The Boo Hag Woman: Song Inspired by Georgia Witch Story The Boo Hag


Song based on Georgia witch story “The Boo Hag” about a man who suspects his beautiful new bride might be a witch. Song written and performed by Frank Whitaker. Original story written by Veronica Byrd with Craig Dominey.

Way out past the salt marsh, by a creek that leads to sea;
There is a spooky four-room shack beneath a twisted live oak tree.
A strange young lady lived there with a man she’d met in town.
Her perfect skin, it lured him in, but after ‘while he found;
That she was creepin’ out at night;
And she was slippin’ out of sight;
And she hardly ever acted right at all.


He thought she might be cheatin’ on him, but his friend said, “Son;
You done married yo’self a Boo Hag, and she’s slippin’ out for fun.”
“Boo Hags shed their skins at night, like evil spirit crones.
They suck the air from young men’s lungs;
And try to crush their bones.
She may look good by the light of day;
But at night, she’ll never stay;
And if a man can’t slip away, she’ll ride his back until he falls;”
And I said . . .

Boo Hag Woman, get on back – I don’t believe the things you say!
You can’t spook me with your sweet-talk, Girl —
I’ve got to live to see another day.
It is a sin to shed your skin.
You gon’ get got, I guarantee –
Boo Hag Woman, get on back from me.


Now, to get rid of a Boo Hag, there is just one thing to do –
If she can’t get back in her skin, then her Boo Hag days are through.
So late one night, when she went away, he searched around the shack.
Her slimy skin was hangin’ in a closet in the back.
He took the salt and the pepper down;
And he shook it all around;
Inside that skin that he had found, ’till he was done.

She came back ‘fore the morning, when the sun was ’bout to crest; And she said, “I am a Boo Hag, and Lord knows, I needs my rest.”
But when she slipped back in her skin, and gathered it around;
That skin, it started smokin’, and it made a bubblin’ sound.
And then that lyin’ witch;
She started jumpin’ from the itch.
He saw her body start to twitch and melt there, in the risin’ sun;
And I said . . .


He boiled her Boo Hag body in a barrel full of tar;
And poured himself a brand new roof, that hasn’t leaked so far.
And now, he lives there all alone, beside that crooked stream.
That Boo Hag taught a lesson, ’cause she was not what she seemed.
If there’s a pretty girl you know;
Then you’d better take it slow;
‘Cause there’s no tellin’ where she’ll go;
When she slips-out at night;
And I said . . .


. . . I don’t want no old Boo Hag attack, I said;
Boo Hag Woman, get on back from me.


The Ol’ Jessup Place: Virginia Devil Folktale


Virginia devil folktale about a young man forced to spend the night in a terrifying house, with a terrifying family. But are they really as evil as the townfolk say? Written by Kyle Moore.

NEW: Serena Mott, a radio major at Nova Scotia Community College, has created an audio version of this story:

You wanna know about that place up there? Heh, yeah, she sure looks like hell, don’t she? Paint peelin’ away from the wood, boards on the porch all rotted through, and them windows? Them windows’re black, not from curtains, see, but from the dirt. Yeah, there’s so much dirt on them windows you could put your nose right up against ‘em and not even see what’s on the other side.

Let me tell you; you should see her at night.

That’s the ol’ Jessup place, that is. The Jessups have been here in Porton for as long as anyone can remember. I bet when settlers first put down stakes in this little backwater, there was a Jessup, standing at the back, just a little ways away from the rest of the folk.

See, the Jessups aren’t welcome most places ’round here. Shops won’t sell to ‘em; restaurants won’t sit ‘em. Even the little ‘uns get shunned. Oh, they’ll take ‘em in the schools all right, but that never lasts long before the other boys and girls run ‘em off, throwin’ rocks and callin’ ‘em names. Nah, Jessups just ain’t welcome, and usually they have to go all the way to Suffolk or Chesapeake to stock their stores or ply a trade.

They got a reputation.

Most the time, folks just carry on like they don’t exist. But every once in a while, maybe at a church bake sale, or down at the lodge on a Sunday afternoon, the whispers about the house start skittering along like spiders under the tablecloths. It’s haunted, some’ll say. Evil.

And ain’t no one seen a Jessup attend a church here ever, and that has folks waggin’ their tongues about worshippin’ the devil or practicin’ witchcraft.

Me? I know the truth about the Jessups. No one’ll listen to me of course. That’s my own fault I guess. I found me a nice bottle, crawled in, and ain’t had much interest in crawling my way back out. And you can’t blame me neither.

You weren’t there that night. You didn’t see what I saw.

Lord this was, what? Twenty years ago? Yeah, I was just a scrawny little runt, straight outta high school. Lotsa kids grow up here, they want out of Porton. Not me. I was just lookin’ to raise a little hell, but not so much I couldn’t stand up in church on Sundays.

Back then, my daddy owned this here garage, and I was makin’ a little cash workin’ for him. It was a good life. My daddy was a good man; he charged me fair rent, and if I did a good job, he made sure I had enough money in my pocket to go out and find me a nice girl.

Well, it was late summer, and the mayor gone and cracked the block of his Mercedes. The mayor! When the tow truck wheeled that beauty in this shop, my daddy almost wept, I don’t know with pride, or with thinking of all the money he was going to make offa that job. I can tell you that just about every other car in the garage was put on hold so we could turn around the mayor’s car as fast as possible.

