Sunday, November 29, 2009
I am so grateful to all of you who have sent me emails asking about book signings for the Bigfoot book. Since the book will not be out until December 16th, and the holidays are so soon after that, I more than likely will not be doing any book appearances for Bigfoot in Georgia until after the new year. However, I will be doing a book signing for In Atlanta or in Hell: The Camp Creek Train Crash of 1900 at the Barnes and Nobles in Morrow for their fundraiser for Morrow High School on Friday, December 11th at 7:00 p.m. The Barnes and Nobles will be donating sales that night to the Morrow High School. The book signing is actually a book discussion and signing. It is being sponsored by the Barnes and Nobles of Morrow and the history department of Morrow High School from what I am told.
In addition, I will be the guest on the Dr. William Lester Show on Saturday night, December 5th from 10:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m. We will be talking about the release of Bigfoot in Georgia, my blog, and the train crash book. It is quite possible that Caprice Walker, the owner of Bell, Book and Candle and the McDonough Haunted History Tours will be joining me on the show. That day is her birthday :), so I am not sure if she will be around or not. Hopefully, she will because there was a paranormal investigation at the bookstore on November 14th, and there were quite a few things that happened. She will really want to talk about those if she joins us. I plan to blog about one of those incidents here.
I hope you can tune in. The radio show is located at www.gameconradio.com. Please listen in, and join us at the book signing on the 11th if you can.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
My latest book, Bigfoot in Georgia, is going to be available starting December 16, 2009. As you might know, this was the first book I wrote, but has been under contract since summer 2008 being prepped for publication. The book chronicles the history of sightings, legends, Native American folklore and modern searches related to Bigfoot in Georgia. It is available for preorder right now from Amazon.com. Click on the title of this post and it will take you right to the page on Amazon.com where you can order it. It will also be available at Bell, Book and Candle in McDonough, Georgia. You can call them at 770-957-1880 to reserve your copy.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
History Press has a series of books called Haunted America. One of the books in that series is called Haunted Marietta by Rhetta Akamatsu. On October 30th, in Decatur, I had the privilege of meeting Rhetta at a joint book signing we did at Eagle Eye Book Shop. Reece Christian, author of Ghosts of Atlanta, was also there signing books.
One of the stories she recounts in her book is about a cemetery in Marietta called the Devil's Turnaround. The cemetery, according to Akamatsu, is associated with an African-American church in the area that was founded in the 1800s. There are old graves in this graveyard, some dating back to the 1860s. Apparently, burials are still taking place there, as there are also some plots as recent as 2006. The reason the graveyard is called the Devil's Turnaround is due to strange activity that happens there, as well as the fact that the older graves are aligned in a semicircle for some reason.
Akamatsu says that there is a lot of activity in this cemetery of the human kind, as well as the supernatural. Apparently, there is a good bit of vandalism, but there also appears to be cult activity there as well. She and her team have visited the cemetery and seen holes where bodies had been dug up. She has also found snakes with their heads cut off, and there have also been reports of dead dogs being buried in shallow graves there. Perhaps this is what has contributed to what Akamatsu says is a malevolent spirit present in the cemetery.
Paranormal research groups have gone to the graveyard and investigated. On a recording, one researcher picked up a voice (possible EVP) that said, "I think I'll kick you." Other weird happenings include large objects being picked up and hurled through the air by some unseen force. Some visitors and researchers at the cemetery have reported being bitten, scratched, and bruised without knowing how these things happened to them. Investigations at this graveyard have been featured on such television shows as TruTV's Haunting Evidence. Patrick Burns of the Atlanta Ghost Hounds, once visited the cemtery and when he returned home that night, he discovered a deep scratch on his arm as he disrobed for bed. He was unsure as to how the mark got there, and did not remember feeling anything at all in the cemetery, especially anything that could have left a mark as deep as it was. Other visitors to the graveyard have reported things being thrown at them, bite marks on their arms, and being lifted off the ground by unseen hands.
