Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don Estes as a Consultant: Cemetary

I (Mike) spoke with Don Estes late this afternoon and reestablished contact with him after many years. He and I have known each other for a long time, as our dads were both very good friends.  Don is now retired from being Director of the Natchez City Cemetery, although he still helps there a good bit.  He is also author of a very informative and interesting book entitled, Legends of the Natchez City Cemetery.  As a historian, no one knows more about the City Cemetery than Don, and he is an excellent source for Natchez, Adams County and Natchez Trace history.  I explained our situation, and specifically went into the possible transference of the bones/bodies that were supposedly found at King's Tavern during renovation work "on the chimney" there in 1930.  (I think they mean the fireplace as a whole - because it is not a good idea to put a body in a chimney and hide it, and still have the chimney function - the chimney is the flue.  That's my extensive building and construction experience leaking out).  This renovation work allegedly led to the discovery of 3 bodies - one female and two males.  Our probative effort is based upon the fact that by 1930, fairly good records were being kept, and that something should be in the historical record (newspaper article, police report, coroner's report, burial record, etc.) of the incident.  Summer is tracking down Duncan Morgan (an old master mason) whose father, also a master mason, is said to have been one of those restoring the brick work on the fireplace.

Don informed me of several facts about King's Tavern.  He stated to me that he did not remember ever hearing anything about what happened to the bodies (skeletons) that were found.  However, he told me he would immediately begin to research the Cemetery's records looking into any possible links or records of the bodies being moved to the City Cemetery.  He stated that he has all the cemetery records on computer at his home, plus he will be at the Cemetery working tomorrow, filling in for the current Director who is out.  We appreciate Donald as a source and a consultant that we can turn to on this and future cases. His help is going to be invaluable in our work - especially the historical research phase.  (He also has had extensive dealings with other paranormal groups in the past coming to the Natchez City Cemetery to "investigate."  He has some interesting stories to tell that we need to listen to, that expose some teams as less than impressive when it comes to how some researchers can act, or make claims that just are not there.)  Let's learn from others' mistakes and get better at what we are doing.  I'm proud of us as a team and we need to constantly remind one another to not let our bias and desire for discovery slant or skew our "findings."  Let's stay solidly objective and "optimistically skeptical."

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