Southern Mysteries Podcast

Shannon Ballard

Exploring history and mysteries of the American South. Hosted by Shannon Ballard. read less

Our Editor's Take

Shannon Ballard is the sole employee working on the Southern Mysteries Podcast. She is the creator, researcher, writer, audio engineer, host, and producer of the true crime show. The podcast is not her full-time job, either. Ballard hosts a Jackson, Mississippi morning radio show. But this doesn't mean that the podcast is a mere hobby for her. From the first minute of the show, it's easy to hear that the host is serious about what she does.

In each episode of the Southern Mysteries Podcast, Ballard explores a different tale. These are all based on legends, myths, or true crime stories passed down through the generations. As an Alabama native, Ballard grew up listening to these stories and was always intrigued by them. She always wondered about the facts behind them as well. As she grew older, Ballard started to travel around the Deep South of the US by herself. She wanted to learn more about its rich history from the people who live there. These travels provide extra material for her podcast.

Most of the crimes depicted in the Southern Mysteries Podcast will be new to listeners. Even those who live in the American South might discover new information. Some episodes will have sensitive topics, such as the Civil War and enslaved people. These topics are unavoidable due to the geographic location. Yet, the host always shows the utmost respect for the matter and sticks to the facts. She doesn't reveal her political beliefs. The host lets the listeners come to their own conclusions instead.

Another way the host distinguishes herself from other true crime podcasts is by not veering from her main topic. There is no banter in this show, no personal updates, or any asides. Each episode starts with a short description of the mystery and explores the details. There is nothing but the host's masterful narration and superb production value. New Southern Mysteries Podcast episodes come out every two weeks.

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Episode 128 The Kentucky Tragedy
3d ago
Episode 128 The Kentucky Tragedy
The murder of Solomon P. Sharp by Jereboam Beauchamp is known as The Kentucky Tragedy. It’s a complicated story of seduction, politics, love and execution.  Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive of 60+ episodes along with Patron exclusive podcast, Audacious: Tales of American Crime and more when you become a patron of the show. You can immediately access exclusive content now at patreon.com/southernmysteries Connect Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @shannonballard_ Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com    Episode Sources Southern Literary Messenger. Encyclopedia of Virginia. Accessed May 30, 2023. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/southern-literary-messenger/The confession of Jereboam Beauchamp "(written by himself) who was executed at Frankfort, Ky., for the murder of Col. Solomon P. Sharp, a member of the legislature, and late attorney-general of Ky. To which is added some poetical pieces written by Mrs. Ann Beauchamp, who voluntarily put a period to her existence on the day of the execution of her husband, and was buried in the same grave with him. Accessed May 30, 2023. https://digital.library.cornell.edu/catalog/sat1109The Kentucky Tragedy in American Literature: From Thomas Holley Chivers to Robert Warren. Jack Edward Surrency, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Accessed May 30, 2023. ttps://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5389&context=utk_graddissJereboam O. Beauchamp. Murderpedia. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/beauchamp-jereboam.htm Episode Music I Am A Man Who Will Fight For Your Honor by Chris Zabriske and No. 7 Alone with My Thought by Esther Abrami. Licensed under Creative Commons; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use
Episode 126 George Stinney, Jr
May 1 2023
Episode 126 George Stinney, Jr
