Monday, March 24, 2014

The Tatum Haunting

The story of this haunting first aired in October of 1988 on the television show Unsolved Mysteries. 

I remember it distinctly because of a statement James Tatum made when he was interviewed about the haunting he and his wife, Katherine had experienced in their new 2-story home outside Atlanta, Georgia.

James Tatum was a retired army officer who appeared visibly upset as he stated, “If that bell rings again, I won’t answer it.”

The bell he referred to was a little angel bell his wife kept upstairs. James was an early riser, he would go downstairs to the living room, drink coffee and read the newspaper as his wife still slept. 

When Katherine awoke, she could not always get his attention by calling out his name, so she rang this little bell if she needed her husband’s assistance.

One morning James heard the bell ring, so he headed upstairs, but Katherine was still in bed asleep. Later the couple joked that it must be the “ghost.” 

This was half in jest and half serious for Katherine had experienced several odd things in their home in the previous months.

A few days later the bell rang again, but Katherine was asleep. The couple decided to instate a code where James would only respond to the signal if he heard 3 rings.

The ghost heard their bargain for James was summoned upstairs yet again to find Katherine asleep. He found the bell in their guest bedroom sitting in its usual place on a table. As James left the room, he heard the 3 rings once more.

James then emotionally told Katherine, “That he wasn’t going to answer that bell ever again.” After this, the bell remained silent.

The Tatums
For months Katherine had been the ghost's primary target until James' encounters with the bell. 

A year after they moved into their home in Marietta she was up at 2:00 a.m. using the restroom when she saw a man pass by the door. She assumed it was James and called out, but he didn’t respond.

She followed this figure in the dark as it headed toward the staircase. She called out again--no response. 

She returned to the master bedroom to find James in bed. She told him what she had seen, he grabbed his gun and searched the house but everything was locked and he saw no one.

Later, Katherine remembered that the figure wore a long coat and floppy hat that was drawn down over his face. She also realized what she had seen was a ghost. James at first didn’t know what to make of her experience.

This ghost continued to tease and scare Katherine. 

One afternoon James who was doing on an odd job upstairs left his drill propped against a wall and went down to watch T.V. Katherine heard this drill being turned on and off repeatedly and wondered what James was doing. But she discovered James was downstairs.

One afternoon as she watched T.V. in the bedroom she heard a popping sound in the middle of the room, she turned the set off so she could hear. She got up and discovered a field of static electricity in the middle of the room. She then moved back into a corner at which point this field followed her and popped right near her face.

The ghost also moved items in the master bedroom as Katherine lay in bed reading. 

James kept a small wooden bowl near the closet where he put the loose change from his pocket. One afternoon, Katherine heard coins dropping so she looked up expecting to see James. Instead, she saw the coins dropping one by one into the bowl from an unseen hand.

Another time the ghost moved a tray that held a glass of water and TUMS that was kept by the bed. Katherine heard the wafers drop one by one down onto the plate and then the whole thing hit the floor.

One evening as Katherine bent down to slip a casserole into the microwave she felt two hands tug at the hem of her shirt. She looked up only to see James through a window outside.

After the bell incident Katherine checked into the history of the land their new house sat upon. She discovered that a Civil War battle--The battle of Kolb’s Farm-- was fought in June of 1864 near their subdivision. I write about the Kolb's farm haunting here.

Battle of Kolb's Farm
Other homeowners in the Tatum's subdivision have also experienced hauntings.

In October of 2007 a male resident out for a drive one night with his teenage son spotted a horse and a Union cavalry officer in his car headlights.* 

The father quickly braked, and the horse passed right in front of their car. The two males watched in awe as the figure moved across the road and right through a fence--the horse and rider then just faded away.

* They were crossing the Kennesaw Mountain where a much bloodier battle occurred right after the Kolb Farm skirmish.


Unknown said...

Does anyone know what happened to Kay and Jim Tatum? I've been searching for information about the two after watching the episode. I thoroughly enjoyed their case and wanted to know more!

Wheelie said...

It's almost 30 years after that filming of UM. My bet is they're passed in by now. They were retired then.

Skye blu said...

Katherine kay Tatum passed away in 2001 from a heart attack.
James b. Tatum passed away 5 years later.
They had moved from Georgia to winter Springs,Florida.
I also found their case on UM interesting and I wanted to find out more...I found them so endearing.

Unknown said...

Not sure about Jim but Katherine has passed away. She was my great-aunt. I am thinking Jim has passed away too but not 💯 sure

Unknown said...

Jim passed away in 2006.