Celebrating Our Culture
There are several reasons for the wealth of ghostlore in
the South. The Civil War left
a tragic spirit hanging over the region and gave birth to tales of ghost
armies and haunting belles. The
Voodoo religion and trying to understand the unknown has lead to the
creation of many tales. Folklorist
Alan Brown credits the variety of cultures – African American, French,
Hispanic, and Scotch-Irish – for coloring the storytelling traditions of
the South with ghostlore.
Storytellers and folklorists preserve the rich heritage of
supernatural tales in the region. Some
noted ghostlorists include: Alan Brown, Charles Edwin Price, and Nancy
Alan Brown. Professor of English at the University of West Alabama, Alan
Brown has become known for his collection of Alabama oral history and
ghost stories. His latest
book Shadows and Cypress: Ghostlore from the American South (Univ.
Press of Mississippi, 2000) is a comprehensive resource of the region’s
supernatural history. Brown’s
current projects include “Haunts from the Heart of Dixie,” a video of
Alabama ghost tales; and the creation of
an Alabama folklore web site. He
lectures on the topics of “Ghosts, Graveyards, and Sitting with the
Dead: Alabama Deathlore” and “Mysteries and Legends of Alabama.”
Charles Edwin Price. A course in Scottish Studies a decade ago, sparked journalist
Charles Price’s interest in collecting ghostlore. The paper he created for the course became Haints,
Witches, and Boogers: Tales of Upper East Tennessee (John F. Blair,
1992). In the past seven
years, Price has written fifteen books mainly collections of ghostlore
from Tennessee and Virginia.
Nancy Roberts. Known as the “Queen of the
Ghost Story” and the “First Lady of Folklore,” Nancy Roberts has
been collecting Southern ghostlore for four decades. As a member of the National Storytelling Association, she
performs her collection of pirate stories and ghostlore from the Carolinas
and Georgia. She has authored
over twenty-five books. Roberts
is currently compiling a new ghost tales book to be published by the
University of North Carolina Press in Spring of 2001.
Sites of Interest
of Southern Ghostlore
Infamous Bell Witch of Tennessee, by Charles Edwin Price. The
Overmountain Press, 1994.
Tennessee, by Charles Edwin Price. The Overmountain Press.
Witches, and Boogers: Tales from Upper East Tennessee,
by Charles Edwin Price and Richard Blaustein.
John F. Blair Pub., 1992.
and Cypress: Ghostlore from the Southern United States,
by Alan Brown. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2000.
Fried Spirits, by Robert J. Wlodarski, Anne Powell Wlodarski.
Republic of Texas Press, 2000.
Washington Revisited (The Ghostlore of the Nation’s Capital), by John
Alexander. Schiffer Pubishing, 1998.
and Apparitions: True Ghost Stories from the South,
by Barbara N. Duffey. Elysian Publishing Co., 1997.
Tales for Retelling, by Idella Bodie, edited by Barbara Stone.
Sandlapper Pub. Co., 1994.
Face in the Window and Other Alabama Ghostlore,
by Alan Brown. University of Alabama Press, 1996.
Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural,
by Pat McKissack. Knopf,
of the Southern Mountains and Appalachia, by Nancy Roberts.
University of South Carolina Press, 1989.
Haunted South: Where Ghosts Still Roam, by Nancy Roberts.
University of South Carolina Press, 1988.
Ghost Stories from the American South, edited by W. K. McNeil. August House Pub., 1985.
© 2000 Joyce Dixon, All Rights Reserved