In 1944, George Stinney Jr. was wrongfully convicted of murder and executed by the state of South Carolina. The 14 year old was the youngest person to be executed in 20th century America. Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive of 60+ episodes along with Patron exclusive podcast, Audacious: Tales of American Crime and more when you become a patron of the show. You can immediately access exclusive content now at patreon.com/southernmysteries Connect Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @shannonballard_ Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com  Episode Sources Court Acknowledges Wrongful Execution of 14-Year Old George Stinney, Accessed March 30, 2023. https://eji.org/news/george-stinney-exonerated/State v. Stinney, Brief of Amicus Curiae, Accessed April 10, 2023.Justice is Done: George Stinney Jr.’s 70 Year Old Conviction is Vacated, April 10, 2023.  https://lawlibrarybarrister.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/justice-is-done-george-stinney-jr-s-70-year-old-conviction-is-vacated/New details emerge about an alternate suspect in Alcolu girls’ murders. Accessed April 11, 2023. https://www.postandcourier.com/news/special_reports/new-details-emerge-about-an-alternate-suspect-in-alcolu-girls-murders/article_2b2069f0-2933-11e8-9997-7b67df562df5.html Episode Music Dark Times by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use
Patreon Preview Audacious Chapter 1 The Man in the Attic
Apr 24 2023
Patreon Preview Audacious Chapter 1 The Man in the Attic
A sensational tale of obsession, murder and a secret lover were front page news in the summer of 1922. At the center of it all was Walburga Oesterreich, more commonly known as Dolly. Detectives worked for over a decade to solve the mystery of the murder of her husband, Fred. A scorned lover revealed the answers and Dolly's secrets shocked the country.     Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive of 60+ episodes along with Patron exclusive podcast, Audacious: Tales of American Crime and more when you become a patron of the show. You can immediately access exclusive content now at patreon.com/southernmysteries   Connect Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @shannonballard_ Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com    Episode Sources The Story Of Dolly Oesterreich – The Woman Who Kept Her Secret Lover In The Attic For Years. Accessed Dec 12, 2022 https://allthatsinteresting.com/dolly-oesterreich The Murderous Lover Who Lived In A Silver Lake Attic. A True Story. Accessed Dec 29,2022. https://laist.com/news/la-history/hidden-history-of-la-the-murderous-lover-who-lived-in-a-silver-lake-attic The Legend of Milwaukee’s Most Infamous Love Triangle. Accessed December 30, 2022. https://www.milwaukeemag.com/the-legend-of-milwaukees-most-infamous-love-triangle/   Music It's the Talk of the Town. Public Domain. 78rpm Collection (1920s 1930s Popular Music) Part JH11
Episode 125 The Mysterious Disappearance of Jane Rowell
Apr 10 2023
Episode 125 The Mysterious Disappearance of Jane Rowell
Easter marked the 60th anniversary of the disappearance of 22 year old Hannah Jane Rowell. Her estranged husband believed Jane abandoned the family to leave Baton Rouge, Louisiana and try to make it in Hollywood. Her distraught and protective brother vowed there was foul play.    Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive of 60+ episodes along with Patron exclusive podcast, Audacious: Tales of American Crime and more when you become a patron of the show. You can immediately access exclusive content now at patreon.com/southernmysteries   Connect Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @shannonballard_ Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com    Episode Sources Jane Clement Missing Since 1963. The Hammond Star, Bayou Justice. Accessed February 25, 2020. https://www.hammondstar.com/news/jane-clement-missing-since-1963/article_317d206e-c244-53a3-a061-6b13a44b0413.htmlDental Chart of Missing Woman Studied. The Daily Iberian. December 10, 1963. https://www.newspapers.com/image/849587767/Jane Rowell Clement. Doe Network. Accessed March 13, 2023. https://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1373dfla.htmlJane Clement Rowell. The Charley Project. Accessed March 13, 2023. https://charleyproject.org/case/jane-rowell-clementJane Clement missing since 1963. Bayou Justice. Accessed March 28, 2023. https://bayoujustice.com/2023/03/jane-clement-missing-since-1963-2/Jane Rowell buried in concrete tomb. Bayou Justice. Accessed March 28, 2023. https://bayoujustice.com/2023/03/jane-rowell-buried-in-concrete-tomb/   Episode Music Not Alone by Lee Rosevere. Licensed under Creative Commons; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use
