This is the story of the events that took place on a crisp fall afternoon on October 13th, 1875 in Pelham, Alabama. There was an old lumber yard located off of the main dirt trail known as Trail 31. There was a man by the name of Billy Turner who had been working there for 13 years. On this day Billy brought his young daughter to work with him. She was a beautiful, quiet, and timid girl just 9 years old. Her name was Anna Belle, and her best friend was a worn, old doll. The residents of the town said that she was never seen without it. Her mother Betty, and older brother Andy were away in Tennessee visiting Betty’s very ill mother. It was late in the afternoon as the sun was starting to set and Billy was hurrying to cut the last few logs for the day. He didn’t notice that Anna Belle was nearby playing on top of a stack of lumber. She was startled by a loud noise and dropped her doll onto the logs that were to be cut. She immediately jumped down to save her doll before it went into the large wood cutter that her father was operating. As she approached the cutter she was screaming for her father to stop but he could not hear her over the noise. And when the giant blade did stop, he couldn’t find Anna Belle. He jumped down off the control seat and yelled for her, and then it caught his eye. It was the worst possible outcome. He let out a scream that was heard over 2 miles away. He jumped down and picked up the doll and wept over her lifeless remains.
When the workers arrived the next morning they found Billy hanging from the rafters clutching Anna Belle’s doll. They noticed on the wall behind him written in blood was a message that said I can not take the pain of losing my beloved Anna Belle, the urge to kill everyone in the town is too great so I am taking my own life instead.
Betty and Andy arrived back in Pelham on Friday October 15th, just in time for the funeral. They heard the news as they rode into town and immediately went to the cemetery. They got there in time to see the bodies of Billy and Anna Belle and to say their final goodbyes. The caskets were then lowered into the ground and buried in the Pelham Cemetery. During the next 12 months people in the town continued to talk about the 2 deaths. Anytime Betty and Andy were out in public they could see people pointing and whispering about them. They felt all alone knowing that the people in the town thought their family was cursed. Betty finally made the decision to move up to Tennessee so her and Andy could live in peace. She also decided it would be best if she took Billy and Anna Belle with them and have them reburied in Tennessee. She contacted the gravedigger at the Pelham cemetery and asked that he uncover Billy and Anna Belle. She asked them to exhume the bodies and get them ready for the trip to Tennessee. The next day she and Andy arrived at the cemetery with all their belongings, ready to leave town. The gravedigger was just getting started digging when she noticed that he and his helpers were very nervous and almost petrified looking. Once the coffins had finally made it out of the grave, Betty requested they be opened. She wanted to prove to the town that her beloved Billy and Anna Belle were resting inside and that her family was not cursed. However, once the caskets were opened, everyone was shocked and terrified as they stared down at the emptiness. There were no bodies in either casket and all that remained was a message that was clawed into the lid of Billy’s coffin. It read “I am coming for you all”. The gravedigger and his men took off running as fast as they could. Betty and Andy jumped on their wagons and sped away to Tennessee never to be heard from again.
Over the years there has been much talk about the Turner family. There have even been a few reports of sightings of Anna Belle and Billy. One report came from a man with Pony Express who was riding into town to deliver a package. It was about 5:00pm and he was on the outskirts of town just passing the cemetery. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed a little girl that seemed to be lost and looking for something. He tried to approach her and callout but she vanished right before him. He just thought to himself that he was tired from a long days ride and he must have been seeing things.