Miriam Kelly Hughes

A memorial service honoring the life of Miriam Kelly Hughes, 74, will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, 2021 at Bethel United Methodist Church in Logansport, Louisiana. Officiating the service will be Reverend Nancy Wofford.

Miriam was born to Barna and Shirley Hudman on August 12, 1947  in Timpson, Texas and entered into eternal rest in Mansfield, Louisiana on October 22, 2021.

Miriam was a resident of Logansport, Louisiana, and worked as a Certified Nurse and a Mail Carrier for a number of years. A member of Bethel United Methodist Church, she was a faithful follower of Christ. Miriam enjoyed helping people and devoted her life to her family and her community. Often, she could be found sewing, gardening, spending time with her friends, family, and her great-grandsons. Miriam also liked to sing in the choir at her church, as she was known for having a very beautiful voice. She touched many people’s lives and hearts and will truly be missed.

Miriam was preceded in death by her father, Barna Hudman and her sister, Sandy Humphreys. She is survived by her mother, Shirley Hudman; sisters, Evelyn Williams, Mona Fagan, Greta Godfrey and husband, Rudy, Bernadine Corley; brother, Ben Hudman and wife, Denea; sons, Les Park, Jayson Park, and wife Jennifer; daughter, Susan Wheless; grandchildren, Ashley Sepulvado and husband, Dex, Raina Wheless, Kelsey Wheless; great-grandchildren, Camdyn Wheless, Draeton Sepulvado, and Tyler Park, along with a host of nieces and nephews.

Masks Optional Indoor At Schools

As a result of the statewide mask mandate being lifted by Governor Edwards, DeSoto Parish Schools will return to our original operational guidelines which make the wearing of face coverings optional for all students and staff while indoors.

DeSoto schools announced the change a short time after Governor Edwards revised the state stand on wearing masks.  For local schools, this change went into effect on Wednesday, October 27, 2021. The district will continue to follow all quarantine protocols as established by the Louisiana Department of Health.

“Vanishing” Filmed In Mansfield

The production crew for a movie being shot in our area was in Mansfield last week.  They were at the local hospital for two weeks.  Their equipment trucks and entourage took up the whole parking lot at a former grocery store location.  The movie’s title is The Vanishing at Caddo Lake.”

The Journal spoke with Production Manager Harrison Huffman during a break in shooting.  Huffman said they had been shooting for about four weeks in northwest Louisiana.  Why Mansfield?  Harrison said, “We came for the location.  DeSoto Regional was perfect for the scene we wanted.”

The name of the movie is The Vanishing at Caddo Lake.  Harrison said the plot was, “An eight year old girl is missing on Caddo Lake.  The family and the community is looking for her.  This is the story of that search.”

Following the shooting Monday and Tuesday in Mansfield, the crew packed up and returned to other shooting locations in the Shreveport-Bossier area.

Redistricting Mansfield City Council

An update on the process or redrawing the City Council district lines is underway.  The 2020 census results show that the present lines do not have the same number of people in every district.

Monday the City Council heard from consultant Cedrick Floyd of Data Center, LLC.  Floyd stressed that “We will have to adjust to be within 10%.  We have election qualifying in January, so we need to get this done before Christmas.”

Floyd said, “All we will do is changing districts as little as possible and keep within the 10%. Also, we will have no incumbents within the same district.”

The consultant said he would be meeting with individual council members and he would be available to meet the public at a workshop during this process.

Fall Fest at Gloster Baptist

By Nicole Tull

It was perfect weather for Gloster Baptist Church to have their festive celebration on this past Sunday afternoon. “Fall Y’all in Gloster” featured games to win candy for all ages including a pumpkin roll, ring toss, dunking booth and punkin chunkin. There were also other activities for attendees to participate in like face painting, rock wall climbing, bounce house and a hayride. Refreshments of popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs and frozen treats were offered. Those wishing to enter in the costume contest vied for a $50 gift certificate to local businesses. Winners of the punkin chunkin contest also received various gift cards.
The festivities were open to the community. The parking lot was full of costumed children earning candy as they played each game. You could also find various church volunteers dressed up in blow-up costumes. Pastor Ron McLellan wore a church t-shirt. He visited the booths and encouraged the visitors. It was nice to see other staff members and volunteers wearing church t-shirts so they could offer direction to games and food. It was a successful outreach that brought joy to the small community. More information about the church and their ministries can be found on their website or their Facebook page bearing the church name.

