Cooper Jr. Robert S. Levine ; reprint ed. Fredrickson ; reprint ed. The treaty with Mexico added million acres, Oregon million, and the Gadsden Purchase 78 million. For another example of this new advice literature, see Dr. Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, 8 vols. On Gideon Lincecum, see Mark A. William W. The war unleashed a flood of racist propaganda; see Lota M. Helper also used the old allusion to Indians disappearing like melting snow; see Laura M.
On the class barriers to social mobility among poor whites, see Charles C. She married the Reverend A. Burke while there, but he died and she left for Ohio. Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, eds. Columbia, SC, , 10—11, 17, 26, The decision was issued on March 6, Justice Taney insisted that the Declaration of Independence did not refer to slaves or descendants of the African race. Sandford , 19 How. On the importance of pedigree, see James H. Taney was able to insist that there was no difference between slaves and free blacks because he placed all the descendants of the entire race into one single category—again proving the importance of pedigree.
Also see Dan E. Dunbar Rowland, 10 vols. Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, , — Thomas Jefferson saw national unity as rooted in shared cultural values and national stocks. For his February 18, , speech, see Rowland, ed. On southerners fighting for the Union, see William W. And on dissent in the South during the war, see Victoria E. Sutherland, ed. He made a similar argument in a speech before the Mississippi legislature, November 16, ; see ibid.
It meant fecal waste—dispelling the worst remains from the lining of the intestines. James Hammond, Speech to the U. Hammond, Speech to the U. Senate, For the threat of amalgamation, see George M. Marion Mills Miller, 14 vols. New York, , , Also see Edward S. Grant used the same five-to-one reference in a letter written during the war.
The Irrepressible Conflict. A Speech by William H. Means, Esq.
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James D. Richardson, 2 vols. Nashville: United States Publishing Co. McCardell Jr. Estimates on illiteracy vary widely. McPherson chose the lower number of a three-to-one margin in illiteracy rates between slave and northern states. Wayne Flynt noted that the federal census announced that illiteracy rates among whites were That makes it over with New England and for the middle states. On the call for a Confederate publishing trade, see Michael T. Joseph E. Candler, 5 vols. Atlanta, —11 , ; William W. Freehling and Craig M. Powers Jr. Governor Joseph Brown of Georgia made a similar appeal to poor whites; he praised the high wages in the South, and warned that if slavery was eliminated poor whites would lose legal and social status and slaves would plunder those living in the mountainous region of the state—a region known for a high proportion of poorer nonslaveholders.
And on Unionists in East Tennessee and their fear of secessionists imposing an elitist government, see Noel L. Simms feared that the border states would promote manufacturing and thus increase the poor white population. Mary C. Duncan Miles, 5 vols. See John F. Robert E. For retaliation against Confederates who joined the Union, see Lesley J. I argue that jokes served a similar purpose, making light of what the ruling elite saw as acts of treason, cowardice, or mutiny. Historians debate the estimates of men who served in the Confederate army.
On desertion, see Mark A. As Noe notes, conscripts and substitutes, the men most likely to be disaffected, are also the two cohorts about whom historians have the least knowledge of their personal feelings. It is difficult to track down the correspondence of these men. Class also determines who was literate enough to write—so historians who rely on personal letters inevitably reflect a class bias. The treatment that the soldiers have received from the government in various ways put them against it.
Williams et al. As Lebergott argued, because the Confederacy failed to collect sufficient taxes, it was forced to rely on impressments, which often targeted the weakest members of society: farms run by women whose husbands were soldiers. Mark Grimsley and Brooks D. Simpson Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, , —67, esp. George S. Denison and Samuel H. Chamberlayne also criticized people in Maryland for their free-labor ethos and Yankee blood.
Garfield was less generous in his assessment of Confederate deserters. Williams, eds. This practice was not new to the Civil War, but what was different was the decision to target the rich. See W. And on guerrilla warfare shaping these policies, see Daniel E. John F. Bradbury Jr. Estimates vary on the total number of southern refugees. Stephen Ash claims that nearly 80, white refugees had entered Federal lines by Elizabeth Massey contends that , were displaced by the war and the majority were women. See Stephen V. In Maryland, when one Virginia slaveowner demanded the return of his slaves, a dozen Union soldiers threw the man onto a blanket and tossed him up in the air.
Norton, , Hans L. It is interesting that Johnson planned to have all citizens take the loyalty oath and would begin with the wealthiest class, then ministers, doctors, and measured secessionist sympathies according to a class scale; see ibid. Soldiers blamed South Carolina for the war, and thought of its political elite as the very symbol of tyranny and arrogance. They looked forward to wreaking vengeance on the capital—where they vandalized property, set fire to buildings, and targeted the homes of the elites.
And for the indistinguishable quality of shanties of poor white or blacks, see George H. Hunter Dupree and Leslie H. Fischel Jr. Also see Richard A. Paul H. Bergeron Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, , —29, — Lane, John P. Gilmore also published an article; see J. On Herbert Spencer, see Robert J. See Sanford B. Haller Jr. On the Etymology of Hybrid Lat. Blair Jr. See John H. Abel Jr. In one term, Johnson vetoed twenty-nine legislative bills, far more than Jackson or any previous president; during the period from Washington to the Civil War, all the presidents combined had vetoed only fifty-nine acts of Congress.
On the revolutionary significance of the Fourteenth Amendment, see Robert J. Fleming, ed. Blair, Jr. On the trial for the murder of radical Republican Mr. Many had only a public school education. On the modest landholdings and the majority as nonslaveholders , see Richard L. Hume and Jerry B. Reverend A. Mayo was one of the strongest supporters of the Blair bill, and a vocal advocate of training poor whites in the South; see A. Davis of Arkansas served from to ; Tillman, who also served as a senator, was first elected governor of South Carolina in ; Vardaman was Mississippi governor from to , then senator from to And on Jeff Davis, see Richard L.
Grantham Jr. Elting Morison, 8 vols. On the problem of poor white illiteracy in Mississippi, see S. On the importance of pitting poor whites against blacks, see John Milton Cooper Jr. Gatewood Jr. Alfred Henry Lewis, vol. A Witkowski and John R. Davenport wrote his brother in that if immigrants were allowed to overrun the country, in two hundred years New York and the North would be transformed into Mississippi.
Here he used southern backwardness as his model for the menace of foreign immigration. On Mississippi, see Edward J. Davenport wanted to use the U. Her brother William Averell Harriman was a horse breeder, and the daughter Mary also bred cattle. Edward T. A Michigan legislator proposed a measure for killing by electricity children considered hopeless cases; see S.
Duncan McKim, M. For a similar argument that degeneracy should be stopped at the grandfather, see John N. Hurty, M. On Taussig, see Thomas C. For examples of the argument that whites, especially white women, had an instinctual aversion to blacks, see an article by the chancellor of the University of Georgia, Walter B. On checking husbands before marriage, see Mrs. John A.
