WATKINSVILLE, Ga. -- When T.A. Powell took the challenge of writing a book about the 45-year-old unsolved murder of a federal agent in south Georgia, she reached an impasse — but then she heard from the dead man.
The connection with the dead came through a psychic. That is the source, she said, that awakened her desire to finish the book.
Powell, a Watkinsville resident with one published book about an unsolved crime, won’t publicly name the psychic, but the Atlanta resident has provided the nuggets of information that could help solve the slaying of Alcohol, Tobacco and Treasury agent Charles Gordon Covington in October 1966 in Valdosta, she said.
Two or so more chapters remain to be written, and the book, “The Coffee Pot Conspiracy,” will be ready for publication in the near future, according to Powell.
But how did Powell, a professional theater director, start writing books on unsolved crimes and form a friendship with a psychic?
The chain of events happened, she said, while she was working on the play “Waiting For Dark.” She told her costume maker she needed an old refrigerator, and the woman had one.
“I’ll make you a deal,” Powell recalls the woman saying.
“I will give you the refrigerator if you write something about a local tragedy out near my home.”
That tragedy was the unsolved slayings of four black people in 1946 at the Moore’s Ford Bridge in Walton County. The book, “The Danburg Diary,” takes actual events from the Moore’s Ford killings along with another slaying and molds the two crimes into a novel, said Powell, who grew up in Iowa.
Shortly before publication of “The Danburg Diary,” Powell was asked to speak about investigative reporting to a class in the Cold Case Research Institute at Bauder College in Atlanta because students also were examining this same unsolved crime.
During Powell’s lecture, she opted to read an excerpt from the book, which was not yet released.
“I explained this excerpt was a kind of ‘Deep Throat’ situation where you receive information from a person who initially did not wish to identify themselves,” she said, telling students that she refers to her source only as “J.”
A swell of whispers filled the classroom, she recalled. Two weeks earlier, a psychic spoke to the class and made a prediction: The students would receive significant information about the Moore’s Ford case from an energy known as “J.”
Intrigued, Powell soon met the psychic, whom she said has worked with police on other unsolved cases. They formed a friendship, and through this unlikely source, Powell began working anew on the book about the slain agent.
While Powell had reams of information about the agent’s death from old court documents and newspaper clippings, the psychic’s information pushed the story further.
Powell, a married mother of three daughters, has written original plays, but even as a youngster she was fascinated by mysteries.
“I was a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ junkie,” she said. Today, she is taking courses for a degree in criminal justice from the University of Maryland as she sets her sights on a new career.
Crimes should be solved and the criminals punished, Powell said.
“If someone I loved was violently murdered, I’d use whatever means available to me to find out who and why and bring them to some sort of justice,” she said.
And Powell is not opposed to accepting the help of a psychic.
“Does it matter to me if some of the information came from an unorthodox source?” she said. “As long as I’m truthful and resilient enough, I’ll continue to pursue the hard evidence that will support the suppositions and circumstantial evidence.”