Episode 021: Blackbeard's Demise

Off the coast of North Carolina is one of America’s most breathtaking roadways, a 138-mile National Scenic Byway that connects a vast stretch of beautiful and historic barrier islands known as the Outer Banks.

Archaeologists believe these small islands, separating the mainland from the Atlantic Ocean, were inhabited for more than a thousand years prior to the arrival of European explorers; most likely by small branches of Native tribes like the Algonquins, Chowanog, and Poteskeet.  These were some of the tribes who initially welcomed the European explorers of the early 16th century, but their hospitality would inevitably cost them their communities, as settler migration and European-borne disease brought a sharp decline to their population.

The Outer Banks, now a major tourist destination known for its beautiful wide open beaches, also has the distinction of being home to the first European colony of North America-- the infamous Roanoke settlement, established in 1584; as well as the world famous town of Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers made their first successful flights in 1903.

But it’s on Ocracoke Island, one of the Outer Banks’ southernmost spits of land, accessible only by ferry, where the last stand of one of the world’s most notorious pirates occured.  A man feared by many, who terrorized ships on the high seas with his grim persona and massive displays of force.

A pirate known as Blackbeard.

A man that some claim still walks amongst the living three centuries later, forever searching Ocracoke Island for either revenge, or his head.

Episode 020: St. Alban's Sanatorium

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On January 15, 1916 Dr. John C. King opened the St. Alban’s Sanatorium in Radford, Virginia; converting a former school into a modern mental health facility that he had hoped to transform by focusing on the moral management and care of those admitted. Unfortunately, his goal of assisting his patients fell short, leaving many to live lives of torment within the walls of his sanatorium.

A sanatorium built on land that had been the sight of numerous tragedies for centuries. Tragedies that pitted natives against colonists, and northerners against southerners.

Louisiana Colonial Documents Project

Earlier this year, the Louisiana State Museum’s Colonial Documents Collection went online with the digitization of thousands of records from the region’s time as both a French and Spanish Colony— a project that Southern Gothic’s own Bryanne Schexnayder had the incredible opportunity to be a part of.

“These records document Louisiana’s colonial era in astounding detail, recording sales of enslaved persons as well as real estate, laying bare disputes within families and between neighbors, and revealing the social and commercial underpinnings of the colony. They tell thousands of individual stories that, taken together, document the daily life of Louisiana’s first permanent African and European inhabitants, as well as aspects of their relations with Native tribes. They are a largely unplumbed store of source material that offers countless opportunities for study in history, sociology, language and linguistics, law, cultural anthropology, and other humanities.”

Catch a glimpse of the project, including a cameo by Bryanne Schexnayder in this video. For more information, or to search the document’s database, visit at http://lacolonialdocs.org/


Episode 019: THE Woolfolk Family Massacre

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On August 6, 1887 one of Georgia’s darkest, and most infamous murders occurred at a farmhouse in Bibb County.  Nine members of Richard Woolfolk’s family were brutally slain with an axe. Suspicion immediately fell on his son Thomas, the only member of the household to survive the event, and a national media circus erupted.

Explore the events that led up to the brutal axe murder of an entire family; as well as the explosive trial that followed, captivating national media coverage…

Episode 018: Phantom Flames of Tuscaloosa

Dr. John R. Drish began construction of one of Tuscaloosa's first plantation homes in 1835.  Unfortunately, after he and his wife Sara's deaths, the home fell to ruin; giving life to claims that the tower that looms over this once stately plantation home is often the sight of eerie apparitions. 

Visit SouthernGothicMedia.com for news, notes and access to special members-only episodes.

Birth of a City: New Orleans, Part III

This episode of Southern Gothic is the third in the three-part series "Birth of a City: New Orleans," a story that chronicles the inception of a great American city and the legends that evolved with it.

Part III: Madame Delphine LaLaurie
On April 10, 1863 a fire broke out in the home of Creole socialite Madam Delphine LaLaurie; but as men rushed to save the lavish mansion, they had no idea of the horrors they would uncover inside. 

Theme music for "Birth of a City: New Orleans" was written and performed by Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Adam Wright.

Additional narration by Justin Drown of Obscura: A True Crime Podcast.  

Visit SouthernGothicMedia.com for news, notes and access to special members-only episodes.

Episode 014: The Madison County Grey

Private Nicodemus Kidd enlisted in the Confederate Army on July 10, 1861; however, the young private quickly fell victim to an horrendous disease while camped outside of the Confederate capital.  A disease that would plague Confederate camps for the entire war, giving soldiers an horrific 1 in 5 chance of dying from illness and infection during the conflict.

Episode 013: Fort Jefferson's Most Infamous

Construction of Fort Jefferson began in the early 19th century to address the growing need for America to protect its shores.  The resulting massive coastal fortress is the largest masonry structure on American soil; however, its history as a defensive outpost is far overshadowed by its time spent as a prison, housing Union Army deserters and none other than the very men convicted for successfully conspiring to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.