LHSAA Announces High School Sports Districts

Statewide sport team redistricting for the next two school years has been released by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.  Here is the district placement for football, basketball, baseball, softball and the minor sports for schools in DeSoto Parish.

Mansfield High with an enrollment of 370 is in Class 2-A.  Minor sports divisions are Cross Country in division 4, Boys Golf in division 3, Girls Golf in division 2, and Volleyball in division 4.

Logansport High with an enrollment of 196 is in Class 1-A.  Minor sports divisions are Cross Country in division 4, Boys Golf in division 4 and Girls Golf is in division 2.

North Desoto High with an enrollment of 811 is in Class 4-A.  In Minor sports North Desoto Cross Country is in division 2, Boys Golf in division 2, Girls Golf in division 1, Boys Soccer and Girls Soccer are in division 2, Swimming is in division 2 and Wrestling is in division 2.

LHSAA Notified the media statewide of the classifications on Wednesday.  These classifications will be in effect for the 2022-23 and the 2023-24 school years.


A full house at the Back Alley Community Theatre laughed all the way through the presentation of Southern Fried Funeral Sunday afternoon.  The Journal and friends came to see what it was all about.  We were not disappointed.

Highlight of the performance was when a character that really deserved it got a banana cream pie in the face.  No explanation needed.

The play takes part in a rural town in Mississippi but the stereotypes fit our area as well.  It seems that Dewey has died and his family grieves over the loss while trying to jockey for position in the family.

We don’t want to give away too many of the laughs and certainly not the whole plot.  But you can probably guess the story line.

There are performances remaining this weekend.  Friday and Saturday nights curtain goes up at 7:00 pm. 

Hotspots Available At The Library

The DeSoto Parish Library has established a Wi-Fi mobile hotspot lending program to provide patrons in our community with temporary and portable high-speed internet access from anywhere that receives the carrier’s cellular signal.

The check-out box includes ports for 5 devices at one time; a case; cords and instructions. All items must be returned into its original check-out location (please do not use the drop box). 

Patrons, in good standings with the DeSoto Parish Library system can reserve one Hotspot per month for up to 7 days in advance, with staff-approved exceptions. You will be required to check the device out in person, complete and sign a Wireless Hotspot Borrowing Agreement to have on file at the DeSoto Parish Library. Checkouts are for 14 days. (Limit one per household).

Internet content filtering is provided through the Wireless Hotspot service provider but cannot guarantee all inappropriate content will be filtered out. Parents/Guardians are responsible for monitoring with their children access via the Wireless Hotspot. Parents/Guardians may check out a Hotspot for those under 18.

For more information, contact Mansfield Main Library 872-6100; Logansport Branch Library 697-2311; Pelican Branch Library 755-2353 or Stonewall Branch Library 925-9191.

DeSoto Special Olympics

North DeSoto High students participated in the DeSoto Special Olympics Tuesday. We are so proud of our athletes! They represented the Griffins very well and had a wonderful time.

Final Fish Was Fried

By Lee Dickson and Sue Kaufman

Bubba and Mandi Mills have just concluded another great year of “Fourth Friday Fish Fry Events” at Clara Springs Camp, having great attendance each month (January-October). 

Gracious churches came voluntarily to cook and serve.  The food and the fellowship was outstanding every month. 

We are already looking forward to what God is going to do through the various Ministry Events there in 2022.

The final fish fry last Friday was done by volunteers from Martin Baptist Church.

Sue Kaufman of Martin Baptist said, “Last night at Clara Springs Fourth Friday Fish Fry was such an honor that MBC had their night of helping.”

Kaufman added, “I was touched by all of the workers, but what about those Mills girls.  They cleaned tables, made sure everybody had everything they needed, served and did so much more, but what I noticed is that they had smiles on their faces the whole night. I love our children and young people!  Thank you Bubba and Mandi for giving all those young babies opportunities to work and learn how to serve for Jesus and thank you both for raising your girls to live, love, serve and share about Jesus. Fun night all around!!”

The Fourth Friday Fish Fry at Clara Springs Camp will resume next year.

Honoring Vets

All veterans will be honored in Logansport on Veterans Day, November 11th.  The Logansport Friends of the Library and Zach Bossier are honoring vets on Veterans Day.

Veterans will receive a free meal at Zach’s Place on Main Street beginning at 10:30 am.

