Monday, October 31, 2011
Happy Halloween my dressed up Possum's! Call me the cript keeper! I found this really neet old graveyard from the early 17 and 1800's! So to make things a little different this Halloween, I decided to share those photos with you and to try something a little different instead of the same old costume parties and pumpkin carvin Halloween jargon. No...this time I have found a local Nashville hauntin story I'd like to share with ya'll.
This story was written by Betsy Phillips and published in the Nashville Scene magazine. So here goes...
A Forgotten Haunting
The terrifying true story of the thing, the Nashville apparition scarier than the Bell Witch
At the turn of the 20th century , Members of Nashville's most prominent families would regularly gather at Ben and Sue Allen's house on spruce street and conjure up a supernatural entity they called the thing. Yes,, it soundslike the premise to a horror movie, or maybe the first part of a conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy thories.
But it's the truth. when most people think of supernatural stories from Tennessee's past, the examplethat comes readily to mind is the Bell Witch. In the early 1900s, however, The Thing was the most famous strange entity in Middle Tennessee. It's been all but forgotten today, but for want of a body count, The Thing's name might have been the words Middle Tennessee's kids grew up saying fearfully into a mirror-and with better chances of a chilling result. Ben Allen, according to Geogre Zepp's Hidden History of Nashville, was a colorful character, a wealthy banker's son who "had developed a reputation as a jewelery-making hobbyist, a freemason, a palmist, a hypnotist and a supernaturalist. "For almost 30 years-until his death from " brain fever" in 1910 - Ben and his wife Sue conducted twice weekly seances in their big red brick Italianate house just off Broadway. Members of Nashville's elite, people wit streets named after themtoday, would come to sit in their darkened dining room and hold hands while Ben helped Sue contact the dead. And often, when they were feeling daring, would conjure up The Thing.
What was The Thing? Some said that it felt like a cat. Some thought it looked like a dog. Often , when it followed seance participants home, the growling, biting entity remained invisible, even as it shook people's houses with unseen blows. Neighbors who refused to walk near the house seemed to think it was a demon.
Even before The Thing came to town, Nashville was full of ghost. By 1857, talking to spirits was so common that the Rev. Jesse Babcock Ferguson stood in the front of The Nashville Church of Christ and advocated chatting with the dead.
In the 1870's , David McFall, who served on the board of the Tennessee Asylum and in the state legislature- assuming those were separate entities- was profiled for his skills as a medium in American Spiritual magazine. In 1887, when the first written account of the Bell Witch was published, Ben Allen was already a well-known occultist. He and Sue had been married four years.
The Thing thus arrived in a community open to the presence of spirits. Even Skeptics believed such a thing as The Thing was possible. Investagations focused on on whether this particular Thing was being faked, not whether things like this Thing were fake.
Word of The Thing's existence eventually reached beyond Nashville. Well-known psychic researcher and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hamlin Garland relays in his 1930's paranormal memior that he heard about The Thing from Ittie K. Reno, then the society editor for the short-lived Nashville Dailey News.
She told him she attended a seance where a beast of some kind appeared beneath the table. A lawyer dropped to the floor to feel around for either The Thing or the person responsible for the fakery.
Suddenly, with a yell, he scrambled to his feet, caught up his hat, and rushed from the house, Garland writes. "On the following day he explained his panic. A huge hairy beast hurled itself against me- a brute of enormous power. It followed me all the way home.
GarLand writes the story was later corrobrated by Judge John M. Dickinson of Nashville, who said that he'd heard the story straight from the lawyer in question. ( The Judge is probably Jacob M. Dickinson, who went on to be secretary of war under Taft.).
The most in-depth reporting on the Allen's comes from Margaret Lindsey Warden's story in the Jan. 14, 1951, Tennessean. Small wonder: Warden's second cousin, Cornell Lindsey , was the wife of Sloss Baxter- the son of Sue Allen's sister. Stories of the Allens and their eccentric ways were family gossip. Warden writes: Strangely enough, when fingers were locked around the table, it was the practical, extroverted Miss Sue who was the medium or the sensitive. It was for her that the spirits rapped messages and The Thing came. Sometimes the psychic- husband was not even in the house. A rush of wind that rustled the ladies' voluminous petticoats usually announced the arrival of The Thing. Some felt The Thing to be like a large cat, others like an arm without hand or fingers. Besides rubbing legs, unbuttoning high buttoned shoes, and the rattling silver china, other phenomena were attributed to it. The big table would rise and push people around the room. An occasional putrid odor would necessitate circle breaking and window opening.
