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Some Spooky Alabama History

birmingham-1606247_1280Since my latest release, CIVIL HEARTS, is set in rural, western Alabama, I naturally have done quite a bit of research on the region. Aside from all the antebellum mansions that have survived, some in better condition than others, there are other potentially haunted locations. The Alamuchee-Bellamy Covered Bridge in Livingston, Alabama is one such place.

This is the oldest covered bridge remaining in the state. It was built in 1861 (yes, right at the start of the Civil War), and was used by Confederate forces to access Mississippi. Built under the orders of a Confederate Army Captain, this structure consists of yellow pine timbers joined by wooden pegs. And yes, there is a legend about the bridge being haunted . . .


It seems there was an outlaw sheriff back in the day by the name of Stephen S. Renfroe. Historians claim he was a Confederate deserter with a rather dicey reputation. Married three times, he reportedly killed his first wife’s brother. His first two wives died from unknown illnesses . . . suddenly. How he became sheriff of Sumter County in 1878 is anybody’s guess.

Renfroe continued to break the law even as he held the title of lawman. But fate finally caught up with him in 1886 when he was lynched by locals in the vicinity of the Alamuchee-Bellamy Covered Bridge. To this day, the site is a tourist attraction, with claims that the Outlaw Sheriff haunts the covered bridge. From this Alabama Travel page:

“Walk through the Alamuchee-Bellamy Covered Bridge at twilight as the lights first come on and you might meet “Alabama’s Outlaw Sheriff.” Many claim Renfroe’s ghost haunts the bridge. If you see the lights blink on and off, you’ll know he is there.”

I never considered a covered bridge as a setting for a haunting. There are literally dozens of covered bridges still in existence here in New England, where I live–there are 54 in New Hampshire alone! I may have to take some road trips this summer and scout out sites for my next haunted novel.


A Confederate soldier haunts an abandoned antebellum mansion in Alabama in CIVIL HEARTS. Widow Liv Larson leaves NYC in search of a new start. A dart thrown at the map lands in Camellia, in the rural, western part of the state. She meets local antiques dealer, Heath Barrow, who seems perfect – until his first epileptic seizure takes him down. Liv didn’t know he had the condition, and his seizures remind her all too much of her late husband’s. He died of brain cancer.

Check out Civil Hearts HERE.


The Wonderman