If you are a veteran and would like to participate, call the Logansport Branch Library in advance to register.  The number is 318-697-2311.

The Colorful World of Baits

By Steve Graf

When it comes to soft plastic lures, one thing anglers will say is that “color does not matter.” But I’m going to give my perspective on why it does. For years both novice and professional bass fishermen have made a case for why the color of your bait doesn’t matter. They say it’s more about the presentation than it is the color of the bait itself. This may be true in some isolated cases, but if that’s true, then why do manufacturers make soft plastic worms in so many colors? Is it to catch fish or is it to catch anglers? 

Today’s anglers are overwhelmed with color selection by many of the top name brands like Strike King, V&M, Gary Yamamoto, Zoom, and Reaction Innovation, just to name a few. Each of these manufacturers produce some of the best soft plastics ever made. But colors in the bass fishing world are not your standard red, blue or greens. They have very creative names like red bug, tequila sunrise, green pumpkin, watermelon and my personal favorite, black emerald. Bait companies are even more creative than the original box of 64 crayons when it comes to color options. You may remember this from your childhood days when Crayola crayons had names like Brick Red,  Burnt Orange, Chestnut, and even Bittersweet. But today’s box of crayons might include Inchworm, Granny Smith Apple, Caribbean Green, Tropical Rainforest, or my personal favorite Permanent Geranium Lake. Who comes up with these names? How is a child or an angler today, suppose to understand or learn the different color pallets of this magnitude?

Well, bass fishermen new to the industry are in the same boat. How is an angler supposed to know the difference between crab apple or plum? Well crab apple, also known as red bug by some companies, are red worms with green flake. But back in the day when soft plastic baits were first invented by Nick Crème of Crème Lures, crab apple was the original red worm with green flake. By the way, it was at the Cleveland Sportsman’s Show in 1951 that Nick Crème introduced and sold over 9600 packs of soft plastic worms which jumpstarted the soft plastic industry. Today the king of soft plastics is a company by the name of Zoom, which started manufacturing soft plastic baits in 1977.

As you can see, the color pallets of the bass fishing world all depend on what company is producing the baits. But does color really matter when it comes to catching bass? I say yes, because I’ve seen days where you can throw red bugs and then switch to green pumpkin and start catching fish. Just like this past August, I was pre-fishing for a tournament on Sam Rayburn and was throwing one of my favorite V&M baits called a Baby Swamp Hog in watermelon/red with basically zero bites in the first three hours. I switched to Gleason Candy and it was like someone turned on a light switch. Making this change in color allowed me to finish in 2nd place in that event. I’m also of the opinion that if color doesn’t matter, then why do they make so many color options for anglers to choose from? Now I will admit that some colors are designed to catch anglers rather than fish, but in general, the array of color choices allows an angler to experiment and try something that maybe the bass have not seen.

So, the next time you’re in your favorite tackle store, make sure you know what color soft plastic you’re looking for. Know the difference between watermelon/red and green pumpkin with red flakes.  If you’re not sure, ask someone to help you. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to set the hook!

United Way Thanks IP

From United Way of Northwest Louisiana

On Tuesday, October 12th, International Paper, Mansfield Mill employees stepped up to the plate to provide women and teens the resources they need when it comes to feminine hygiene.

We want to thank IP Mansfield for all their hard work on this impactful project! The company worked together to assemble 375 feminine hygiene kits for those in need. The kits were distributed to The Gingerbread House, The Salvation Army Shreveport, and Common Ground Community.

Keep Halloween Safe

Troopers Remind Everyone to Keep Safety in Mind this Halloween Night.  As we prepare to celebrate Halloween, Troopers want everyone to make sure safety is a top priority.  As our children in costumes walk and ride through neighborhoods across Louisiana, parents and guardians should be aware of possible hazards and dangerous situations.

To ensure that trick-or-treating is a safe and memorable event for everyone, we recommend by following these common safety tips:

  • Ensure that your child remains as visible as possible by carrying a flashlight or glow stick, and/or wearing reflective clothing or costumes to alert drivers of the child’s location.
  • Remember that masks can restrict vision and breathing, restricting sight of oncoming vehicles.Face painting is a safer option.
  • Avoid potential tripping hazards, such as costumes that drag on the ground.
  • Accompany children so they do not enter homes or vehicles without permission.
  • Plan your trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets.
  • Remember to walk on sidewalks when available. If walking on the street is necessary, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
  • Children should also know their address, phone number, and how to dial 911 for emergencies.Young children should have this information attached somewhere on their costumes in the event they get separated or lost.
  • Parents are urged to inspect all candy for safety after returning home.