On the important role of women in the eugenics movement, see Edward J. Goddard classified morons as having the mental age from eight to twelve; see Henry H. On the moron and sexual deviance, see Edwin T. Barr, M. On female morons becoming prostitutes or slovenly housekeepers with hordes of children, see George S. Bliss, M. Shufeldt, M. On morons as needed for manual laborers, see Lewis M. For southern poor whites and blacks receiving lower scores, especially those from the Deep South, see M. Hookworm was identified as the reason for stunted bodies among World War I draftees; see M.
Nicholson, M. Rankin, M. On white trash diseases, see James O. Todd L. See S. The poor whites were also a greater target because blacks had been disenfranchised in many southern states. The uneducated cracker still had political power, which many elite southerners found troubling. See Charles H. Estabrook and Ivan E. Lewis M. Terman dismissed the influence of environment and saw class as an accurate outcome of hereditary ability. Other eugenicists like popular lecturer Albert E. McDougall did a similar study comparing the intellectual capacity of English private schools children of educated elite and primary schools children of shopkeepers and artisans and arrived at the same conclusion as Terman: there was a marked superiority of the children of the educated elite.
See Reverend W. For the importance of targeting delinquent white girls of the poorer class for sterilization in North Carolina in the s, see Karen L. Huebsch, Inc. Modlin, eds. For articles debating aristocracy, see Robert N. David M. See U. As another expert explained, rural rehabilitation did not mean a return to the status quo, but giving farmers the means to sustain and improve their standard of living; see Joseph W. Matthew J. Mancini Athens: University of Georgia Press, , vi—ix. Dee, , Lewis W. One account noted that there were a large number of farmers; see Mauritz A.
Charles R. On thirties writers, see David P. Is the Great U. On waste, see Herbert J. Spinden was an archeologist who specialized in Mayan art and was curator of American Indian art and culture at the Brooklyn Museum from to See Regna Darnell and Frederic W. Gleach, eds. If he builds a cabin, the track to his door becomes a devouring gully. Paul K. On Dayton, Ohio, also see John A. Richard S. Arthur F. Henry A. Frey and T.
On the unromantic portrait of farming, see Rexford G. Tugwell, Thomas Munro, and Roy E. For the impact of Arthurdale, see testimony of C. I want to thank Charles Roberts for sending me this article. For images of homesteader and plow, see Frank L. On the lack of a cooperative agricultural culture in the South, see Charles M.
On visitors to the Greenbelt town, see Gilbert A. Only Huey Long protested the exclusion, and led a one-man filibuster in the Senate. Alexander, R. Tugwell, M. See Harvey A. See Howard K. Menhinick and Lawrence L. For the importance of sociology in the planning process, see Arthur E. On the class and caste system here he meant family and kinship in which inclusion was measured by intermarriage; this notion of caste was separate from the race—sex caste system , see Howard W.
Raper and Ira de A. On the shiftlessness of poor whites in fiction, and the association of shiftlessness with tenancy and transiency, see William J. See M. Swearingen to Howard Odum, June 13, On no clear line of demarcation between black and poor white homes, see Ulin W. Leavell to Odum, January 27, Guy Brown to Odum, February 6, Lervis to Odum, February 2, On working like blacks and living side by side with blacks, see W.
Schiffley to Odum, February 7, For the gully becoming a tourist site, see Paul S. Kristine M. On the difficulties of overcoming his southern identity, see Joe B. Dale Baum and James L. Mary M. Dalton and Laura R. Becky M. For the symbolic weight given the barbecue, see Kristin L. On lawn mowing as husbandry, see Dan W. See Alexander C. See John E. Allan D. On zoning restrictions, see Emily A. MacFall and E. Vickers v. Township Comm.
Babcock and Fred P. Douglas E. On the high depreciation rate of trailers, see Jack E. One is littered with an old porcelain toilet bowl from some forgotten departure. On television and tribalism, see H. On the rural white migration into Little Rock, see Ben F. Pettigrew and Ernest Q.
He also defended his actions based on polls. Lisa Lindquist Dorr has shown that the politics surrounding rape were more complicated. In her study of Virginia, the reputations of the white woman and the accused black man were taken into account. This serves to make the white trash characters even more insidious, because the Ewells demand the protection of the code of honor without deserving it. No truant officers could keep their numerous offspring in school; no public health officer could free them from congenital defects, various worms, and diseases indigenous to their filthy surroundings.
The Ewells gave the dump a thorough gleaning every day, and the fruits of their industry those that were not eaten made the plot of land around their cabin look like the playhouse of an insane child. On myth about the feud, see Altina L. Frank S. He sang songs with his band on the campaign trail.
He ran for governor and won one term in —48, and another in — He rode his horse up the capitol steps in See William C. Karen L. Cox Gainesville: University of Florida Press, , 87—, esp. Noel E. Parmenter Jr. On Folsom, see Paul E. James E. On Johnson as a teacher, see John R. The ambivalence over Johnson continued during his presidency. On his echoes of Odum, see Lyndon B. On the strategic plan for winning over southern legislators, see William B.
Dee, , — Hans H. Skei Oslo: Solum Forlag, , —, esp. On Malcolm X, see William E. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Lyndon B. Once that mistake has been made, they could have been paragons of will and morality, but most of them would never have had a chance to get out of the other America. Lewis H. Joseph Bensman and Arthur J. His conclusions were reconfirmed by an African scholar who explained that the griot, or family storyteller, was unreliable, and told the inquirer what he wanted to hear. Haley failed to tape the interview, relied on only one informant, and when other information contradicted the story he wanted, he ignored it.
See Donald R.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, "Atherstone" to "Austria" by Various
Calhoun, was co-founder of a reading series in the English Department and provided a small subsidy to The South Carolina Review for a few years after his death. Doris gave Dick the last word, however, by allowing us to trawl through the memory notebook assembled on the occasion of their simultaneous retirements, in from CU Libraries and English, respectively , and to publish his humorous riposte to their send off.
They remained very generous donors to the arts at Clemson, with fund- ing to support music, visual art, library acquisitions, and literary programs in the College of Liberal Arts and then Architecture, Arts and Humanities. Albert Goldbarth and Paget Powell followed Kinnell. Without the Calhouns, there might not have been a South Carolina Review, a literary enterprise capable of developing themed numbers such as the present one, with our 50th anniversary only two years away.
Manganelli W e were two grown women attempting to contact the dead through a clock radio. But when our bedside radio began mysteriously turning on by itself and intermittently chirruping at us—and this after items began uncannily disap- pearing and reappearing in different places in the room—we decided to see if we could detect in the blasts of sound that came, unbidden, from the open channel of the AM radio, a pattern in the static, an intent to communicate in the emissions that did seem, at times, as if they were trying alas, unintelligibly to answer our questions.
