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On the night of September 16th, 2007, the day that would have been my late grandfather's birthday, I went back to the place of his childhood for a tour.

Three of his 4 grandchildren, myself included, and one of his great grandchildren, traveled to not so far away Willow Grove. Willow Grove, the Town That Drowned

Darren Shell -  aka GraveDigger operates Willow Grove Boat Dock.  He is also an author, historian, tour guide and an old friend. He also married another old friend that I grew up with, Beth Myers Shell. Myself and my cousin Tina Young Hall share a lot of memories with Beth.

On September 16th Darren gave myself and a few members of my family a private tour.  We listened as he recounted stories of Dale Hollow Lake, it's creation in the 1940's and the lives effected.  A town moved, and it's remains buried beneath the waters of beautiful Dale Hollow.

Not only the people and animals moved, the graves also had to be moved...or at least the attempt to move them.  Many were moved to nearby St John's Cemetery, many of my relatives buried there, including my great - great - great grandparents.

Darren as GraveDigger touched on this history, his character a reflection of those who had to move the graves.

My grandfather, Thomas "Tom" Vaughn, Papa as we called him, would have been one of those who helped to move the of the real GraveDiggers.

The tour was more than a tourist stop for me, more than a glimpse into history, it was a step back into my own pre-history.

I wanted to do more than take the tour and report...I'll have a full interview with Darren Shell for this years Halloween Special.

A great tour for the young and old...if your in the area, I know you will enjoy as I have.


Click Here For "2006"
Halloween Special (Episode 9)
Featuring Patti Starr with Ghost Chasers International

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Darren Shell lives and works at his family-run marina on Dale Hollow Lake in middle Tennessee.
He has written a number of books in both fiction and Nonfiction. His stories and lectures about the lake
and local history have gained him the title of "Gravedigger" in surrounding communities.
Most days you can find him at the marina…if he's not out "digging".
Halloween Special 2007
Darren's Books Include: Stories From Dale Hollow, The Old Lady of the Lake, The Prophesy Rhymes of Tal Kator, Graveyards of East Clay County, Tennessee, The Gravedigger's Guide to Dale Hollow Lake, Prophesy Rhymes of Tolk's Tomb, Graveyard Tour, Haunted Dale Hollow.
The casket of "Eddie Irons" during one of his removals.
Willow Grove School - Willow Grove Cemetery

Darren Shell during "GraveDigger" tour.
Note: Spirit Orb appearing in photograph
Photo courtesy of: Mitchell / Livingston Enterprise
Mandy Bilbrey Vaughn (1835 - 1919) & Zachrie Vaughn (1831 - 1923)
Todd, Lori and Dillan Matthews on "GraveDigger" tour.
Note: Spirit orb in background.
Photo courtesy of: Mark Matthews
Todd Matthews on "GraveDigger" tour.
Note: Two spirit orbs following closely.
Photo courtesy of: Mark Matthews
GraveDigger Tour Orb
Photo courtesy of: Tina and Brian Hall
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