Cover art for podcast Southern Mysteries Podcast

Southern Mysteries Podcast

85 EpisodesProduced by Shannon BallardWebsite

Exploring historical mysteries and legendary figures of the American South. Hosted by Shannon Ballard

85 Episodes | 2017 - 2021

Episode 85 The Kingdom of the Happy Land

April 12th, 2021


A group of emancipated slaves made the long journey from the Deep South to the Carolinas after the Civil War. There, they established a new life and …

Episode 84 Mysteries and Murders at the Magnolia Hotel

March 29th, 2021


The Magnolia Hotel in Seguin, Texas is one of the most haunted hotels in the state. 13 spirits are attached to the hotel including Emma Voelcker, a …

Episode 83 Alabama's Shocking Cesspool Murders

March 15th, 2021


20 year old Herbert Hoover Gentry was the first deaf person in Alabama to be tried on a capital offense with an interpreter in the courtroom. Gentry …

Episode 82 Natchez Burnin' The Rhythm Club Fire of 1940

March 1st, 2021


The Natchez Rhythm Club changed the city of Natchez on April 23rd 1940. 209 people died and more than 200 were injured including civic and cultural …

Quick Show Update and Helping Texas

February 20th, 2021


Quick update on show schedule and how to help folks in Texas.


Supporting Texans in need

Feeding Texas

Episode 81 Legendary US Marshal Bass Reeves

February 8th, 2021


Bass Reeves was born into slavery, escaped to freedom during the Civil War and became a legendary marshal. Was Bass Reeves the inspiration behind the cowboy hero The Lone Ranger?  


See photos and sources for this …

Episode 80 Explosive Mistake The Murder of Helen Weaver

January 25th, 2021


In December 1955, Harry Washburn stood trial for the car bombing that killed his ex mother in law, Helen Weaver. Central Texans were captivated by the trial coverage as they watched the first televised murder trial in …

Episode 79 The Life and Times of Serial Killer Euzebe Vidrine

January 11th, 2021


Euzebe Vidrine was one of Louisiana’s earliest serial killers. After being sentenced to death for one murder in Evangeline Parish, Vidrine asked the judge for time to write his memoir and confessed to murdering four …

Episode78 The Poet Murderess of Mississippi

December 28th, 2020


In November 1930, Pearl Drew sent a letter to Mississippi Governor Bilbo. She included a poem which revealed she had murdered a man her father was convicted of killing. 


See photos and sources for this episode in …

Episode 77 Mysterious Murder of William Marsh Rice

December 14th, 2020


William Marsh Rice, founder of Rice University, was found dead on September 23,1900. The story surrounding his death is questioned to this day. Was he murdered? Or did the man who confessed to killing him get there too …

Episode 76 The Earl Family Murders in Welsh Louisiana

November 30th, 2020


In 1902 six members of a farming family were murdered in Calcasieu Parish Louisiana. The gruesome discovery devastated the community. Alfred Batson …

Episode 75 Lost in the Smokies The Disappearance of Dennis Martin

November 16th, 2020


6 year old Dennis Martin and his family went hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park over Father’s Day weekend 1969. Minutes after Dennis was …

Episode 74 The Sin City Murder of Albert Patterson

November 2nd, 2020


In 1954, Albert Patterson campaigned as a “man against crime”, vowing he would run the mob out of Phenix City Alabama if he won the race for Alabama …

Episode 73 Nightcap Murder of Mary Cawein

October 19th, 2020


Mary Cawein's murder by carbolic acid poisoning in July 1965, shocked the social set in Lexington, Kentucky. Her murder would bring to light the …

Episode 72 The Rosewood Massacre

October 5th, 2020


Rosewood was once a thriving Black Community in rural Levy County Florida. Until January 1923, when a lie led to injuries, deaths and complete destruction of the community

See photos and sources for this episode in the …

Episode 71 Sidney Lascellas The Remarkable Rascal

September 21st, 2020


Sidney Lascelles was one of the most accomplished swindlers and bigamists of the 19th century. So accomplished that when he died in Asheville, North …