Episode 124 The Tri State Terrorist
Mar 27 2023
Episode 124 The Tri State Terrorist
In December 1989, Judge Robert Vance was killed in his Alabama home when he opened a package that contained a mail bomb. Two days later Civil rights attorney Robert Robinson was killed in a separate explosion in Georgia. The investigation to find the person responsible for the attacks became one of the largest cases in FBI history.    Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive of 60+ episodes along with Patron exclusive podcast, Audacious: Tales of American Crime and more when you become a patron of the show. You can immediately access exclusive content now at patreon.com/southernmysteries   Connect Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @shannonballard_ Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com    Episode Sources Helen Vance is remembered as passionate about life, animal lover. AL.com. Accessed January 15, 2023. https://www.al.com/spotnews/2010/10/helen_vance_remembered_as_pass.htmlFamily remembers Savannah attorney killed in 1989 bombing. WTOC.com. Accessed January 20, 2023. https://www.wtoc.com/story/37989246/family-remembers-savannah-attorney-killed-in-1989-bombing/Judge Vance Murder. FBI.gov. Accessed February 1, 2023. https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/judge-vance-murderAlabama Executes Man for 1989 Mail-Bomb Murder of U.S. Appeals Court Judge Robert S. Vance. Justice.gov. Accessed February 1, 2023. https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndal/pr/alabama-executes-man-1989-mail-bomb-murder-us-appeals-court-judge-robert-s-vance-0United States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Walter Leroy Moody, Jr. Justia US Law. Accessed February 2, 2023. https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/977/1425/305286/'Why my dad?' Judge recalls father's legacy as bomber's execution nears. AL.com. Accessed February 3, 2023. https://www.al.com/news/birmingham/2018/04/circuit_judge_bob_vance_talks.htmlAlabama Executes Mail Bomber, 83, the Oldest Inmate Put to Death in Modern Era. The New York Times. Accessed February 3, 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/us/alabama-execution-walter-leroy-moody.htmlForensic Files - Season 3, Episode 5 - Deadly Delivery. Accessed February 3, 2023. https://youtu.be/Ru8PHBVPgLc Episode Music Last Frontier and Falling Rain by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use
Episode 123 Lena Clarke The Murdering Postmistress
Mar 13 2023
Episode 123 Lena Clarke The Murdering Postmistress
In 1920 Lena Clarke made history when she became the first woman to be named postmaster of West Palm Beach, Florida. Within a year, she gained notoriety as “the murdering postmistress when she stood trial for killing her lover to cover up an embezzlement scheme.   Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive of 60+ episodes along with Patron exclusive podcast, Audacious: Tales of American Crime and more when you become a patron of the show. You can immediately access exclusive content now at patreon.com/southernmysteries   Connect   Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @shannonballard_ Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com    Episode Sources   Florida history: The story of West Palm Beach’s murderous postmistress. The Palm Beach Post. Accessed January 30, 2023. https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/2022/01/09/lena-clarke-mysterious-murderous-postmistress-west-palm-beach/9084494002/   Going Postal, 1920s Style – The Strange Case of Lena Clarke. Palm Beach Past. Accessed January 29, 2023. https://palmbeachpast.org/2021/07/going-postal-1920s-style-the-strange-case-of-lena-clarke/   The Murdering Postal Woman, Lena Clarke, 1921. Historical Crime Detective. Accessed February 2, 2023. https://www.historicalcrimedetective.com/the-murdering-postal-woman-lena-clarke-1921/   Lena Marietta Thankful Clarke. Find A Grave. Accessed February 3, 2023. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/23950611/lena-marietta_thankful-clarke   Theft of $32,000 Solved by Lena Clarke but Murder of Miltimore is still a mystery. The Orlando Sentinel. Accessed February 3, 2023. https://www.newspapers.com/image/313585521/?terms=lena%20clarke&match=1   The Life of Lena Clarke In Her Own Pen. The Miami Herald. Accessed February 3, 2023. https://www.newspapers.com/image/616088404/?terms=lena%20clarke&match=1   Lena Clarke Murder Trial. The MIami Herald. Accessed February 3, 2023. https://www.newspapers.com/image/616088368/?terms=lena%20clarke&match=1   Postmistress Called Insane Freed of Murder. The New York Daily News. Accessed February 3, 2023. https://www.newspapers.com/image/410910479/?terms=lena%20clarke&match=1   Episode Music St. Francis by by Josh Lippi & The Overtimers. Licensed under Creative Commons; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use