Motorists should also use caution and drive slowly through residential areas and intersections leading to neighborhoods.  Trick-or-treaters may run across the street without looking for vehicles or their vision could be obscured by masks.   Also, Troopers ask that you drive with your headlights on, even during daylight and dusk hours, so that other vehicles and pedestrians can see you from farther distances.

Under current State Law, it is illegal for a registered sex offender to participate in Halloween trick-or-treat activities.  Parents can find accurate information regarding the presence of sex offenders and predators in their neighborhoods by visiting the Louisiana Sex Offender and Child Predator Registry online at: lsp.org/socpr/default.html.  If you become aware of a sex offender who is attending costume parties or giving out candy where children are present, notify your local law enforcement immediately.

Halloween has also been a deadly night due to impaired drivers.  Adults that take part in Halloween parties and trick-or-treating while consuming alcoholic beverages are strongly encouraged to have a plan for a safe ride home. Your plan can include utilizing a ridesharing service, taxi, or having a designated driver.  Troopers ask that sober party-goers also help out by keeping impaired friends from getting behind the wheel.

Notice of Death – Friday, October 29, 2021

Stacy D. Ford

Friday Viewing October 29, 2021 Walk-Thru Only from 2:00-6:00 Jenkins Funeral Home in Mansfield.  Saturday Service October 30,2021 at 11:00 am. N.W. Auditorium 109 Richards Street Mansfield.  Interment Bonchest U.M.C. Cemetery 1983 Sloan Road Mansfield.

Donald R. James

Friday Viewing October 29,2021 Walk-Thru Only from 2:00-5:00 P.M. Jenkins Funeral Home in Many. Graveside Service Saturday, October 30,2021 @ 11:00 a.m. Garden Of Memories Cemetery.

Pastor Joe N. Paul

Service will be 11 a.m., Saturday, October 30, 2021 at Bethlehem B.C.  Final Resting Place will follow at Bethlehem B.C. Cemetery.  Open visitation will be from 2 to 6 p.m., Friday, October 29, 2021 at Jenkins Funeral Home in Mansfield, LA.

ETC… For Friday, October 29, 2021

Bring the family to Stonewall Park on October 30th.  The Disney movie Hocus Pocus will be screened.  There will be food trucks plus more.  Bring your blankets and enjoy Movie Night in the Park.

Residents of Meadow Park are putting on a Trunk or Treat Saturday night.  Hours are 7:00 until 9:00 pm.

Mask Mandate Lifted Except For Schools

Governor John Bel Edwards announced he will lift Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate in all settings except for K-12 schools, after sustained improvement across the state in terms of new cases, test positivity and hospitalizations. The Governor’s updated order is effective Wednesday, October 27th.  It allows school districts to opt out of the mask mandate as long as they continue to follow the existing quarantine guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better separate exposed students and faculty members from others and avoid outbreaks on campus.

CDC guidance still says everyone 2 years of age or older who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask in indoor public places. And if you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area with high transmission. People who have a health condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. At this time, in light of the Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

“Today, I am cautiously optimistic and very relieved that the worst of this fourth surge of COVID is clearly behind us, which is a direct result of the people of Louisiana who stepped up to the plate when we needed them to and put their masks back on, got vaccinated, and took extra precautions to stay safe. That’s why we are able to lift the statewide mask mandate,” said Gov. Edwards. “While the K-12 mask mandate will be in place, school districts can opt out if they follow the existing, evidence-based CDC quarantine guidance. This new order does offer a way for local leaders to end the school mask mandate, if they so choose. Let me be clear – Louisiana has been a leader in bringing students safely back into the classroom. And they have done that by following public health guidance including on masking and quarantine. Public health experts and I encourage schools to stay that course. But because case numbers are going down and have reached a new baseline I do believe it’s an appropriate time to give schools more autonomy. It’s not lost on me that while Louisiana has seen 18 children die of COVID, half of those deaths came in the last three months, as the much more contagious Delta variant surged throughout our state.”

Masks will still be mandated by federal regulation, including on mass transit and in health care facilities. They will not be mandated in most places, including government buildings, college and university campuses and businesses. School districts may opt out of the mask mandate if they choose to, but only if they continue to adhere to CDC quarantine guidance.