Immortalized in her attic, a beautiful white woman in fancy satin and lace gown represents Mme. Lalaurie, who presumably, if we read this moment in the light of the local legendry, has come upstairs during one of her parties to check on or even further torture her prisoners. She is accompanied by a well- dressed black footman, who may represent Bastien, her real life chauffeur, who is often cast in the narratives as a kind of traitor to his race: her only well-treated slave who may have even helped her escape the angry mob after her gruesome secret was discovered.
Lalaurie fittingly holds a candlestick in one hand and a bull whip behind her back, representing the face that she showed to haute Creole society as a beautiful socialite, and the dark truth she kept hidden from view in the attic of her home. Her face wears an expression of terror or agony, with her eyes rolling back into her head. This, the smallest figure, may represent an 8-year-old slave girl that the historical record shows Madame Lalaurie chased off of the upper floors of her house.
Accounts differ. But all agree she was feared by white and Negro Orleanians alike for the occult power it was alleged she possessed…Part Indian, part Negro, part white, Marie Laveau was the last great American witch! Rather like Haitian zombies, these women have been raised from the dead to labor for the profit of others. In New Orleans, ghosts are conjured daily in such narratives, and history—as seen in the still lifes in the wax museum, or in the variety of tales we examined at the Williams Research Center and heard standing across from Royal Street—is creolized. This and other legends surrounding these women place them above their husbands, above the law, above science, and even above God.
During their lifetimes, they were both respected and feared within their commu- nities, in control of money at a time when this was rare, and had husbands who were either completely erased from their narratives or rendered little more than footnotes in the popular ghost stories told throughout the French Quarter each night. Louis Lalaurie in Long Madame Laveau did not have the fortune that Lalaurie had amassed during her first two marriages.
In the television series, Lalaurie and Laveau are engaged in a battle that stretches across the centuries. But the fictional representation of these figures also disrupts the historical account in ways that are productive to our thinking about these women and the affect they produce today as figures of the living dead in New Orleans. The show itself creolizes history, weaving certain strands of truth together and tak- ing poetic license in others.
But this is to be expected given the archives from which the creators of the series drew inspiration for their depictions of Lalaurie and Laveau. Over time the mixture of voices and genres that have retold the stories of Lalaurie and Laveau have transformed the narratives of these women into something new.
In this creolized ar- chive, newspaper articles mingle with fiction, legal documents mix with travel narratives, and the voices of British and European narrators blend with those of Americans to form ghost stories that, repeated like a spell, conjure the sadistic socialite and voodoo queen in the French Quarter night after night. Depending on the genre, narrator, and time period, the story of what happened in the house on Royal Street changes and shifts as some details are highlighted and others are obscured in each retelling.
Martineau, a British travel writer, arrived in New Orleans in , two years after Lalaurie fled the mob that came to destroy her and her home. The young man returned full of indignation against all who could suspect this amiable woman of doing anything wrong. He was confident that she could not harm a fly, or give pain to any human being. The nine slaves who were confiscated by the state were eventually purchased by a family member and returned to her. Fredrika Bremer, a Swedish writer and feminist activist, who traveled to the United States in , offers a similar description of Dr.
Some ghost tours, however, portray Dr. Lalaurie as a mad scientist who was conducting medical experiments in his attic. Evoking images of Dr. Frankenstein or Dr. Long explains that this particular version of the legend might arise from letters Dr. Moreau Other stories recount her lavish parties and her costume changes at such events, which some theorize were staged to cover the sounds of human screams coming from her attic. According to these stories, she had to change dresses while playing hostess because her clothes became covered in blood when she would disappear during her soirees to menace her prisoners.
After watching Lalaurie entertain the bon ton of New Orleans, viewers are transported to her boudoir where she performs her toilette. With an expression of dead calm mingled with a hint of repulsion, we watch as Lalaurie methodically paints her face with the poultice. Gazing past several of the marriageable gentlemen her mother invited into their home, Pauline gives the house servant Bastien a challenging look. I invite all the eligible bachelors just to meet you and you spread your filthy legs for the house- man? Here, the series reveals the double standards of interracial desire in the nineteenth century.
But the Minotaur was always my favorite. Half man, half bull. As someone well-versed in mythology, Lalaurie would know that the Minotaur was a creature born out of vengeance and lust. Poseidon punished Minos, the King of Crete, for not following his order to sacrifice the beautiful white bull he sent him. The Queen was so enraptured by the creature that she asked Daedalus to build a wooden cow that she could climb inside in order to mate with the bull; the Minotaur was born from this union.
Instead of transforming herself as the Queen of Crete did in order to satisfy her desires for the bull, Lalaurie sublimates her desires for Bastien by transforming him into a creature she can freely desire. This act of vengeance came on an April morning in when a fire broke out in her kitchen.
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According to local lore, Laveau was the daughter of a former slave and a wealthy white planter, Charles Laveaux, who gave her a dowry of a house in Faubourg Marigny when she married in Indeed, during this time period, her status as a widow would have given her both sexual and financial autonomy. Laveau was a businesswoman who, according to legend, received a cottage on St. Anne Street as a gift for a voodoo spell that prevented a young man from being convicted of a crime Long, Voudou Before commanding the mob to bury Lalaurie, who has been cursed with immortality by means of the potion Laveau gave her, the voodoo priest- ess directs the socialite to look up at the second-floor gallery of the house.
The sight of her husband and daughters hanging by their necks brings Lalaurie to her knees. What have you done? American Horror Story, in turn, brings Del- phine Lalaurie and Marie Laveau back from the dead, inviting a new generation of viewers to become acquainted with their legends. But perhaps more importantly, the series con- jures the specters of slavery, miscegenation, and racial violence from the bullwhip to the noose that continue to haunt our present day. Our intention with this edited collection was to summon to one place different voices that speak about the legacy of slavery and other traumas that specifically haunt the Southern United States.
In this special issue of the South Carolina Review, we have drawn together various creative pieces in keeping with this theme, and a photo essay by Alrinthea Carter showcasing modern day ruins, haunt- ingly lit in sepia tones and chiaroscuro. Other contributions look specifically to literary texts and screen media. Cameron E. It was never our attempt to conjure new narratives about historical events here, but, as in our experiments with the clock radio at the Prince Conti hotel, we wanted to tune in to just the right frequency, to let other voices come through, to listen to what others have to say, to see proof that the past is present, and to hear confirmation that the dead do speak.
Notes 1. Sarah Juliet Lauro was perhaps influenced by years of watching ghost hunting reality TV shows and research she had previously done on the Spiritualist movement and Marcello Bacci, who claimed to have built a series of vacuum tubes that could contact the other side. Long reports that Paris mysteriously disappeared a few years after marrying Laveau in Long A New Orleans 47, During one of our tours, our guide referred to the slave girl as Nina. Describing Dr. Sources American Horror Story: Coven. Creator Ryan Murphy. FX, — FX, Bremer, Fredrika. Homes of the New World: Impressions of America.
