Dead Club House

Dead Club House
Haunted House in Cambridge

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Blew Up My Head

I'm feeling grateful for this class, without which, I would have never blogged or created a website.

I'm thinking beyond this week that I'll remove the homework posts and keep the ghost ones and try to encourage people to send me ghost stories to post or to comment on these stories with their own similarly archetypal experience.

Ever seen a ghost?

The Dead Wife Returns

Here's another bit o' rocking good ghost folklore from Dredging the Choptank:

A magnificent bit of flood folklore from the southern end of Dorchester County in Hoopersville, a town on the southern chain of Dorchester islands, tells the wild tale of a very wet internment right before the storm surge of Hurricane Hazel.

An old fisherman had just buried his wife of many years in the family plot next to their house by a creek. As a fast and violent hurricane whipped the storm surge up over the family plot and to the steps of his groaning house, the grieving fisherman was convinced that his friends would come to rescue him, and, indeed, in middle of the howling wind, he heard a knocking at the door. He opened the door and there was his wife’s coffin, floating on the rising floodwaters, its lid loose and the water holding her up in a seated position. The water fanned out her hair and lifted one arm out to the fisherman. She had found her way back home. Feeling the house rock on its foundation, the old fisherman grabbed onto the coffin as his home sunk under the waves, and he rode the flood in the coffin with his dead wife until morning when he landed on high ground several miles away.

In [Thomas] Flowers’ version, the old man ditched his wife’s body and rode the coffin alone. In the Chesapeake Book of the Dead, the old fisherman is an old woman.

Dead deer at Blackwater Refuge, Dorchester County.  Hoopersville is just south of there.

The Legend of Big Liz

Here's my favorite Dorchester County legend from Dredging the Choptank:

During the Civil War, Big Liz’s plantation owner, John Austin, forced her to bury some ill-gotten, Confederate booty in the densely-thicketed Green Briar Swamp. After she dug the treasure’s watery hole, he decapitated her, and she still haunts the marsh and guards his abandoned gold. According to local legend, the treasure’s still buried in the swamp. If you drive to the DeCoursey bridge, honk your horn and flash your headlights, then the wind will blow, and you’ll soon hear her shuffling step. The car engine will stall as she limps into view, shoulders stooped, cradling her head in her arms, her eyes glowing. You’re trapped, frozen, and can’t move as she draws closer and closer.
"A swamp monster. That’s more like it," I said.

Blackwater Refuge that backs up against the Green Briar Swamp, Dorchester County, Maryland

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Different POV Rules

Hey writers!
So, here's another rumination:  why can POV switch in film but not in short story?  I was watching The Quiet Man (and I love that film) but the priest Ward Bond kicks off the story with a voiceover but when Shawn Thorton (John Wayne) sees Mary Kate Danaher for the first time, the camera switches to his perspective.
Is it because film has the great asset of the visual?  It's easier for a viewer to understand a perspective jump in film than reading it in story?

Blog Directionals

Hey bloggers!  What directionals we use in language is a reflection of how a culture orients itself in the world.  When referring in one post to an older post on the same blog, does one say the older post is below?  Underneath?
I did figure out how to internally link between posts but it's an interesting thought.  Is this post above the Thanksgiving post?

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Feeling thankful that:
  • I'm sentient -- I wake up with a brain and know that I have a brain
  • it rains here and there's oxygen and gravity
  • I hear music in the SC Performing Arts Theater
  • I program arts
  • my parents are alive
  • we will eat well today
  • we all have homes and I can do laundry inside mine and there's running water and electricity
  • we use language and it pours out of me
  • I lived once with my great grandmother
  • I can sing and walk
  • I have awesome friends -- see
  • I stand up
  • I express
  • I vote
  • I can drive to Pennsylvania and don't need a passport -- I am free to move about the country
  • I am published
  • I don't have the flu

I'm sure there's more . . .

Night Mirror

After I read a section of Dredging the Choptank to UB honor students, I asked the group about their ghost experiences.  Adjunct Christina Ralls told a story of seeing a man in her bathroom mirror at night when she was a child.  She’s been afraid to look in the night mirror since then. 
Two nights ago, I was surprised in my darkened bedroom by a pale blue triangle of light that was centered on the altar between the window and the vanity.  The light had no obvious source.  I stood in front of the oval vanity mirror, rooted, puzzled. No beams slanted in from the dim backyard.  The altar seemed lit from underneath by a gentle indigo light.  Then I noticed my own image in front of me.  I was me but the room and its furniture were not behind me.  Surrounding my image was black, black, black velvety darkness.  My image was brightly lit, again with no obvious source, and that white light didn’t bleed into the blackness around it.
Startled, I moved aside.  I couldn’t look again.
When I was five, when we moved into the house in Lutherville, I had a game with the mirror on the back of my parents’ bedroom door.  I told my mother that the girl in the mirror was a different girl than me.  I think the girl in the mirror broke away and moved differently than my body at least once.  It’s blurry.
One of the rules of Feng shui is don’t position your bed so you can see yourself sleep.  The house at night can be scary and mirrors are portals.