“We are encouraged about our current COVID trends, but remain mindful of our profound loss as a result of the last surge and cognizant that we will remain vulnerable to an equally damaging surge unless more of our friends, family and neighbors choose to get vaccinated,” said State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter.

Local governments and private businesses may choose to continue to require and enforce mask requirements under the Governor’s order, which goes into effect on Wednesday, October 27.

Mansfield Council Approves Broadband Resolutions

Bringing broadband to unserved areas of the City of Mansfield occupied much of the spotlight at the City Council meeting Monday afternoon.  Discussion centered around getting grants to fund the project and the feasibility study for the proposed broadband expansion.

Donnette Dunbar and Aaron Jackson spoke for Louisiana Connected on the proposal.  Dunbar said they are required to take certain steps in putting together a feasibility study.  She called that the first step, and she said state law requires it. 

Then Dunbar discussed sources of possible funding.  She said getting undeway will put Mansfield in the position of being the first in the state to apply for funds and she indicated this would give the town an advantage.

Jackson clarified some questions when he said the broadband they are speaking of is fiber optic delivered.  He said the study will determine if it is best to bury the cable or mount it aerially (similar to other utility lines).

The City Council approved two resolutions on the matter.  The first would extend until May 25, 2022 the negotiation period.  The second authorized Mayor John Mayweather, Sr. to execute a professional services agreement with Louisiana Connected to do the feasibility study.

Police Jury Votes to Hire New Parish Administrator

The DeSoto Parish Police Jury voted to hire a new Parish Administrator.  At the meeting on October 18th the jury decided to offer candidate Michael Norton a salary of $120,000.

Members of the jury spent about half an hour discussing two candidates who were the finalists for the position.  Thomas Jones complimented Norton, “He answered every question for me.  He was real thorough and talked about leading people and how he would handle people.

Other jurors also made favorable comments on behalf of Norton.  Only Juror Jeri Burrell spoke out in the negative.  Burrell said, “I was grading the candidates on their answers (in the interview process).  I liked both but will not vote for either.”  She added, “I am not going to work any way or other.  Concerns he be a councilman for Stonewall.”

There was some discussion on what salary to offer. It was stated that the range for the Parish Administrator position is $90,000 to $135,000.  Some said $120,000 would be the top of the range, however it was pointed out that the $120,000 is within the pay range already established.  Juror Jimmy Holmes made the motion to offer Norton $120,000.

The motion passed with two jurors abstaining.

Keachi Mayor Presented Preservationist Award

From the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation:  This year’s Winnie Byrd Preservationist Extraordinaire Award recognizes Mayor Travis Whitfield of Keachi, LA.

Mayor Travis Whitfield had dedicated his life to historic preservation while serving as Mayor of the Town of Keachi and on the board of the Keachi Heritage Foundation for many years.  He is a native of Linden, Texas where he started drawing from nature and later attended the University of Houston and later as an Artist in Residence in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

He settled in Keachi in 1977 where he established his studio and began chronicling the lives of older African American residents through his photography and audio-visual storytelling.  His most recent exhibit, “Further on Down the Road,” features a life-size shotgun house and most recently exhibited at the Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art in Victoria, Texas.

False Alarm

Here is a report from DeSoto Schools on an incident at North Desoto High.

Just after 11:00 am on Monday, October 25, a North DeSoto High School student reported seeing a classmate on campus with what appeared to be a handgun in his backpack. Out of an abundance of caution, NDHS administration along with DeSoto Parish Sheriff School Resource Officers responded immediately and began their investigation.

After questioning the individuals involved, and a thorough search, it was determined that the report was inaccurate and there was no gun present.

We are thankful for the prompt response of our school staff and resource officers who quickly acted in the best interest of our children.

A Visit To Mansfield Elementary

Sheriff Jason Richardson and Deputies with the DeSoto Sheriff’s Office had the opportunity on Friday to visit Mansfield Elementary School to meet with students!  As classes began to file out of the building they were greeted by over a dozen deputies, ranging from the Sheriff to Motor Patrol, Aviation, SWAT, K9, DARE, and Hydra. 

Students were excited to gather a few goodies along the way as they enjoyed a full tour, and a high five from the Sheriff!  K9 Rex ended the event with a K9 demonstration where the students had a load of wonderful questions to ask! 

