From the hills of Appalachia, the swamps of the Gulf, and the banks of the Mississippi river, the people in this region of the United States have and continue to share their stories, traditions, and beliefs. Its changed over time but the same feelings of dark woods, sticky sweet humidity, quaint dialect, and down home magic are the same no matter if southern folklore is shared by mamaw next to the wood stove or if its heard over the internet.
Folklore /ˈfōklôr/ noun
“traditional beliefs and customs of the common people” derived from Folk: “of the common people, whose culture is handed down orally.”
“a body of popular myth and beliefs relating to a particular place, activity, or group of people.”
The American Folklore Society says “Folklore is our cultural DNA. It includes the traditional art, stories, knowledge, and practices of a people. While folklore can be bound up in memory and histories, folklore is also tied to vibrant living traditions and creative expression today.”
Its culture. Everyone has it – often a mash up of ancestral and where they live.
This region’s folklore, like most of the United States, is as mixed and blended as a good bowl of gumbo. There’s a lil Native American, a lil African, lil Scots-Irish, a lil French, and a lil Spanish all stirred up in the subtropical heat to create a flavor all its own. The stories from old country and new get passed around, stitched on like a quilt, and passed back until its hard to figure out what was original and what was embellished. Some of its entirely new, developed from experiences living in this area of the country through the ages of colonialism, industrialization, and modernity.
People are drawn to folklore for many reasons. Some feel the pull at their bones to the old ways of their ancestors, others want a deeper connection to the land and its mysteries, and some have personal eerie experiences that they see reflected in these stories. For Damon and I, its all of these things and more. There’s not much we like more than sitting around with other folks and talking about stories and weird things we’ve experienced living in and traveling around the south.
We here at Haint n Holler want to celebrate this unique region we live in and share the stories and superstitions that make it a magical place to live. Thank you for joining us and be sure to hop on over and subscribe to our podcast where we share the urban legends, hauntings, and folk practices of the southern states.