In honor of the publication of my friend Melissa Bowersock's new novel, Stone's Ghost, my blog this week is dedicated to sharing ghost stories I have uncovered in my own work. I'll have a different story each day through Thursday. Then we'll join Melissa's "Friendly Ghost Party." on Friday, July 26, 2013. Here at "Roundheads and Ramblings" I'll be hosting part of her moveable ghost buffet. My blog will present a delectable buffet of ghost-related main dishes, complete with recipes. So be sure to join us then.
In the meantime, here's a South Carolina ghost story:
The Spanish moss that hangs from old oak trees in the South is admittedly spooky looking, but until I was doing research for The Road to Frogmore, I had never heard the slaves' explanation of what it is. In this next passage from The Road to Frogmore, the gullible Lucy describes another of the ghost stories she had heard during her visit to the slave cabins. This time, her fear is aroused by all the Spanish moss hanging from the oak trees on St. Helena Island.
“Laugh, if you will, but she also told me about Graybeards . . .”
“What in the world are you talking about?”
“All that stuff hanging from the trees. You told us that it was called Spanish moss and that
it’s some sort of miraculous plant that lives on air. I didn’t ever believe that!”
“Susannah says it’s spirits that live in the trees. They’re slave owners and other cruel people who have been punished by being trapped in a tree. They’ve been there so long that their beards have grown long and gray and straggly. When you see a tree with lots of graybeards, you’re supposed to be warned to behave yourself. You can tell that this place is full of evildoers. Good people shouldn’t be living here.”