As always, the Sheriff’s Department thanks the teachers and administration for setting aside time to share into the lives of our DeSoto Parish students.

Rosabelle, Believe

By Brad Dison

Erik Weisz was born on March 24, 1874 in Budapest.  When Erik was four years old, his family emigrated to the United States.  The family settled in Appleton, Wisconsin and changed their last name to the German spelling Weiss.  Erik adopted the German spelling Ehrich.  To lessen confusion, this article will refer to him by his birth name, Erik.

Erik’s family moved often to find work.  His father, Mayer Samuel Weisz, was a Rabbi who was often in search of employment.  In 1882, they moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Five years later, they moved into a boarding house in New York City.  To help earn money for the struggling family, young Erik held several jobs.  At nine years old, Erik made his public debut as a trapeze artist under the name “Ehrich, the Prince of the Air”.  Erik often performed in small tent acts, dime museums and circus sideshows, usually with another performer to double the draw and to share expenses.  For the rest of his life, Erik’s world revolved around entertaining and amazing crowds of people.

In 1894, while performing with his brother, Theodore, Erik met another sideshow performer named Wilhelmina Beatrice “Bess” Rahner.  Within a short time, Erik and Bess married.  They performed together for the remainder of Erik’s career.

On October 21, 1936, Erik lectured before the male student body of McGill University in Montreal.  Topics of his lecture included his ability to withstand immense pain without so much as a wince.  Following his lecture, he answered questions from the students.  One student asked if it was possible to painlessly pass needles through his cheek.  Rather than verbalizing an answer, he took out a hat pin and ran it through his cheek.  He showed no sign of pain.  At the end of his lecture, Erik invited them back to his dressing room for further discussion if they were interested.  To his surprise, many of the students took advantage of the invitation, including Jocelyn Gordon Whitehead.

During the discussion in Erik’s dressing room, Whitehead remarked, “You would hardly feel a blow in the stomach, would you?” “Certainly no,” Erik replied.  Erik was unprepared for what came next.  Before he could tighten the muscles in his stomach to lessen the blow, Whitehead gave Erik “two short-armed punches to the pit of his stomach.” Erik shuddered because, as he told the boys, he was not prepared for the punches.

While giving his final performance in Montreal on the following night, the crowd noticed that Erik doubled over in pain several times.  Ever the showman, Erik fought through the pain and finished his performance before a cheering crowd.   Erik complained of severe stomach pains, something that had never bothered him before. 

A few days later, while performing alongside Bess in Detroit, Michigan, Erik collapsed.  After he regained consciousness, to the surprise of everyone present, Erik continued with his act.  After the show, Erik checked into a local hospital.  On the following day, doctors operated on Erik for appendicitis.  Following surgery, Erik showed symptoms of swelling of the tissue that lines the abdomen called peritonitis.  Erik’s peritonitis was linked to his burst appendix.  Erik underwent a second surgery to save his life from the effects of peritonitis.  Despite their best efforts, they were unable to save Erik.  He lived long enough to say his final goodbyes to his family and friends who surrounded his bedside. 

Bess was saddened by her husband’s passing, but she held out hope that she would soon be in contact with Erik.  “Long before he died,” Bess explained, “we agreed that whoever should go first would try to return to the other.  We agreed upon a message, phased in code.  It was known only to the two of us.  The compact was to last 10 years and no longer.  After that period, the one of us still alive was to abandon hope either in the possibility of the survival of the dead, or their ability to communicate with the living.”  Bess said, “In his last hours, he said to me: ‘Beatrice, I’ll come to you somehow, even though I have to go through hell.”

On the first anniversary of Erik’s death at 8:30 p.m., the exact time of Erik’s death, Bess held a séance in an attempt to contact her beloved Erik.  She anxiously awaited a communication from Erik which said “Rosabelle, Believe”, the code words she and Erik had decided upon.  The words did not come.  She repeated the séance on the second anniversary of Erik’s death, then the third and fourth.  News of the séances spread throughout the world and other people began holding séances to try to contact Erik.  In 1936, on the tenth anniversary of Erik’s death, Bess prepared for the final séance to contact Erik, as per their agreement.  At 8:30 p.m., Bess and other believers in psychic phenomena, one of which was a Los Angeles superior court judge, gathered on the roof of a Hollywood hotel to try to make contact with Erik one final time.  They were not the only ones trying to contact Erik.  People held simultaneous séances in sixteen cities in the United States, England, Australia and Canada, but no lights flickered, no objects moved without explanation, and no one heard “Rosabelle, Believe.”  All was quiet.  Bess never received the message from Erik that she so longed to hear.  On February 11, 1943, seventeen years after Erik’s death, Bess died from a heart attack.  She never remarried.

