Written by Kelly Wilson
In today’s world it seems that psychics can be found without much effort. They advertise their specialty in newspapers, magazines and are a popular theme on t.v. reality shows. They will reassure you and help you find peace with loved ones that have moved to the other side.
Is it their talent that draws people in or are they truly seer’s?
On Oct 18th 1875 a woman was born in rural West Georgia that amassed a fortune not only with her intelligence but also with her abilities as a Fortune Teller, Seer, Psychic or whatever label you wish to use.
Her name was Mayhayley Lancaster.
She was born and grew up in Heard County Georgia. She began doing “readings” for people by the age of 12. Most often she would simply look at the person’s hand but occasionally she would add certain things to the fire and “commune with the Spirits”.
As well known as Mayhayley was for helping to find lost or stolen items, including people who would go missing, she was also known for her public work. She was heavily involved in politics, especially when it was concerned with women’s rights. She was involved with the legal system and the education system as well. She ran for the Georgia Legislature in 1926 and even though she was defeated many of her ideas were picked up and eventually found their way to becoming law.
Many people may be familiar with her name because of the t.v. movie “Murder in Coweta County”. The movie is based on a real life case in which Mayhayley played a crucial part in solving a murder. The local Sheriff (played by Johnny Cash) was having trouble with a missing person case against a violent, mean landowner (played by Andy Griffith). The Sheriff went to Mayhayley (played by June Carter Cash) for help. She told him what the location of the body was and the shape it was in. After following up on the information she had given him the Sheriff found the remains of the missing sharecropper and eventually the landowner was convicted. The defense complained that it was the first time in hundreds of years that a person was convicted on the words of a witch.
Image credit: Getty Images
Ms. Lancaster lived in a cabin down an old dirt road in what can absolutely be described as the “middle of nowhere”. Even so, she was visited and was well known to the people of Western Georgia and Eastern Alabama. She was a good Christian woman who regularly attended church and in spite of her abilities, she was accepted by the community. She had one good eye and wore a glass marble in the other and it’s said that she was taller than most women of the time. She was often seen wearing a military hat (as in the picture above) and a military style shirt, some people have said that these had belonged to her brother that fought in military service.
When someone would come for a reading she would charge them a “dollar and a dime; the dollar for me and the dime for the dogs”. A pack of dogs stayed around her cabin and was said to even go to church with her. She would take the money and stuff her mattress with some of it but also hid some of it in the chicken coops and pig pens. She made good money doing readings but was also invested in several local businesses which made her a very wealthy woman. She even bought a big nice house just before she died in 1955.
The information above is what I found while preparing the article, most of which was already known except for the specific details. I grew up close enough to Heard County that I had heard stories of Ms. Lancaster as a child. I’ve known people that knew her and have had family member that had gone to see her and everyone has always said she was the real thing and spoke of her with respect.
Some of the things that have been told to me are:
When Mayhayley died, because she had been so accurate in her predictions, the government took her head for research. On the face of it, this seems like a strange thing to do but back in the 50’s I can imagine the government doing something like this (I’ve read somewhere that they did the same thing to Einstein because of his intelligence).
Because her head is missing, it’s said that her headstone at her grave will not stand up until her head is returned. I have been to her grave several times. On one visit the headstone was standing; on another visit, it was laying on top of her grave with the inscription that is normally read from the foot having to be read by standing at the head. It’s as if “someone” turned the headstone and then laid it neatly against it’s pedestal on top of the grave. The next visit the headstone was standing again and had been cemented to the pedestal. In the Featured picture at the head of this article you can see that her entire grave (and that of her sister next to her) has been entirely covered with concrete, to the depth that the headstone pedestal isn’t visible. I haven’t been able to go back again because I moved away from the area.
The church and the graveyard she is in is just a short way from a crossroad. I found this interesting because of the associations of lost souls and crossroads. Her grave is beside the graves of her sisters and other family members with Mayhayley’s being on the outer edge. The slab that lays on top of her grave was smashed in the center and the cracks radiate outwards, the grave next to hers was similar but not as damaged, the grave next to that was similar but not as bad and so on.
It’s said that if you take anything from her grave site you will have bad luck until you return it. You are also supposed to leave a “dollar and a dime”, I didn’t know that at the time so I didn’t.
I forget if it’s at her grave or her house that it’s said you can hear her dogs in the woods sometimes. Either way, it would be terrifying I’m sure. I never heard them.
Mayhayley Lancaster is regarded to be a true psychic in the area where she lived, but she was more than that as well. She was intelligent, honest, helpful, business minded and a pioneer in women’s rights and justice.