Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spirits & Superstitions in Kentucky

Fear and paranoia make people people do strange things, especially when it has to do with the unknown and "things that go bump in the night." From when we were children, we learned to beware what was unusual and what could not be explained. We learned the superstitions of our ancestors through traditions passed down through family.

One such Deputy Coroner took this advice into practice on Friday, November 13, 1908, when he traveling to Williamson to examine a miner, killed at work. He declared it an accident. His trip home - on a fare of 13 cents - took him all night (a trip that should have been much quicker) whence the power went out. He declared THIS triple combination of incidents "Triple Hoodoo," owing it to the fateful date and the fateful fare. Read the report below from the front page of the November 20, 1908 Hartford Republican.

Despite what our ancestors and tradition tells us, nature might offer a perfectly logical explanation. Two years earlier, a Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Welborn, of Munfordsville, were plagued with strange nightly noises. For all the searching, seeking, and rationalizing, they could find nothing to explain the sounds. The wife insisted their house was haunted! When they could take no more, Mr. Welborn finally removed a stone from their hearth to discover a nest of 42 rattlesnakes living beneath - "haunting" their house! Read their story, reported on the front page of February 16, 1906 Hartford Republican. Nearby Glasgow Junction experienced spooky goings-ons the next year, with a "mysterious rain" coming from a clear sky, and localized under a single tree. The "haunted tree" attracted quite a crowd, including a passing farmer. After listening to the story and looking at the tree, he provided the simple & not quite-so-exciting answer: bugs. Little insects infested this tree, puncturing the limbs, allowing the sap to fall like rain. Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 5 November 1907, p. 4.

Ultimately, whether inexplicable or perfectly natural & logical, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do! Sometimes, you must face your fears & combat the spirit world head on! Such is the suggestion of this clipping from an unknown author, who talks about getting rid of "old-time ghosts" using a popular style of the time - "local color," which uses an interpretive (and often stereotypical) language. In a brief, amusing story, the narrator describes how the ghosts dragged around heavy chains at night. Finally, deciding this must not only be quite a labor on the ghosts, but had also "gone out o' fashion," the narrator gives the ghosts tin rattles instead. Problem solved! Hickman Courier, 15 February 1907, p. 3.

How do you deal with your superstitions & "things that go bump in the night?" What did your mother/father/grandparents/etc. warn you about & do you carry it on? Do you even realize it? How so?

No comments:

Post a Comment