Is the tale of Alabama’s most famous disappearance true? You decide.
One hot July afternoon in 1854, a farmer named Orion Williamson – or other names, depending on the version – was walking on his farm near Selma. Reportedly, Williamson’s wife and family were on the front porch of the farmhouse. Then, neighbors passed by and waved to Williamson, who was walking in ankle-deep grass. Orion waved back before vanishing right before the eyes of his family and neighbors.
The party ran to the site, frantically searching, but found no sign of Williamson. Soon, a search party was formed, and 300 men are said to have combed the fields well into the night. In the days to come, people came from far and wide to see where the farmer vanished. One visitor was young journalist and future author Ambrose Bierce, who would document the case in his story “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field.” Ironically, Bierce himself would disappear circa 1914.
According to the Williamson legend, Mrs. Williamson and her son could hear Orion’s voice calling for help. The cries grew fainter as the weeks passed before finally stopping. Click here to read more about the disappearance.