Episode 70 The Bigham Family Murders

September 7th, 2020


For five generations the wealthy and powerful Bigham Family controlled their community of Pamplico, South Carolina. Throughout the late 19th and …

Southern Mysteries Hiatus

May 31st, 2020


Southern Mysteries returns with new episodes this September. While the show's on hiatus, you can get your Southern Mysteries fix with bonus content available to Patreon members at

Episode 69 Kidnapping of Alice Speed Stoll

May 4th, 2020


In October 1934, 28 year old socialite, Alice Speed Stoll, was kidnapped from her Louisville, Kentucky mansion. Seven days later, an injured Alice …

Episode 68 The Day The War Stopped in St Francisville

April 20th, 2020


In June 1863, a group of Union and Confederate forces agreed to a truce and united for the funeral of Union Lieutenant Commander John Elliot Hart. The events surrounding the day are known in St. Francisville, Louisiana …

Southern Mysteries Shorts Alice Belle Kirby

April 13th, 2020


Southern Mysteries Shorts are heard monthly on Patreon. Sharing an episode with you this week as a thanks for listening and to provide a distraction as we continue to face strange times. Hope you enjoy the story of …

Episode 67 Robert Smalls

April 6th, 2020


Revisiting a 2018 episode about Robert Smalls. His life became a symbol of hope and freedom to the enslaved people of the American South. His …

Episode 66 King of the Moonshiners

March 23rd, 2020


In 1957 federal authorities seized what was estimated to be a 5th of national supply of moonshine from operators in the state of North Carolina. A …

Episode 65 The Crash at Crush

March 9th, 2020


In September 1896, William Crush proposed his Texas railroad, the Katy Line, stage a head on collision of locomotives. Staged wrecks were big hits in …

Episode 64 The Woolfolk Family Murders

February 24th, 2020


Thomas Woolfolk was tried and executed for the murder of nine members of his family. The largest mass murder in Georgia history left Bibb County …

Episode 63 Carolina Twins Millie Christine McKoy

February 3rd, 2020


Enslaved conjoined twins, Millie-Christine McKoy, would be sold at least three times from infancy to 6 years of age. They were forced into freak …

Patreon Preview Southern Mysteries Shorts

January 27th, 2020


Want more Southern Mysteries? You can now become a Patreon member and enjoy bonus content each month. Hear a preview of Southern Mysteries Shorts and learn more in this Patreon Preview. Want to become a member? Visit

Episode 62 The Widow of Hazel Green

January 20th, 2020


Between the 1830s and 1850s, Elizabeth Dale, was married and widowed, six times. When Elizabeth’s neighbor, Abner Tate, claimed the men had been …

Episode 61 Laurence Jones The Little Professor of Piney Woods

January 6th, 2020


Laurence Clifton Jones moved to the Deep South at a time when it was dangerous to be a black man in Mississippi. He chose to make the move to do what …

Episode 60 What Happened to Patty Vaughan?

December 23rd, 2019


32-year-old Patty Vaughan was looking forward to her future as she celebrated Christmas Eve with her family in 1996. Her family never imagined this …

Episode 59 Christmas Eve Nightmare in Saltville

December 9th, 2019


On December 24, 1924, Saltville, Virginia was covered in what witnesses described as a “blanket of white”. The town’s muck dam ruptured, sending tons of alkali sludge pouring into the community. Was the deadliest dam …

Episode 58 The Legend of Octavia Hatcher

November 25th, 2019


In 1891, Octavia Hatcher died in Pikeville, Kentucky. After her death, people in town contracted a sleeping disease which caused them to fall into a coma, but wake up weeks later. Was Octavia dead when she was buried? …

Episode 57 Murder at the Bordello Kate Townsend

November 11th, 2019


Kate Townsend was a famous madam in the Vice District of New Orleans before it became known as Storyville. Her mysterious past and complicated …

Episode 56 The Free State of Winston County

October 28th, 2019


Alabama’s Free State of Winston was birthed out of a desire on the part of Winston Unionists to remain neutral during the Civil War. The movement …

Episode 55 Who Killed Janie Sharp?

