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Appalachia Through My Eyes - Passing The Stories Down

Haunt Tales

Haunt Tales

haunt tale noun
A variant forms haint tale, hant tale.
B A ghost story.
1938 Hall Coll. Emerts Cove TN People's quit seein' hants and tellin hant tales. (Glen Shults) 1940 Haun Hawk's Done 174 Just some little old hant tales was all I knowed. c1940 Padelford Notes A-swappin' hant tales way up in the night. 1963 Edwards Gravel 116 Uncle Bill, what about that haint tale you promised me? 1970 Hall Witchlore 2 As to ghostlore, some middle-aged and elderly people still enjoy the eerie excitement of relating encounters that they or others (almost always others) had with apparitions of various kinds. These narratives are locally called "hant" tales, but many people are convinced that the strange incidents they relate actually happened. 

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

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This is the time of the year for haunt tales. Drop back by over the coming days to hear some haunt tales and discuss some spooky subjects here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn.

Tipper

p.s. Check out this link/video and see if you can give Sow True Seed a hand. They do a tremendous job of ensuring our seeds continue for the future generations. They especially focus on the heirloom seeds that have been passed down for generations in Appalachia. And if all that wasn't enough-you already know they support the Blind Pig and The Acorn by sponsoring my garden and my garden reporter @ large projects. If you decide to donate to their cause-you can get some pretty cool things in return-so check it out. 

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I was talking with Rosann Kent from the University of North Georgia the other day, and she mentioned that my story "The Demon Driver of Dawson County" (which you published a written version of) has now become a legend on the campus. It all started with an Appalachian Studies class on storytelling. Rosann asked me to come be the "Storyteller in Residence," which I was glad to do. The students worked up a storytelling concert that was held on the front porch of the old log cabin behind the Vickery House on campus, which was an appropriately spooky setting, let me tell you! I was the emcee, introducing all the college student storytellers. Then at the end of the program, I told my own story, which was the very first public telling of "The Demon Driver of Dawson County." The story was inspired by a short incident from my great uncle's book "Fugitive from a Georgia Schoolhouse" and an experience I had driving home one night from Dahlonega toward Ellijay. Anyhow, that night after the concert, a couple of the students told Rosann that they were a little bit scared to drive home after hearing that story. All those students have now graduated, but Rosann has heard the essence of my story still being told on campus. I got a big kick out of hearing that!

I always loved hearing those tales and stories, Still do. Lucky for me I have no first hand stories that would give one chill bumps but I like to pass along to those that will listen the ones I can remember hearing. "And the're True ... I swear it!!"

Why should we be so cavalier as to think we are the only beings that inhabit the realm we call existence? We have only our senses to detect what we think we perceive and assume that it all that exists. Many of us believe in spiritual or religious things unseen but want to put them in another plane far away on the other side of the stars. Why can't we consider that which could be right here with us without us knowing? Things unsensed? Perhaps in another time but dwelling in the same places we now occupy?
Perhaps that's where our dearly departed brethren abide. And those not so dear! Perhaps they are not confined by "the laws of physics" as are we. Perhaps they can slip into our existence at will. People sometime feel the presence of loved ones but dismiss it as only a thought. How do we know that they can't open the curtain wide enough to sneak through? Perhaps to give us guidance or perhaps to do us harm.
How can we know what we don't know?

I'm not trying to cause anyone trouble giving any ideas but we had fun as kids with a "dumb bull" this time of year. It's made from a hollow log (about 2'x1') covered on one end with stretched and dried groundhog hide or could be made from a large bucket, paint can, etc with a small hole punched in the bottom. A thick cotton string was put through the hole with a small nail tied to the end of the string on the outside of the log/bottom of the bucket. The string was covered in pine rosin so that when the hand reached inside the log or bucket and the fingers pulled down the string to the open end the fingers stuck and did not completely slide along the string making a roaring noise. Once when a group of "brave" nieces, nephews and cousins were telling ghost stories on the dark front porch my adult sister and I with the help of the youngest one who came inside scared used two dumb bulls. Our intent was for one of us to make the noise from one side of the house and the other to "answer" from the other side but there was no need for an answer. These kids now tell their grand-kids about how they heard the roar, tumbled over the kid who was closest to the screen door making him the last one inside, and thought their stories had come to life!

Tipper,
I don't believe in haunts or ghosts or anything like that, but it does make it interesting for all my grandgirls.

One time when I was about 11 or 12, a bunch of us boys sneaked in to the Valley River Drive-Inn. We watched Dracula on the big screen and it seemed so real, but on the way home after someone let us out from thumbing a ride, our house was about 1/8 mile from the highway. I was in front and it was pitch black outside, but we knew the trail. I could hear footsteps behind me and all I could think of was Dracula gonna catch me. About that time one of my older brothers caught up with me and touched my shoulders. Well, that did it! Immediately I turned and grabbed him and if he didn't say something, I'd have clobbered him. He musta noticed I was scared, so we went on to the house. ...Ken

I live fairly close to the area where the Bell Witch happenings took place. It's an interesting area that was very involved in the Black Patch tobacco wars. I know you like history so if you haven't read about that, I recommend it. We went on a nighttime tour through the woods years ago where characters were set up to tell the story and it was pretty creepy but no haints showed up.

Thankfully, I have never seen a "haint" of any kind but have family members who claim they have. Mama swore she woke up with a terrible apparition bending over her that flew out the door when she yelled. My aunt's family has several folks who claim to have seen the figure of their mean old grandmother still hanging around. This was a truly horrible woman and I wouldn't be surprised if the fumes of Hell were swirling around her.

I have had "the creeps" in certain places though. There's a church and graveyard back in the woods near my hometown in West Tn. that I hate to go to because of that awful feeling. The church has been destroyed several times in various ways so who knows. My sister in law swears she saw ghosts walking down there. I have many family members buried there so I hope they can rest in peace--just don't bury me there!!

This is the time of year we start to hear scary stories, but those tales kept us entertained year around when I was a child. The haint and boogerman stories we heard made me glad I had to share my bed with a sister or two.

This is our first really cool day and fall is THE time for haint stories!

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