People still hold séances each year on the anniversary of Erik’s death to try to make contact with him, but all attempts have failed.  Erik was an illusionist, stunt performer, and is most remembered as an escape artist.  He died on Halloween night in 1926.  On this Halloween night, if your lights flicker or you hear a strange sound, it may just be Erik trying to make contact with the living world.  You may not recognize the name Erik Weisz, but you certainly know him by his stage name…Harry Houdini.  Happy Halloween!         


  1. St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri), November 1, 1926, p.3.
  2. The News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington), October 31, 1936, p.2.
  3. Baker, Tom. “Rosabelle, Believe.” Vocal Media. Accessed October 20, 2021. vocal.media/horror/rosabelle-believe.
  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Peritonitis.” Accessed October 20, 2021. hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/peritonitis.
  5. Scotto, Michael. “Upper East Side Séance Attempts to Contact Harry Houdini On the Anniversary of His Death.” Spectrum News. November 1, 2016. ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2016/11/1/upper-east-side-s-ance-attempts-to-contact-harry-houdini-on-the-90th-anniversary-of-the-escape-artists–death.

Tours After Dark

By Nicole Tull

Mansfield State Historic Site held their annual Nighttime Battlefield Tours Saturday, October 23. DeSoto Sherriff and DeSoto Fire District 8 personnel were on site as a service to the community. The event started in 1994 when John House was the historic site manager. John is still involved as a reenactor tour guide. Scott Dearman is the current site manager and he too dressed in period clothing serving as a tour guide. There were three employees and twenty-five volunteers working to make this event possible.

Groups of twenty-five were assembled and appointed a guide to take them through the walking tour on the battlefield grounds. The tour guide explained the grim scenario of what might have taken place on the evening of April 8, 1864, as the Battle of Mansfield would have just ended.

He then stepped into character as Hiram Driskell and led the group into the wooded area. Soldiers and the Provost Marshall approached the group looking for any contraband and Yankees. Unfortunately, a Yankee had joined with the group and was taken away where he was dealt with. The soldiers fired their antique muskets and the Yankee fell. Special precautions are taken to ensure the safety of actors and observers in any reenactment, but it is very believable as the actors are passionate about their historic representation.

The group witnessed several scenes of what would have been necessary to attend to the wounded and dead. An embalmer prepared a body in a wooden coffin. Next was a group of officers planning the next day as a soldier approached them with news. Further still the group saw a battlefield surgeon trying to salvage a bullet ridden leg to no avail. Amputation was necessary, and the patient fainted from shock.

The last scene was a father burying his dead sons as his daughter swept over the graves in her flowy antebellum dress mourning their loss. The group felt as they were part of a story book coming to life.

Even though the tour only lasted about 30 minutes, the history learned about the city’s participation in the War Between the States will be a lasting impression in each person that witnessed it.

Two sisters from Abilene, Texas came over specially for the event. They yearned to know about the history concerning a long departed relative that fought on the very grounds the tour took place. They were glad to come and satisfy their curiosity by taking the tour.

There is much information available in the museum during open hours for anyone wanting to learn more about Mansfield’s Battle or the Civil War in general.

Motorcyclist Killed in DeSoto Parish Crash

On Monday, October 25, 2021, just before 8:00 p.m., Troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop G began investigating a single-vehicle fatality crash.  This crash claimed the life of 59-year-old James Davis, of Manadan, North Dakota.

The initial investigation revealed a 2002 Phan motorcycle, driven by Davis, was traveling south on Linwood Avenue near Rowe Road.  For reasons still under investigation, the motorcycle traveled off the road where it began to overturn.  As the motorcycle was overturning, Davis was ejected.    

The helmet use of Davis is unknown.  He was transported to a Ochsner LSU Shreveport, where he was pronounced dead.  

Impairment is suspected to be a factor; toxicology samples were obtained and will be submitted for analysis.  The crash remains under investigation.

In 2021, Troop G has investigated 29 fatal crashes resulting in 31 deaths.