Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Hanging Tree

Creepy, MS> On the way to the Famous Christmas Place you leave Lexington going west and drop off into the Mississippi Delta to a little crossroad called Howard. A former railroad stop that was once thriving is now an empty crossroad with only a few weatherbeaten old buildings still leaning against each other.
Leaving here you catch a gravel road that winds south against the edge of the hills. The road is old and not kept up very well.Travel this rough and rutted road for about three miles and you will come to the Hanging Tree.
Records show that this was once a happy and thriving community named Blissdale, on the edge of the Great Swamp that still goes by the name Blissdale Swamp. 10 stores and a thriving community based on farming and river traffic that disappeared in bloody death and fire.Leaning over the old road at this spot is an immense tree known to everyone as “The Hanging Tree” The Bodock Times has researched the local records that tell the tragic story of Blissdale. The accounts say that late in the Civil War many brigands and robbers appeared that were deserters looking for spoils. These outlaws from both North and South would join up in groups and terrorize small farms and homes for whatever the residents had. Times were hard and lawless, but the tiny town had survived what they thought was the worst of it.One day a large group of outlaws rode into the isolated town of Blissdale thinking that it would be easy to steal whatever they wanted. They were wrong. The townspeople fought back wounding and killing several outlaws and capturing most of the rest. The town held a quick trial and the outlaws were dragged into the road, ropes were thrown into the branches of the large tree, and the criminals were unceremoniuously hung. The hard spirited townspeople decided to leave them for a while as a warning to other outlaws. It was a hard time in life, and it took hard actions to protect the people there. The old and faded hand written journals we read; record that it was a horrible and chilling sight.
By chance, a Union Cavalry unit came through looking for General Forrest and came upon the gruesome sight. Looking up at the bodies, the Colonel in charge saw that many of the hung men were dressed in blue Yankee uniforms. He became enraged and did not believe the townspeoples’ story about them being outlaws. He ordered the town burned and the mayor and as many as 15 of the other prominent townspeople (men and women) hung as a lesson to the defiant people. They were left with the rotting bodies already in the tree.
The only standing remnants of the once vibrant town is one
old dilapidated home and a crumbling vine covered silo. So disappeared the little town of Blissdale.
Since that time it has been one of the most haunted places in the Mississippi delta. The local people whisper about sights they have seen there and mostly avoid the old road during the day. They will not ever travel it at night; especially on Halloween.
Many people have said that late at night if you are traveling the lonely road and happen to pass under the tree you can see the ghostly bodies hanging and twisting from the giant tree limbs and hear the screams of terror of the people being killed as the town was burned.
Speed up for they say that sometimes a motor will suddenly quit and you will be found hanging from the tree the next morning.


Marian said...

Now that's a scary story Rex...

Editor said...

thank you