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Debbie Lewis would have been a member of the Class of 1957 at Carbon Hill High School had she not met an untimely demise. Her ghost walked the hallowed halls of the old high school until the school was destroyed by a catostrophic fire in June, 2002.

The story of Debbie Lewis is a tragic one and I will attempt to tell it now as true as I know how. This is the story as I have always heard it.

Debbie Lewis was the daughter of a prominent family in Carbon Hill. Her father was a superintendent of the mines in this blue collar coal mining town in northwest Alabama. Debbie was a beautiful, blue eyed, brunette, popular with classmates and townsfolk alike. She excelled academically and everyone predicted a bright future for young Debbie. But that was not to be. Homer Putnam, the high school janitor at the time, seemed to have an obsession with Debbie. Three times her age, he would buy her small trinkets, open doors for her, offer to carry her books to class, and always remark on how pretty she was. It became ajoke at the high school that Homer was in love with Debbie. Debbie, being a gracious young girl, at first thought nothing of Homer's doting and became fond of him. As time wore on however, she became somewhat intimidated by him and began to avoid him. Some people said Homer was angered by this, but no one will ever know for sure.

It was in late April, 1957 and it was the night of the senior prom at Carbon Hill High School. In the late afternoon of that spring day, the students began to gather on "the hill", as the high school was afectionately called, to have their pictures made in front of the centuries old oak that stood in front of the school. Debbie, by choice, had no date and preferred to enjoy her prom night free and unnattached, without a male escort. Of course, she had plenty of opportunities, but kindly turned down all offers, instead wishing to dance with and flirt with whomever she chose. She drove her father's Desoto sedan to the hill that evening for the photo session that was going on. All of her friends were there, excited about the evening's festivities. One by one, the couples paired of after having the pictures made and went to the site of the prom of 1957. I have never been able to ascertain where the prom was held, but that is unimportant now. What is important is that Debbie never showed up at the prom. Her friends began to ask about her whereabouts and the chaperones contacted her father. Several people went to where she was last seen alive, under the old oak, having her picture made. The Desoto was still parked in the same place untouched. Needles to say that night was a night of chaos in the little town. A search party was gathered to find young Debbie but to no avail.

In the weeks following her disappearance, the class of 1957's thoughts turned toward graduation. Still deeply saddened by the loss of their friend they disciplined themselves to buckle down to their school work. The typing lab was at one end of the long main hall of the school. Spring time in Alabama can get hot and on this day in May, the windows and transoms were open to allow in what little breeze was available. However, today was different for seeping up through the pine floorboards of the classroom was an odor of death. It was very unpleasant, but was dismissed as a dead animal that had crawled under the crawl space to die. Upon inspection by the principal this was found not to be the case. A horrific scene lay just feet bellow the students feet, unknown to them. The remains of a woman, from the waist down, lie in anvanced state of decomposition working alive with maggots. Vestiges, although bloody, of a blue chiffon dress were in a mangled mess around her pelvis. One foot was bare, it's white high heel not very far away. The other foot still had the mate of the high heel upon it. This was Debbie! Also, we cannot forget the high school janitor, Homer Putnam. It seems that along with Debbie's sudden disappearance, that Homer himself had vanished from town. His whereabouts remain a mystery to this day. Did Homer do this to poor Debbie? Was this an act of passion on Homer's part? Did he feel that if he could not possess her no one ever would. We will never know. But more about that later. Debbie's parents were contacted, as one can only imagine, they were horrified and shocked by the discovery. Had Debbie suffered? How did she die? All we know is that her body had been cut in half, the lower part lie rotting under the floorboards of the old high school, the upper half still missing.

Graduation proceeded as planned, but instead of a joyous occassion it was marred by sweet Debbie's death and the description of her grisly remains.

