I can’t help but feel like, if only I could figure out how to use the TSLA’s photo site better, I would be having a better time of this.
I did find this helpful 1862 lithograph. And here are some nice photos. I don’t know why this came up in my Google search, but it is thanks to my Ben Allen research that I know this is not a wedding ring, but a Masonic ring.
But here’s the mysterious thing.
No, not Downtown Presbyterian, which we are all familiar with, I’m sure. Look in the lower left-hand corner. Is that a cemetery?!
Now check this out–the Google Street view of the across the street from the Downtown Presbyterian church now:
Is that plaza a memory of the old church yard? A haunted spot in plain view?
I was working on revisions this morning and was thinking of that old folk song where a guy kills a woman (which, yes, I realize means that I’ve just narrowed it down to “all the old folk songs) and then the woman haunts the guy and so her murder is revealed. I believe it has a line like “Woman’s Name was a ghost.”
But I can’t come up with it and my Google-skills have failed me. Google seems to be claiming that the UK had all the vengeful ghosts and by the time the songs got over here, the women didn’t haunt the dudes any more.
So, I had to make my point a different way. But the point I was trying to make is kind of two-fold. One is that in the antebellum South, ghost stories provided a way to speak about things that you couldn’t speak about openly without upending the social order (which is probably still true today). But second and my more main point is that the prohibition against consulting with spirits was an important theological point.
If you imagine the plantation as a giant chandelier, the patriarch of the family was the hook by which the beautiful thing he maintained was attached to Heaven. If he consulted with spirits instead of relying on God, the who edifice would fall.
Anyway, I’m about 90 pages from the end, so, just about to get into the parts that make me most nervous. But I’m feeling like I almost have a draft I can show someone other than me.
I just need three things first.
1. A better idea of how 1860 Nashville looked so that I can give a better description of it.
2. A better idea of how late 1880s Nashville looked, for the same reason.
3. The song about the dead chick.
Well, and for me to read through the ending and feel like it works.