Her Kind, a Poem by Anne Sexton

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Photographer unknown (Pinterest).

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

– Anne Sexton

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The ‘Dark World’ of Ghost Adventures’ Zak Bagans—A Must-Read!

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Into the Shadows with the Lead Investigator of the Ghost Adventures’ Crew, 2011 (VB Books)

Whether you are a fan of the hit TV series Ghost Adventures, or just learning about it for the first time, this telling autobiography by the show’s creator and star, paranormal investigator, Zak Bagans, is quite a story! His experiences have been frightful, his commitment arduous, and his passion and honestly unflagging. A must-read. Below, is the Foreword to Dark World: Into the Shadows with the Lead Imvestigator of the Ghost Adventures’ Crew, Zak Bagans (with Kelly Criger), VB Books, 2011.

Foreword

There is arguably no topic in human history that incites as much contemptuous disbelief and passionate dedication as the existence of life after death. As humans, it is our natural instinct to belittle what we don’t understand, and then follow with statements of derision and ridicule. Even mentioning that ghosts might exist can cause instant damnation and persecution among the religiously devoted and staunchly pragmatic, which causes many people who have had a paranormal experience to remain quiet about it. Maybe that’s the greatest achievement of the dead: they’ve convinced the world that they don’t exist, so the majority of us are either disinterested in proving it otherwise or too convinced in our own beliefs to recognize a new viewpoint. Yet most of us are at least curious to know what happens when we die; some may say that information is even a right of humanity, that if another world exists after our physical bodies die, then it’s our right to know about it.

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Artist’s rendition of the “entity” that would trouble Bagans as a child.

I wrote this book for several reasons. First, I want to take you on my seven-year journey through the world of paranormal investigation from the documentary film in 2004 through the many seasons of Ghost Adventures. I want to tell you about the things that didn’t make it onto the screen and dig deeper into the most significant events that did. We sometimes spend four days filming an episode and have to boil it down into one hour, so there’s always stuff we want to show, but don’t have the time to. And sometimes even the most significant phenomena that we capture have to be covered quickly because of time constraints.

Second, I want to use our adventures to address leading theories on life after death….

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Southern Appalachian Culture, an Annotated Bibliography…

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The following bibliography identifies and briefly encapsulates in an annotation the content of articles, chapters, books, and other publications concerned with some aspect of the English of southern and central Appalachia from West Virginia south to Georgia. The emphasis is on academic and research-based works, but many popular items are also included, especially ones dealing with vocabulary and names, when not appearing in newspapers. Since many annotations indicate the state(s) on which the study is based, readers are encouraged to conduct on-screen searches for locales and terms such as grammatical features, pronunciation patterns, and others that will show up in either the reference or annotation. Because so many items span multiple categories, this listing is not organized by subject matter.

  • Abney, Lisa Jo. 1988. “Preterites and Past Participles in the Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaire.” College Station, TX: Texas A&M University M.A. thesis. Categorizes verb forms in questionnaires returned by 52 veterans from East Tennessee, finding that “standard” forms occur 91% of the time.
    Abney, Lisa. 1989. “Preterites in Early Southern White English.” SECOL Review 13: 180-93.
  • Adams, Frazier B. 1970. “Colloquial Speech Forms.” Appalachia Revisited: How People Lived Fifty Years Ago, pp. 47-49. Ashland, KY: Economy. Brief presentation of archaisms. Review: C. S. Guthrie. 1970. Kentucky Folklore Record 16.81.
  • Adams, Henry J. 1976. “Speech Patterns.” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 41: 70-71. 104 figures of speech from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
  • Alderman, Pat. 1972. “Mountain Hollerin.” In the Shadow of Big Bald: About the Appalachians and Their People, p. 64. Jonesboro, TN: Tri-Cities Press.

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The Shirting Needle & Other Appalachian Tales of Bewitchment

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Granny Witch. Artist unknown. See signatures at bottom of etching. (Pinterest)

The Old Cap-Woman

The following stories come down from American ethnologist, Frances Albert Doughty, who recorded them in his journal in 1899, and later published them in an article called “Folklore of the Alleghenies”. Doughty credited the source of the story to “one of the oldest residents of Monroe County” who claimed the bewitching events took place duringthe 1840’s:

Not so long ago, in Monroe County, there was a woman who lived down near the sweet springs who was always seen with an old-fashioned bonnet cap on her head; nobody ever saw her without the cap. She was a hard, grim-lookin’ monster. During the rare instance when anybody was watchin’ to see her untie her cap strings, and remove the cap, it was said. they never could see anything underneath it, her very likeness disappearing, until she’d put the cap back on her head.

The Strange Calf

When the old cap-woman first came to Monroe County from somewhere over in Botetourt County it was said, she lived over a small forested hill from a man and his wife who’s two children walked to and from a nearby school every morning and afternoon.