Episode 122 Henrietta Wood and Elizabeth Key
Feb 27 2023
Episode 122 Henrietta Wood and Elizabeth Key
There are lesser known stories of enslaved men and women who fought for their freedom in court. Elizabeth Key was at the center of one of the most important colonial court cases involving slavery. Henrietta Wood made history when she sued the man who kidnapped and enslaved her. Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive of 60+ episodes along with Patron exclusive podcast, Audacious: Tales of American Crime and more when you become a patron of the show. You can immediately access exclusive content now at patreon.com/southernmysteries Connect Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @shannonballard_ Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com    Episode Sources Elizabeth Key. Women in History. Accessed January 10,2023 Elizabeth Key. Library of Virginia. Accessed January 13, 2023 Elizabeth Key and Her History-Changing Lawsuit. ThoughtCo. Accessed January 14, 2023 The Case of Elizabeth Key, 1655/1656 Northumberland County Record Books, 1652-1658, fols. 66-67, 85; 1658-1660, fol. 28; Northumberland County Order Book, 1652-1665, fols. 40, 46, 49. University of Chicago Taunya Lovell Banks, "Dangerous Woman: Elizabeth Key's Freedom Suit - Subjecthood and Racialized Identity in Seventeenth Century Colonial Virginia", 41 Akron Law Review 799 (2008), Digital Commons Law, University of Maryland.  Sweet Taste of Liberty Open Source Notebook. Caleb McDaniel. Accessed January 14, 2023 In 1870, Henrietta Wood Sued for Reparations—and Won. Smithsonian Magazine. Accessed February 1, 2023   Episode Music Magic Forest by Sir Cubworth Licensed under a Creative Commons; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use
Episode 121 Harry Powers The Bluebeard of Quiet Dell
Feb 13 2023
Episode 121 Harry Powers The Bluebeard of Quiet Dell
In the 1930s Harry Powers used several aliases to correspond with lonely women he promised to marry. In 1931 five bodies were discovered on his Quiet Dell, West Virginia farm that was dubbed The Murder Farm.    Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive of 60+ episodes along with Patron exclusive podcast, Audacious: Tales of American Crime and more when you become a patron of the show. You can immediately access exclusive content now at patreon.com/southernmysteries   Connect   Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @shannonballard_ Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com    Episode Sources   Harry F. Powers. Murderpedia. Accessed January 4, 2023. https://murderpedia.org/male.P/p/powers-harry.htm   Hanging the Bluebeard of Quiet Dell. Appalachian History. Accessed January 7, 2023. https://www.appalachianhistory.net/2014/03/grisly-anniversary-hanging-bluebeard-quiet-dell.html   The Bluebeard of Quiet Dell, Clarksburg Serial Killer. West Virginia Gazette. Accessed January 7, 2023 https://web.archive.org/web/20120324101310/http://www.wvgazette.com/mediafiles/document/2009/03/17/Bluebeard_I090317193022.pdf   Harry Powers' Murder Farm. Morbid Tourism. Accessed February 1, 2023. https://www.morbidtourism.com/locations/id/606a1c2bc892bc9da3b0864a   Episode Music Lost by Kevin MacLeod, Licensed under a Creative Commons License; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use
Episode 120 The Disappearance of Alma Kellner
Jan 30 2023
Episode 120 The Disappearance of Alma Kellner
