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!
Monday February 15th - Small Pox Saved the Town
At the time of the Civil War, a physician named Dr. Charles Edwin Reese was running a flourishing practice in the town on Lowndesboro outside of Montgomery. People on the town caught word that General Wilson would be leading his troops straight through town on the way to Montgomery. Afraid of the destruction war leaves in its wake, and Selma having fallen to similar mistreatment, Dr. Reese devised a way to protect his town. A man had come into his office with a nasty rash, and Dr. Reese took that sick man to the outskirts of town to meet General Wilson and his men. Dr. Reese explained that Lowndesboro was momentarily plagued by Small Pox, and if the general was concerned about his troops' health, it would be best to just go around town, and not bother coming into town for any reason. General Wilson took Dr. Reese's advice, the man's short lived rash healed, and Lowndesboro stood another day.
Tuesday February 16th - Mooney’s Ruination
Hubert Mooney knew that swamp from Bibb County all the way to the Cahaba River. His family was devastated when, in 1896, Hubert walked into those woods, and never came out again. From that day, the swamp would become known as Ruination Swamp. Many speculated as to how a man that grew up in and traveled that swamp almost daily could get lost in its density, and no one heard of him again, until the night the Ragland children found themselves lost in that same swamp, with sundown approaching too quickly. The children lived nearby and played among the murky trees quite often. This day, the just lost track of time. The seven children held on to the plow lines they brought with them so that none of them would get separated from the group, seeing as they could barely make out their own hand in front of their face. A white light shown straight ahead, and the eldest brother, leading the pack, figured it must be their father coming in search for them. He found their trail home following the white lantern signal straight out of the swamp, but when he pulled the rest of his siblings from out of the woods, the light disappeared. They ran as fast as they could to catch up with their father, but when they made it through the kitchen's screen door, dad exclaimed, "Ten more minutes and I was coming to find you kids!"
Wednesday February 17th - Edmund King
The house of the late Edmund King, a businessman who had a lavish love affair with his own money, sits prominently on the campus of Montevallo, smack in the middle of the state of Alabama. It is said that he can be seen with his lantern in the top story of the house, with the green flashing orbs most active during storms. He peeks out at passersby from behind the curtains, and does not shy away when he is aware he’s been spotted. The graves of his wife and son are not far from the front porch, which gives an even eerier feel to the whole haunting experience. It has been said that he never forgave those present when his son died, being accidentally shot by his own brother. Edmund King spent many days out at his son’s grave, seemingly spending more time with his in death than in life. After Edmund died and the lights began to manifest in his bedroom, they are also seen coming out of the house and taking the same path to the tiny graveyard that King walked every day. The shadowy figure is seen carrying his lantern out in hopes of joining his son. He’s still searching.
Thursday February 18th - Eliza’s on Fire
The steamboat named Eliza Battle burst into flames while traveling the Tombigbee in 1858. The hellacious scene of the burning steamer was devastating for those present at the time of the event, and is rumored to still be seen as a warning to those that wish to travel that same route. As with most fires around the mid 1800’s, cotton bales engulfed in flames on board this side paddle luxury steamer and the wooden ship burned quickly, never making it back to port in Mobile. Nowadays, “The Phantom Steamboat of the Tombigbee,” as written in 13 Ghosts by Kathryn Tucker Windham, when the fiery mist of the Eliza Battle is seen floating down river, locals and river men say it is a very serious omen, and become incredibly cautious, or even cease travel, to avoid disaster and heed its warning.
Friday February 19th - Armadillos are Sci-Fi Gold
Armadillos have been around for over 150 million years, but the first recorded appearance of them in Alabama wasn't until the 1940's. It is suspected they ended up here due to a transport mishap from Texas to Florida. These mammals are the only animals in the works that create exact clones of themselves. It's science fiction gold. The egg splits into two, and those eggs split, creating four exact replicas of the same egg. These babies are ready to be birthed after three months' incubation, but if conditions aren't fit for delivery (cold weather, lack of food and resources), the mother can hold delay birth for up to three years. When the clone babies are finally born, their eyes are open and can walk within the hour. Also, armadillos are found as frequent roadkill due to their reaction when startled. They tend to jump vertically, up to four feet, when startled, projecting them into the underside of your car.
Saturday February 20th - Mornings at Jackson Oak
The Bell Rose Tattoo namesake was also used by the D'Olive (pronounced Dough-leave) family, and if you wander upon their founder cemetery hidden among the trails near Jackson Oak, it will give you chills. Get out on this beautiful day and explore your home.
Sunday February 21st - Pleasure Bay
The Hurricane of 1916 was devastating to the Eastern Shore. The Pleasure Bay gave locals and tourists excursions and adventures between the docks of Fort Morgan, Blakeley, and Palmetto Beach. After being thrashed about in Mobile Bay during this disastrous storm, the Pleasure Bay was salvaged from this state of wreckage, and continued its joyous tours once more, only to be destroyed by a careless fire in the middle of Lake Pontchartrain.