A tale of the supernatural from Quitman

Quitman was thriving in the 1800’s and in the 1890’s and prominent members of the community built several houses.  Many residents tell the story of days gone by.  A number of stories are exhilarating, while others are perplexing. 

One particular story, a ghost story, creates immense interest, especially around Halloween.  It is a common tale among the locals.  

It’s a legend in Quitman.  Some say it isn’t true. 

The story about the ghost of Quitman is called the Legend of Dog Boy.  A moniker for Gerald Bettis, a Quitman resident from1958 until his death in 1988, earned by the number of animals he had. 

Each person who shares the myth requested to remain anonymous in order to feel comfortable sharing their version of how things went.  Their descriptions are eerily similar; people who saw and heard things first hand.

The story goes something like this…

There is a yellow Victorian house in the heart of Quitman that is said to be haunted by a soldier from WWI.  He has been seen in full uniform; his name is Joseph Benjamin Jackson (Joe).  Joe was killed in Belgium in 1919 and was the son of Ben and Jeanna Jackson, daughter of Dr. Kensington, Quitman’s town physician.   Jeanna passed away in 1905 across the street from the Bettis home; the home her father built. 

Ben Jackson went on to marry again and had three more children. Anlline was one of his children.  She was a model in the 1930’s and 40’s and married Floyd Bettis. 

Anlline gave birth to Gerald Floyd Bettis, who would come to be known as Dog Boy, her only child, in 1954 when she was 44-years-old.  Dog Boy, a spirit that has been spotted in and around the home, is described as a big man who lived there most of his life.  He was four years old when his family moved to Quitman and stayed there until his death at the age of 34.   

Richard and Mini Tucker lived across the street at the time. 

“Mini told how he would torture animals, and his mom and dad,” said one Quitman resident.

Other townspeople explained people living in the small community ‘could hear the animals crying out in pain.’

He was a “mean man” one local stated, “evil, really, like sadistic”. 

It is said he was abused by his parents as a child and an adult.  He then in turn, according to locals, abused them when they were older, locking them in their room. 

It is rumored he pushed his father down the stairs and broke his neck, killing him. 

“After his father died, he would dress his mother up in dresses and sit her out on the porch, I’m not sure if he thought she was his girlfriend”, someone informs, “Soon after he served time in prison”. 

He was arrested on an accusation of abuse reported by a friend to the police.  Records indicate Greg knocked his mother down the stairs and broke her hip.  He was supposedly overheard threatening her not to tell of the fall. 

He was also detained at one time for growing marijuana.

Anlline then moved in with her sister and was under protective custody.

After Greg’s release, he is said to have continued his cruelty toward anyone close to him.  He eventually died “from natural causes”, reports state, but some say he was helped on to the next life. 

Legends say Greg’s nastiness continues today within the residence, as his spirit is still believed to dwell in the house, which is why no one would live there for two years. 

Now occupied, the new owner, Sinclair Winburn, declares there have been no sightings of anyone, or anything unusual has happened.  He is currently remodeling the entire home, knocking out 1950’s kitchen cabinets and other areas of the home.  It is a beautiful home with the original staircase. He says there are so many rumors swirling about his house that he definitely wanted to have the opportunity to clarify.

"We have owned the house for over a year and spent a lot of time praying and being around the house before we even purchased it. There have been no incidents of anything unusual at any time and we absolutely love the house! The history of the house is very interesting and we continue to look forward to updating it as the house is part of Cleburne County history and due to the unusual stories it attracts a lot of attention."

Is Dog Boy saving up for a special occasion?  Some believe so.

Sightings of Bettis are especially chilling they say.  His tradition of torturing people with random acts continues by removing items brought into the home, throwing things, and scaring people by kicking them and trying to push them down the stairs. 

A local report says a couple that lived in the house in 2003 had odd incidents happen in the ‘haunted house’; the toilet would flush on its own.

One day, a young man working on the house heard a crash in the upstairs.  He went to find out what happened and found a previously stacked, big pile of 2-by-4s on the floor all standing up straight along the wall. 

It is claimed whenever people drive by the old home, “Dog Boy” is said to be seen looking out the upstairs window.  Locals say animals still cower as they pass the Bettis home. 

Robin Kelley-Goss, a young resident of Quitman in the 1970’s remembers,

“We thought it was a huge and lovely home but very scary. We were afraid of the man who peeked out of the curtains on Halloween.”

Jeanna’s spirit remains in her childhood bedroom, in the home across the street.  Her presence is chillingly felt, “walking through her childhood home gave me chills, especially as I entered her bedroom”, one person shared.

 It has been said, her son Joe’s spirit, walks across the street from the Bettis house to visit his mother, from time to time.

Bob Milligan, founder of Stormy Nights Paranormal Group, and a team member for the investigation of paranormal activity in the Bettis house, gives his personal account as to why the spirits linger,

“My true beliefs are as follows. Spirits return or stay for several reasons, they either have a message to get across to someone left behind or a fear of going into the light knowing they must face judgment. They are so attached to a place that they really don't want to leave. They may have died a terrible death and are truly lost. They sometimes return to try and warn or help someone with a specific problem that they are going through or about to go through. They come to us in our dreams to comfort and console us. Then there are the evil Spirits that are here to wreck havoc and hurt people”. 

It may be Jeanna, Joe, and Gerald all have their own story to tell, unfinished business, if you will. 

Quitman stories are compelling to say the least.  Go visit the Dawg House Café at coffee time, and listen to the narrative of the dealings with these phantoms.

Decide for yourself as to whether it’s true. 

Do you believe in ghosts?