The story goes that an odd calf began to follow the children along the route to school, and had been in the habit of “attackin’ ‘em and bitin’ ‘em, when they was walkin’ to school”. When the children became too afraid to walk to school, their father decided to investigate. One day, about the same time the children would’ve been passing the location where the attacks seemed most often to occur, the father concealed himself one day and was watchin’ to catch the calf. On that occasion it come out and attacked the children on a bridge across a little stream of water. The father chased and caught the calf and cut off its ears with a knife.

Folks in Botetourt County had believed for some time that the old woman was a witch, possessed of some uncommon art. They said she could turn herself into a calf, and had been known to do so on numerous occasions. Interestingly enough, the next time the old woman was seen around town, a crowd mobbed her, and pulled off her cap. As was expected, she was missing both ears!

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House of John Proctor, Witchcraft Martyr, 1692, by Wm. P. Upham

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John Proctor House, Peabody, Massachusetts. (Public Domain)

House of John Proctor, Witchcraft Martyr, 1692

Wm. P. Upham

Peabody: Press of C. H. Shepard, 1904

[A paper read by William P. Upham at a meeting of the Peabody Historical Society at the Needham house, West Peabody, September 2nd., 1903.]

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Map showing the location of the John Proctor House used in Upham’s book. (Public Domain)

Note on John Proctor:

John Proctor was the first male accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. He was accused in April of 1692 during his wife Elizabeth Proctor’s examination. At the time, the Proctor family was living on this farm, where Proctor also ran a tavern called the Proctor Tavern, in what was then the outskirts of Salem Village. After Proctor’s arrest, Sheriff George Corwin raided the farm and confiscated all of the beer, food and valuables on the property.

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John Proctor was found guilty on August 5 and executed on August 19, 1692 at or near Gallows Hill. Proctor’s family reportedly retrieved his body from the execution site and buried it on the northeast corner of the family farm. The farm was later passed down to Proctor’s son, Benjamin, and it remained in the family until the late 1800s. It is not known what happened to Proctor’s original house but there is another house still standing on the property that is often referred to as the John Proctor house despite the fact that historians believe it was built in the 1700s by Proctor’s son Thorndike Proctor. The house and the farm are privately owned.

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Transcriber’s Note: Sections of this text have been quoted from historical documents written with great variability in spelling and punctuation. These inconsistencies have been retained. A list of corrections made to the 1904 portions of this text can be found following this text.

It is now nearly forty years since I assisted my father, the late Charles W. Upham, in the preparation of his work on Salem Village and the Witchcraft tragedy of 1692, by collecting what information could be obtained from the records as to the people and their homes in that locality. In doing this I was enabled to construct a map showing the bounds of the grants and farms at that time. On that map is represented quite accurately the Downing Farm, so called, owned, in 1638, by Emanuel Downing, father of Sir George Downing, and occupied as tenant, in 1692, by John Procter, the victim of the witchcraft delusion. When I made the map I knew that John Procter at his death owned, as appears by the inventory of his estate, fifteen acres of land in Salem, but I was not able then to locate it with exactness. Lately, in making a more complete study of the records relating to the Downing farm and the surrounding lands I have learned the exact situation of the fifteen acre lot owned by him, and also that he had a house upon it as early as 1682 and until his death in 1692. It appears that this lot is the place where he was buried, according to the family tradition, although the knowledge as to its being once owned by him seems to have passed out of the neighborhood for more than a century.

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“I’ll breathe a spell, shall Cleve the ground…”

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“He took the sacramental chalice, and stretching forth his bare arm, cried in a loud voice:

‘Come ye viewless ministers of this dread hour! come from the fenny lake, the hanging rock, and the midnight cave! The moon is red—the stars are out—the sky is burning—and all nature stands aghast at what we do!’

Then, replacing the sacred vessel on the altar, he drew, one by one, from different parts of his body, from his knotted hair, from his bosom, from beneath his nails, the unholy things which he cast into it.

‘This,’ said he, ‘I plucked from the beak of a raven feeding on a murderer’s brains! This is the mad dog’s foam! These, the spurgings of a dead man’s eyes, gathered since the rising of the evening star! This is a screech-owl’s egg! This, a single drop of black blood, squeezed from the heart of a sweltered toad! This, an adder’s tongue! And here, ten grains of the gray moss that grew upon a skull which had lain in the charnel-house three hundred years!’

And his eyes seemed like balls of fire as he cast them upwards. ‘I call ye once! I call ye twice! Dare ye deny me! Nay, then, as I call ye thrice, I’ll wound mine arm, and as it drops, I’ll breathe a spell shall cleave the ground and drag you here!’”

– William Mudford, “Reign of Terror”

Source: “I’ll breathe a spell, shall Cleve the ground…”