October 14th, 2019


In July 1910, the murder of Janie Sharp rocked the community of Rural Hill, Mississippi. A man would be arrested for the murder but over the next two …

Episode 54 The Legend of Dr. Trott's Apothecary

September 30th, 2019


In 1867, Dr. William Trott, opened a magic show in his Charleston, South Carolina, apothecary shop. Soon after, rain began to fall on the city and …

Episode 53 Grady Stiles The Life and Death of Lobster Boy

September 16th, 2019


Grady Stiles was a freak show performer, known as Lobster Boy, who was found murdered in his Gibstonton, Florida home in November of 1992. A detective wondered why none of his family seemed shocked or disappointed that …

Episode 52 The Murder of William Wise

September 2nd, 2019


In 1734, Alice Riley became the first person to be executed in the colony of Georgia. The servant was tried and convicted, alongside fellow servant, …

Episode 51 Murder At The Battery Park Hotel

August 19th, 2019


The murder of Helen Clevenger is one of Asheville, North Carolina’s most infamous crimes. In July of 1936, the 18 year old college student was …

Episode 50 The Star That Fell On Ann Hodges

July 22nd, 2019


In November 1954, Ann Hodges was resting in her Oak Grove, Alabama home when a meteorite crashed through her roof and hit her. She became the only known human being to survive a meteorite strike. Ann was thrown into a …

Episode 49 Russell Jones

July 8th, 2019


Rutherford County, Tennessee is known for its rich civil war history and stories. But deep within the county, in Murfreesboro, lies the story of the disappearance of Russell Jones. When his body was discovered in town, …

Episode 48 Lillian Knox The Lady Bountiful

June 24th, 2019


In 1922, Lillian Knox ran one of the largest lumber companies in the state of Texas. She was known for her business savvy, her take charge attitude and her acts of kindness to the timber families who worked hard to make …

Episode 47 Clotilda and Africa Town

June 10th, 2019


The last ship to bring slaves to America arrived in Alabama’s Mobile Bay in 1860, carrying in its hull more than 100 Africans who had been kidnapped …

Episode 46 The Boy Under The Billboard

May 27th, 2019


In September of 1998, the unidentified body of a 10 year old boy was found under a billboard, near a North Carolina highway. A determined …

Episode 45 Mary Elizabeth Tyler

May 13th, 2019


Meet Mary Elizabeth Tyler. Referred to as "the heartbeat of the Klan" during a Congressional investigation of the group's rise in the 1920s, Tyler used her skills as a publicist to rebrand the KKK and launch the Women's …

Episode 44 Clementine Hunter and the FBI Folk Art Forgery File

April 29th, 2019


One of the most detailed records of life along Louisiana's Cane River was told through paintings of folk artist, Clementine Hunter. In 2008, the FBI …

Episode 43 The Sleeping Preacher X+Y=Z

April 15th, 2019


In the late 19th century, Constantine Sanders was known as Alabama's Sleeping Preacher. Often writing down premonitions and visions from a "trance …

Episode 42 Mystery of Missing Heiress Jacqueline Levitz

April 1st, 2019


In October 1995, an heiress who had tired of high society life in Palm Beach, relocated to Vicksburg, Mississippi. She loved the slower pace of life along the Mississippi River. But within weeks of the move, 62 year …

Episode 41 Trapper Nelson Wild Man of Loxahatchee

March 18th, 2019


Vince "Trapper" Nelson turned his passion for panther trapping and gator wrestling into a Jungle Zoo along Florida's Loxahatchee River in the late 1930s. In 1968, he was found dead on the land that was about to make him …

Episode 40 The Ballad of Frankie Silver

March 4th, 2019


In 1833 Frankie Silver was hanged in Morganton, North Carolina for the murder of her husband Charlie. The story has lived on through the song "The …