The problem is, as I’m sure you could guess, we ain’t got much in the way of import parts in this little town. After callin’ around to some of the other cities, my daddy found the only place with the parts we were lookin’ for was all the way over in Newport News.

And that’s how I found myself drivin’ my daddy’s truck along that road over yonder in the middle of the night.

It was comin’ down hard that night. In the summer, when it gets to rainin’ ‘round here, there’s no messin’ about. It’ll start with a drop or two, and next thing you know it’s like God’s wrath comin’ down in thick gray sheets of water.

I still remember the sound of the rain, like someone takin’ a needle gun to the roof. The whole time I’m hunched over the steerin’ wheel, eyes screwed up, tryin’ to see the road through the two feeble shafts of yellow light comin’ from the head lights. I had the radio up, but you couldn’t hear nothin’ from the racket of the rain, and really, I was so scared I don’t think I’d have been able to pay attention to the music if I could.

When I saw the Jessup place down the road, I actually felt a bit of relief. Yeah, the place was creepy, especially in that rain. It was just this big black hulking thing lurkin’ at the edge of a street light. If the circumstances had been any different, it’d have scared the bejesus outta me, but at that time… it meant I was almost home.

Yeah, I thought I was good to go and then BANG! I nearly soiled my britches when Daddy’s pick up started buckin’ and lurchin’ like that ol’ mechanical bull they got over at Larry’s. I thought I was gonna tear that steerin’ wheel straight off, I was holdin’ on so tight.

Well, she finally came to rest and I knew somethin’ was wrong ‘cause she was sittin’ real low on the passenger side. I threw my hat on and hopped out the truck to go see what was the matter. “Shee-it!” I hollered when I saw it. I ain’t a cursin’ man; my momma brought me up right. But way I figured it, I musta hit a pothole or a rock or somethin’ so hard it popped the damn wheel clean off.

There I was, the head lights nearly blindin’ me, the rain just beatin’ on my back and soakin’ through my clothes as I stared at where the wheel used to be. I swore again, and I ain’t ashamed to admit I wanted to cry. Almost did, except I knew my daddy would give me a tongue lashin’. My daddy was a good man, but he didn’t raise no sissies, I’ll tell you that.

So I’m standin’ there, tryin’ to think of what to do next when I looked up. There it was, that old house over there. It was awful. The street light didn’t reach it, almost like the lamp was afraid, and the rain just sorta draped over it like a shroud. And underneath? Just this hulkin’ black mass, the porch all crooked and warped, like teeth. I felt it starin’ at me.

Wooden Front Porch, Farmhouse, Milledgeville, GA

Now I grew up here, so I heard all the stories, all the whispers, and as much as I wanted to be inside out of the wet, as much as I needed a phone to call my daddy and tell ‘im what happened, just the idea of going up to the Jessup house was unthinkable. I’da rather just walked into town on my own and found somewhere still open from there.

That’s just what I was fixin’ to do, too, when I hear this loud bang.

“What the hell are you doin’ out there, boy?” someone called out after me.

I looked up. Castor Jessup. I’d seen him about here and there. Not much, of course. But every once in a while, I’d catch him in the yard wrenchin’ on one of the Jessup cars or cuttin’ the grass. The man was cut outta wood. I’d wager he was only a coupla years older than me, but his face was hard, you know? Whiskers and hollow cheeks and stern eyes.

He was glarin’ at me.

“Lost a wheel, Mr. Jessup,” I hollered back, strugglin’ to be heard over the rain.

Castor just stood there, his arms rested up against the crooked picket fence of the yard. It was comin’ down in buckets and the man was actin’ like weren’t nothin’ but a little sprinkle. He stayed silent a spell, lookin’ at me, and lookin’ at the pick-up, and then I saw somethin’ strange in his eyes. I can’t rightly say what, it was dark, and I only had the street light to go off of, but his look darkened, and he craned his neck to peer down the road where I came from.

I couldn’t stop myself and I looked too. All I saw was the rain slammin’ down like a bucket of nails, and behind that, blackness. Maybe I say this ‘cause I know now what was going to happen later, maybe I’m rememberin’ it wrong, or maybe I just knew, even then, but I tell ya, there was something in all that black. Felt like when you’re playin’ hide and seek, and you think you got that perfect spot, but then you can hear whoever’s it comin’ by, and all of a sudden you know, just know, that they see you, and they’re just bidin’ their time, waitin’ for the perfect moment to get you.

Castor grabbed my attention before I could look too long though. He said, “Bad night for you to be out here, boy.”

“Yes, sir,” I replied. My momma always taught me to treat people with respect, even if those people are the Jessups.

As I answered, I looked up at the sky with my eyes all squinted up tight. Now I remember this because I was just lettin’ Castor know that the weather was somethin’ awful. But Castor, he didn’t pay the sky or the weather any mind at all. And when I looked back down at him, he had that shadow in his eyes again.

It was like he was tryin’ to say the bad night had nothin’ to do with the weather.

He took one last look down the road, and I swear he was nervous. It’s a strange thing to see a hard man like that lookin’ nervous.

Then he looked back at me one more time, sizin’ me up almost, the way a coyote’ll look at a sheep, and finally he said, “I reckon you ought to come inside.”

