Skip to main content

Mystery of Camp Van Dorn

Written by: Darren Dedo
Case Filed: 05/17/01 - Centreville, Mississippi
Executive Producer: Rick Garner
5-part investigation and hours of raw footage!



Theodore Bullock is retired but he has 21 years of public service under his belt, including being President of the Pike County Board of Supervisors. Bullock has heard many tales of what happened at Camp Van Dorn. "What they was saying was the U.S. Army, they decided to kill these people on account of their reputation...things that they had done."

Dr. Lucious Lampton is Editor of the Magnolia Gazette. He grew up with stories shared by his father about the Army base. "There were stories of a shooting out there, in which a number of black soldiers had been shot and killed."

Could something so horrible be true?


"I understand why the army did something," says Paige Cothren, a retired Army Major. "I disagree with their methods."

What happened at Camp Van Dorn in Centreville, Mississippi remains unexplained. In 1943, an uprising by segregated black soldiers of the 364th infantry led to alleged racial violence and possible atrocities.

Carroll Case, author of "The Slaughter" started a firestorm when his book was first published in 1998.

"The story is basically the fact is that the Army could not deal with a group of soldiers - the 364th. All black group. And they had to find a solution and I believe, as I state in my book, the solution was to kill these men and to hide them, hide their bodies and to cover the story up."

Ron Caulfield's father researched the incident before his death. Ron believes payroll documents prove the soldiers weren't massacred. His father collected rosters of the 364th from July to August of 1943 which account for soldiers getting paid.

There are a lot of declassified documents that say the incident never happened at Camp Van Dorn, but some believe those documents have been doctored to cover up the shooting.

"There are actually two Army reports," says Case. "The first Army report was not even accepted by the NAACP or anyone else. It was quickly done and did not answer the questions. In fact, there are still 20 questions that have been unanswered in the second report."

Those who were living back then, remember word of the incident.

"I know there were several hundred," recalls Cothren. "I can just remember the picture in my little mind at the time, in my eight-year-old-mind, there being several hundred. I remember trying to picture that."

Some felt compelled to share their story with Edyth Lensing, a bookstore owner and local tour guide. She recalls one tale of an elderly African-American man. "And he said he was trying to get back into the base, evidently he had snuck out. He was trying to sneak back in into the base. He was kind of crawling through some bushes and was above all of this when it happened and he saw it, and he was absolutely terrified."

Fear of a Japanese attack increased hysteria during war-time. Some believe the Army covered up the incident to avoid public scrutiny.

"And we had nothing to stop Japan from crossing the Mississippi River except a few Nebraska farmers with shotguns...we were fearing four our lives!" says Cothren.

Author Carroll Case paints this picture. "This is not about Mississippi people killing anyone. Unfortunately, this incident took place in Mississippi, but it's a situation where the Army killed their own men."

This is an Army matter," says Lampton. "Questions about this tragedy need to be directed at the Army and the Army needs to answer these questions."

Caulfield shares his belief. "The story of 1,200 of being massacred just from what I've read and seen and common sense tells me...if 1,200 people were missing...1,200 families would be looking."

To this day, the U.S. Army maintains it's position that blood wasn't shed at Camp Van Dorn, but for those who worked and lived near the camp that mysterious day will remain fresh in their minds.

The only documented death involving an African-American soldier from Camp Van Dorn is that of Private William Walker. He was shot by the town's sheriff.

Additional Resources:




"Betty" Full Video Interview


Malcolm LaPlace Full Video Interview


"Mister X" Full Video Interview


Lt. Col. Charles Graul: Full Video Interview


Author Carroll Case: Full Video Interview


Ron Caulfield: Full Video Interview


Paige Cothren: Full Video Interview


Dr. Lucius Lampton: Full Video Interview


Edythe Lensing: Full Video Interview


Theodore Bullock: Full Video Interview


NEW Congressman Bennie Thompson Letter

Comments

  1. Are there any members of the 364th still alive?? All you've noted hear as 'witnesses' are the local whites whose parents and grandparents did not give a rats rear about blacks, and even more so about black soldiers in WWII

    ReplyDelete
  2. In our investigations in 2001, we did not locate any surviving members of the 364th. Theodore Bullock, while not a witness, is African-American and offered details on stories he had heard since age 15.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Unexplained Cases | Historic & Haunted: Hotel San Carlos

Written by:  Darren Dedo Case Filed: 10/31/21 Executive Producer:  Rick Garner   The Hotel San Carlos in downtown Phoenix is historic and many say this grand old place is haunted. It opened in 1928 -- before it was the location of Phoenix’s first school. Even before that, ruins of an ancient Hohokam Village. A little cool factoid: The hotel can be briefly seen in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho opening shot, as the camera pans the then-skyline of downtown Phoenix. Over the years the San Carlos has hosted political leaders and movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Spencer Tracy. But, the most famous guest or I should say ghost -- was 22-year-old Leone Jensen. The story goes that Jensen checked into room 720, and later jumped to her death from the top of the San Carlos. She was supposedly distraught about her abusive boyfriend, who was a bellboy at a nearby hotel. Some say she was pregnant and was pushed to her death. The one thing most people agree on when it comes to Leone,

In Search of Moehau Man | Unexplained Cases (2022)

Written by:  Jim Birchall Case Filed: 6/11/22 Executive Producer:  Rick Garner   Sasquatch, Yeti, Yeren, Yowie, and Swamp Ape…all names which essentially identify a legendary cryptid known across the world - Bigfoot. He goes by another name here in New Zealand. And today I am at the foot of the __ on a very inclement day in New Zealand. I’m here with paranormal investigator and researcher Marc Coppell and we’re hopefully going to have some sightings or capture some audio of New Zealand’s own bigfoot, known as the Moehau Man. Reports of the Moehau Man date back over 120 years. Mark has done extensive research and interviewed over two dozen witnesses in New Zealand who have had their own sightings and strange encounters with this cryptid. I journey into the New Zealnd bush with paranormal investigator Marc Coppell. “In the New Zealand bush, I’ve heard a strange whooping sound. Some of it seems to respond to me. Now, the real weird stuff that I'm picking up are voices that mimic wha

Unexplained Cases | Return to 14 Mile Creek: The Search for Creekboy

Written by:  Rick Garner Case Filed: 7/6/21 Executive Producer:  Rick Garner   In March 2001, Rick Garner was solo investigating 14 Mile Creek in Raymond, Mississippi, at dusk. Using only an audio recorder and a Nikon digital camera, he asks questions into the darkness while taking flash photography. Upon reviewing evidence, the most startling photo Rick or the team had ever taken before or since was discovered. For years, nothing was known about the entity until in May 2019, Maryam the Medium examined the image and revealed many details - bringing life to the image. Rick Garner returned to the same location in May 2021. Watch to see if he makes contact with Creekboy and resolves this mystery. Read about the first investigation here: https://www.unexplainedcases.com/2001/03/field-reports-from-raymond-mississippi.html ABOUT UNEXPLAINED CASES: The Unexplained Cases team is focused on preserving history while documenting the strange, paranormal and unexplained. What separates Unex