The Curse of Lake Lanier

Legacy of Lavinia Fisher

Since her execution on February 18, 1820, the myth surrounding the violent outlaw Lavinia Fisher has evolved into a grim legacy that claims Lavinia Fisher to be America’s first female serial killer. Yet in spite of this claim, no historical documentation seems to exist to support that this legendary serial killer- who was hanged for the crime of highway robbery- ever actually killed.

The Ghost Town of Cahaba

The Burning of Atlanta

The city of Atlanta, Georgia was a strategic stronghold for the Confederacy during the Civil War, serving as an integral railroad hub supplying the South with men, munitions and supplies.  But by the spring of 1864, as President Abraham Lincoln became desperate for a military victory, the city would become the direct target of the infamously aggressive Union General William T. Sherman and his philosophy of '“total war.”

Legend of the Bell Witch

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The Red River runs for over a hundred miles through South-central Kentucky and Middle Tennessee.  A tributary to the Cumberland river, it’s named after the river’s unique watercolor, caused by clay and silt deposits containing iron oxides.  In 1778, Thomas Kilgore built a fort on the banks of the Red River near present day Cross Plains, but native hostility was so great he abandoned it in less than a year, a scenario that played out over and over for the next decade till unfair treaties and American coercion pressed the Native tribes west.

By the time Tennessee was granted statehood in June of 1796, this region which would become Robertson County, had a population of almost 4,000.  Most of the early settlers to migrate here were of English or Scot-Irish origin. Primarily farmers looking to cultivate tobacco, depending heavily on the use of slave labor to make a profit; eventually giving Robertson County the reputation as the “Home of the World’s Finest Dark Fired Tobacco.”  

But it’s also during this era, in the early nineteenth century, that one of the most well documented hauntings in American History occurred, right here in Robertson County on the Red River.

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A legend so infamous, it purportedly caught the attention of a future President; gripping a small Tennessee community for years, and terrorizing a family for generations.

A legend known as the Bell Witch.

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.

St. Alban's Sanatorium

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…

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: The Infamous 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 French Quarter mansion, they had no idea of the horrors they would uncover inside.  Madame LaLaurie and her husband had been brutally and inhumanely torturing their slaves.

A massive public uproar erupted and news of the vicious crimes of this Creole Queen spread across America rapidly; yet some scholars believe there may be more to this story than has been told in the portrayal of this historical figure, and it might even be possible that the infamous socialite may have survived without punishment for her crimes, making her one of the most infamous figures of New Orleans’s vast underbelly of legends and lore.

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.

The Madison County Grey

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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.

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.

The Abandoned Amusement Park of Lake Shawnee

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In 1926 Conley Snidow opened the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park in West Virginia, on land that many believe was once sacred to the indigenous tribes of the region.  Land that these Native men even once attempted to protect through a bloody massacre of a family of settlers. Unfortunately Snidow’s amusement park would continue the location’s connection to tragedy, causing Snidow to abandon this once great amusement park for the prospering coal miners of West Virginia.

Today, almost half a century since it closed the gates, the Lake Shawnee Amusement park still sits abandoned, and exposed to the elements as what some claim is a playground for the spirits of the past.

The Seer of Shelbyville

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On March 22, 1957, Simon Warner, a self-described "crime doctor," was murdered at is home in Shelbyville, Tennessee for allegedly placing a Voodoo hex on a man who had come to him for help; and while Warner was certainly not a Voodoo practitioner, many believed he held supernatural powers.

Beautiful Nell's Tragic Tale

Beautiful Nell's Tragic Tale

In 1901, a young woman by the name of Nell Cropsey went missing from her home in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The frantic search for her whereabouts lasted 37 days, including eerie twists and turns with questions that still remain today.