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!
The Space City That Never Existed - Monday November 30th
Space City in Huntsville was to rival Disneyland, starting park goers out at a central hub, and transporting people across time and space through different portals that branch off into different areas of the park. These included a land of dinosaurs and spewing volcanoes, “Old South” with folks that “do declare” while sipping mint juleps, Moon City with fantastical projections of the future, a land named Old Travel Town, the pirate themed Dead Man’s Island, and The Land of Oz full of kiddie rides. This all sounds great, and it seemed like a wonderful idea to those in attendance of the 1964 Press Conference boasting the amusement park idea, promised to have its doors open by 1965, ten years after Disneyland opened gates. The opening date kept getting pushed back until in 1967, funding just ran dry and the only pieces that constructed were auctioned off. The site became an expensive neighborhood called Edgewater, and the path for a Caveman Car Ride now leads up to the clubhouse, while the train itself is still operating in Santa Margarita, California.
Ghost Town Road - Tuesday December 1st
Ghost Town Road in Lee County is lined with the dead. People have seen a teenage girl and a headless man walking hand in hand to cross the road. Folks have also reported hooded figured with gray skin and red eyes, fitting the description of watchers, legendary figures that are called upon by an individual to watch specific areas or people and report back to the person that summoned them, never to interact with anyone else. Travelers seem to have car trouble on this road more times than not, with engines shutting off and tires blowing out. Since the early 1960's, dead bodies have been discovered along this road on a regular basis. There is a rock off the side of Ghost Town Road that the stench of dead and decay are frighteningly potent, named Altar Rock. Animal carcasses actually surround the rock at all times, yet all seem to have passed from natural causes. This altar was said to be used by local dark worshipers for animal and human sacrifices many years ago, and the dead and demonic have been drawn to it ever since.
Miss Baker and the Space Center - Wednesday December 2nd
After the storm blew over that was Space City, USA (see post from Monday), the fine folks of Huntsville would have completely understood if the city wanted to give up on space-themed attractions, but the Marshall Space Flight Center had been opened and operating in the area since 1960. MSFC is the largest NASA center, focused on civilian rocketry and propulsion, and the city of Huntsville jumped on the opportunity to bring the public what it was overwhelmingly intrigued by, with the moon landing of 1969 shifting the people’s mindset from national defense to interplanetary discovery. Up popped the US Space and Rocket Center. The city was in such a hurry to open the center and ride the wave of public demand for involvement in the exploration of new worlds, that exhibits were added over the years, doors open all the while. The space traveling squirrel monkey, Miss Baker, was even on site to greet guests, and today her resting place is still among the sites of the park.
Here is Miss Baker's memorial at her gravesite at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. She was the first US mammal (squirrel monkey) to travel through space and return alive. I intended to post a photo of her sweet face, but she does not look happy strapped inside a rocket, rightfully so. The Curious George episode is quite misleading. Sleep well, brave lady.
Whiskey to the Grave - Thursday December 3rd
William T. Mullen of Clayton, Alabama was a raging alcoholic. His wife was embarrassed time and time agin from his whiskey-fueled actions. She swore to him, if he didn't stop drinking and embarrassing her every day of her life, then she would find a way to embarrass him every day into eternity. Turns out, he didn’t stop, so she followed through. This is Mr. Mullen’s gravestone, shaped like a whiskey bottle. He chose it over her, and she made sure no one will forget.
The Night Stalker - Friday December 4th
Athens State University's Founder's Hall is a sight to see, not just for the grandiose Greek Revival structure of the oldest building on campus, but for the souls that were drawn by its beauty so much so that they refuse to leave. A young boy worked the stables as the go-between of the hot black fires of the blacksmith and the horse enclosures as their errand runner. He loved the Founder's hall and would sneak in the small crevices and closets so that he steal glimpses of the beautiful ballroom parties and be awe stricken by the architecture. One fateful day on the job, he was shoeing a horse and was kicked so hard that he passed away. The boy now seems to think his heaven is being the occupant of the Founder's Hall third floor. A female student spotted him years ago inside her dorm closet. Large clouds of heavy black smoke appear, alarming students of fire, only to dissipate within seconds. Noises have been recorded in the area of heavy paranormal activity that have all been attributed to the boy: hurried footsteps, labored groans, popping stable whips, pounding blacksmith hammers, and the creaking of wooden gates.
Foley Train Museum - Saturday December 5th
In 1905, John B. Foley funded the first railroad to reach Southern Baldwin County out of pocket. This line reached from Bay Minette to just a mile south of the city of Foley. The train would then ride a wye and exit the way it came. This line was incredibly prosperous for Foley as an agricultural hub, but shut down for good in 1971. John Snook, who owned Gulf Telephone Company, bought the depot building, saving it from destruction and moved it to Magnolia Springs to house his unused phone parts. He eventually deeded it to the city of Foley, where it was moved back to and turned into the Foley Railroad Museum.
Nadine and her Dollhouse - Sunday December 6th
The 5 foot tall, red brick dollhouse looks like something any small child would love to play with. The little girl that's buried underneath, though, never had the opportunity. Nadine Earles of Lanett, Alabama, contracted diphtheria at the age of four, and caught pneumonia because of her weakened immune system shortly after. Her loving parents gifted her a doll and tea set for birthday, and her father set off on the mission as a skilled carpenter to build his sweet girl a dollhouse for Christmas that year for her new companion. Nadine was so excited for her playhouse, but her father ultimately ran out of time. Nadine Earles passed away on December 18th, 1933. He was determined to finish the house for her, and placed it upon her grave, lined the yard of it with bricks, and filled the rooms with the toys she adored. The parents' request was granted, upon their passing, to be buried in the yard next to her.
This grave marker has been somewhat of a tourist attraction since its creation.