Categorized | Opinion

SOUTHERN RAISIN’ Witches, Haints, Fortune Tellers, and Ghosts

By Otis Griffin
Otis Griffin poseI do not believe in “GHOSTS”.  But I was raised up with a boy that did.  Paul was a big OLE boy and fully grown when he was in the eighth grade.  Paul had two older brothers and two sisters, Agnes was older and Gladys younger.  They were raised on a farm and all of them were hard workers.
Paul liked to drive fast.  Whether it was a truck, car, combine or a tractor he had to go wide open, or what he called “road gear”.  His Daddy once said, “Boy, I wish you’d work as fast as you drive.”  As big as Paul was, he was scared of the dark, but he wouldn’t admit it.
In the fall, during cotton pickin’ season, when the cotton wagon filled up at the end of the day, the boys would take turns going to the gin.  This meant you would pick all day, then possibly stay up all night waiting to get your cotton ginned.
Paul had to hook up his Ford tractor to the wagon and pull it to Barretville gin about three miles away.  Ginning cotton is simply separating the fiber and the seeds.  The end product is the bale, ready to be sold to the cotton buyers in Memphis.  An option was selling the seeds to the buyers or taking them back home with you and planting them next year.
If at all possible, everyone tried to go to the gin during the week and avoid Saturday, because most likely it would be an all night affair.  You would just wait in line ’til your turn.  This was boring and made for a long day.  But, nothing else you could do.
This one particular night, Paul had been at the gin until about three-thirty in the morning when he started back home.  He just left the trailer at the gin, so naturally he was in road gear.  Paul also liked to stand up when driving on the blacktop.  The road was not asphalt like today, but more like gravel with a little hot tar spread around.  Just enough to say blacktop.
Paul was a little over a mile from his house, running wide open with a full moon giving him a little light to see.  Paul got about to Mr. Gragg’s house and this ghost appeared right out in front of him.  You have heard the stories about what a ghost looks like.  Since I’ve never seen one, I can’t say.  Paul said it came right at him and was real big.  The ghost supposedly said; “I am your grandpa.” The ghost also went wooooo—- woooooo.!  Later, Paul said he thought he was dreaming, but when realized what was going on, he fled.
Paul jumped off the tractor, cut across the field, headed home crying and screaming.  The tractor was still running wide open.  Uncontrolled, the tractor ran in a ditch, tore up the front end, steering wheel, fenders, turned over and did a lot of damage.
I did not have any idea what had happened, but I knew Paul was not at church Sunday.  I rode my bicycle to visit him that afternoon and his Daddy and brothers were dragging the tractor home.  It was kind of funny, as no one wanted to talk about it.  Paul just played it off, as he had fell asleep coming from the gin and had a wreck.  Sounds reasonable at that time of night coming from the gin, late and all.  A short time later, Gladys told me what had happened and boy, I got to teasing Paul in front of everyone.
He took it for a while, but then he got mad and was going to kill me.  I couldn’t get to my parked bicycle, so I took off running and Paul chased me for over a mile hollering and raising sand.   Yeah, he wanted to kill me.  Finally, he went back to the house.  I had to get my bicycle out of his yard before my doom’s day.  I got lucky as Arvis, Sessum and H.B. came up, so he left me alone.
I got on my bicycle and out toward the road, I hollered to Arvis and Sessum and told them what happened.  Paul got some more teasing.  When I left it was a disaster waiting to happen.  Paul didn’t get into any trouble and I couldn’t understand why, after causing all that damage. I found out later, the entire family believed in ghosts.  No one ever really asked Paul about the “GHOST”, as he would get fighting mad.  Personally, I haven’t seen Casper or any of his relatives, but foremost, I’m glad that Paul hasn’t seen any and let me know it.  I can’t run as fast as I once could.
Only in the Wonderful Hainted South — GLORY!

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October 2017
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