I stood there for a moment, rain rollin’ down my back and soakin’ into my drawers, and even then I wasn’t sure. This was the ol’ Jessup place, and they worshipped the devil, or did witchcraft or stole babies or somethin’. But then I felt the darkness lookin’ back at me from down the road, and all of a sudden goin’ with Castor didn’t seem that bad an idea at all.

Now, you gotta understand somethin’, to the best of my knowledge, I ain’t never known anyone to cross that fence who’s name wasn’t Jessup. I remember when we was kids we’d dare each other, and little Matty almost did it, got a hand on the fence before he chickened out, but no one, and I mean no one had the guts to get as far as I did that night.

Every step felt like I was walkin’ onto some foreign land. Cuttin’ through the lawn, seein’ all that crab grass, still sharp and stiff even in the rain, walkin’ onto that porch, feelin’ every board creak under my step, it all felt new and dangerous.

We got to the front door, and I just wanted off of the porch at that moment. Like I said, I was scrawny back then, no beer belly or anythin’ yet it still felt like the floorboards were gonna give and I was gonna go crashin through. I was relieved when Castor pulled open the front door, even though it squealed like you hear in those old horror movies. I just wanted off of that porch, out of that rain, and if I’m bein’ totally honest, away from that darkness beyond.

Inside weren’t no better though. It was worse. The lighting was dim, just a few weak table lamps with these thick lamp shades that turned the light all dirty yellow. You could see stitch marks along the sides of some of them, made it look like they was made from skin. And the shelves! Everywhere there were these shelves that looked like they was made by hand out of old used-up wood. There were… things on those shelves, dried up lumps of stuff I ain’t never seen before, boxes with strange stains all across their surfaces in ugly brown and black clouds.

I remember there was this jar, and it was old, with metal latches on it. It was coated in dust, like them windows you see over there, and cobwebs just draped off of it like a table cloth. There was this murky gray green liquid inside. It was hard to tell in the low light, but I couldn’t stop myself from takin’ a closer look. You know what I saw? There was somethin’ in there, somethin’ black and bulbous, just restin’ on the bottom, and I swear to this very day, just as my nose was about to touch the dirty glass, the thing inside moved.

“This way, boy,” Castor said quietly, almost like I was in a museum on a field trip and one of the folks that works there was getting’ nervous I was about to touch one of the paintings. So I followed him through that front room, cramped with a beat up recliner stuffed in a corner, and blue green carpet that had been pounded flat over the years. He took me through the kitchen, over the cracked linoleum tiles, dodgin’ around the olive green appliances with streaks of rust runnin’ down ‘em on all sides.

And then we were in a cramped hallway.

Pictures were all over the walls, generation after generation of Jessups, all of them lookin’ hard and cut from wood like Castor. There was one picture, an ol’ black and white, of this one woman in one of them frilly dresses, all black and high collared. You couldn’t say she was pretty; I couldn’t anyway. But I could see how she mighta been handsome; that’s what momma would say sometimes about some of the girls about town that didn’t catch all the boys’ eyes but weren’t what anyone would call ugly. She mighta been handsome, but she had that same look in her eyes like Castor’s: dark, a shadow, almost like she was lookin’ for something that weren’t there.

It gave me the chills somethin’ fierce, but I didn’t have time much to dwell on it as Castor led me down the hall and through a door with green paint that was rippled and bubblin’ up. The dark metal knob turned in his hand, and this time, when that heavy squeal came as the door swung open, it felt like it was shreddin’ my bones into bits. I wanted to run, but the sound of the rain patterin’ off of the roof told me there really wasn’t much of any place to run to.

The room inside was small, and cramped. There wasn’t much in it, just a bed and a dresser with another one of those lamps with the eerie shades over the bulb, but it was plain that it had been years since anyone stepped foot in that room. Dust coated everythin’ and the corners were thick with spider webs. I ain’t ever been afraid much of spiders, but there was one hangin’ from its web, thick and brown and it made me jump when I saw it scuttle off into a hole in the wall.

“You’ll be fine here,” Castor said. I looked at him, tryin’ to read if he was really takin’ me in on a bad night, or if I was bein’ set up for somethin’… what’s the word… sinister. But his face was as grim as ever, his eyes full of shadows, and his normally blond hair dark and clingin’ to his skull as water dripped slowly down his face. “You ain’t got to worry about messin’ up the bed with your clothes; there’s a cover under the sheets.”

Then he was gone, leavin’ me alone in that tiny room with the dust and the spiders. It didn’t occur to me until then to ask to use the phone; my nerves were stretched so thin I know I wasn’t thinkin’ straight. I thought about goin’ and tryin’ to find Castor, but the thought of walkin’ around the Jessup place without a guide was somehow worse.

So I pulled off the top blanket off the bed, kicked off my muddy shoes, and stretched out on that lumpy mattress. I don’t know if I actually slept or not. I remember tryin’ to look out the window and seein’ nothin’ but grime and rain, and wasn’t sure where one ended and the other began. I do remember closin’ my eyes… but I don’t remember if I actually slept.

I must’ve though, ‘cause the next time I opened my eyes, the rain was gone. I could see out the window again, sorta. I could make out the blackish purple night sky, and even blacker shapes hulking in the backyard. And the sound of the rain had quit.

But it wasn’t quiet. Just above me, I could hear a low mumblin’ or mutterin’. Occasionally it would get louder, and then it would quiet down again. Sometimes the ceilin’ above me would creak like someone was walkin’ around, but the whole time, there was always voices. More than one, too.

