On June 4th, 2017, the car belonging to Southern Gothic’s crime writer Bradley Ellison was found in a McDonald’s parking lot in Henderson County, Tennessee. The writer himself was inside, dead from a gunshot wound.
During the month prior to this tragedy, Mr. Ellison had been working with great enthusiasm on a project centered around a house in rural Tennessee. After we had expressed concern about the quality of his latest publications in this magazine, he assured us that this project would restore our faith in him.
Mr. Ellison certainly told a fantastic tale in his last article. But while Southern Gothic has been able to verify the locations, the events themselves are unverifiable. The locals Mr. Ellison interacted with proved reclusive, even hostile when approached later by some of our colleagues. We trust, however, that our readers will remember the caliber of Mr. Ellison’s reporting on the Serene Flats Murders when judging this piece.
Mr. Ellison also expresses opinions in his article about the staff of this magazine, specifically myself, that may be shocking to our readers. We have decided not to edit these out for the sake of honesty and integrity. Mr. Ellison was entitled to his opinions, and we are entitled to ours—that his attacks are unfair and incorrect.
After careful consideration of all these factors, we have decided to publish the entire article raw and unedited, as it was sent to us on that midsummer night last year. Mr. Ellison did not consider it finished, and neither do we. We consider it a beginning, though to what future we cannot yet know. Awareness, perhaps, will make these types of tragedies less common. Southern Gothic has always embraced controversy, and with the publication of this piece we do so with a clear head. Even so, reader discretion is advised.
– Heather Graff, Editor in Chief
This issue of Southern Gothic is dedicated to the memory of
Bradley Oswald Ellison
June 7th, 1987 – June 3rd, 2017.