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!
Dressing the Part - Monday November 16th
Stories are told of a woman dressed in only the finest gowns and jewels sighted daily walking the streets of Mobile in the mid 1700's. Everything about they way she presented herself corroborated with her stories of being of Russian royalty. This woman told stories of her lavish days as the princess, married to Alexei Petrovich, the son of Peter the Great. She confided in the women of Mobile, Alabama and confessed that her husband was abusive and she feared her life. She fled, alone and afraid, until she crossed paths with a group of kind Germans, the group that brought her along to the Alabama Coast. One of the German men had fallen in love with her, and they spent years in Mobile before they set off to Paris with hopes of spending the rest of their days together. Soon after, the woman was recognized by a man that was employed by the princess in Russia. He unveiled her true identity as a chamber maid to the actual princess, who had stolen a collection of dresses and jewels from the Russian princess and fled the country
Goat Man Parade - Tuesday November 17th
We all hear about Joe Cain Day being the Sunday before Fat Tuesday during Mobile, Alabama’s Mardi Gras Celebration (the birthplace of Mardi Gras), but does anyone revel for the lesser-known Goat Man Saturday? Prichard is a suburb of Mobile, and celebrates this eccentric man that paraded down the streets in a wooden cart pulled by goats, being the first to ever parade in Pritchard. He would make toys and treats for his neighbors and throw them from his cart in the same fashion we throw moon pies and beads from floats today. On the Saturday before Fat Tuesday, the people of Prichard gather to revel with the Krewe of Goats in the Goat Man Parade, complete with a Goat Master, and yes, more goats.
I'm Sorry, Mrs. Fitch - Wednesday November 18th
The beautiful Tuscaloosa antebellum home is full of noises: sounds of creaking, cries of helplessness, slamming doors and clanking locks to keep her from leaving him, ever again. Fitch built the most beautiful staircases the south had seen, his work displayed inside the Drish house and many others in the area. Fitch was said to be a phenomenal architect, and a horrendous drunk. His wife and family pleaded with him to stop, but he was engulfed in his addiction. His wife had reached her limit of abuse from him, and mustered the courage to tell him she was leaving. She held her head high, standing in the bathroom doorway while he shaved his face before work. The words left her lips and he immediately reached for her embrace. He pulled her in close, and she didn't fight it, assured that he was overcome with remorse and repentance. Reality quickly set in as she felt her own blood pouring down her neck. He had slit her throat with his straight razor. He was never going to let her leave.
Phantom Riders - Thursday November 19th
Mrs. Campbell tells a story of a path beaten out around a large, gnarly oak comprised of low hanging limbs all around the knotting trunk. Each night, a cloaked figure on a horse comes down the path on horseback. This has been going on for so many years that she can't remember a night without the phantom rider passing her window. She and friends have taken turns waiting up at night to identify this shadow man, but no one ever can, for when the are on alert, the path is quiet, but as soon as they give up and turn away, the horse and shadow comes galloping through. It takes the exact same path, circling the tree, never even snapping a twig on the tangled oak. Mrs. Campbell was told tales of witches riding their horse, a horse described as identical to the one that still rides past her house, onward through the darkness.
Women's Temperance Union - Friday November 20th
Temperance movements started as far back as the American Revolution when farmers petitioned against whiskey distilleries. This notion was shared by the Salvation Army, founded in London in 1864, and the movement took off, somewhat. The Women's Christian Temperance Union formed in 1874 and Alabama ladies jumped on board, forming local branches in Tuscaloosa, Selma, and around Gadsden and Etowah counties all around 1882. Membership dues were a minimum of fifty cents, and by 1919, collections reached around a half million dollars. I think their lovely advertisement speaks for itself.
Von Doon - Saturday November 21st
There is a cabin that sits atop the Third Ridge in Birmingham, deep in the dense wood. This where Von Doon sits and watches. He was known as a crazed scientist from Germany, and it was said that he spied the campers of Camp Cosby, looking for his next experiment. He watched and waited until one would stray from the marked grounds. With his viciously trained hunting dogs, with eyes of red and mouths filled with razors, he would track the lone camper and snatch him up before he could cry out to his comrades. The camper would never be seen again. The cabin has been explored by few who have deemed themselves brave enough to handle an encounter with Von Doon, but evidence in the cabin suddenly changed everything they thought they knew about this man. Von Doon may not have been watching the campers to abduct them, but to protect them. The cabin was said to contain a chamber comprised of thick, heavy walls and a powerful lock, but the lock was shredded. The creature he contained inside this cell could have been the attacker, and Von Doon was the only soul standing between this monster and their graves.
iJohn's Ride with JFK - Sunday November 22nd
According to the Alabama author behind the alias iJohn, JFK was warned of his assassination (conspiracy theorists, feel free to weigh in). IJohn was picked up by President Kennedy while hitchhiking from Mobile, Alabama to Dauphin Island, as Good Samaritan presidents do. IJohn seemed to have inside information about plans for an assassination attempt on his president, and divulged this information, but JFK did not heed this warning. So iJohn proceeded to publish a nearly 400 page account of what unfolded. We may never know why this man's life was really taken, but for some down home southern conspiracy theories, we turn to iJohn.