New York: Negro Universities Press, Cable, George Washington. Strange True Stories of Louisiana. Castellanos, Henry C. New Orleans: L. Graham Co. Historic Tours. New Orleans, LA. Ghost Stories of Old New Orleans. Fandrich, Ina Johanna.
- The Untold History of the United States.
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- The Poor Relation (A Clean Regency Romance).
- Ecole, université: pour que la République tienne ses promesses (French Edition).
- Weird Pictures: An Artbook.
New York: Routledge, French Quarter. July 29, July 30, Lauro, Sarah Juliet, and Catherine Paul. Long, Carolyn Morrow. Madame Lalaurie: Mistress of the Haunted House. Tampa: University of Florida Press, Love, Victoria Cosner. Charleston, SC: History, Manganelli, Kimberly Snyder. Martineau, Harriet. Retrospect of Western Travel. London: Saunders and Otley, December 19, Pitts, Stella. Ward, Martha. Jackson: University of Mississippi, Wells, H. The Island of Dr. New York: Dover Publications, Guide to New Orleans. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, We got to keep it as visible as our blood.
The gesture on the part of the brother-sister duo is much more than just an act of kindness; it is a ritual performance rife with folkloric significance as the two pay tribute to a past that refuses to release its stranglehold on the present. In the fictional world that Morrison constructs, nothing ever dies, and ancestral spirits emanating from an Africanist cultural belief system serve a vital role in refiguring that which is no longer visible. Ghostly apparitions function as a sign of a buried past that interrupts the present, frequently without warning, forcing the reader to question fixed ideological assumptions.
Elements such as haunted houses, dark passageways, hidden family secrets, scenes of violence, death, and dying, and elabo- rate burial rituals conjured within the pages of fiction by American multi-ethnic writers carry a meaning extending beyond the private function critics ascribe to similar concerns in canonical texts by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, and others. For Marisa Parham, haunting and ghostliness offer important ways of thinking about the complex relationship between memory, art, and representation in African-American Literature.
Ghosts from long-ago haunt Money at every turn, reminding him of the troubled past he seeks to escape. Memories of the carnage taking place on the Korean battlefield co-exist alongside recollections of trauma associated with raced violence in America.
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As one of the walking wounded, he is a figure whose plight directs attention to vexed issues of identity and culture present in mid twentieth-century America. Narrative action occurs during the s—an in-between moment whose transi- tional nature mirrors a shift in cultural attitudes toward a range of issues, including race, gender, class, and the trauma associated with armed combat.
Bhabha cites Beloved as an example of a text whose haunting recapitulation of slavery destabilizes temporality in creating a radically altered portrait of the present. It is this voice that engages in a Derridian play of difference prompting a resistance to binary opposites such as black and white, masculine and feminine, past and present. For Morrison, the act of writing is much like an excavation process enabling the historical reclamation that is crucial to the journey toward healing on the part of post- trauma subjects and contemporary readers who, much like the ghostly figures that people the pages of fiction, are left to bear witness to a disturbing past.
Her scholarly enterprise is thus resonant with the attempt on the part of indigenous cultures to recuperate an ancestral past—one that may or may not exist in its originary form—and make that past usable in light of historical erasure. As a barometer of the need to remember and the resistance against that enterprise, Money is a figure whose ability to attest to a troubled history is complicated not only as a result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder manifesting itself in bouts of forgetfulness, recurring hallucinations, and acts of violence, but also the lack of documentation sur- rounding the events of the war.
Hallucinations of a mare, a severed foot, and a zoot-suited man—a potent cultural symbol for assertive black masculinity in modern America—haunt him at every turn. Aside from the hallucinations, the picture-images filtered through his subconscious serve as reminders of his disconnection from the world around him.
Clearly, America is undergoing a gradual shift in social attitudes and cultural values, and the image of the zoot-suited man along with the Bebop music Money hears while visiting an Atlanta nightclub help to locate narrative action within a transitional mo- ment in time. The text moves freely between stream-of-consciousness and first-person point of view, relying upon multiple and, at times, competing narrative perspectives.
It is as if Money takes on a life of his own similar to the ghosts who, according to Morrison, speak to her during the writing of the novel Minzesheimer D2. Turtles cook in their shells. The novel privileges memory and storytelling through the use of rhetorical structures involving repetition, revision, and recursion. White customers at a restau- rant assault the husband at one of the stops. At first, Money informs the reader that the husband will beat the wife as a way of venting frustration at the inability to protect the wife from danger.
In his daring liberation of Cee, the war hero is instinctively re-enacting the failed rescue of his war companions. The Korean girl is a shadowy presence whose ghostly visage hovers ominously over the narrative in ways that recall the existence of the ghost-child Beloved. In this later text, however, the spectral presence mirrors the shifting, increasingly complex identity markers of a modern world characterized by war, mass migration, and a host of human rights abuses affecting a global community of post-trauma subjects.
While at a church picnic in Chicago, Money recoils in horror after seeing a young girl. In his initial account of the murder of the Korean girl, Money implicates an anonymous soldier. Despite the apparent difference between the two men—one, a deranged southern doc- tor, the other, a tormented, alcoholic war veteran—Scott and Money are united by their adherence to a perverse sense of masculinist power and privilege. Much like the ghost-child Beloved, then, Money and Cee refigure the trope of the abandoned child whose domestic plight is emblematic of the ancestral loss associated with slavery and The Middle Passage.
Lenore, a stern, abusive step-grandmother, doubles as the wicked witch obsessed with harming the brother-sister duo. It is Lenore who sets the stage for the poor self-image that prompts Cee to marry Principal, an egotis- tical, materialistic man intent on pursuing his own personal fulfillment. Money describes his relationship with his sister in intensely psychic terms suggestive of the doppelganger or look-alike whose presence portends illness or danger. In Home, Morrison situates the contemporary search for a utopian home within the framework of her ongoing quest for literary sovereignty both within and outside the architecture of race Lubiano , Cee can no longer pass on the story of suffer- ing that anchors her in a specific history.
Not surprisingly, then, the vision of an unborn child who is gendered female haunts Cee so as to signify the primacy of the feminine as a source of self-identity. Christopher Okonkwo attributes the presence of such figures to a rhetorical practice surrounding the ogbanje or mythic spirit-child that is born to repeat a cycle of birth and death to the same mother Neither exclusively malevolent nor beneficent, the abandoned child is a mediating transatlantic figure who personifies the troubling void associated with a vanished past.
That vision serves as a means of bridging the gulf between and among Diaspora subjects across time and space owing to the absence of a maternal figure. She and the other women who nurture Cee are closely associated with the folk practices that have al- lowed a displaced black community to survive whole. I dote on you. You born into my arms. Come on over here and let me give you a hug.
In the South, Miss Ethel becomes the mother that Cee no longer has. Cee, in turn, recovers her lost childhood. Through the ceremonial practices associated with an agrarian homeplace—cooking, quilting, gardening, and homeopathic cures—these women provide the care that allows Cee to move closer to recovery. Significantly, this event involves a return to an abandoned field that the brother-sister duo once visited during childhood.