I got up out the bed, and strained to try to hear what they was talkin’ about, but the sound was muffled. So I stood on the bed, and I waited. Around me, the dust remained unmoved. The spider must’ve thought I wasn’t gonna bother it none, as it had come back out from its hole some time through the night. And there was me, ear pointed to the ceilin’, tryin’ to make out what the Jessups was talkin’ about.

I dunno how long I stood on that bed. Maybe five minutes, maybe half an hour. But finally the voices picked up loud enough and I could tell they weren’t talkin’ at all. They was chantin’. All of them, at least four or five of ‘em, all sayin’ the same thing, over and over again.

What were they sayin’?

Shoot, I couldn’t tell ya. It weren’t English, I could tell you that. That’s probably what spooked me the most. Whatever they was sayin’ weren’t in any language I’d heard before, not that I’ve heard many if I’m bein’ honest with ya. Whatever they was sayin’, it sounded wicked.

That was enough for me. I hopped down, shoved my feet in my cold wet shoes, and I flew. I didn’t care if the Jessups heard me. I didn’t care about anything besides gettin’ out of that evil house!

When I got out onto the front lawn, it was clear the storm had moved on. There was still a few clouds left in the sky, but the stars was shinin’ and a half moon was slung low and fat, leavin’ everything in this eerie silver glow.

I didn’t take but a second to realize this. Like I said, I wanted to put as much distance between me and the ol’ Jessup place as I could. But half way to the front gate I stopped hard, frozen, and feelin’ a chill down my back.

There was this man in the road, slouchin’ towards the town proper. He looked normal at first. Maybe his clothes looked a little messed up, and his hair was all over the place, and his skin was maybe a bit too pale, but that coulda been ‘cause of the moon light.

But as he drew even with my daddy’s pick up, the man looked up, looked me straight in the face, and he grinned.

Only half of his face was normal, only that ain’t the right word for it. It was… like a mask, limp. I remember when my granddaddy got old, they put him up in one of those old folk homes out in Norfolk. We’d visit him sometimes and he would just stare off into nothing, his mouth hangin’ open and snot dribblin’ out his nose. That’s what this man looked like down half his face. Like no one was there.

The other half—I still have nightmares of that other half. The deep gashes that ran back and forth all over the place, the chunks of skin that had come clean off so you could see the dark red meat underneath. And that eye. You know, I read a bit, and I watch movies, and you always hear folks goin’ on about the eyes this, and the eyes that. But you know what?

Ain’t a one of ‘em seen what I saw that night because that eye… lookin’ into that eye was like lookin’ through the gateway of Hell.

I wish I could say that was all, but it wasn’t. That whole half of the… I can’t call him a man… monster’s body was horrible. The clothes were tattered, and caked with blood, gouges of flesh had been ripped out here and there, almost like it was done by some kind of animal. And there was a hole about where his stomach was, and out of that hole somethin’ wet and black flopped about whenever the monster moved or shifted.

“It’s a beautiful night, don’t you think?” he asked. He spoke like a gentleman, and his voice sounded like graveyard dirt, and when those words hit my ears, my jaw wired itself shut and I could feel the piss spreadin’ in my pants.

It laughed. It laughed to see me so araid, and the laughter filled the road and the night. He wasn’t even done laughin’ when he started makin’ his way towards me with that slow lurch of his, and said, “No? To each his own, I suppose.”

With each step he took towards me, I could feel the fear risin’ inside of me like a pot full of boilin’ water, and this thing seemed to enjoy every second of it. At one point, he even licked his lips, like he was gettin’ the last drop of barbecue sauce.

“I was just going to pay your little hamlet a visit. Oh, I’ve long been aching to do so. How delicious, to savor the sights, the foods,” and here he stopped walkin’ and leveled that eye at me hard, I could almost feel it you know? Like when a fence board falls on you. He looked at me with that eye that opened up onto Hell, and I could feel the hunger oozin’ off of him when he said, “…the people.”

He was at the gate now, and I knew, I just knew, he was gonna get to me. I couldn’t run. I wanted to, but it was like my body just up and quit. I was as broke down in the gaze of that creature as my daddy’s pick up was across the road.

When I heard the front door behind me bang open, I thought my knees was gonna give out and I was gonna crumple to the ground. There was footsteps, and next thing I knew, Castor had come outside with his little brother Billy.

Billy. That boy couldn’ta been a hair over fourteen, but there he was, already lookin’ like a man who seen too much in his life. Baby fat was still clingin’ onto them cheeks, but the eyes were still as dark and terrible as his brother’s.

“How delightful!” the thing said, soundin’ almost like a cat purrin’ as you pour its food out from the can.

I heard metallic clicks on either side of me, and the Jessup boys hauled up a twelve gauge each and trained it on the monster. Outta the side of his mouth, Castor said, “Boy, you go on upstairs and you get Ma Jessup. Now.”

I did nothin’. I said nothin’. What the hell was I supposed to do? At some point, I think your brain just gets to tellin’ ya that whatever is goin’ on, it’s so bad it can’t be real. That’s where I was, I guess, and this time Castor took his eyes of the monster and looked straight at me. I could see what that shadow for what it was right then; it was fear. “I said go get momma, now!”

