You know the old saying, “You need poke salet to thin your blood and get you ready for the summer”? This spring tonic is a controversial nefarious weed. More than likely growing wild in your backyard, Pokeweed has been a southern delicacy for centuries. You won’t find this weed on an official list of edible native plants. This wild green comes with a warning label due to its relation to the nightshade plant. But yet, every spring “poke salad” fanciers gather the young shoots despite the warning label.Continue reading “Folklife: Cooking Up a Batch of Poke Salet Brings Fond Memories”
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.Continue reading “Asheville’s Most Haunted: Riverside Cemetery”
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.Continue reading “Folklife: The Ghostly Legend of Wicked John and the Devil”
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.Continue reading “Appalachian Folk Magic: The Witch Bottle”
My grandma Viola Brewington and Aunt Gaynelle Carter could “talk 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.Continue reading “Folklife: The Faith Healing Tradition of “Talking Out the Fire””
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.Continue reading “Folklife: The Vanishing Grave Houses of Appalachia”
Continue reading “Appalachian Folklife: The Mysterious Vampire of Big Stone Gap”
From Jack Tales to spooky stories, Wise County, Virginia is riddled with history and folklore from the early days of the pioneers through the coal boom after the Civil War. The culmination of traditional folktales in Appalachia is the very thread that connects family roots.
Continue reading “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.
Continue reading “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.
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.Continue reading “Granny’s Wisdom: The Magic of Wild Medicine”