Ghost Stories and Tall Tales of the American South

Patin’s Punkin Patch – Story Credits

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Written and Told by Tom Coleman

Taken from the CD “A Tour of Southern Ghosts”
Copyright 2000 Art Station
Used by permission

Photography by Craig and Connie Dominey

We’ll let storyteller Tom Coleman tell you where this story came from:

“A few of us liars, or if you prefer, storytellers were sitting around talking one evening, and I mentioned that I once lived in the sweet potato capital of the world – Opelousas, Louisiana. We began to talk about other forms of agriculture around the Cajun area and I made mention that no one that I knew grew pumpkins. At least, I had never seen a pumpkin patch in South Louisiana before. And that’s where the idea for this story came from.

The part about my Granny and that tatais (tah-tie) was true. She always warned us about going into dark areas. I think she may have been referring to spiders and such, but tatai was a pretty strong image to me in my youth and meant just about every type of creepy crawly or ghoul that could scare you.

Shawee is a common nickname around my hometown and actually means raccoon. It sounds like an Indian word; I don’t believe it’s Cajun. But my best friend’s name was actually John. He became Shawee for this story. The kicker is John and I would have probably done exactly what I described in the story, scare the old man just for fun.

The story was much longer and ended with how instead of pumpkins people began to plant sweet potatoes. They became haunted too, but didn’t cause so much of a scare.”

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