That was enough to snap me outta my daze, and I bolted, my pants smellin’ of piss, and my heart feelin’ like it was gonna drop right through my stomach. I musta looked like an idiot when I hit that house–yellin’ at the top of my lungs, “Mrs. Jessup? Mrs. Jessup?” as I climbed up the stairs, like I was too scared to keep from wettin’ myself like a baby, but not scared enough to forget the manners my momma taught me as a youngun.

I found the ol’ woman upstairs in a wicker chair, surrounded by black candles, each givin’ off flickerin’ yellow light. In one corner, there were a pair of girls with dirty blond hair, chantin’ like I had heard earlier over a weird shrine. But Ma Jessup was the focus of the room.

She looked like she was born old, with skin like old onion peels, and hair like the bristles of a broom. She had pudgy cheeks, and lips that were flat and cracked. The moment I saw her, I recognized her; she was the same woman as the one in that old black and white picture in the downstairs hall only much older.

“Mrs. Jessup?” I breathed.

“He’s here, isn’t he?” she said, her voice like sandpaper, her eyes tired and wary.

“Yes ma’am,” I nodded.

She gave a heavy sigh and stood up. It was odd, watchin’ her climb out of that chair, like watchin’ a piece of paper unfold itself. And when she did stand up straight, I wager she didn’t hit five feet, but you could feel it, the power, when she walked. She may have been a tiny, wrinkled up prune of a thing, but when she walked, you almost expected the ground to crack beneath her feet.

I followed her down the stairs and out the house. She was all wiry gray hair and ancient shawls and dress. She smelled of mothballs and somethin’ pungent, and if’n I’d seen her in the light of day, and I hadn’t seen all the things I’d already seen that night, she’d look almost silly. But not then. Not that night.

Ma Jessup held her head high, and marched straight towards the thing in the road. She paid no mind to her kin holdin’ shotguns. She barely paid attention to the gate as she went through. When she stopped and faced the monster, I could see her face, round and wrinkly, framed in the orange light of the street light, and the silver light of the moon. She sneered at it.

“What business you got comin’ ‘round these parts, demon?” she said.

It smiled sick and sweet at her. “Oh, so you know who I am, do you?”

“I know what you are; I don’t need to know a name,” she said with a little nod. Her voice still sounded like sandpaper, but there was somethin’ else underneath. Some kinda power. “I know of that poor fella you brought with ya, too. Mr. Felray—the banker.”

The demon raised his arms and looked at them, almost like watchin’ someone try on one of the fancy suits at the Dillard’s over at the mall. “This old thing?” he said, and you could hear him wantin’ to laugh. “Yes, I do so appreciate the depravity of a greedy man. Very useful in my line of work, don’t you think?”

Ma Jessup spat off into the dark. “You ain’t answerin’ me, demon. What business you got comin’ round here?”

He just smiles at her and says, “I just thought I would take a little stroll. It seemed like the perfect night to see the sights, meet the people—“ And here, somethin’ about that ol’ demon turned even darker. He licked his lips and lowered his eyes and stared at Ma Jessup like a wolf, and not them cartoon wolves either, but like the real ones, all cold and empty and hungry inside. “—sample the delicacies.”

Ma Jessup didn’t flinch. Instead, she took a step, almost like she was puttin’ herself between the demon and the town, and she said in that croaky ol’ voice of hers, “I reckon I may have a problem with that.”

The demon raised an eyebrow at her. “Do you really believe you can stop me, old woman?”

It was then that Ma Jessup reached into all them shawls and waddya call ‘em? Afghans? I dunno, all I know is her hand disappeared and when it came back out she was holdin’ this big, curvy knife. I ain’t seen nothin’ like it before nor since. She turned it over in her hand and I could see symbols sparkling in the street light.

“I reckon I can,” she nodded at the demon.

Oh, he laughed at her, laughed at her hard, pointin’ at the knife, and almost doublin’ over and fallin’ on the ground. Ma just stood there, lookin’ at him, waitin’ for him to quit actin’ a fool. He was still laughin’ when he finally spoke, “Your grand plan is to stab me with that little thing?”

And then Ma Jessup laughed. She didn’t carry on like the demon did, but she snorted a dry chuckle and shook her head. “The knife ain’t for you, idiot. It’s for me!”

Ma Jessup held up her empty hand for all us to see, and then she whipped the blade of that knife straight across her palm. At first nothin’ happened, but then blood started to bubble up from her hand and spill down her wrist and forearm. In the night, it looked more black than red, and everyone stared at it as more blood oozed out of the wound.

“You a stupid little demon!” she hollered, and now the power in her voice seemed to fill the air and shake the ground. As she shouted down that demon, she flung her empty hand at him, sprayin’ him with her own blood. “You come up here, walkin’ on our soil, usin’ our bodies, tryin’ to cause a ruckus up here? Well Ma Jessup may have a thing or two to say about that!”

She flung the blood pumpin’ from her hand at the demon, and it sizzled and hissed when it hit its skin, like it was boilin’. And oh, how that monster howled and moaned, “What kind of backwater hokum is this?”

“Ain’t hokum,” Ma Jessup spat. She was only a foot away from him now, paintin’ the blade of the knife with the blood from her hand. The look of the knife, streaked in dripping red in the orange street light… it looked like somethin’ ripped right out of a human body, like a mangled bit of bone. I felt somethin’ in my stomach threatenin’ to rise up and spew sick all over the Jessup’s lawn, but somehow I bit it down. “Ain’t hokum at all, and if you wasn’t such a stupid, arrogant little demon, you might know better.”