With the absence of Homer Putnam, the men of Carbon Hill bore the task of keeping the school building and ground maintained throughout the hot Alabama summer. As the summer's end drew near, the men began to prepare the broiler for the cold days that lay ahead. As they began using the long rake to drag out last year's ashes, bones began to tumble to the ground. Ribs, vertebrae, the bones of the arms, and finally...... a skull! Was this the last remains of Debbie? A quick examination by Debbie's dentist confirmed that, yes, indeed, this was Debbie. Once again her poor mother and father had to be called in, Debbie's graved reopened, and these charred bones laid to rest with Debbies other gruesome remains. What a tragic ending to such a promising life! Who had access to the crawl space under the building? Homer Putnam. Who had the keys to the boiler room under the school? Homer Putnam. This wretch of a man had snuffed out the life of a beautiful girl with a wonderful life ahead of her. Debbie's final resting place was the old Pisgah Cemetary on the edge of town. After this final episode, the Lewises left Carbon Hill for the town harbored to much Horror and grief. They never returned. As a result, Debbie's grave was never cared for and the ravages of time, weather, and vandalism have destroyed any grave stone that may have been put in place to mark Debbie's resting place. She lies in pieces, charred, mangled, and uncared for under six feet of Walker County soil.

However, Debbie had not completed her days of roaming the halls of Carbon Hill High, for shortly after her final burial, peculiar things began to occur. I heard about these things, and one night, about twenty years ago, I decided to find out for myself. Now before I go on, Let's not forget where Debbie's lower body was discovered. It was in the crawl space under the typing room. Sheltered from the rays of the sun and the rain, concealed in the dark throughout all these years, was a blood stain, approximately 2 feet in diameter, where Debbie's blood had been spilled after she was cut in half. All of that blood drained into that soil, saturating it, and forever dyeing it crimson. So my first encounter was to visit the site of the murder, and after over 30 years, the blood stain was still visible, untouched, and hauntingly fresh. But on this night, some twenty years ago, I entered the old school whereI was employed as teacher. The Carbon Hill FFA was roasting a pig through the night behind the old Ag Building. Some of the students needed to go to the restroom and I accompanied them into the school. While there, I told them of Debbie. Of course they were scared, especially upon hearin that her ghost supposedly still walked the halls of the school. As we went upstairs into the main hallway, we passed an open classroom door which was strange since the teachers always closed and locked their doors after school was dismissed. We let the door be, heading toward the science room. An eerie glow undulated behind the glass paned door. Was it a reflection? A reflection of what? As we drew near, the apparition vanished. Stepping back a few feet, it reappeared. Debbie? Maybe. Next we headed to the auditorium where, according to the tales I had heard, Debbie would walk at night if her name was called. So, standing at the rear of the auditorium with it's old pine floor, I called out to Debbie, softly, three times. On the third attempt, she walked! Just as plain as day, we heard her footsteps walk along the old plank floor from one side of the auditorium to the other in front of the stage! The students were unnerved by this point and ready to leave! Remeber the open dor we passed upon entering the building? It was now closed! Did Debbie close this door? Possibly. We left it closed, figuring that if she wanted it closed, it was better to leave it that way!

Years passed, and Debbie continued to glow at night in the scince room and walked in th auditorium and students, year after year, asked to hear about the legend of Debbie Lewis.

Then on a June afternoon in 2002, the school burned. Ironically, the fire started on the end of the building where Debbies remains had been found 45 years earlier. The watched helplessly as the old building collapsed and burned into the night. Nothing was saved and the townsfolk walked away, saddened at the loss of our beloved school building. The old bloodstain that Debbie had left was gone. Her hallowed halls were ashes now. Where was Debbie, our ghost of Carbon Hill High. Had she passed over to the other side? Not quite. A temporary campus was established about a mile away next to the elementary school. While teaching there, I was permitted to bus my students back to hill to utilze the agriculture building as it was saved from the fire. With a little work and elbow grease, it was readied for students. So it was at the end of class one day, my students began to inquire about Debbie Lewis. So i obliged them. Sitting on a stool with the students sitting crosslegged in a semicircle, I told the tale of Debbie Lewis, just as you have read it here. Upon the completion of mt recounting the story, Debbie made herself kmow to us! The men's restroom was just outside the classroom door, and as if on cue, as I concluded the story, the toilet began flushing by itself, over and over! By itself? Well, perhaps not. I like to believe that it was Debbie letting us know that she still haunts that hill tha was Carbon Hill High School!

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Q: What is the legend of debbie Lewis of carbon hill high school in carbon hill Alabama?
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