So what is it that seems to taunt visitors to the Devil's Turnaround in Marietta? Could it be that vandals, cult rituals, and other nonsense have roused an evil presence that was there? Or is it the spirit of some soul buried on the grounds who does not like his/her resting place being the scene of such activity? Urban legends about this place abound. What can be certain is that something strange is going on at the Devil's Turnaround.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I have been doing a bit more research on missing persons in Georgia. There are quite a few. One of my readers has sent me information on a missing person from Douglas County from several decades ago, and I am doing some research on that one now. But not long ago, in a webpage where I had been looking at a theory about what happened to Tara Grinstead, I spotted something that caught my eye. It was about a young college student from Ohio who had enrolled and completed a year of classes at Georgia Tech, but disappeared in the spring of 2000.
His name is Joseph Morse. He was from Cincinnati, Ohio and had checked out Georgia Tech with his family back in the spring of 1999 and fell in love with the school. He enrolled as a civil engineering major in the fall of that year. Later, he would change his major to mechanical engineering, but sadly enough, he would never graduate from the school.
Joe, as he was called, was an ideal student. He was a graduate of Moeller High School in the Cincinnati area, graduating 23 out of a class of 203. He ran track, had lots of friends, made good grades, and devoted some of his spare time to charitable and civic events and organizations. Anyone would be proud to have had him as a son. Georgia Teach really appealed to him because he wanted to be in an urban environment like Atlanta with good weather. It was gravy that the school had such a good national reputation in engineering. Originally, Joe had set his sights on schools like MIT and Stanford. Georgia Tech was lucky to have him. Once he arrived at Tech, he was placed in the Towers Dormitory. He even became the president of his hall council at Towers, and he even ended the fall semester with a 3.4 GPA. He was well on his way to becoming a successful student, and then, a successful engineer.
He came home over the Christmas holidays, and his family reported nothing weird. He was just Joe, they said. Once back at school at Tech for the spring semester, he changed his major to civil engineering. He even was able to land a co-op job with the Caterpillar company at a location in Illinois for the coming fall semester, which meant that he would have to take classes in the summer and stay in the dorms there during that time so he would not get behind in his studies since the co-op position would mean he would not be able to take classes that fall while working at Caterpillar. That Easter, he was able to come home, and once again, his parents said nothing was out of the ordinary. He did seem to sleep alot that weekend, but that was nothing alarming to his folks, as they thought it was normal behavior for a college student.
But things had started falling apart for Joe that spring semester at Tech, and noone understands why. First, his grades began to plummet. He did okay in his engineering classes, but he all but stopped coming to his English class and his grades reflected that. His grades in his other classes began to slip as well. He even began to call home more often. His parents said that he phoned frequently, and it was pretty obvious that he was eager to get back home at the end of the semester. His arrangements were to leave his stuff in the dorm at the end of the semester, go home for a week break, and then return to Atlanta to take summer courses at Tech before going to Peoria, Illinois in the fall for the co-op job. To do this, he would have to enroll in summer classes and make arrangements to live in the dorm during the summer. After Joe's disappearance, his parents found out from the school that he had never even attempted to register for summer classes, and that he had not applied at all for housing in the dorms for the summer. This was very unlike Joe, for he was always quite diligent about taking care of his school business. Once more, his grades were nowhere near what they had been in the fall. All of this seemed to be out of character for Joe.
On May 6, 2000, Joe was to fly home to Cincinnati where his mom was waiting for him at the Dayton International Airport. He was flying standby, and if he was unable to get a flight, he would take a bus. That morning, his friends saw him leave the dorm room, go to the showers around 8:30 a.m., and nothing seemed unusual. One student commented that he was swinging his keychain around his finger like a coach normally does, and this was quite normal for Joe as well. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Keep in mind, all of the things mentioned above (falling grades, no arrangements for summer, and poor class attendance) were unbeknown to his family. They thought nothing was wrong. Apparently, Joe never made it to the airport that morning, but he did go to a local ATM at Lenox Square Mall and withdraw 120.00 out of his checking account. This was all he had in there. ATM cameras have him on camera doing this at 10:58 that morning. Those were the last images of Joseph Morse.
