James Payne – Reaching Beyond the Grave?

Although I didn’t know it when I wrote The Ghost of Cheeney Creek, James Payne, the Civil War soldier on whom the ghost in the book is based, is listed as a deserter in the military records kept  in the Indiana State Archives. His grave is located in a lonely, rocky corner of the small county cemetery on what was once my mother’s family farm. I thought it would make an interesting story to have his ghost haunt my cousins in order to spur them to investigate his death and prove he wasn’t a deserter. Half-way through writing the book, my brother found an on-line record that James Payne was listed as a deserter. I’ve since found more information indicating that he deserted at Tyre Springs, Tennessee, on September 15, 1862. What a strange coincidence! Was I manipulated from beyond the grave to write this story? I’m still a bit unsettled by the possibility. I guess we’ll never know. Oh, one more thing. I visited his grave a few weeks ago. When I took out my phone to take a photo of his headstone, it went totally dead. When I returned to my car, the phone came right back on. More ghostly manipulation?

Photo of Graveyard (#1)

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