When I began volunteering to lead some historic walks thru Downtown Texarkana and sharing some haunted history, I was a skeptic. Now, will share some info that has gotten be to believe.

I went into this Haunted Ghost Walk thing doubting, but some things have happened along the way that have at least made me feel I should admit that all of this paranormal stuff is completely possible. Among members of our walk groups we have had some special guests... para-researchers, clairvoyants, and more, and this clairvoyant lady did more to convince me than anything else we have seen or heard along the way. Especially with what I think is one of Texarkana's darkest, and grizzliest stories that we share on the Tours. It's hard to even tell the story of what happened to 32-year-old Ed Coy to groups. So, I am sharing this here NOT wanting to get into any racial type conversations, it's history.

Screen Caps of Old Print Healines

On February 20, 1892, the life of 32 year old Edward Coy came to a gruesome end. The man was accused of raping a white woman. Coy never had a chance.

There was no trial, only the statement of a woman and there were clearly questions about the event skimmed over in newspapers of the time. Coy was described in press account of assaulting Mrs. Julia Jewell. Coy was of mixed race and Jewell was white. The press account made Coy out to be a rapist but reading between the lines, you realize there was much, much more to the story.

NAACP Poster Circa 1926

Coy had gone to Jewell’s home allegedly to sell hogs to her husband. Jewell told police that Coy attacked her when she told him her husband had gone to town. When her husband came home, a posse of 50 men was formed to find Coy. Two suspects were brought in front of the woman but she said they were innocent. When Coy was brought in, Jewell said he was the rapist. The lynch mob brought him to town and planned to hang him. However, mob mentality took his execution to a new level.

Newspaper reports stated he was taken to a telegraph pole at the corner of Stateline and Front Street where they planned to hang him. Other accounts say he was tied to a tree stump in the train yard. But where ever the location, the fevered crowd of about a thousand people wanted more. When he was tied to the pole, the crowd advanced on him and someone dumped coal oil on his body. The crowd chanted “Burn him! Burn Him!” Julia Jewell looked Coy in the eye as she took a torch and set him on fire. Coy burned alive.

There is more, an investigation by a civil rights activist in Chicago found that Mrs. Jewell was a woman who played the victim well. She was reportedly of bad character and her husband was an alcoholic and gambler. She had been intimate with Coy for more than a year, and was reportedly pregnant at the time of the incident. But she was forced by intimidation by her family to make the charge against Coy.

Coy contended he and Jewell were involved. As she lit him on fire he turned and asked her how she could burn him after they had been “sweethearting” for so long.

The story was carried in papers from coast to coast and around the world. The Arkansas Gazette eloquently stated,

People witnessed his burning, thus endorsing it with their presence.”

Interestingly, on the 1900 US Federal Census, Jewell is still married to her husband and had four children.  By the 1910 US Federal Census, Julia’s husband is listed as a widower. Julia Jewell died 1902 following the birth of her last child.

Witnesses have reported a light flickering and a more than a few credible witnesses have claimed to have seen what appears to be a shadowy man with smoke coming off his body. Two people on the Haunted Texarkana tour reported hearing a voice in their right ear only stating, “Join me.”

Recently, a clairvoyant took the walk with us reported that she saw Edward Coy standing in the area and he was unhappy…very unhappy. He was angry with me and that I was not telling his story correctly. She knew details that she should not have known. In our original "ghost walk" script, we had details about how he had swapped clothes with a friend while he was on the run from the posse, we edited a lot of that info out to save time. She knew details about the clothing Coy wore. I had said "Mrs. Jewell lit his coat on fire."... the clairvoyant said he was not wearing a coat, he had on a sports jacket, (TRUE)... She told me that Julia Jewell had lit his jacket at the hem, and on the sleeve, (TRUE), she said that they had been seeing each other for years, (POSSIBLE).

As for my personal experience in that particular area of the Ghost Walk, (even if it means the boss might want a urine test)... Something pulled the back of my shirt. I was wearing one of those nylon fishing type shirts with a little velcro patch on the back. Something jerked my shirt hard enough to undo the velcro and pull me backwards, and there was nobody behind me, only the train switch yard.

(I believe Coy was innocent, and murdered by the lynch mob.)

Is Ed Coy still lingering in Texarkana waiting for the injustice that ended his life to be corrected?

This is just one of more than 25 stories of verified hauntings in Texarkana. The Haunted Texarkana Ghost Tour runs every Saturday night at 9pm and 11pm (weather permitting) and each is either led by me or our researcher Tracey Prather. We meet at the corner of Broad and Texas for the two hour, one mile adventure through downtown Texarkana. Join us if you dare!!! (Wear comfortable shoes, bring a flashlight and maybe some bug spray).

Photo by Jeff