But here, a mature Cee demonstrates a level of independence noticeably absent early in life. Although Money has accom- plished his goal of rescue, one questions whether he or his sister can hold at bay the debilitating memories that have plagued the two. Earlier in the novel, the shadowy im- age of a zoot-suited man haunts Money. One might therefore interpret the presence of the zoot-suited man as an evil omen. But the fact that the man is now smiling points to a change, not so much in the ghostly images that appear throughout the text as much as in the psychology of the post-trauma subject.
But this reconciliation is much more doubtful than that in Beloved. The spectral presence in the later novel contin- ues to hover in-between worlds, beyond the end of the text itself, drawing the twenty-first century reader-audience into the narrative in creative, participatory ways. Ultimately, the reader is forced to witness the haunting experience in order to make sense of the weighty issues Morrison engages. The novel lends emphasis to the need to remember what was dismembered.
Notions of intermediacy are essential to an understanding of her narrative and rhetorical practices as she attempts to breathe new life into old legends. The novel therefore paves the way for a fuller understanding of modern life and the individuals who both shape and are shaped by a complex history. Subsequent references to this edition are included parenthetically. October 27, Sethe attempts to rescue her children from the atrocities that she experienced as a slave.
Later, the scene in which Sethe attacks Mr. Bodwin with an ice pick echoes and revises the earlier scene where the ex-slave mother witnesses the arrival of Schoolteacher. Hortense Spillers offers an insightful theoretical examination of the role of the feminine in black literary and cultural production. Rosalyn Warhol and Diane Herudl, eds. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, Works Cited Bhabha, Homi.
The Location of Culture. Brogan, Kathleen. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia. Caruth, Cathy. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. Charles, Ron. April Cohen, Leah Hager. May 17, , BR1. Danille Taylor- Guthrie, Ed. Jackson: UP Mississippi: DuBois, W. The Souls of Black Folk. New York: New American Library. Gilroy, Paul. Cambridge: Harvard UP. Hirsch, Marianne. New York: Columbia UP.
La Capra, Dominick. Writing History, Writing Trauma. Minzesheimer, Bob. Morrison, Toni. New York: Plume-Penguin.
New York: Knopf. Wahneema Lubiano, Ed. New York: Random House, New York: Anchor, Okonkwo, Christopher. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P. Parham, Marisa. New York: Rout- ledge. Schreibert, Evelyn Jaffe. Baton Rouge: Louisiana UP. Vickroy, Laurie. Trauma and Survival in Contemporary Literature. Charlottesville: U of Virginia P. Dark tourism provides a diversification of tourism mar- kets, broadening the appeal of travel for some and lengthening the duration of travel for others who extend day trips overnight to experience ghost tours.
In an era of mega-profit global tourism, the commercial appeal of dark tourism is a key reason for its growth. In New Orleans, for example, the reportedly haunted home of infamously cruel slaveholder Madame Delphine Lalaurie was opened to paying guests for tours as early as during the Spiritualist movement. Walking tours can incorporate historical as well as modern-era haunting stories and can include features of the landscape, such as cemeteries and spooky trees, as well as structures like pubs and houses. Haunted history tours focus on chronicling the history of places with an emphasis on death and hauntings; these tours can be stationary located at single sites or transitory spread among various sites in a city.
Historic tours of haunted houses include elements of both the haunted house and haunted history tour and are often stops on ghost walk tours. Although all of these types of ghost tours engage with the past through the figure of the ghost, historic tours of haunted houses focus most intensively on one or two dominant historical narratives that center on a family and dwell on the attachment of specific ghosts to specific homes.
While ghost walk tours promote movement between various sites, haunted house tours capitalize on a sense of confinement for both the ghost and the guest. On a ghost tour, history buffs and thrill seekers alike can expect to be pushed to the edges of social expectation and cultural taboo, to recapture that spine-tingling feeling of being a child in the haunted funhouse on Halloween. Ghost tours create periods of suspension from the mundane through suggestive encounters with things that go bump in the night.
Beyond the thrill of hair-raising stories set in unfamiliar locales, these tours allow grown-ups to test reality, to build their own sense of the real and the possible in concert with the tour guide and fellow tourists, whose own experiences and testimonies are drawn into the tour narratives and add to the synergy of the moment. As an alternative to the staid historical tour, the ghost tour seems to provide participants elevated stimulation, access to a behind-the-scenes, secret knowledge of past events, and an authenticity of raw emotion drawn from a flirtation with the serious questions of life, mortality, and after-life.
Whereas Salem, Massachusetts the location associated with the famous Salem Witch Trials has long been a magnet for tourists interested in the super- natural, now spirits of the dead are said to be manifesting almost everywhere. Each location that I have visited in recent travels through my native Midwest, from Madi- son, Wisconsin to Petoskey, Michigan to Cincinnati, Ohio, has advertised new cemetery tours, haunted historic road tours and haunted public building tours.
While I was on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, my host, historian Stephen Kantrowitz, told me that a local paranormal group was spending the afternoon investigating an early campus building rumored to be haunted. And yet, in the midst of this widespread national flurry of ghostly activity, I posit that the American South will take the lead as a ghost tourism hot spot. The reason, I think, is that Americans hold deep impressions of a South character- ized by difference and difficulty.
The South, in broader American understanding, has long carried a hint of foreignness and cultural otherness, a hint of being an elsewhere within the boundaries of the nation. The tradition of southern gothic literature has long channeled notions of a tainted South into complex representations of corrupted social relations set against the backdrop of old and brooding houses. Ghost tours of southern sites tap into this pre-existing sense of the South, a fitting spatial stage for the strange and the macabre. While promoters of southern historic sites have traditionally emphasized roman- tic stories of aristocratic elegance framed as cultural heritage, now a growing number of southern tourist attractions, including historic plantation homes, emphasize death and hauntings.
Take Charleston, South Carolina, for example. The sheer number of available books on the subject of southern hauntings, with titles like Haunted Plantations, Georgia Ghosts, and even Ghost Cats of the South, as well as websites like The Moonlit Road and Spooky South, point to the breadth and mounting popularity of a commercialized haunted South narrative that borrows from southern gothic literary tropes.
Augustine are readily linked to historical hauntings in the public imagination due to their layered histories of violence, suffering, and racial injustice. So rather than selling romantic heritage packaged as an idealized past, more historic sites and independent tour companies are peddling a spectral South. I learned this first-hand during my tour of an old manor home that I stumbled upon in Savannah—the Sorrel Weed House. For the Sorrel-Weed House is not only haunted, as I will explain in more detail shortly, it is haunted by a slave woman and her mistress.
