Abigail Padden located the following transcript one afternoon while helping me unpack boxes at the Imaginactory, surprisingly enough from the collection of Big Benny Cubbage, strange as is the idea of the illiterate stink-pot having any collection beyond commemorative beer cans. I have copied it word for word, leaving all errors in punctuation and orthography, partially to preserve the freshness of the document and partially to give my editor a break.
As near as can be ascertained, the interview was the first of a short-lived attempt to document the history and folklore of Sycamore Shadows. Several transcripts, of which this is one, deal with the prevalence of “consumption” (tuberculosis) in 19th Century Sycamore Shadows. From other notes, it may be assumed that the interviewer was a nurse, though she was not a native of the area and nothing else is known of her life. (more…)
…And now about the cauldron sing,
Like elves and fairies in a ring,
enchanting all that you put in.
Shakespeare; Macbeth 4.1
Cass Padden told me he’d found something in the woods the other day, in the midst of a stand of white pines: a perfect circle made of mushrooms, twenty feet across in a small opening in the trees, bone-white fungi as perfectly round as the circle itself, each of which seemed lighted from (more…)
I enjoy looking through old newspapers, books, and periodicals, especially when they relate to the area in which I live, so I was delighted to find this article in an old Lisbon, Ohio newspaper. I was already familiar with John Bever,
Several days later I showed the photo to my best friend Ssnuff Tucker, who said it was most definitely a mermaid and although he’d never observed one, even before seeing hard evidence he had never doubted the fact of their existence. According to Ssnuff, there were two possibilities: It was a mermaid, or a girl who had trudged alone through the woods and decided to skinny-dip in the dark in front of a stranger sitting on a rock, an unlikely scenario. So Ssnuff was suddenly overcome with an all-consuming passion for mermaids. He read books on mermaids, and stories on mermaids, watched mermaid movies, looked at mermaid art, and even bought stack of used tattoo magazines from Cass Padden’s shed sale, along with seven soiled doilies and a broken thermos (more…)
Some folks will believe anything. Take Ossie Finch. When I was young he would pump our septic tank about once a month and always told my Dad if the family would cut down on toilet paper consumption we wouldn’t be paying half his annual salary. He said we must’ve had the cleanest behinds in town. My Aunt Ada always answered that toilet paper was not an area to cut expenses and perhaps Ossie should simply lower his prices and not concern himself with the relative cleanliness of Wetzel butts. Anyway, Ossie claimed he was visited by aliens on a fairly regular basis. Now, there are folks who believed him and that’s the truth. What Ossie said was this: He’d watched them lots of times but they never detected him, on account of his being so slick when he was “on the sly.” Claimed he spied a gang of them one night when he had driven out to Nippy Keen’s pasture to watch stars, slithering all over the septic truck like “a clump of snakes.” [His truck was parked on the hillside shown in the photo at left] Ossie said these particular creatures were so advanced they could learn everything about the human species from a clump of feces, which is the word Aunt Ada said I ought to use if I insisted on writing about it. (more…)