BEA Awards-- Best Radio Feature "Tuscaloosa spooks..."

Nov 1, 2018

Halloween has come and gone--but, we have one more treat as we wrap up this spooky season of the year. Halloween means a certain cottage industry is at work. It’s in Tuscaloosa and it has nothing to do with college football. It does have something to do with some added attractions to some well-known local landmarks. So, who ya gonna call? APR student reporter Tina Turner, of course. She has the story…

“I’m Natiyah, I’m a junior,” says Natiyah Johnson.

“Do you have any classes here in Reese Phifer?” I asked.

“I have all my classes here in Reese Phifer,” she responded.

“So did you know Reese Phifer is haunted?” I asked.


Johnson and I are inside Reese Phifer Hall on the campus of the University of Alabama. Students study Communications here—though not with the dead.

“I have heard that,” said freshman Dana. “I heard that, aw man what’s his name? Somebody died right? On the 3rd floor?” Dana is talking about the ghost of Professor Clarence Cason…

“UA students have claimed for years that feeling like somebody is waking right behind them,” says Lineberry. She’s not a student at Alabama. But, if you want to know about ghosts—she says that’s her thing. Lineberry is a tour guide for Haunted Tuscaloosa Tours and a member of the Tuscaloosa Paranormal research group, we’ll explain that in a second…

“Or they’ll go through a cold spot or the sound of someone running up right behind them and nobody’s there,” says Lineberry. And, Reese Phifer apparently isn’t the only haunted place in Tuscaloosa. For those looking for a good scare, the bus operated by the Haunted Tuscaloosa Tours can carry forty people at a time to spots where ghosts supposedly hang out.

“My name’s Laura Lineberry and this is Heather Booth,” says Lineberry to tonight’s crowd. “Our driver’s name is Greg. say Hi Greg!”

Laura, Heather, and Greg will be our guides as we visit these alleged hauntings.

“Me and Heather and there’s probably about 8 of us and we are member of the group called the Tuscaloosa Parnomal activity group,” says Lineberry. Yeah--you heard that right. The Tuscaloosa Paranormal Activity group. The team gets active when people call up with news of the paranormal. In other words, ghosts. “Our group will go to people’s homes,” says Lineberry. “We’ll go to Libraries and schools and jails just about any institution you can imagine and conduct investigations and report to the owners what we find.”

There’s even a book about it. It’s called Haunted Tuscaloosa by David Higdon and Brett J. Talley. This ghost tour comes from the stories in the book.

“We’re at greenwood cemetery, and it was first laid out in the 1820’s” says Lineberry, at tonight’s first stop.

Okay, this is creepy. There are 40 people standing around in a supposedly haunted cemetery being told ghost stories about spooks who live in the cemetery.

“And, right about here happens to almost everyone who walks in here, it doesn’t matter what time of day.” says Lineberry. “And, that is hearing the cries of a baby. And people who follow that cry end up here, and Heather’s going to point with me in that location there’s a headstone that says Abby Snow. Abby Snow died in 1844. Her name’s still on there. Abby Snow, 1844. Anybody want to guess what happened in 1840’s in Tuscaloosa? Let me give you a hint. She was eighteen months old when died. Hundreds of people died. It’s cholera. There’s a huge cholera outbreak, and Abby Snow was one of hundreds of little infants that died during that year. And it’s believed that Abby Snow is crying for all them…”

The scene is lit by a single flashlight.

“Now we just passed the Bama Theater built in 1932 it is haunted to this day,” says Lineberry once everyone’s back on the bus.

We return to the trolley to visit spots like Tuscaloosa’s Old Tavern, Capitol Park, and The University Club. Each one includes a bone chilling stories on the history of the hauntings there…

“And somebody will be on stage and hear somebody in the rafters.” Says Lineberry. “And. They’ll go up into the rafters, and see there’s anybody there. Only to be up there and hear footsteps downstairs.”

Back at Reese Phifer Hall, remember Natyaia? We met earlier are still coming to grips with the possibility of the ghost of professor Clarence Cason still walking the hallways here…

“I didn’t want to know that,” says Natyaia. “Now I don’t want take any night classes."

Her classmate Dana had already heard the ghost story… “I’m unfazed I guess,” she says.

That’s all well and good, until the ghost of Professor Cason shows up. I’m Tina Turner, APR News at supposedly haunted Reese Phifer in Tuscaloosa.