My interest in this essay, then, is in exploring how enslaved people and the institution of slavery are portrayed at southern haunted house sites. In particular, I wonder how the figure of the slave as ghost affects the already troubled dynamic of black representation at historic homes. Some scholars emphasize the nature of the site and its history as a defining factor of heritage tourism, while others emphasize the personal inten- tion and subjective experience of the tourist who encounters the site in question. While heritage tourism can be a positive and reaffirming experience for visitors, it can also privilege certain social identities while marginalizing others, and hence reinforce pre- existing social and cultural divisions along the lines of race, class and gender.
Sociologists Jennifer Eichstedt and Stephen Small conducted a large-scale study of former plantation sites in the s. In a study, E. Arnold Modlin, Derek Alderman, and Glenn Gentry found that tour guides at plantation house museums had begun to incorporate facts about slaves in response to academic work that had demonstrated the dearth of coverage. African Americans who had labored at the site were not enlivened through story and were not rendered as full human beings. It is important to note that these enslaved people are rendered as less than full human beings i.
This turn from heritage to horror, I argue, does little to remedy the problem of misrepresentation and marginalization of African American history at southern historic house sites, and in fact, worsens it. The Sorrel-Weed House publicity and tours reveal a disturbing intersection between inaccu- rate, insensitive images of slavery and heightened commercialization for a ghost tourism market.
By exploring the layers of meaning that attention to race and gender can bring to a case study at the intersection of southern tourism and dark tourism, I hope to address the dynamic of racial projection and anxiety that persists at contemporary southern public sites. Since my initial visit, I have returned to the Sorrel-Weed House and retaken the daytime and evening tours.
My analysis of the Sorrel-Weed narrative in this essay is based on my first visit there but written with the hindsight of those later observations. This was the first instance during my short time in Savannah that I had been solicited to take a historic home tour. I was intrigued by the thought of being beckoned into history and surprised that I had not heard of this home before I happened upon it. I would later learn that unlike many other historic house museums in the district that were public institutions, preservation organi- zation projects, or association headquarters, Sorrel-Weed was held by private individuals, brothers who had purchased the home through a company they founded called Sorrel- Weed Restorations.
It read, in part: A fine example of Greek Revival style, this building completed in from the plans of Charles B. Cluskey, a well-known Georgia architect shows the distin- guished trend of Savannah architecture during the first half of the 19th century… The Mediterranean villa influence reflects the French background of the original owner, Francis Sorrel , a shipping merchant of Savannah who was as a child saved by a faithful slave from the massacre of the white colonists in St.
In the library of the home, a cheerful older couple who volunteered that they were from a nearby city sat waiting for the late afternoon tour to begin. I joined them. We were a small group. It was the slow season. But our tour guide made up for what we lacked in size with an exaggerated, if slightly sarcastic, enthusiasm. Lee, and an unwelcome visit by General William Tecumseh Sherman during the federal occupation of Savannah.
The narrative our docent spun as we moved into the heart of the tour was immediately disturbing and even more dramatic than the historic marker had indicated. For our tour guide explained that we were standing in a haunted mansion built for a free man of color who had once owned scores of black slaves.
Sorrel was filthy rich in his time and fond of hosting lav- ish soirees that spilled out onto Madison square. He possessed twenty-five Haitian slaves mostly for show, as he only required five to run the house. The slaves spent their ample spare time in a room in the basement that had hot running water chan- neled behind the fireplace, a luxury that most homes in the city lacked at that time.
Chicken and goat bones were found beneath the doorframe in the basement, and human remains had been discovered under the floorboards. As we toured the basement, our guide reminded us, we were walking over the still-interred bones. He made a habit of arriving late to his own parties, allow- ing the guests to soak in the grandeur of his house.
He possessed a private dining room in the house that could be barricaded, and for good reason. For here is where his Haitian heritage came out into the open—in the Caribbean influenced coral toned wall color, in the pineapple shaped plaster mold on the ceiling, in the curved walls meant to ward off the ghosts, whom Francis believed lurked in corners. In the private dining room, Francis sat with his back to these protective walls, while his wife, Matilda Moxley Sorrel, sat with her back to the corners. Wealthy though he was, Francis led a tragic existence.
His young second wife, Matil- da, had taken her own life, leaping from the upper floor balcony and landing in a heap on the brick courtyard below. What had driven her to this act of desperation? Sorrel, it turned out, was having an illicit affair with Molly, a slave who lived on the second floor of the carriage house that served as slave quarters just across the courtyard. Foul play was suspected.
The carriage house where Molly had lived and died was restricted during the daytime historic tour but would be open that evening during the paranormal tour, since Molly still haunted the place. Did Molly commit suicide? People said so at the time, but the claim was doubtful. Did Francis kill Molly out of guilt?
Did other slaves in the household murder her out of jealousy? Maybe so. Our tour guide speculated about the possibilities and ex- plained that soon after these tragic events had unfolded, Francis abandoned the house. He moved next door into a tall, austere townhouse and had a brick wall erected between the two properties.
He lived until his seventies, an old age for men in the nineteenth century. Could he have extended his life by practicing Voodoo sacrifice rituals in the basement of the old Greek Revival home? Was this the reason for the bones, both animal and human, buried in the basement? I had taken several historic plantation and urban slavery home tours across five states over the past ten years and read about even more in the scholarship on representations of slavery. This was the first time I had heard an elaborated narrative of racial passing and sexual transgression, let alone of a slave haunting, at a plantation house or domestic slavery site.
I returned again that night to take the ghost tour at a cost of fifteen dollars, noting the mark-up from the daytime price. This second tour, made even more dramatic by the cover of darkness, advanced a similar narrative as the daytime tour with variations of emphasis. Experience this grand Savannah home that will intrigue and entice you with her rich ex- traordinary atmosphere of southern history, fine antiques, and outstanding architecture.
The best evidence for this claim included, in ghost hunt- ing lingo, an EVP electronic voice phenomena consisting of audiotaped screams. Most striking to me in my visits to the house and subsequent ongoing research has been the nature of the ghost story promoted at the site and recirculated by online fans. The story and its popularity led me to ask two related questions. What image of past lives, particularly past lives during slavery, does the Sorrel-Weed House narrative present and reinforce? What cultural work is this popular story doing in the contemporary urban South? I concluded that this ghost tour narrative belittles actual sexual violence perpetrated against enslaved black women by white male slaveholders, exploits the emotional and physical suffering of women in patri- archal household arrangements, and reproduces the stereotype of the black male threat.
The complex history and personal agency of black as well as white women in the an- tebellum South are undermined by the Sorrel-Weed tour narrative. Violent deaths of two women—one black, one white—animate the ghost story. The story depicts this relationship as consensual and thus carries with it traces of the historical image of the seductive, over-sexed black female slave.
Paying visitors can tour the room where Molly swung from the rafters and imaginatively recreate the scene of her murder. The African American male character passing as white also suffers representational ignominy in the Sorrel-Weed tour narrative. He engaged in adulterous sex if not explicitly named as rape , practiced black magic, and is suspected of having committed a murder.
