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  • Writer's pictureMorgana Calder

The Haunting Tale of the Witch of Yazoo

Our tale begins in the year 1884, on an autumn evening in the small town of Yazoo City, Mississippi. Jim Bob Duncan, a young man, was guiding his raft along the banks of the Yazoo River, returning home from fishing. As he navigated the riverbank, he heard the agonized screams of adult men coming from a nearby rundown shack. Realizing these were not screams of joy or terror but of pain, Jim Bob docked his raft and proceeded to investigate.

As he approached the house, Jim Bob recognized it as the abode of the alleged Yazoo Witch, a figure of many local rumors. Driven by concern for his fellow townsmen, he crept closer and peered through a window. Inside, he saw the woman, believed to be a witch, performing a tribal dance over two lifeless bodies on the floor. Frightened, Jim Bob rushed back to his raft to summon the Sheriff.

The Sheriff, knowing Jim Bob to be honest, quickly gathered his deputies, and they rode to the shack. Despite finding no immediate evidence, their investigation led them to the attic, where they discovered two corpses hanging from the rafters. It was clear the woman was a murderer, if not a witch.

As the Sheriff and his men exited the attic, they heard rustling leaves outside and saw the woman fleeing on foot. They gave chase through the woods and along the riverbank but lost sight of her momentarily. When they finally caught up, she had fallen into a pit of quicksand, with only her head protruding. With a demonic gaze and her dying breaths, she cursed the town, promising to return in 20 years with fire and malice.

The Sheriff and his men tried to save her, but it was too late. She drowned in the quicksand. Her body was taken to Glenwood Cemetery, and her grave was bound with chains, believed to prevent her return. The gravestone was marked with "T W," warning that this was where "The Witch" lay.

Years passed, and the townspeople gradually forgot the witch and her prophecy. Jim Bob married and had three children. His middle child, William, was known for playing in the town streets.

On the morning of May 25, 1904, a young woman preparing for her wedding accidentally caused a fire that spread rapidly due to unusually strong winds. Despite firefighters' efforts, the entire town burned down.

After assisting the firemen, Jim Bob was unsettled by his son William's cheerful attitude. William explained he had been dancing with a nice lady named Tandy, who had saved him from the fire. He handed Jim Bob a letter from Tandy, who claimed to know him before William was born.

As Jim Bob read the note, his face turned pale. The note contained a simple phrase: "I told you so" - Tandy Warren. Jim Bob raced to Glenwood Cemetery and found the chain around the witch's grave broken. The initials "T W" on the grave matched the name Tandy Warren, the supposed witch.

To this day, no census records account for a Tandy Warren in Yazoo City during that period. Did William dance with the devil? The answer remains a mystery.

Little known fact: The witch's suggested name, Tandy, is derived from an old Norse word meaning fire.

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