi, you must be Josie!” She offered a handshake.
Josie accepted Rachel’s hand with a firm and gregarious grip after sitting her guitar case down on the floor.
“Are you getting settled in early too? I’ve got a car full of stuff from home.” Rachel asked with a light-hearted tone.
Josie let out a boisterous, nasal laugh and nodded. “Yeah, I’ve got a couple of trips to make to get it all here. Oh, this is the closet space, huh?” She pointed to the two closets, each containing a small chest and barely enough room to hang a week’s worth of clothes and a couple of coats.
“Yes, that’s it. I can take the one on the right if that’s okay.” Rachel did not hesitate to designate ownership of personal space since she had to get started unloading her car.
“Oh, yeah, that works for me. Are you a heavy sleeper? How do you like the room temperature? I sleep like a bear and love a cool room.” Josie asked wanting to get to know her roommate’s compatibility.
Rachel smiled. “We’ll get along beautifully. I’m a light sleeper, but the cooler, the better for me.” Rachel shoved her hands in her Calvin Klein size 5 pants pockets.
Josie gave Rachel a thumbs up. “Cool. I’m gonna go grab a few things.”
Rachel nodded. “Okay, I guess I should get started too.” She started for the door and stopped as Josie paused in the doorway.
“Hey– You ever played Ouija?” Josie asked.
Her eyes had a mischievous twinkle, but Rachel didn’t respond with a lighthearted demur. Instead, her face turned pale. She felt as if the blood had just drained out of her body as her legs became weak. A strange silence lingered as she stared into the eyes of Josie Norton. Pale blue eyes that now seemed to flicker with a curiosity destined for danger. Then without warning, the same dreadful unease that slapped Rachel Thomas in the face as she entered the upstairs hall returned. And a premonition materialized before her, seizing her in a vision of horror.
Inspired by TRUE EVENTS.
Get your copy~https://www.amazon.com/See-No-Evil-Sydney-Fisher-ebook/dp/B01KF0I862/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1519248997&sr=8-4&keywords=L+Sydney+Fisher
From the Author’s Diary
This story has been percolating in the recesses of my mind since 2013. After my debut novel The Haunting of Natalie Bradford was released, I had the honor of speaking to a crowd of enthusiastic readers and paranormal fans at the Dixie Regional Library located in Pontotoc, Mississippi. Unbeknownst to me was the town’s very own psychic celebrity of the 20th century known as Seymour Prater, a man often referred to as The Mississippi Mystic.
The Library Director, Regina Graham approached me with the Prater story as I was preparing to leave that day. She told me about a man from Pontotoc who was known to have a unique gift that enabled him to find lost objects. She also advised me that his fame spread far and wide across the southeast earning him notoriety as a “fortune teller”, a label that his wife highly detested.
Stories of Seymour Prater covered the inside pages of newspapers and magazines from time to time. Fortunately, some of these articles had been saved and collected by the library. Mrs. Graham invited me to explore the supernatural wonder and offered to help any way that she could.
Fast forward almost two years later to January, 2016. I had just released my supernatural bestseller, The Phoenix Mission a month earlier. That book was inspired by the U.S. Army’s psychic spy program, Stargate. And while my creative tone was fixed on that material, the Prater story easily came to mind as a project that I needed to explore.
After meeting with Mrs. Graham who provided me with the Seymour Prater file of newspaper clippings and family journals, I began my research into the man who often called himself “the man with the radio mind”. I sat at a long, conference table inside a room designated for Genealogy research and slowly flipped through the newspapers one page at a time, taking it all in. I was mesmerized. Seymour Prater and his story was more than I had anticipated, and I knew that most people in the area probably didn’t realize how profound his ability was and what it all meant. He was destined to be a legend.
As someone who has studied the paranormal and unexplained most of my life, I realized the magnitude of his gift within seconds of picking up that first newspaper article. My mind raced with thoughts of past explorations. There was another man who I studied over the years, and he possessed the same abilities as Prater, but this man became known worldwide. His name was Edgar Cayce, The Sleeping Prophet, and I knew that in order to study Seymour Prater, I needed to study Edgar Cayce one more time. Don’t miss my addition of The Divinely Gifted at the end of this book.
See No Evil is a project that included detailed research. This research even included studying the flow of the Tombigbee River and the riverboats that traveled to Aberdeen during the time of Seymour Prater’s boyhood. It was on that fateful day in Aberdeen, Mississippi when Prater met the man who would deliver a message that shaped the course of his life. The entire Prater story is laced with providence and even what some may define as predestination. Pay attention to the opening scenes that have been created most likely as they happened. Unknown until now, Lewis Prater became Seymour Prater’s father only because Thomas Jefferson Brown was captured and taken prisoner at the Battle of Missionary Ridge in November, 1863. Fate?
While parts of this story have been dramatized for the sake of storytelling, let it be known that this really happened. On January 3, 1931, Arthur Floyd was murdered at his store in Carrollton, Mississippi. And as the town lived in terror from the haunting at the Floyd place, Seymour Prater became the victim’s only hope for solving a murder and putting the angry spirit to rest. While the town’s folk frantically searched for answers, it was murder at first sight for The Mississippi Mystic.