Rarely do southern house museums highlight corrupt acts perpetrated by elite male patriarchs. But in this narrative, Francis commits all manner of evil. His behavior can be narrated in this way in part because of the interest in the dark side of human nature that the ghost tour format invites, but also because the site story includes the intelligence that Francis Sorrel was passing for white.
The secretly black Francis Sorrel spoiled his slaves, practiced Voodoo, bedded a black girl and may have killed her, and betrayed a white woman to whom, ac- cording to southern antebellum law, he should never have been married in the first place. This is a ghost story that can be read as an allegory of the threat of black masculinity, an allegory about urban spaces that are haunted today by the presence of black men.
Francis Sorrel may have pulled the wool over the eyes of his fellow Savannahians, but he cannot do so to contemporary Savannah residents or paying visitors who tour his haunted house. The Sorrel-Weed story has something to tell us, and it is an age-old Southern and indeed national lesson that has been refashioned again and again in popular culture: white women are emotionally and physically fragile; black women are sexually deviant and disposable; and black men should be feared and contained.
Francis Sorrel, it might be noted, does not haunt his own house. He alone among that tragic trio is dead and securely buried, a forever imprisoned black man. The events rendered in the Sorrel-Weed tours are plausible in the history of the slave- holding South where black women had no legal protections, white women had limited rights, and a small minority of men of color owned black slaves.
If taken seriously and rep- resented accurately, the Sorrel-Weed story could be used to reveal the grossly hierarchical power relations of the past that continue to cast a shadow on our present. Indeed, the pres- ence of enslaved characters in the story is an indirect form of acknowledging a troubled history shaped by the system of slavery.
The story told by the guides that I heard sanitized those racial and gendered dynam- ics, evaporating the dehumanizing aspects of slavery and suppressive aspects of patriarchy while exaggerating bits of the story that turned on illicit black sex and gender violence. The white male docents I encountered evidenced no shame, ambivalence, or reluctance about the human indignity of the story that they recounted.
Rather, much of the basis for the Sorrel-Weed hauntings seems to have been invented. In short, the narrative of Francis, Matilda, and Molly recreates a hierarchical racial and gendered script for the fun, comfort, and profit of it, amounting to what might be termed plantation kitsch. This I readily acknowledge. Nevertheless, I offer the prediction and caution that it may soon stand as an early adopter among a crowded field of haunted southern houses and plantations, as dark tourism continues to grow with the multi- billion dollar global tourist industry.
I also extend the hope that scholars, writers, and practitioners of public history will be on alert for representations of slavery that advance exploitative, and indeed farcical, narratives—and attempt to craft historically grounded, socially conscious counter-narratives to circulate in the public square. For, as many schol- ars of historic sites and memorials have observed, much is at stake for our contemporary social and civic lives in how we remember the racial dynamics of the past.
Rather, the understanding that people think they have gained when they leave places of historical significance, and the feeling that motivates and shapes that understanding, can be channeled into private ac- tions and social interactions with broader impact. Visitors to house museums—historic spaces uniquely associated with family, intimacy and safety—may be especially sensitized to the narratives they encounter there, as crossing into the private spaces of others likely encourages more lasting, emotive and conceptual links between the lives of those in the past and our own present circumstances.
Rather than giving up the ghost to movers and shakers of the tourist industry who seek to profit from misremembering the lives of the enslaved, perhaps we can imagine a different kind of social haunting. Perhaps we can bring into being—through our writing, visual art, and acts of public performance—haunting interpretations of history that chas- ten and enlighten our fellow citizens, compelling recollection of past wrongs and warning against the repetition of injustice in the future.
This kind of radical representation using the ghost as a sign would carry with it the social meaning of haunting theorized by soci- ologist Avery Gordon. Stone, eds. Glenn W. Lennon and Foley, Dark Tourism, Avery F. Philip R. Warren L. Quotation: David T. Herbert, ed. Jennifer L. Christine N. Horton, eds. Sorrel-Weed House print brochure, front and back sides, winter For an engaging analysis of the role in kitsch the notion of the cheapening effect of consumer culture in dark tourism, see Richard Sharpley and Philip R.
Gordon, Ghostly Matters, xix, xvi, During the reconstruction, a brick mason sees the ghost of an enormous man swinging two hammers. As a ghost story, it is a fairly simple one to characterize: the ghost returns to his place of death. Yet the structure of the story suggests a complicated relationship with dangerous labor. The tunnel is the site of a catastrophe, yet the mason sees the ghost of John Henry as a victor.
If the danger of work on the railroads in Appalachia spurred ghost stories like this one of John Henry, it should come as no surprise that the coal mining industry has created a catalogue of ghost stories that document the fear and anxiety inherent to the profession. Of course, the conditions of the underground mines suggest an ideal location for ghost stories. There is the threat of imminent death from cave-in, explosion, or asphyxiation. This darkness must be coupled with the labyrinthine nature of the mines, which even as early as the turn of the 20th century could stretch up to fifteen miles long Long , The instability of this life obviously manifested itself through the labor movement in the first half of the 20th century, but it is also revealed in the ghost stories of the Appalachian coalfields.
The ghost stories of Appalachia afford these mines a unique place in the folklore of the region. If ghost stories are an op- portunity through narrative for a community to perceive and manage its anxiety, then the ghost stories of Appalachia reveal ambivalence toward the mines, a primary provider of the collective anxiety—along with economic and cultural capital—of the region. Rather than finding the meaning of how these ghost stories of the mines are told by settling them into a larger genre of American folklore, this study will compare the mines as they exist as elements of the ghost stories, especially in comparison to similar elements in other ghost stories of the region.
When the coal mines as narrative elements are specifically compared to other elements of Appalachian ghost stories, then more can be said about how the mining stories speak and fail to speak of resistance to the fear and necessity of the mines in the region. These mines ultimately serve two functions in these ghost stories, as setting and agent of unnatural death. One need not take a strictly structuralist perspective—and that is certainly not the position of this current study—in order to accept that location is an integral part of the story.
Seymour Chatman aggregates the possible uses of setting in a story, stating that they can be utilitarian, symbolic, or simply irrelevant The locations within Appalachian ghost stories are generally un- derstood to be utilitarian or irrelevant; their use is to help establish a mood or provide the necessary physical scenery for the story to take place. Similar to ghost stories from other regions, the most popular location for Appala- chian ghost stories is also the most frequented location: the home. While the house may be the site of an unnatural death, and at times might conceal the victim of that death, the house itself is not the cause of the death.
Montell dedicates an entire volume to stories of domestic ghosts, and the narrative purpose of the home is nearly always the theatrical stage for the haunting. The ghost is unidentified as anyone other than the former owner of the house; in this case, the house is simply the necessary setting.
