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!
Seat's Taken! - Monday November 9th
Bay Minette is the County Seat for Baldwin County, because they literally stole it. Daphne was the original seat, but when legislation was passed down for it to be moved, Daphne ignored the order. So the adamant citizens of the town to the north made up a story of a fugitive on the loose, sending the Daphne sheriff on a wild goose chase. When this one guy was out of the building, the coast was clear for the Bay Minette citizens to break in and steal the Judge’s entire desk and contents, stacks of county records, and the single inmate, and take them back to town. The people of Bay Minette celebrated by painting a pretty creepy mural on the side of the Post Office.
The Woman in White - Tuesday November 10th
A young lady from Ensley had walked to the seamstress’ home on the other side of Bayview Bridge in Jefferson County, Alabama. She was retrieving her wedding dress, she was to marry her love the very next day. But when she failed to return home, her parents began to imagine the worst. A week later, the wedding dress she was carrying home was found below the bridge, shredded and covered in blood. On this bridge, people have reported experiences starting with their car engine shutting off. Crickets and frogs sounding are silenced by the crunching leaves and hurried footstep, followed by the snarls and barks of a dog pack unseen. These sounds fade, and a pin could be heard drop, dare anyone move a muscle. If your car miraculously gains power once more, floor it. She’s coming. A man actually reported a young woman asking for a ride home. She gave him an address in Ensley. He pulled up to the house and headed toward thedoor to ensure the lady’s protection, as a southern gentleman would. She did not follow. He didn't see her leave and he certainly didn't hear her take off. As an older man answered the front door, he told the story of a girl directing him to his door. The man told a story of his daughter’s passing and his lack of closure. The two men viewed the seat she was just in, nothing left but a puddle of blood.
Nutria: They Do Exist! - Wednesday November 11th
An heir in the Tabasco Sauce fortune felt it was his calling to breed nutria and sell their fur. What are nutria, you ask? Nutria are average twenty pound rat-monsters said to be brought over to the Gulf Coast from Argentina, having rat tails, beaver heads, and webbed feet. I live in the country, surrounded by swamps and waterways, and I get through the day convincing myself that these creatures are cryptids, surely they are not lurking through my backyard and scratching through my screen door as I write this. Ahem. The Tabasco man’s fur business didn’t take off, obviously, and thanks to him and a strong hurricane in 1941, southern Alabama was plagued by these heinous swamp critters. To alleviate the situation, each year since this population boom, the Nutria Rodeo has been held on the causeway between Mobile and Baldwin County at a bar named Trader George’s. Hundreds of people would load up in boats and cruise the waterways that meet at Mobile Bay to hunt these nutria, to later meet back at the bar to compare, trade stories, and party. The hunt isn't held anymore, the alligators pretty much handle the situation themselves, but Traders still stands, holds the rodeo, and even crowns a Nutria Rodeo Queen every year. Ooh La La.
Grandma's Blessing - Thursday November 12th
Bertha Finn was Jim Finn’s grandmother, and the two were thick as thieves. Jim admired his prankster nana and valued her opinion in all matters in life. She peacefully passed in 1980 when he was attending the University of Alabama. Around the same time, he met Gay Perkins and soon found that he wanted to spend his life with her. He spoke frequently about how he would have loved for Gay to have met Bertha, speaking so highly of his grandmother. Gay was back home on Montevallo visiting her parents overnight when she woke from a bad dream, only to find an elderly woman perched at the end of her bed. When Gay had gathered herself from the freakish occurrence, the lady was gone. When speaking with her fiancé the next morning, Jim told her that he had the strangest, most exciting dream. His grandmother visited him while he was sleeping and told him how much she liked his bride to be, and that she highly approved of Gay. The day the two wed, Jim felt a hand on his shoulder, and knew that his grandmother was there.
Witch's Paw - Friday November 13th
Lycanthropy is a common theme in folk tales originating in the South. Cats, in particular, were thought to be witches, good and bad. One belief was that these witches would do good for the folks that were kind to them in cat form. One story goes that a man was in his kitchen when he caught a cat breaking in through his window. He grabbed a sharp knife nearby and chopped off the feline’s paw. The animal ran in fear and the paw morphed into a woman’s had before in even reached the floor. The ring finger was adorned with a wedding band, and the man immediately knew who the witch in town was, marched down to her husband to warn him of his lady’s ways. When the husband found her, indeed her hand was missing, and he left her to the will of the townspeople.
Coon Dog Cemetery - Saturday November 14th
When his best friend and hunting buddy, Troop, passed away Labor Day of 1937, Key Underwood wanted to pay tribute to his faithful companion. Underwood buried Troop in Freedom Hills near the same hunting camp the two had spent years frequenting with other canine/human teams. As other hunters' coonhounds passed, they followed in Underwood's ritual of respect for their love and devotion, and the cemetery was organically born, and it is definitely the only one of its kind. The Key Underwood Coon Dog Cemetery in Tuscumbia County is now the roadside attraction of an elite pet cemetery with strict burial regulations, coonhounds only, and yearly memorial celebration traditions to honor passed hunting buddies, celebrate the community's cooking and dancing skills, and witness the annual "Liar's Contest.”
He Gon Gitcha! - Sunday November 15th
Enjoy Mr. Newell's sign he had made to display on his property to be visible from I-65 as a friendly reminder to all god fearing travelers. He passed away 6 years ago, but the sign remains.