The house where Ben and Sue Allen used to live at 125 eighth Ave. S. is long gone. razed in the 1950's after spending its final years as a dilapidated rooming house. The site now houses the U.S. Community Credit Union. Don't bother calling the credit union to ask if they've had any run-ins with the entity who regularly visited the Allens. The woman who answered the phone didn't know, and the person whose voice mail she directed me to never called back. I didn't expect her to. It's one thing to have a ghost. Ghost, once you get past the spookiness, can be good for business. The Ryman, the Capitol, Tootie's, Merchant;s etc.- all have their share of dead people still lingering, and tourist pay eagerly for the chance to see them. But things that haven't ever been human? That's a harder sell.
Nevertheless, the disappearance of The Thing from the city's consciousness is aboutas strange as if we suddenly all forgot about the Bell Witch.
That said, Nashville is full of fading stars- people so famous in their time your heart would have jumped into your throat to see them on the street.Now they shop unbothered at Target with the rest of us. They were legends, and then their legends were eclipsed by someone a little fresher, a little better, a little more willing to push the envelope. The Thing had a great run as Nashville's most famous supernatural being, before before the Bell witch really caught on. And now it's all but forgotten. In a way , that seems fitting. That's how things work here. Yet whenever I pass the credit union , I slow down, hoping against hope that the Thing is still around - lurking in the parking lot , maybe planning it's comeback. I've seen no sign. By Betsy Phillips
Sunday, October 30, 2011
What up Possum's? Glad ta see ya'll here in my Sock Drawer again and have I got a fun little report for ya'll this time. Ya'll know I frequent the Farmers market quite often and this trip is no exception to the Bubba rules! They did a shop under the stars for the evenin after work Possum's. The Farmers market here usually closes around 4 P.M. every afternoon. I ask my staff if they wanted to attend to find out what this is all about.
The lights ya'll see above my head? This is what they refer to as stars. Creative in it's own right I must say. I mean what else do ya do with the Christmas lights that sit around in the closet all year? Why ya pull'em out in October and pretend their stars at the Farmers market!
I mean it was a banlo pickin night of nights! I looked around while this gentleman was playin and folks were talkin and eaten their cheese cake like he wasn't even there. I walked right up to him and said tough crowd! He said he's seen worse,and as ya'll can see I all but started my banjo lessons. Yep! Ole Bubba was pickin and a grinnin in Nashville for the first time!
Here I am at the shoppin scene. The merchants were out tonight! Folks salein crafted ceramics and Chefs tastein and sellin their baked goods. Home made jewlery with feathers stickin out in every fashion.
Butter cake babe was on hand to make my fancy coffee!
She's quite the interestin lady as ya'll can see. Makin coffee and bakein her heart out.
The way I see it? One part Farmers Market and three parts guitar and ya got Nashville wrapped up in a nut shell!
Happy Halloween Weekend Possum's! Bubba
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Good mornin Possum's! I trust ya'll all slept well on such a wonderful fall day! The colors here in Middle Tennessee are as beautiful as an artist pallet! I ask my camera crew to take these shots so you could see how pretty it is here this time of year. I did go for another one of my walks in the park yesterday just to enjoy the fall changin colors. That and to ward off thunder thighs! LOL! (wink)
Durin my fall of color walk I heard music off in the distance as we usually do in Nashville. I wondered what was goin on this time. I followed the sound of the music to see about this curious Nashville sound. I found just under the train track where one of our visitor centers resides...Folks gathered playin and singin music. They didn't seem to be the gettin famous bunch that we find all over and in Nashville.
There was a group of ladies singin as the band backed them up with the guitars , drums and other instruments I may or may not be familiar with. Or perhaps I just didn't know how top spell them! I just decided that maybe I'm in The Sock Drawer just a little to much sometimes! But it is the way I make a livin and I do enjoy sharin the Nashville happenins with ya'll as I get out and about. This blog was totally unexpected and I didn't have it penciled in on my calendar. SURPRISE! Music's in the air Possum's!