On a cold December day in 1909, eight year old Alma Kellner walked five blocks from her parents home in Louisville, Kentucky to St. John’s Church. She promised her mother she would return home after mass but Alma never returned. The circumstances surrounding her disappearance remain shrouded in mystery   Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive of 60+ episodes along with Patron exclusive podcast, Audacious: Tales of American Crime and more when you become a patron of the show. You can immediately access exclusive content now at patreon.com/southernmysteries   Connect Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @shannonballard_ Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com    Episode Sources Alma Katherine Kellner. Find A Grave. Accessed January 4, 2023. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/95108249/alma-katherine-kellner   Reward of $500 Offered. Lexington Herald-Leader. December 10, 1909. Accessed Newspapers.com December 20, 2022 Alma Kellner’s Body Is Found. Los Angeles Herald. May 31, 1910. Accessed Newspapers.com December 20, 2022   Triumphed. New York Daily News. July 28, 1935. Accessed Newspapers.com December 20, 2022 Louisville’s Church Fiend Becomes Martyr in France. The Louisville Courier-Journal. November 29, 1936. Accessed Newspapers.com December 20, 2022   Killer Priest— Crimes, Trial And Execution Of Hans Schmidt, Mark Gado ( 2006). Accessed January 10, 2023. https://archive.org/details/KillerPriest--CrimesTrialAndExecutionOfHansSchmidtMarkGado2006   Episode Music Argonne by Zachariah Hickman and Sense of Loss by Purple Planet Music. Licensed under a Creative Commons License; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use
Episode 119 The Scottsboro Boys
Jan 16 2023
Episode 119 The Scottsboro Boys
In November 2012, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles pardoned three black men who had been wrongly convicted of assaulting two white women in 1931. They were the last of nine young men associated with the case to have their convictions officially cleared from the record. Their arrest and the trials that followed served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement.   Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive and immediately access exclusive content when you become a patron of the show.  Join now at patreon.com/southernmysteries   Connect Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @shannonballard_ Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com    Episode Sources Scottsboro Trials. Accessed December 14, 2022.    “Scottsboro Boys” Trials (1931-1937). Famous Trials by Douglas O. Linder. Accessed December 10, 2022.    Without Fear or Favor: Judge James Edwin Horton and the Trial of the “Scottsboro Boys” By Douglas O. Linder. Accessed December 10, 2022    The Saga Of The Scottsboro Boys. Accessed January 2, 2023.    The Scottsboro Trials: A Legal Lynching. Accessed January 2, 2023.    The Scottsboro Boys: Injustice in Alabama. Accessed December 15, 2022.    Episode Music No 7 Alone with My Thoughts by Esther Abrami. Licensed under a Creative Commons License Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use
Episode 112 The Color Line Murders
May 23 2022
Episode 112 The Color Line Murders
Some of the oldest true crime cases in America are racial terror lynchings. To understand the history of lynching in the American South you have to know what led to the acceptance of racial terror and the brave people who led anti lynching campaigns in an effort to end the violence and save lives.    Want more Southern Mysteries?  Hear the Southern Mysteries show archive and immediately access exclusive content when you become a patron of the show.  Join now at patreon.com/southernmysteries   Connect Website: southernmysteries.com Facebook: Southern Mysteries Podcast Twitter: @southernpod_ Instagram: @explorethesouth Email: southernmysteriespodcast@gmail.com    Episode Sources Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence and America's Civil Rights Century by Jason Morgan Ward. Oxford University Press The Cross and the Lynching Tree (James Hal Cone and Bill Moyers). The Journal.  Emmett Till Antilynching Act. Public Law No: 117-107 (03/29/2022). This bill makes lynching a federal hate crime offense. This Bridge in Mississippi Has Hosted Decades of Racial Violence. Vice. April 27, 2016 What happens when we forget? Facing South. May 7, 2018 Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States 1889-1918. NAACP Report on Lynching  Equal Justice Initiative, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror (3d Ed., 2017). How one Civil Rights activist posed as a white man in order to investigate lynchings. Fresh Air, NPR. March 30, 2022   Episode Music “One” courtesy of Ross Gentry. Special thanks to Headway Recordings, in Asheville, North Carolina. Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use