Tag: appalachian

Asheville’s Most Haunted: Riverside Cemetery


Riverside Cemetery, located near Asheville, is a very peaceful, quiet place–most of the time. It’s the resting place of some of the city’s notable individuals including war heroes, authors, artists, politicians and even presidential bodyguards.

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Folklife: The Ghostly Legend of Wicked John and the Devil

Storytelling has been a long-standing deep-rooted tradition with Appalachian families.  The pioneers of Appalachia developed an elaborate structure of folklore combined with various tales that were passed on orally from one generation to the next.  These oral histories were told to ensure the preservation of their community.

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Appalachian Folk Magic: The Witch Bottle


There is an old Irish tale passed down through the generations about a clairvoyant and healer who carried a magic bottle.  Biddy Early (Bridget Ellen “Biddy” Early, 1798-1872) became known as a witch when she foretold the murder of a Limerick landlord she was employed by as a servant.  When her premonition proved true, she gained a reputation as a witch. 

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Folklife: The Faith Healing Tradition of “Talking Out the Fire”


My grandma Viola “talked the fire out” of several burns I received as a child.  When I was a teenager, I asked Grandma Viola if she could show me how to do it.  She told me that the gift had to be handed down from a man.

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Folklife: The Vanishing Grave Houses of Appalachia

The cover photo shows the family of William and Nancy Agee.  The photo was taken in 1915 and currently hangs inside the grave house.  The couple had two sons that died at a young age.  One child was stillborn and the other son, Guffrey, died in 1914 at the age of two years old.

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A Dog’s Life: How a Beloved Stray Changed a Small Appalachian Town

Rockford, Alabama is a small quiet rural Appalachian town with a population of about 450.  This quaint Coosa County town has one red light and one police officer because according to the locals, that’s all they need.

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The Great Wagon Road: America’s First Interstate Highway Disappears

Daniel Boone declared, “The history of the western country has been my history.”  And for many native Appalachians and Southerners of Scotch-Irish, German-English descent, The Great Wagon Road is part of their family history–whether they’re aware of it or not.

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Granny’s Wisdom: The Magic of Wild Medicine

The Southern Highlands of North Carolina is part of the Appalachian chain that extends from Georgia all the way up into Virginia.  Europeans moved to this area during the late 1600’s with the Scotch-Irish and Germans traveling from the northern states down the Great Wagon Road.

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Folklife: The Lost Tradition of Lye Soap and Hog Killin’ Day


The older I get the more I tend to reminisce and revive old childhood memories.  With the first frost announcing winter’s arrival, comes football, hot grits for breakfast and bringing out the long underwear.

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Sitting Up with the Dead: Lost Appalachian Burial Customs


From the peaks of the Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains to the river valleys of the French Broad and Catawba, North Carolina has a long history that is steeped in rich Appalachian traditions.  Despite the Hollywood “hillbilly” stereotype, Appalachians carry a sense of pride for their culture, language, and heritage.

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