The demon had collapsed to his knees. Ma Jessup’s blood had burned holes into the demon’s flesh, leaving foul smellin’ wisps of smoke curlin’ up out of the wounds. Even on his knees, Ma Jessup only barely stood taller than the monster. But in that moment, as she held the knife over the demon, she towered over him.

“Then what is it?” the demon begged.

Ma Jessup bent down and looked him in the face so close their noses almost touched. “It’s the blood of a matriarch, you stupid son of a bitch, and I’m gonna use it to send you right back where you came from!”


That’s what it sounded like. I ain’t never seen no one get stabbed before, didn’t know what it sounded like. But when Ma Jessup slammed that blood covered knife into the demon’s heart, it sounded strange, and hollow. We’d play cornhole, and that’s what it sounded like. A bean bag thumpin’ against an empty wooden box.

The demon gave the old woman one last look, and it was filled with hatred. Then the body just… slumped over, squelchin’ in the mud.

Everythin’ felt numb after that. Ma Jessup ordered Castor and his brother to take care of the body, and I helped her back up the stairs where the girls quietly bandaged her up. No one talked for a real long while, and I just stood out of the way as everyone else went about their grim business.

The rain had long since gone, and the danger had passed, and on any other night I’d just as soon walk home than spend a second in the company of the Jessups. But I felt different after everythin’ that had happened.

They let me stay ‘til sun up. Even gave me a fresh change of clothes. But that was nothin’ to the kindness that family heaped upon this dusty little town every day.

See, I learned that night that yeah, the Jessups is scary. They’re into all the dark stuff everyone round here accuses them of bein’ into. What the rest of this town gets wrong, though, is the why. The Jessups ain’t a curse upon this town, they’re its savior. And you’ll do well to remember that, should you find yourself walkin’ down a dark road on a night when the rain is comin’ down like sheets, and things that ain’t supposed to set foot on this green earth are about and ready to eat. You’ll remember that, ‘cause if you make it to see the next mornin’ it’s probably a Jessup that done saved your life.


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The Ravens of Rosalie


Author Cynthia Morrison tells us about her strange experiences when visiting the grave of Rosalie Mackenzie Poe, sister of Edgar Allan Poe. Read and listen below!

Rosalie Mackenzie Poe Grave

(recording by Cynthia Morrison, used with author’s permisson)

My worldly path led me to the historical American city of Washington D.C. Just before the journey I happened upon information of a cemetery there that holds the final resting place of Rosalie Mackenzie Poe. Rosalie is sister to American author Edgar Allan Poe. I have long held great admiration for Mr. Poe’s works so I decided to pay respects to his sister and visited her gravesite.

Strange events began to happen before I was even near the cemetery. First, the restaurant I had chosen to dine in had a very large painting of a raven directly in front of the ladies room. It was staring right at me when I opened the door to exit. It was larger than life! I couldn’t resist a snapshot. Then, accessing the cemetery was an adventure all its own. It happens to be an entire city block in size. A Washington D.C. city block is nothing to throw sticks at. It has four gates, one on each side. Three are open and one is kept closed. Can you guess which gate I arrived. The closed gate!

The cemetery receptionist on my mobile phone led me to the closest open entrance. I dropped the call when I could see the open gate. Just as I walked through the cemetery entrance there was a big black bird all alone in the tree to my right. He was calling out. I stopped to acknowledge his efforts. Then I smiled and made my way to the office where I was given a map directing me to Rosalie.

The receptionist pointed out that the grave site was only a few headstones in from the back of section D. I followed her direction and found a very small head stone with only the name “Rosalie” engraved on it. Oddly enough a tall heavy marble monument had fallen onto the headstone’s corner and no one had remedied the situation. As I attempted to clear the area of small weeds around the stone, the next odd circumstance came to pass. A large tree just next to me suddenly filled with various types of birds. The birds were raising a ruckus and causing leaves, small branches and what appeared to be acorns to fall down on me. I moved away from the tree and observed their behavior. While waiting for mayhem to subside I strolled down the row of headstones. Approximately ten plots down I discovered the “real” Rosalie Mackenzie Poe with name, birth year and year of departure on the stone!

Suddenly the birds left the tree and all was still again. When I returned home I called a friend to share this story. As we were conversing on the phone someone on Facebook, totally unrelated to this situation, posted an image of Edgar Allan Poe.

My friend was shocked and mesmerized by the event and remains so to this day. Coincidence or strange phenomena? Whatever they may be, these events inspired me to write the following verse:

The Ravens of Rosalie
By Cynthia Morrison

Through the gates I walk into peaceful rest,
Does he perch or does he nest,
As dark as the Raven on the wall,
Was it really only me who he call

No no no that’s not her grave,
They shout ever so frantically and so brave,
Walk the floor and that I did,
Look no more, there Rosalie hid.

Traces of Fall beginning to sprout,
The Tree with feathers I did never doubt,
They gathered there high above,
That of Raven and not of Dove.


Grave of Rosalie Mackenzie Poe

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Grave of Rosalie Mackenzie Poe 38.947444, -77.012036 Story: The Ravens of RosalieGrave of Rosalie Mackenzie Poe, sister of Edgar Allan Poe.

