Dixie Haygood was born Anna Jarrett in 1861, according to the New Georgia Encyclpedia and married George Haygood when she was 17 years old. In 1885, she began performing a stage act under the stage name “Annie Abbott the Little Georgia Magnet” that astonished not only audiences in the US but across Europe.
At only 100 pounds, Dixie was able to perform amazing feats of strength and resistance, such as lifting a table with four strong men on it or preventing three men from lifting a pool cue simply by touching one of the men. She was examined by doctors, who could not explain how she could do what she could do.
Many people then and now claim that Dixie’s act was a mixture of clever use of the center of gravity, illusion and charm. Dixie herself claimed to be a spiritualist. Over time, many people began to consider a witch. According to Weird Georgia, she would often fly into uncontrollable rages, and into trances where she would allegedly cause large pieces of furniture to move around the room. (It is worth noting that Dixie was subject to epileptic seizures.)
By the time of her death in 1915, many people had decided that Dixie was using a supernatural power. She is said to have put a curse on her grave, stating that anyone who stood between her grave and the sun would be subject to the curse. (I did not know this when we visited the grave on the 30th of December, but the sun was already sinking and we were on the other side of the grave from it, so I guess we’re safe:)) The most interesting manifestation of this so-called curse seems to affect the graveplot next to Dixie’s, which belongs to the Yates family. Every year around Christmas, according to Weird Georgia and other sources, a hole opens up between the two plots, so deep that sometimes part of the Yates family tombstones fall into the hole. When the damage is repaired and the hole is filled, the same phenomenon happens again around Christmas the next year. Dixie Haygood is buried in Memory Hill cemetery in Milledgeville, GA, and her grave was unmarked for many years. The Cemetery Preservation Society placed a stone there in 1991, according to Sue Harrington, who is working on a book about Alice Abbott/ Dixie Haygood with her husband, Hugh Harrington. But they put the gravestone on the middle grave by mistake. Dixie is actually buried in the outer grave in the plot. The middle plot is her son, who travelled with her. (Only her husband’s grave was marked at the time that the stone was placed.)
I did not know about the alleged “curse” when we visited Memory Hill cemetery, so I did not look for the Yates plot, but I don’t see a hole in either of these pictures. I think the Yates plot has to be on the other side of the photos, because the plot next to this on the right says “Hines.”