Bill Sketoe’s Hole
William “Bill” Sketoe, Sr. (June 8, 1818 – December 3, 1864) was a Methodist minister from the south Alabama town of Newton, whose lynching there on December 3, 1864 gave birth to one of Alabama’s best-known ghost stories.
Bill Sketoe is reported to haunt the bridge over the Choctawhatchee River in Newton, Alabama. During the Civil War, Bill was the victim of a lynching for reportedly hiring a substitute to fight for him through the war while he came home to take care of his sick wife. Although he denied the charge, he was hung from the bridge, but being that he was a tall man, a hole had to be dug beneath his feet to properly execute the lynching. To this day, the hole has not and cannot be filled. Many have reported putting debris or trash in the hole to find it perfectly cleaned out the next day.
His hanging site remained a local tourist attraction for decades, and continues to attract visitors even though the hole itself recently disappeared due to flooding in the area. Today the site of Sketoe’s lynching lies beneath the Alabama Highway 134 bridge over the Choctawhatchee River, and a monument to Sketoe has been erected nearby.