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. With the opening of the new Serpents of Bienville Art Gallery we have been a little behind on the rundowns so here's one a day or two late. So enjoy!
Tuesday February 23rd - Isaac Uncovers Warship
In 2012 in the aftermath of the Category 1 Hurricane Isaac cleanup on the beaches of Fort Morgan, residents found an incredible sight. As the sands had been washed out, it seems they had been concealing a large steamship, 150 feet in length by 30 feet width. The actual use of this ship is up for debate, though. The long and skinny design was first used by the British in their trade with the Southern United States during the 1800's, but based on the materials used, this ship was American made. Historians are left with two options: this ship was either used in battle or to smuggle rum into the Gulf Coast. The style of steamer was used during the Civil War in the 1860's, being more agile than earlier designs, and its slender frame used to break through blockades by enemy ships. Its quickness was also useful for Rum Runners in the 1930's during Prohibition. Either way, the ship went unmoved. The mystery ship was left to be naturally tucked back in beneath the shifting sands once again, waiting to be uncovered by another powerful storm.
Wednesday February 24th - Bigfoot on the Porch
The Alexander City family was pulling back up to their house after a long evening of errands when the car headlights scanned the porch, turning into the driveway, and uncovered a frightening scene. The father slammed on the car breaks illuminating the hairy figure hunched over the cat food bowl off to the east side of the porch. Thinking the bear-like figure would get spooked and hightail it away from the house, the animal terrified the family by uncurling its hunched bank and standing erect, and shooting a hard glare back over his broad shoulder at the source of the blinding headlights, just before he stepped off the porch and simply walked away toward the woods. The father immediately pulled the car back out that driveway and headed to the in-law's house for the night. Later as the kids were settled out of earshot, they debates on whether they just witnessed Bigfoot eating their cat's food. Granddad believed their story wholeheartedly, telling the family that he and his friends have heard stories of Bigfoot, or "Wampus" sightings in the area all their lives.
Thursday February 25th - Tickets for the Underground River
The natives that were settled in the now Birmingham area would tell stories of how they traveled to the area from the north by way of canoe along the Underground River. Claims that this river actually exists is up for debate. While the limestone that Birmingham rests on shows lines of wear from long periods of water flow, an actual river running through the county from Tennessee is still up for debate. The fabled existence of this river and its location heavily shaped the decisions for placement of construction during the city's industrialization. A notorious "tale-teller" named Joe Mulhatton reported in the Louisville Courier-Journal a grand story about the ground breaking open and exposing the river during a building's construction, and the tale caught on like wild fire. A man from Selma immediately began selling tickets to travel with him to view the "Mystic River" flowing beneath the streets of Birmingham, but when the day of the tour arrived, paying customers realized the salesman and the magical river dock were nowhere to be found.
Friday February 26th - De Pineda Island
Mobile Bay was the first body of water in the entire Western Hemisphere to be accurately charted! Over a century before pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, a Spanish ship headed by a man named ALONZO ALVAREZ de Pineda discovered Mobile Bay, and finding the port area incredibly useful for his future plans in trade expansion, he and his men spent a month docked in the area of now Pineda Island on the Spanish Fort side of the causeway, charting an incredibly detailed map. The accuracy of this map differs very slightly to the modern day Bay Area, most likely due to the building of the causeway and the number of moving barrier islands
Art and story brought to us by Walter Overton.
Saturday February 27th - Flagpole Sitter Extraordinaire
In 1963, Peggy Townsend Clark sat at the top of a flagpole in Gadsden for seven and a half months. Peggy was in a terrible car accident a few years prior to the record breaking event, and having to lay in bed bound by a full body cast for almost two whole years is said to be her training for the mental and physical steadiness of flagpole sitting. Her boyfriend at the time, before realizing she would be the one to attempt this feat, told Peggy anyone crazy enough to attempt something like this was an idiot. She assured him that he must indeed, then, be looking at an idiot. He figured he was still in her good graces, though, when he sent an engagement ring up the flagpole in a basket and she responded with a cheerful "yes" during her months of perched isolation. After 217 days, Peggy climbed down from the 50 foot high 6x7 foot box having earned a Guinness World Record, a fiancé, and 2 brand new cars from local sponsors. Her record was held until 1984 during a protest regarding gas prices.