Episode 39 Bessie Coleman

February 18th, 2019


Before Amelia Earhart broke barriers in the world of aviation, there was a Black Cherokee woman from Texas who used her love of aviation to break down racial barriers. But she was forced to leave the country she loved …

Episode 38 The Lost Treasure of the Beale Ciphers

February 4th, 2019


For 200 years, treasure hunters have traveled to Virginia to hunt for a buried treasure of gold, silver and jewels. Thomas Beale left behind 3 …

Episode 37 Connie Franklin Ghost of the Ozarks

January 21st, 2019


In 1929, five men in Stone County, Arkansas were charged in the murder of Connie Franklin. There would be many twists and the turns in the case. But …

Episode 36 Missing Bobby Dunbar

January 7th, 2019


In the summer of 1912, a four year old boy went missing while his family was camping near a Louisiana resort area. The day Bobby Dunbar disappeared …

Episode 35 Harry Tyson Moore

December 17th, 2018


His name may not be familiar to you but Harry T. Moore was the first martyr of the American Civil Rights Movement. He and his wife were murdered in their Florida home on Christmas Day 1951. Who killed the Moores? And …

Episode 34 Computer Con Murder

December 3rd, 2018


In the fall of 1992, Heather Uffelman and Jeremy Rolfs were seniors at Middle Tennessee State University. They loved each other and dreamed of a …

Episode 33 The Giggling Granny Nannie Doss

November 19th, 2018


From the 1920s until 1954, Nannie Doss was viewed as a sweet woman, a grandmother who was as sweet as pie. But in 1954, this Giggling Granny as she became known, confessed to close to a dozen murders

Connect on …

Episode 32 Robert Smalls

November 5th, 2018


In 1862, an enslaved crew member of a Confederate steamship, stole the ship and sailed it past Confederate forces to deliver it to the Union. This …

Episode 31 Black Wedding

October 28th, 2018


In 1930, Elena Hoyos met Carl Von Cosel in Key West, Florida. Von Cosel became obsessed with her. This has been called a love story but it’s truly …

Episode 30 Greenbrier Ghost Dead Women Do Tell Tales

October 22nd, 2018


Zona Heaster Shue's life was cut short when she was murdered in 1897. She’s known in West Virginia lore as the Greenbrier Ghost because her ghost …

Episode 29: Wilmington Coup D'Etat

October 8th, 2018


In November 1898, the only successful coup d'etat in American history unfolded in North Carolina when the local government was overthrown by a group …

Episode 28: The Vengeful Abduction of Annie Laurie Hearin

September 24th, 2018


At 9:50pm on July 26,1988, the Jackson Mississippi Police Department received a call from 71 year old Robert Hearin reporting his 72 year old wife, …

Episode 27: Mammoth Cave Explorations, Experiments and Enemies

September 10th, 2018


Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world. It was also ground zero for a desperate medical experiment and the Kentucky Cave Wars that …

Episode 26: Edgar Watson The Desperado of Chatham Bend

August 27th, 2018


The Florida Everglades are full of fascinating wildlife, eerie beauty and countless natural wonders. But within this dense wilderness, is the story …

Episode 25: The Living Funeral of Felix Bush

July 30th, 2018


In June of 1938, a Tennessee hermit threw himself a funeral party. The "living" funeral made Felix Bush famous. But why had Felix lived as a hermit for decades? And why did he decide to throw himself a funeral and …

Episode 24: Gribble House Murders of Savannah

July 16th, 2018


In December of 1909, three women were murdered in a violent axe attack in a boarding house in Savannah, Georgia known as the Gribble House. The …

Episode 23: Cahill Mansion

July 2nd, 2018


For decades families moved in and out of Cahill Mansion near Gulfport, Mississippi with stories of restless spirits inside including a pyromaniac …

