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The definitely true Witch from Yazoo
There are many stories out there for Halloween entertainment, but how many are true? Everyone enjoys a good spook story, but to be truthful many of them are fiction and made only to scare or entertain masses. How about a true story of Halloween for once. Our story takes place in a small southern town in Mississippi. What better location than a place that is known for it's several ghost stories. There have been several witch stories proclaimed to be true, but the fact is that most aren't. Today you get a treat, not a trick. This is the true story of a Mississippi boy who witnessed the revealed prophecy of the Yazoo City Witch.
Our tale begins in the year 1884. It was an autumn evening in a small town of Yazoo, Mississipi. A young man by the name of Jim Bob Duncan was guiding his raft along the banks of the Yazoo River, making his way back home from fishing. As he was floating by, he heard screams of adult men coming from a nearby house. Realizing that these were not screams of terror, but that of agony, Jim Bob docked his raft on the bank and proceeded to investigate. As Jim Bob closed in on the house where he heard the screams from, he suddenly realized it was the abode of the supposed Yazoo Witch. Many rumors had circled around the town, but Jim Bob's concern still persuaded him to further investigate. As Jim Bob came up to the window he saw the woman, who was perceived to be a witch, performing a tribal dance amongst two lifeless bodies on her floor. Frightened, Jim Bob quickly made his way back to his raft to fetch the Sheriff.
As soon as the Sheriff heard what Jim Bob had to say, there was no doubt in his mind that these actions had occurred, as Jim Bob was not known for telling wise tales. The Sheriff gathered his Deputies and rode out to the house, but found no evidence of Jim Bob's tale. Insisting that the events really happened, the Sheriff and his men decided to investigate a bit more. Upon entering the attic, they found 2 corpses hung from the ballasts. Now there was no doubt that the woman was at least a murderer if not a witch.
As they were exiting the attic space they heard rustling in the leaves outside. They quickly rushed to the door to find the woman fleeing on foot. As the men chased the witch, they lost track of her for a minute. When they finally caught up with her, she had seemingly fallen into a quick sand pit. The only portion of her body still showing was her head. With a devilish look the woman uttered, "This is not the last time you shall witness me. In 20 years I will arise to take vengeance on your town with fire and malice." The Sheriff and his men were scrambling as fast as they could to retrieve the woman from the pit, but were too late. When they were finally able to retrieve her from the pit, she lay lifeless.
The witch's body was taken to Glenwood Cemetary and chains were placed on her grave so that she would not be able to return to the earth to haunt the town. The letters T W were placed on the gravestone apparently to let people know that this was the place where "The Witch" lies. T W would, however, come to mean more than they could have ever imagined.
As the years went by people gradually forgot about the witch and her so called prophesy. During this twenty year period Jim Bob's wife had given birth to two sons and a daughter. The middle child, whose name was William was a roustabout kid, always playing in the town streets. School was out this time of year, so William was making his rounds as usual.
It was the morning of May 25th, 1904, when a young woman was preparing for her wedding. As she entered into the hair parlor with all of her gifts to show to her friends, her servant supposedly knocked over a lantern, which caused the curtains in the parlor to catch fire. For some reason, the winds were unusually strong for this time of year and the fire quickly spread to other homes and businesses. Firefighters from all over came to attempt to vanquish the flame, but it seemed that the winds were too strong. As soon as they could put one fire out, another had already claimed another residence. When the firefighters were finally able to vanquish the flame, every residence in downtown had been burned to the ground.
After Jim Bob returned home from assisting the firemen, his son William approached him. "Hey daddy", little William said with a grin on his face. Jim Bob's reply was "Son the whole town has burned down. What puts you in such a good mood?" William say,"I know daddy. It was terrible, but I was having fun before it happened." "And what pray tell were you doing son" questioned Jim Bob. "Well I met a nice lady in town today and she was dancing with me. We were outside the general store, right across from the hair parlor. We were having so much fun until all that fire started", William replied. "You mean you were in town when all that was going on? Son you could have been killed", said Jim Bob. "I know daddy, but Tandy carried me away from the fire", said William. "Who is Tandy", Jim Bob asked. "She's the lady I was dancing with. Oh yeah, she told me to give you this. She said she knew you before I was born", said William.
As Jim Bob began to read the note from his son, his eyes widened and his face turned as pale as a ghost. The note was said to have read "I told you so. - Tandy Warren". After reading the note, Jim Bob raced to the Glenwood Cemetary, where the witch was buried. When he approached the grave where she lay, he noticed that the chain had been broken and there was a link missing. Still holding the note in his hand, he noticed the initials on the grave that read T. W. .... Tandy Warren...
Little known facts of this tale
The witches suggested name from this account was Tandy Warren. Tandy is a variant of an old Norse word meaning fire. If this account of the story is made up, it is done with excellent research and quality.
Willie Morris is the first to publish anything about this story. He does go into great detail, but mind you, he had to fill up a good bit of the book and make it interesting.
Most accounts of this story claim that several people remembered what the witch had said before her dying breath and went to visit her grave the day after the fire, but this story comes from a generation that was actually raised in Yazoo City. In other words, Straight from the Horses mouth. The woman who told me of this story is my former 6th grade teacher. She was born and raised in Yazoo City along with the famous comic, Jerry Clower and actually attended Church with him when she was a young lady. Today she is 70 years old, which would put her only 35 years removed from the Yazoo City fire. The original story of this witch has Jim Bob Duncan renamed as Joe Bob Duggan and Joe Bob Duggett, but with the several Duncans that can be found in Mississippi and the Yazoo area, I find this to be more believable. The Duncans were also members of the Church where she attended and are the original source of this story, however their account has never been published in any content. I was just a curious boy lucky enough to inquire about this woman's raising in a small town. Hope you enjoyed.
For more true stories stay tuned to my profile. I post every day. Mississippi may not be the top of the pecking order, but it does hold some interesting stories and facts. Maybe this is how John Grisham, William Falkner, Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams found so many things to write about.
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