His mother waited for him at the airport, but he never arrived that day. She never heard from him by phone, and there was no email to her or other family members explaining the delay. But Joe was not on a plane or bus to Ohio that day. Joe never tried to come home that authorities are aware. The last place he was seen was at the ATM. Joe's parents began to contact the school, where they found that Joe never removed any of his clothes or belongings from his dorm room. He left his room with his glasses, wallet, and the clothes on his back, nothing more. He was wearing a plaid shirt and khaki Docker shorts. The ATM pictures show that he was wearing his glasses when he withdrew the money from the ATM. Parents and authorities circulated his picture and information about him around campus and the area, but noone had seen hair nor hide of him. It was as if Joseph Morse had just disappeared in thin air. His advisor reported that he had stopped answering his emails from him asking him to come meet with him about his classes and academic work. Joe seemed to let his school work slip severely during the spring semester. Campus police asked his friends and classmates about his behavior. They saw nothing strange. His roomate said that he would sleep in some mornings because as he left for classes, oftentimes, Joe would still be asleep in bed. But he did not see that as strange.
Noone seemed to know what happened to Joseph Morse. Then, four years later in 2004, a report circulated that police in Miami, Florida had discovered a body that had been dead since around May 7, 2000. The police were looking for the identity of a man they said broke in to a construction site, climbed a 187 foot crane and jumped. Some online researchers have said this was young Joseph Morse. One website even went so far as to say it was without a doubt Joseph Morse. That same site also said that according to Florida law, records on this body and cause of death would be sealed for 50 years, but that if one had a legal reason for inquiring, the records could be opened. It was also reported that Georgia Tech police had closed his file and that they had concluded the body was that of Joseph Morse.
Was the body they found in Miami, Florida in 2004 that of Joseph Morse? If so, why did he break in to a construction site and jump from a crane of almost 200 feet? What prompted him to stop attending class and let his school work go when it seemed to mean so much to him? Was he abducted and forced to do what he did? I would imagine that an abductor would find some easier way of disposing of a person. Climbing a huge crane like that is very odd in and of itself. Or was Joe planning something else and traveled to Miami for a different reason? Did he know someone down there? Was he suffering from something that made him temporarily delusional? Was this a trip he took with friends and they decided to mess around the construction site and crane for laughs as they were in Miami and when Joe fell, the rest got scared and fled? Noone has any clue how and when he arrived in Miami. If he died the next day after having been at Lenox Square at 10:58 a.m., then he must have left Atlanta for Miami sometime on the 6th or early in the morning on the 7th. But if the body was his, and he was there, how did he get there? When did he arrive? I have not read anything about the finding of the body from 2004 except what I have repeated here. Did the family find flight records or bus records showing he had traveled to Miami? This case is quite strange. If the body in Miami did not belong to him, then he is still out there, but noone knows where.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Periodically, I peruse the website of a local radio station near my hometown. They carry news, obituaries, local sports, and other things that interest me as a local from that area. Today, I looked at their site, and the first article was about a weird animal sighting near the community of Long Pond, which is a small community in Montgomery County, and is also the subject of a post about the Legend of the Long Pond Oak Trees I posted last week. Here is the text of the article from their website, which I have also linked on this blog. Just click on the title of this post and it will take you right to the site.
THE FOLLOWING IS THE ARTICLE TAKEN FROM THEIR VIDALIA COMMUNICATIONS WEBSITE:
What Was That??
Tuesday, 03 November 2009
"At dusk yesterday I drove up to the house and was greeted by my wife on the side porch with our two shelties. The dogs were barking and dancing around aggressively. My wife commented that they had been going on like that for the past half hour. As I walked up to the porch she exclaimed, “Jim what is THAT?” I looked across our yard toward the wood line at a side profile of a grayish brown feline shaped animal. (the head was hard to make out and appeared to be much darker) The animal was easily three times the size of our shelties and did not move for about 30 seconds. I said, ”It looks like a very large bobcat from here.” The feline shaped creature turned back toward the woods and slowly strolled off. As the animal entered the woods I saw a tail shaped like a hook swinging back and forth.
We live on a 200 acre spread just outside of Long Pond.
Thanks, Jim Beall
This is quite an interesting story. It sounds like a panther or large cat of sorts. There are quite a few reports of large cats roaming the woods of Georgia. This area is heavily wooded. It is a rural county of Georgia.