One of my favorite things about ghost stories is that they do change. Probably 90% of the ghost stories you were told and were assured had been handed down for years weren’t that old. Maybe a decade old, at best.
And it makes sense, if you think about it–even if ghosts are somewhat eternal, the things that frighten us or seem important enough to us to pass on, aren’t. Even if there’s a cold spot in your house, even if you can stand in that spot and hear the weeping of a woman, the story you hear about the reason behind that is probably not the story they heard 20 years ago or that will be told 20 years hence. Unless the stories get written down, that tends to fix them.
But stories that are only oral? They change.
And I kind of love that.
I’m not expecting at all to find that Acklen was a witch. Like I said, I think that’s a myth people my age needed in order to understand how she could be so powerful. But I do wonder if there’s some Masonic symbolism around the mansion or the campus in general, since that often gets mistaken for Satanism or witchcraft.
When I first moved here, someone told me that the Belmont students used to have a kind of undercurrent legend about Adelicia Acklen–that she was a witch. What I mean by an undercurrent legend is that the main current of stories about her are all uniformly positive, but that there were these other stories, which, for Belmont students, seemed to explain some of the incongruities of the positive legends–in other words, if she was a truly proper Southern women, why did she outlive all her husbands? How did she command such great wealth? How was she able to have such a huge social presence? On her own, not as helper to her man?
I think those stories must have been told by people my age and older, since the stories about what “proper” women can do these days are so vastly different. I mean, I don’t think Belmont needs a wicked woman at its heart anymore. And so Ms. Acklen is not seen that way any more.
But I’d like to hear some of those old stories or bits of legend again, if any of y’all remember them.
Also, I’m wondering if there is or used to be a cave or even a nook of some sort near Belmont, a natural place where a man could hide.
Do you know that monk’s hood and wolf’s bane are the same thing? Can I just assume a reader would know that or should I make it clear?
Yesterday, the dog got stuck under the camper, which is stuck under a tree in our back yard. And somehow, eventually, she wiggled her way out the far end, instead of just turning around and exiting the way she’d come. Who even knew her hips could still flex like that?
And, really, they can’t. She tried to go for a walk this morning, but we got to the shed and she was like “Ugh,” and I was like, “Ha ha.”
The “ha ha” part is probably why I’m going to Hell, if there is such a place.