Tennessee Ghost Stories: Tall Betsy

In the early 1890s a figure locals called 鈥淭he Lady in Black鈥 began stalking women around downtown Cleveland, Tennessee after the sun went down. The mysterious entity was said to stand over seven feet tall and wore a long flowing black dress and covered her hands in yellow or white gloves. Today, the entity鈥檚 identity remains an unsolved mystery, the source of controversy and the pride of the town.

While some chalked it up to a local man being mischievous, others said the spook was actually a freakishly tall woman who only went out at night so no one would make fun of her gangly appearance. Whoever it was, no one was ever harmed. And as quickly as 鈥淭he Lady in Black鈥 appeared on the streets of Cleveland, she seemed to disappear within a few years.

Flash forward to the 1920s and 1930s, the story of 鈥淭he Lady in Black鈥 took on a life of its own as the kids who grew up in the 1890s began telling the story to their children. According to the parents, if you were out after dark, the sinister woman in the black dress would take you and pick her teeth with your bones!

Over the years 鈥淭he Lady in Black鈥 has become known around town as 鈥淭all Betsy鈥 or 鈥淏lack Betsy鈥. Betsy supposedly now resides in a mausoleum in Fort Hill Cemetery and only makes appearances in October. The legend of 鈥淭all Betsy鈥 eventually became so popular in the area that she was named the 鈥淥fficial Goblin of Bradley County鈥.

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