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Alabama Oddities Weekly Rundown October 19th-October 24th

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Alabama Oddities Weekly Rundown October 19th-October 24th

Amanda Herman

We here at Serpents of Bienville have a lot of different projects currently running.  One project that we are particularly excited about is the Alabama Oddities pieces that Amanda is writing for our social media sites.  She is doing daily updates, bringing you a new story every morning, of something strange and odd from our Southern home.  Not everyone has social media, so we will be doing weekly rundown's of her stories, which we will be publishing every Sunday.  We hope you guys enjoy, and remember to follow us on our social media sites to get daily Alabama Oddities stories.  Enjoy!

Photograph of Old Fort Gaines

Photograph of Old Fort Gaines

Ancient Guard of Fort Gaines - Monday October 19th

Fort Gaines is said to have a native protector, a motherly defender, an ancient guard, that came from the spirit haven that is Massacre Island. An old native American woman has been seen roaming the outer halls of Fort Gaines, keeping a watchful eye and protecting her sacred ground from disrespectful intruders. She has disdain for the settlers that took her people’s land and is known to be incredibly angered by those who do not hold her home to the regard that she has. This woman is said to be clothed in the skins and furs of the indigenous animals and her face is heavily aged by weather and worry. Is she one of the reasons that Massacre Island is so cursed, because she believes, along with the spirits of her people still present on the ancient burial mounds, that people have not treated the land and each other with the respect that is deserved?

 

Illustration from JJ Abram's "Fringe"

Illustration from JJ Abram's "Fringe"

Hueytown Hum - Wednesday October 21st

The year was 1991. A quiet, peaceful day in a suburb in Birmingham Alabama… suddenly became… slightly annoying? Some described it as the buzzing right before a fluorescent light burns out. Some said it sounded like vent fans. One woman felt that she needed to keep in rhythm with it, letting its pulse control her breathing pattern.  Some people didn't hear it at all, but dogs unanimously revolted against it by barking incessantly and even going on hunger strike. People had their guesses at what the noise was, but no definitive conclusion was ever reached. The noise just stopped one day, and never returned. This may not seem must of an eerie oddity, unless you are a sci-fi fiend like myself. There was this one episode of JJ Abrams’ Fringe, if you recall, where there was a sound known as the “Edina Hum” that was radiating from nearby turbines. The sound was actually keeping the real identities of the townsfolk hidden from outsiders as well as each other. I’m not saying the people of Hueytown have anything to hide… Of course not… Then again… No, never mind, it’s probably nothing…

 

Horrifying Hoop Snakes - Thursday October 22nd

Today's oddity is the legendary creature from the dense Alabama backwoods known as the hoop snake, as if snakes weren't shocking enough. This terrifying serpent can chase its prey, moving even faster than its humdrum belly scooting brethren, my clutching his tail in his jaw and rolling like a wheel downhill. The detail that makes this cold-blooded creep even more chilling is that her tail is chocked full of poison. So when this reptile has his prey close enough to catch, it stiffens up into a spear position, piercing the victim with instantaneous death. The only way to dodge the hoop snake is to duck behind a tree or jump a fence, so either the tree soaks up the fatal poison or the snake has to uncoil to get through the chain link. That's it, folks, those are the only ways to survive the hoop snake. The ONLY ways.

 

"The Storyteller" by Frank Fleming, located in Birmingham, Alabama

"The Storyteller" by Frank Fleming, located in Birmingham, Alabama

The Storyteller of Five Points - Friday October 23rd

The Storyteller is a beautifully detailed fountain in the hub of Birmingham’s Five Points South. The artist, Frank Fleming, was commissioned by the Birmingham Art Association. Fleming is an amazing sculptor, and I believe he fully succeeded in conveying the idea of childlike innocence and creativity, with the Goat Man reading from an open book to his amphibian listeners in their imaginary kingdom, and holding his owl staff, representing the importance of southern traditional storytelling. However, there is another view of the Goat Man by the fine god fearing folk of the south. The sculpture is said by some to be completely satanic in nature, even stretching the symbolism by some to say that the frogs aren't just listeners, but worshipers set up to mark the five points of a pentagram (even though the location is named Five Points). However you interpret this work of art, you cannot deny its beauty. Frank, you done good, sir.

 

Photograph of Josephene Myrtle Corbin of Blount County, Alabama

Photograph of Josephene Myrtle Corbin of Blount County, Alabama

Come One!  Come All!  The Amazing Myrtle! - Saturday October 24th

Josephene Myrtle Corbin, from Blount County, Alabama, was born a conjoined twin. From the waist down, she was two separate people, having two pelvises, two complete reproductive systems, and four legs. She birthed five children with her husband, and rumors speculate which system incubated each child. She was alive during the dawn of medical journals' utter fascination with the obscure. Her mother started charging to see her "freak" daughter when she was just five months old, and Myrtle stuck with the career throughout her life. She appeared in P.T. Barnum's Traveling Show and Ringling Brothers Circus, and later held shows at Coney Island. She had a cheerful disposition and a great sense of humor, plus they paid her mega bucks, so she embraced her difference and always played the crowd. Good on you, Myrtle! Freaks unite!

The Fortunes of Rena Teel - Sunday October 25th

Rena was born in Millerville with a “veil” over her eyes, now known as having her amniotic sac intact. In those days, though, the child born this way was said to have the sixth sense, the sorcery of seeing the future. As a child, she would tell people their futures without knowing that this talent was not normal. She told her mother one day that her newborn brother was going to die. Three days later, the perfectly healthy boy did just that. When she became a mother herself, she dreamed that she told her mother she had no child. Nine days later, her healthy son passed, the same as her brother. She caught wind of a man that was to be hung for the rape of a woman, and Rena swore that he was innocent. She just knew it. her friend told her not to get involved, since Rena had worked very hard to stay out of the limelight and keep her talent hidden so that she would not be exploited and feared. She promised to stay out of it, but promised that the guilty would confess in two years. Two years after the innocent man was hung, the hanged man's uncle confessed to the rape on his deathbed. She ultimately decided to use her gift to help people for the rest of her days back in Millerville, and folks came from all over to see the amazing fortune telling Mrs. Rena.