Episode 22: Missing Sodder Family Children

June 18th, 2018


What happened to the Sodder children? Five siblings disappeared from their West Virginia home on Christmas Eve night in 1945. What was their fate? Were they kidnapped, murdered or did they meet another tragic fate? Find …

Episode 21 Love and Hatred in Birmingham - Murder of Father Coyle

June 4th, 2018


In 1921, a Methodist minister in Birmingham, Alabama, shot and killed a Catholic priest in broad daylight in front of witnesses. The resulting murder …

Episode 20: The Mystery of Old Mike

May 19th, 2018


In the summer of 1911 an unidentified man died in the railroad town of Prescott, Arkansas.  With no ID and no way to find his family, the town undertaker put the man’s body on public display for over 60 years. Who was …

Episode 19 Frenchy McCormick and Tascosa, Texas

May 7th, 2018


Frenchy McCormick lived by herself in the Texas ghost town of Tascosa for almost 30 years. She refused to leave because of a promise she made to …

Episode 18 Hermit of Fort Fisher - Robert Harrill

April 23rd, 2018


 From 1955 - 1972, Robert Harrill was known as The Hermit of Fort Fisher Island, North Carolina. He spent his life inviting in strangers and teaching …

Episode 17: Three Sisters in Black

April 9th, 2018


Meet sisters Caroline Martin, Virginia Wardlaw and Mary Snead. They left a trail of devastation and death in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and on to …

Episode 16: Longwood Plantation Natchez - Nutt's Folly

March 26th, 2018


Longwood Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi epitomizes the rise and fall of the antebellum south. The history of the home may explain why spirits of …

Episode 15: William Johnson Barber of Natchez

March 19th, 2018


On June 16, 1851 William Johnson was murdered. 75 years later, his diary was discovered and became one of the most important firsthand accounts of life in the antebellum South. What was his story? And how did the man …

Episode 14: Natchez City Cemetery

March 12th, 2018


Natchez City Cemetery is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the South. Behind each monument, beneath each grave site, is a story of a life …

Episode 13: Goat Castle Murder of Natchez

March 5th, 2018


Historian, Karen L. Cox, is the author of  Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South. Karen discusses the 1932 murder of Jenny Merrill, the eccentric couple who were arrested and charged with …

Episode 12: Coral Castle - The Taj Mahal of the South

February 26th, 2018


Imagine a 5 foot tall, 100 pound heartbroken man excavating, shaping and hoisting massive coral blocks into a structure all by himself. Literally building walls to try to deal with a broken heart. This is the story of …

Episode 10: Loreta Velazquez

January 21st, 2018



Loreta Velazquez challenged gender, social and ethnic boundaries during the Civil War. The story of her life has been shrouded in mystery and debated for generations. Who was Loreta? What made her story so dangerous …

Episode 9: Lands End Road

January 1st, 2018


Three legendary haunts along the eight mile stretch of Lands End Road on St Helena Island, South Carolina, have led to this road being named one of …

Episode 6: Death Keeps A Tryst - Thomas Hotard and Audrey Moate

December 4th, 2017


On November 24, 1956, Thomas Hotard was discovered murdered near Lake Ponchatrain in Louisiana. His lover, Audrey Moate went missing the same day. …

Episode 4: Georgia Tann's Children

November 12th, 2017


From the 1920s until 1950, Georgia Tann used a network of powerful accomplices to take advantage of the poor and helpless in and around Memphis, …

Episode 3: The Legend of the Pope Lick Monster

October 31st, 2017


The Pope Lick Monster is an urban legend that has led countless seekers to a dangerous trestle bridge in Louisville, Kentucky. Keith Age, of SyFy …

Episode 2: It's Raining Strange Eels

October 30th, 2017


In 1892 The New York Sun published a story about strange eels raining on small town Coalburg, Alabama. Did it really happen or was this a tall tale …

Episode 1: The Phantom Barber

October 29th, 2017


Sandra Moncrief, author of “The Phantom Barber” discusses her theories of the man who terrorized residents of Pascagoula, Mississippi in the summer …

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