Links:The Strange Case of Rosalie Poe
Find Rosalie Poe’s grave
Poe Museum

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Ghosts of the Boiled Bones! A Southern Ghost Story


Why is creepy Uncle Abe hanging around the graveyard all the time? And what do catfish have to do with it? Find out in this Southern ghost story from ART Station’s A Tour of Southern Ghosts, performed each Halloween in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Story told by Bryan Mercer and recorded by Henry Howard.

Human Skulls On Shelf


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Milledgeville: Georgia Ghost Story


Georgia ghost story of a young boy who discovers the tragic secret life of his uncle, lost behind the walls of a Milledgeville mental institution. Written by Cynthia Morrison.

** Cynthia Morrison and Tim Lange have recorded a narration of the story if you’d rather follow along:

The almost non-existent breeze made the Georgia summers all that much more difficult to bear at times. I didn’t actually realize how well off I was, being able to play outside under the oak covered shadows, and not have to endure the calidity that my Aunt Sarah experienced in the kitchen while providing her gracious hospitality. A true Southern belle she was. I always looked forward to our summer vacations at Uncle Jack and Aunt Sarah’s farm in Milledgeville. I could stay hidden for hours in the big barn out back. Sometimes even falling asleep with an afternoon nap until I was awakened by the voice of Uncle Jack calling out for supper time.

One year I found Uncle Jack’s old army blanket covering the front seat of an old Ford pick up truck that sat in the corner of the barn. I took the blanket and some kite string down by the river where I gathered some sticks and constructed a makeshift Army tent. I gathered a few more sticks of a flexible nature and constructed a bow along with a few blunt arrows. There, inside my counterfeit stronghold, I laid down and readily awaited any invaders.

Suddenly I heard the sound of rustling leaves. Surely it must be the approach of the enemy. I slowly and quietly repositioned myself to see who it may be outside. There it was – pushing itself along ever so carelessly with those long back legs designed to spring at lengths that only a creature for its size could attempt. So beautiful and swift is the eastern cottontail. But at that moment he was a target for dinner stew in the eyes of this soldier. I pulled the arrow back and aimed. Waiting for the opportune moment…There! He stopped to raise his head and scan the area. As a raindrop falling from the end of a leaf my fingers moved ever so gently. “Boing” went the bowstring upon its release. I did it! To my surprise I actually hit him!. Although being the bearer of the lucky rabbit’s foot, four to be exact, he was simply startled by the blunt arrow that probably bruised him and free of penetration. There as a I watched, the nourishment for a soldier’s stew did make his escape back into the secure cover of the Georgia woods.

A bit distraught over losing my trophy meal I gathered the army blanket and made my way back to the farm where Aunt Sarah had one of her incomparable peach pies on the cooling rack awaiting desert plates after the main course. I got close enough to smell its tempting aroma before Aunt Sarah wiped her hands on her apron, then took me gently by the shoulders and redirected me to go wash up at the outside well pump.

In the evenings we would all gather for some social time as we enjoyed watching the sunsets, which sometimes I compared to be the same color as the inside of those luscious peach pies. The elders did most of the talking while I enjoyed a bit of target practice throwing small stones at the mailbox as I sat on the front steps. I’d often hear conversations about Mother and Aunt Sarah’s brother – I suppose he would be my Uncle Thomas. Although I never did meet him and then in a later conversation learned that he had died in a hospital from unknown cause. I never really asked for more information than I had heard about Uncle Thomas but did feel badly that he had faced his final fate. Mother showed me a photo of him once. A quaint man with darkness underlining his eyes. She told me that he was a dedicated deacon of the Oconee River Baptist Church. He would seat the parishioners and also provided voluntary maintenance of the chapel.

He had plans of becoming the preacher one day and studied the Bible with much enthusiasm. Then one day a doctor came and took him away.

It seemed that some poor soul had concern for Thomas’s health and had brought this to the physician’s attention. No one really knew why Uncle Thomas left us. Or they simply didn’t wish to reveal his secret departure.

I continued to stop by and visit the farm later on in life during vacations with my own children. They too grew to love Aunt Sarah. Unfortunately Uncle Jack had passed on before they were old enough to meet him. Sometimes I would drive Mother there to visit and return at a later date to collect her. Then recently the dreaded news came of Aunt Sarah’s passing. My being the eldest son gave me the task of sorting out the sale of the farm and contents. I planned a week and arranged for this chore to be dealt with right after the funeral. I brought along my mother for assistance as she insisted. I gave her the less strenuous labor of boxing up the clothing for pick up by the local charity shop. Although an emotional event for her at times, she managed by taking it slowly and insisted on it being done her way. After all, these were the sacred garments that covered her sister in life.

I then decided to tackle the relics in the attic above. There I found Items that antique dealers would only dream of. Certainly the World War 2-era newspapers would sell fast. That is, after I scanned them in case any family member is mentioned in their print. Whoever placed them in the attic overlooked the chance of mold and pulp eating insects that have begun to destroy the paper’s existence. Yes, this would be first and foremost to be rid of. Then just under the newspapers I found what appeared to be a few hand-written letters addressed to my Aunt Sarah. I asked myself if these would be her keepsake love letters from my Uncle Jack, as he was briefly away as an agricultural advisor during World War Two? Unfortunately what I had found was more of a disturbing manner. The return address was from that of a “Sanitarium for Tuberculosis and the Mentally Ill.” The first letter signed by “Thomas” read as such:

Dear Sarah,

The institution allows that I write only every two weeks. I write to tell you that I have on the same winter clothes I came in. I cry until there are no more tears…Think of my being here in this clothing all these weeks! Listening to shrieks and groans which will haunt me forever. I am to never go out to see these wretched creatures. I only hear them. It is a madhouse and there are many incurables and all I pray for is to die right here. Dr. Bullard and another Dr. Carson swear me to be of unsound mind and they can keep me here always and of course they will. I can never get a position again. I am thoroughly disgraced, and then to be kept in a lunatic asylum – I either am insane or I am not.

