Madalyn is the author of the young adult novel The Ghost of Cheeney Creek about 14-year-old Vanessa who spends the summer with her cousins in rural Fishers in 1967. During her stay, she discovers an abandoned cemetery right behind their home, and unexpected adventures take place when she learns about a Civil War ghost named James Parker.
Madalyn’s Uncle David inherited the farm and when he passed away, it was sold to Duke Energy. After his funeral, Madalyn and her cousins went to stroll the property to reminisce on old memories and say goodbye one last time. She was in the process of developing the character of the ghost for her new story when a lone grave in the back corner of the cemetery caught her eye.
Madalyn wrote about Payne, crafting a story about him that he was a Civil War deserter, and changing his name to James Parker in case any of his living relatives happened to read the book.
After writing half of the book, Madalyn’s brother was curious to see who Payne really was, and he dug into his history. He discovered that Payne was actually a deserter , who fled in Tyree Springs, Tennessee on September 1, 1862. Madalyn had made up a narrative about Payne, and it somehow had turned out to be true.
On top of that, her brother also found out that in 2010, the SyFy show Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files traveled to Fishers to investigate the graveyard after a woman caught a strange, inexplicable orb on camera there. After investigating multiple possible explanations, they couldn’t replicate the occurrence and deemed it authentic. They also found a strong, unexplainable energy emanating from Payne’s grave site. You can find the episode “The Caretaker” on Amazon Prime Video.
Was James Payne trying to contact her from the grave? Even though Madalyn chose Payne to be the ghost in her story, it seemed as if Payne was really the one choosing her…
Purchase The Ghost of Cheeney Creek here. It’s the first of the three books in the Vanessa Mystery Series. Her other books include The Mystery of Gatewood Airport and The Man Who Defied Gravity.
Christina Poetz grew up in Indianapolis but moved to Fishers in 2014 to attend Hamilton Southeastern High School. After she graduated high school in 2018, she interned for the City of Fishers’ Public Relations team. She came back again to intern the next summer and worked as the PR & Marketing Coordinator for the City. When Christina’s not working, she attends IUPUI to pursue her major in Public Relations and minor in Communications. In her free time, she loves to work on her photography skills and attend Pacers games with her friends. Her favorite place to hang out in Fishers is Flat Fork Creek Park because she loves to walk up the big sledding hill and see the amazing view. Follow her on Instagram and follow her photography account.