The charming town of Yazoo is home to a fascinating legend. Yazoo can be found north of Jackson in the western portion of Mississippi.
Legend has it that there was an evil witch living near the banks of the Yazoo River. She was hated so badly that the townspeople didn’t give her a name. Rumors abound that she lured fishermen to her home on stormy nights and poisoned them with arsenic before burying them on a hill in the woods.
A Young Boy Witnesses the Yazoo Witch’s Evil
One afternoon in 1884, Joe Bob Duggett, a young boy, was near her house on a boat when he heard a horrible moan. He attached his raft to a cypress branch and ran to the house for a look into a window. He was chilled by what he saw.
On the parlor floor were two dead men. An old woman in a black dress, cockleburs, and filth had her face up toward the ceiling, singing horrendous incantations and waving her arms in an enlightened circle.
Joe Bob Duggett quicky got back in the boat and made a beeline into town to tell the sheriff about what he saw.
The Chase to Catch a Witch
The bodies of the victims were discovered in the witch’s shed by the local sheriff when he arrived to search. The floor was covered in fish bones, which made the smell unusually strong.
Duggett and the sheriff saw the witch flee. She fled to the swamp, where she sought refuge. Duggett later described her as “half ghost, half scarecrow but all witch.”
The witch was caught in quicksand when the sheriff and his deputy found her. Slowly sinking into the mud, the witch promised that she would return to exact her revenge. The witch placed a curse upon the town of Yazoo and would return in 20 years to set the town ablaze.
Glenwood Cemetery was chosen by the townspeople to be the final resting place for the witch. They were certain that the witch could not possibly return from the dead, but they took note of the date she died — May 25, 1884. To keep her spirit inside, a chain was attached to the gravestone of the witch.
Yazoo Is Burned
As the years passed, the long Mississippi seasons arrived and went, and the town mostly forgot the old woman.
However, the town of Yazoo was set ablaze on May 25, 1904, exactly 20 years after the witch’s death. The fire quickly spread to 200 homes and other businesses.
Witnesses to the fire reported that it had an unusual quality. The flames were jumping, twisting, and leaping in ways they’d never experienced before. Many believed the flames danced at the command of the witch.
After the fire was extinguished, several citizens, who remembered the curse, went to the gravesite of the witch. What they discovered would be passed along to others for many years after. The chain that bound the grave was broken.
Today, you can visit the cemetery in Yazoo, Mississippi, where the witch is supposedly buried.