This little lady right here? She could belt it out! She was playin that bass guitar and singin her song as hard as she could go. I really started the tappin of my foot and bobbin of my brown Sock Monkey head!
Once inside the visitor center...I quickly noticed the pumpkin sittin upon the counter and stopped long enough to chat with this little lady behind the counter. She was very pleasent to talk with and very nice. She was shocked that Bubba's Sock Drawer had Possumed her! Possum! Your it!
I have taken Ya'll on a tour of this very same visitor center before. The small confederate museum.
I had my green button eyes on the swords hangin on the wall! Ooooouuuuuu! Shiney!
Back outside the radio truck had shown up! Bubba on the radio! The bubba-nator! yeah...but anyhoo...
I'm Bubba Bo-Monkey sayin good-bye from my pile of fall time leaves! Have a safe and pleasent week! Bubba
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Welcome my Wicked Possum's! The Sock Drawer Stumbled onto the coolest art gallery by accident. It was another wonderful fall day and my walks into the city big buildins was on the agenda once again. I trust ya'll enjoyed the Wicked blog of yesterday. I must say the Wicked Play is a must see if ya'll ever get the chance. The flyin monkeys all agree.
I came across the main public library in down town Nashville. This library is a sight to see! Marble floors...court yard....art gallery! I have never in my life seen a library of this caliber! I walked into the place and my jaw dropped! I was shocked! But to make a long story short....I stumbled upon the most wonderful art work hangin in the library.
Do I look smarter? I was tryin really hard! The rows of books went on for an eturnity! This library was so big I actually got lost. The rows of books were closing in! A forrest of books! Considering all the trees it took to make these books,,I'd say forrest is the correct word for what lay in front of me and my staff.
I guess ya'll al know my love for a good art display. When I ran into this sign I was ready for that! I'm not sure of the artist name and I didn't see any signature on the paintins, nor did I any kind of signage as to whom painted these great works of art.
I really enjoyed the gallery! I was intrigued with the color pallet. I couldn't help but to photograph the paintins! If by chance I make my way back to this library in the days to come for The Sock Drawer,, I will certainly try and find out the artist name. I'd like to see more of his or her work someday.
But for now I'll just slide down the staircase banister! Bubba
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Okay My Possum's! The Sock Drawer is open for another adventure. Welcome and hello by the way. Please forgive me for bein so rude. Didn't mean it!! But there is much to cover this blog time and since this space is rented and also considered my studio (if you will) I was tryin to get right to the point!
I have not been sittin around in some kid rockin chair just collectin dust! I'm told most Sock Monkeys do, but not this puppy! I'm a brown work Sock and I go to work! With a red heeled smile of course , but a smile never the less!
Funny thing this pumpkn sittin thing! Something I was gonna omit this holiday season and try to find a different approach. Still I am findin the most wonderful pumpkin sittin opportunities and Ya'll's Bubba was there to take charge of the situation!
And so I did this day in question! Stacked pumokins and all! Every shape and color one could ask for! Stack'em up Possum's cause here I come! I'm a professional pumpkin sitter!
Gosh Golly gee whiz! I even had on my pumpkin pants! I think it was meant to be...at least I'd like to think so. Fact? or fiction? It's a fact! I guess you could say I'm a talented pumpkin sitter! Not sure that would be considered a talent or not , but why not. Shall we all take a vote on that note? Kay! I see the I's have it!
CHARGE!!!!!! Great statue for that one don't you think? I saved that one for just such an ocassion!
Totally WICKED! I did go to see the play Wicked on the 19th! I have to say I never thought about the Wicked Witch of the West not really bein Wicked! The story tells of how she got to the point of the way she was in The Wizard Of OZ. Ga-Linda and she were room mates in college? Really? They were really friends with each other! And the scarecrow? Her lover turned into a scarecrow to save his life. They even explained the Tinman! I'll not tell you anymore!
Well I hope I did this right! Enjoy this you tube video of a scene from Wicked! My Peeps and I did so enojy seein this play! Standin ovation at the end! I highly reccomend ya'll see it! Well...I shall close this edition of Bubba's Sock Drawer for now. Bubba