If I am not, I certainly shall be here. If I am, then it’s right for me to stay. It is a monstrous crime putting me here. I beg to die but I can not. Just because I was nervous and could not sleep, to inveigle me into this bedlam is an awful sin….Keep our mother away from here if you can – and never let a child of yours, should you bear any, or yourself come here. I am very nearly over the borderline that separates from reason. There is more heinous circumstance but I fear to write it as my letter may be selected to not reach you. Oh it is awful and I can not get away! Holding on with best efforts.

May God Bless you,

Finally, I had discovered insight of the happenings with regard to my Uncle Thomas. However horrid they may sound. A skeleton not in the closet, but rather in the family attic. From what I was reading I could not detect any crime or even social offense that my uncle had committed. Just under the first letter was another. It was addressed from a Miss Millie Cross and read:

Dear Mrs. Perry,

We have never met. I was a nurse attendant at the sanitarium facility where your brother “Thomas” was kept. I am writing you with information about his stay there. Perhaps you may not be interested in the horrific details but I felt it to be the right gesture and therefore I send you this message.

Your brother in my opinion was just as sane as I am. Problem being that the hospital and sanitarium is in constant need of state funding. It is my opinion that Thomas, along with many other residents of this facility, fell victim to the cause. I am sure that you probably feel that my allegations are a serious matter. I agree. Therefore I have withdrawn from my position from nursing at the institution and intend on presenting my evidence to the proper authorities. I wanted to reach out to appropriate members related to those patients who I provided service for and you are one of them.

I wish you to know some of the atrocities that assisted in bringing your brother to his final end. Institution orderlies were instructed to carry out hydrotherapy. This entailed such villainous tactics as restraining the patient in a tub filled with scalding hot water in an attempt to calm them. Do you actually think this was a successful method? The only thing it succeeded in was hyperventilation and sometimes cardiac arrest.

Then there was the “crib” where a hospital bed with railings on each side was placed upside down and on top of another similar bed to create a human cage. Patients were kept in this cramped environment and with very little nourishment as punishment for their unsociable actions. It is beyond my comprehension how educated men cannot see that the violation being driven from these poor souls is directly from a cause that warrants rehabilitation and not punishment! I shall spare you further details involving your brother unless you contact me to share them. For now, I have a hard road ahead of me as I travel in an attempt to push reform of psychiatric treatment towards the mentally afflicted. Not only here in the South but nationwide.

I wish you all the best in your endeavors, Mrs. Perry.

With respect,
Miss Millie Cross

Staring down at the letters I suddenly felt an ice cold draft envelop me from behind. I found this to be a strange occurrence due to the fact that it was late in the spring and we were experiencing warm temperatures. The chill prompted me to sit up straight and adjust my shirt collar to shield my neck against any reoccurrence. I was sitting in front of a dust covered cherry wood storage chest. I began to open and close my eyes in an attempt to clear my vision as I witnessed the beginnings of writing in the dust upon the cherry wood chest. Being spellbound I sat motionless. Almost frozen with fearful curiosity. The writing stopped. I managed to wipe my eyes for reassurance that this was not an Illusion. What I was seeing was certainly not that. It came in the form of the word “Finaly” that was now written upon the cherry wood chest. The coolness in the attic room began to subside and temperatures returned to the warmth of the Georgia springtime.

Central State Hospital, Milledgeville, GA

What was I to do? Run and tell that I had an encounter with an unseen phantom? A spirit of times past that possessed poor spelling skills and had neglected to include one of the “L”s in the word “finally?” If I did, I was sure that certain ridicule would follow me with this tale forevermore. I decided to not mention this phenomena. At least not at that time.

I took the letters down stairs to my mother. Of course she began to cry. I asked if she had knowledge of these and she nodded her head Yes. She also told that this was the reason Aunt Sarah never had Children. For fear that they may become stricken with the Illness.

But when it all came out in the wash there actually wasn’t a hereditary illness in the family and that Aunt Sarah’s efforts were in vain. Mother went on to explain that they did not pursue any further information about Uncle Thomas as they felt he was in a better place now, spiritually anyway, and finally when the accused were finally found out, well, justice had been served alright. Thanks to the efforts of Miss Millie Cross.

I know this may appear strange, but I figure that when I soon contract the farmhouse with a real estate agent I think I will express to them our family request that priority be given towards a buyer with children. So that Uncle Jack and Aunt Sarah may look down and experience what she mistakenly sacrificed within her Milledgeville farmhouse. The sounds of life. Now that the skeletons have gone. Where the scent of peach pie shall linger for eternity.


Learn about the real Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, GA

Cynthia MorrisonCynthia Morrison is a graduate of the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre in Jupiter Florida. She is an Performance artist, stage combat director and writer. Her works tend to lean towards historic content. Although she also specializes in works that speak against the suppression of women.

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