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Southern Mysteries Podcast

Shannon Ballard

Hi, I'm Shannon Ballard. I explore historical mysteries and legendary figures of the American South. Hope y'all enjoy.
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35:13 | Aug 19th

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 murdered in a room at the Battery Park Hotel. A hotel employee was tried, convicted and executed for the mu...Show More

29:42 | Jul 22nd

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 media spotlight she never wanted...Show More
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23:20 | Jul 8th

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, a murder for hire plot would re...Show More

34:55 | Jun 24th

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 the company a success. The Lad...Show More

33:24 | Jun 10th

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 from their villages and sold into slavery. The slavers hid the evidence of their illegal operation by...Show More

26:11 | May 27th

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 investigator and his team worked  to solve the mystery of the boy’s identity. In 2018, the mystery would be solv...Show More

33:56 | May 13th

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 KKK, leading to millions joini...Show More

29:17 | Apr 29th

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 opened a folk art forgery case to investigate a trio of suspects they believed to be forging Hunter's...Show More

44:54 | Apr 15th

In the late 19th century, Constantine Sanders was known as Alabama's Sleeping Preacher. Often writing down premonitions and visions from a "trance state" that would be signed by his "companion" X+Y=Z. Was Sanders evil? Possessed? Or haunted by X+Y=Z?

38:51 | Apr 1st

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 old, Jacqueline Levitz disappeared...Show More

32:00 | Mar 18th

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 a millionaire.

30:48 | Mar 4th

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 Ballad of Frankie Silver". Does the song tell the whole truth? Did Frankie kill her husband in cold blo...Show More

44:23 | Feb 18th

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 to make her dreams reality becau...Show More

27:52 | Feb 4th

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 ciphers as a map to the treasure but only 1 has been solved. Did Beale exist? Is there even a treasure?

26:28 | Jan 21st

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 the biggest twist came when a man claiming to be Connie came forward to testify at his own murder tri...Show More

40:37 | Jan 7th

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 was the day the lives of three families would be turned upside down. And it would take almost 100 year...Show More

38:31 | Dec 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 why?

22:31 | Dec 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 spring wedding. They shared a love of computers. A love that would lead to Heather’s death in a motel roo...Show More

27:44 | Nov 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

29:17 | Nov 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 outlaw to the Confederacy became a hero of the Union and a symbol of hope and freedom to the enslaved p...Show More

24:01 | Oct 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 one of the most haunting reminders that desire can drive you to obsession and self destruction.

26:55 | Oct 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 helped solve her murder. Did Zona's mother fabricate the story of her ghost to avenge her daughter's mur...Show More

28:07 | Oct 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 backed by the Democratic party. How and why did this happen?

34:46 | Sep 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, Annie Laurie had been kidnapped. A case that would take twists and turns that no one could imagine.

30:49 | Sep 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 drove Floyd Collins to make a decision that made him a media sensation in 1925
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

01:49 | Sep 9th, 2018

Coming October 2018, a historical true crime podcast telling the stories of victims of racial terror in the American SouthMusic "Eight" by Ross Gentry, couresy of Headway Recording in Asheville, North Carolina

25:18 | Aug 27th, 2018

The Florida Everglades are full of fascinating wildlife, eerie beauty and countless natural wonders. But within this dense wilderness, is the story of one of a man believed to be one of Florida’s most prolific serial killers. And the people who decid...Show More

26:29 | Jul 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 invite all of Roane County, Tennesse...Show More

28:18 | Jul 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 attack remains one of the most diabolical crimes in the history of Savannah. Who was the murderer? And wha...Show More

21:55 | Jul 2nd, 2018

For decades families moved in and out of Cahill Mansion near Gulfport, Mississippi with stories of restless spirits inside including a pyromaniac ghost. And the scariest manifestation happened on the day of one of the most tragic events in US history...Show More

42:36 | Jun 18th, 2018

For decades, anyone traveling Route 16 near Fayetteville, West Virginia would have passed a billboard featuring the photos of five children. Above the photos - the question: "What Was their Fate? Kidnapped? Murdered?" What happened to the Sodder Chil...Show More

32:10 | Jun 4th, 2018

One of the most shocking murders in Birmingham, Alabama history happened in 1921. Father John Coyle, a Catholic priest, was shot and killed by a Methodist minister. The KKK paid for the minister's defense team, that was led by Hugo Black.

16:40 | May 19th, 2018

In the summer of 1911 an unidentified man died in the 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 this man? And why did it take 60 years to ...Show More

25:01 | 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 someone. Frenchy is a folklore legend in Texas but much of her life story is a mystery. MUCH, but not all...Show More

28:19 | Apr 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 them about living a life free of social norms. And in the end, the strangers he welcomed in, may have...Show More

24:40 | Apr 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 New Jersey where they were implicated in the mysterious death of Ocey Snead, known as the Bath Tub ...Show More

17:51 | Mar 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 the former owners are said to linger here.

17:57 | Mar 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 who murdered Johnson get away wit...Show More

18:04 | Mar 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 marked by tragedy and mystery. Love and devotion. This is the story of some its most fascinating occupants...Show More

32:59 | Mar 5th, 2018

On August 4 1932 Jenny Merrill was shot and killed in her Natchez, Mississippi home, Glenburnie. An eccentric couple who lived in a run down mansion known as the "Goat Castle" were arrested and charged with murder. But an innocent African American wo...Show More

17:33 | Feb 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 Edward Leedskalnin. This is the ...Show More

19:28 | Jan 21st, 2018

Meet one of the most controversial women of the 19th century - Loreta Velazquez . She challenged gender, social and ethnic boundaries during the Civil War. But who was she? Did she really exist or is her story one of the greatest hoaxes of her time?

13:04 | Jan 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 the most haunted in the South

16:11 | Dec 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. Retired detective, Wayne Norwood, investigated the cold case and discusses his theories surrounding the...Show More

11:40 | Nov 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, Tennessee. Her crimes made her one of the most notorious child traffickers of the 20th century and led to...Show More

11:16 | Oct 31st, 2017

In this episode we're exploring an urban legend that has led countless seekers to a dangerous trestle bridge in Louisville, Kentucky.

23:50 | Oct 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 sensationalized Southern folklore?

18:31 | Oct 29th, 2017

For three weeks, in the summer of 1942, residents of Pascagoula, Mississippi were terrorized by “The Phantom Barber” who broke into homes and cut the hair of his sleeping victims. Included is an interview with author, Sandra Moncrief, who grew up in ...Show More