In a Knox County, Kentucky story, a house was even an explicit part of the death, when a newborn child was shoved behind a wall and suffocated, only to return generations later to scrape and tap until the current owners opened the wall to find the skeleton. In Ghosts Across Kentucky, Montell tells a story of a woman who is raped and murdered by Union soldiers at the base of a cliff.
When the informant himself comes to the cliff he can hear the woman screaming for help from below While the site is clearly haunted, the location is not signified as a participant in the violence, as the Union soldiers clearly are. The base of the cliff is haunted because the assault happened to occur there, not due to any inher- ent wickedness in the site.
As in the stories of haunted houses, even when nature causes unnatural death, the storyteller assigns no maliciousness to the location. Although the snowstorm that kills McKenna receives no blame for his death, this is not to suggest that there were not locations within Appalachia that embodied destruction and wickedness by corrupting both the home as well as nature through unfair labor prac- tices: not coal mines, but slave plantations. If any location might be understood as embodying evil, and therefore participa- tory in either unnatural death or unsettling hauntings, it is the site of chattel slavery.
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In Musick and Montell, however, the evil is always contained within the slave master rather than the plantation, even if the work itself is what either killed the slave or drove him to suicide. Despite the location becoming the arena for horrifying exploitation, the land itself does not inherently contain evil. In all of these locations, two categories of space can be identified.
The first is that space is simply a geographic and narrative necessity, and the appearance of ghosts occurs there only because of what happened on that space. If the site is evil, it is because the site had evil literally enacted upon it. It is a kind of victim, as can be seen in stories when the revenant is dispatched to the afterlife and the location returns to a place of pleasure or peace.
The second is that space sometimes participates in unnatural death and causes a revenant to appear, but this participation is either considered amoral, as in the story of Frank McKenna, or secondary to the wickedness of a human being, as is the case in the slave story above. The coal mines of West Virginia and Kentucky are, like domestic spaces and open swaths of nature alike, common sites for ghosts in the region. The mines, however, do not fit easily into the two aforementioned categories of location.
They are not geographical accidents; their very existence is what causes the unnatural deaths to occur. And unlike the second category, there is no amoral participation in the deaths, nor is there an immediate villain to be pinned with guilt. Ghosts who remain in the mine do so not only because it was the place of their murder, but because the place itself is the malevolent force which caused it.
Nearly every ghost story in Appalachia that involves a coal mine is rooted in a deadly mine accident. This may seem to go without saying, but it suggests an immediate, impor- tant difference with the locations listed above. The coal mine is not scenery for thieving or murdering; the mine itself is virtually always the agent of death.
The coal mines, however, are both the agent and the weapon. It is the mines themselves that destroy the miners, and there are no outside forces apart from the existential reality of the mines and the economic reality of needing work, which cause the unnatural deaths to occur. The reality of the cave-in is stated as a matter of fact, with nothing to sentimentalize or bemoan because the danger is inherent in the mines themselves. When both are caught in a mine collapse, the accused friend is crushed to death, but his ghost returns to hold the bracing while the husband can escape The imminence of collapse is the known reality of life in the mines, and only the presence of the supernatural can stave off its killing of miners.
The ghost of a betrayed friend is no less an expectation than a mine safe from collapse. The ghost stories of cave-ins do not concern themselves with corrupt mine operators; supervisors are a rar- ity within the ghost stories, and the owners themselves are universally absent. There is no overt economic or social concern in the stories. The ghost stories are concerned with the immediate confrontation of the conditions of the mines, the very existence of which sug- gest the cause and means of unnatural death.
Within the ghost stories and arguably in real life as well , superstitions abound to counter the reality of impending death, such as keeping women out of the mines, befriending three-legged rats and supernatural cats who bestow safety to those miners who pass on a bit of kindness Musick , 11, The miners of the ghost stories await doom the way a cursed man in other stories might flee from the furies. These agents of unnatural death are most often the very cause of the appearance of the ghosts who seek to right some wrong, whether that be restoration or retribution.
As a rule, these ghosts are the spirits of people who have met violent deaths at the hands of murderers, and they wish to disclose the identity of the murderer. As will be seen, however, what cries for justice the mining stories seem to demand sound sadly muted when contrasted with stories of vengeance outside of the mines.
One of the most common reasons for revenants is murder, and either the ghost lingers as though cursed, or specifically returns in order to point the misty finger at the criminal. More often, however, the revenant does seek and inevitably finds some kind of justice against the murderer.
Importantly, family is by no means off-limits for these bouts of justice. Musick records one story of a father who, while in a drunken rage, beats his son to death. In cases of mass cruelty and death, such as the institution of slavery or the Civil War, revenants return for justice against those who break a kind of code of honor.
In the same volume, a Union soldier murders a Confederate soldier by a bullet to the head after the latter was taken as a prisoner of war. The horrifying conditions do not excuse the cruel and irresponsible behavior of those in power. The mines, however, stand apart from all of these murdering agents. Not only is there no active human agent in any of the unnatural deaths of miners, there is no attempt by ghosts to seek retribution.
The role of the mines has already been established as being more than a geographic setting for a generic ghost story in that it actually creates unnatural death, but these same mines receive decidedly less anger or vengeance by the supernatural than other agents of death. Musick records a story of a small boy who dies, through no fault of his parents, yet returns to haunt them by playing the trumpet at night that they refused to let him play during his life.
The mines, the setting and cause of much more dangerous and negligent behavior than denying a boy his trumpet, are the site of no such acts of retribution. What is allowed to these returning ghosts is a muted form of retribution; the miner cannot escape the reality of the mines, but the revenant can help him survive what is his occupational destiny. As seen in the above story of the woman who is raped and murdered by Union soldiers, there is a category of ghost whose torment cannot be ceased.
This is a common occurrence in the mines, as miners hear the screams of their fallen colleagues and must simply accept them as a reality. In one story recorded by Musick, a man named McCor- mick, who died in a car wreck outside the mines, nevertheless returns to the mines to continue to work, causing miners who see him to flee or black out Musick , While McCormick does not attempt to torment the miners or howl in damnation, he is ostensibly the same as the disembodied voices of the miners which travel through the ventilation pipes: his torment and labor will never cease.
One of the most common motifs in the coal mines is the revenant demanding or as- sisting in a pyrrhic type of retribution. Supervisors or safety inspectors are never involved, corrupt union bosses are far too removed from the immediate environment to appear, and a haunting driven by the desire for more money for living colleagues is unknown. While in the mine, the son sees a blue flame and begins to follow it as it takes him deeper into the mine.
Eventually he hears a voice call his name and sees his father in the blue flame. There is no hope for the son to do anything but work in the mines. All that can be won back from death is the body of the fallen miner. His corpse, apparently horrifyingly damaged, is transferred to his home where a hand falls off. Once reunited with the rest of the body, the miner can rest in peace in the afterlife Musick , Big Max volunteers to repair a cave-in site where several miners had been killed.
Related The Disappearance of Sara Oglethorpe: A Scary 15-Minute Ghost Story (15-Minute Books Book 212)
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