NEW! Beyond the Grave: Ghost Stories and Ballads from the Mountains (CD).


ISBN: 92863-15532

A collection of haunting ghost stories, local legends and mountain ballads. People in the mountains have always been storytellers; I strive to continue that history by telling and singing in the traditional mountain style. I hope that listening to this CD will make it seem like you are visiting my home in the mountains, listening to stories and night sounds as the fire crackles and the dark closes in.

Stories and ballads on this recording include:

Wizard Clipp. Probably the earliest recorded ghost story that happened within the boundaries of what is now West Virginia, this strange tale of unnatural events on the Livingston farm was documented in a book and church records at the time it occurred.

Burnt House. A story from the days of the old turnpikes and stagecoaches, when the traveling medicine shows were great attractions in rural areas. An unfortunate liaison leads to unholy deeds and untimely death. Like Wizard Clipp, the story explains how a small community acquired its name.

Pretty Polly. A mountain murder ballad with roots in the British tradition, Pretty Polly is a popular song with bluegrass bands today. Many variants exist, including The Gosport tragedy, The Cruel Ship’s Carpenter, The Wexford Girl, and others.

Holly River Ghost. I tell this story almost exactly as it was told to me by a young girl from Diana,WV. Like ballads, ghost stories are often found in different versions in different locales. I have read a similar story that supposedly occurred in Taylor County, West Virginia. My young informant told the story in a matter-of-fact manner that lent credibility to the tale.

Railroad Boy. Although there is no ghost in this ballad, its haunting melody and tragic ending seem to fit with ghost stories. Other versions of this sad story include The Butcher Boy, Go Dig My Grave, Blue-Eyed Boy and many more.

Sidna Davis. I found this story in the 1906 book Pioneers in Jackson County: A History of Mill Creek and Sandy Valley by John A. House. The location where the events supposedly occurred is not far from my home. Sidna would likely have been yet another unknown pioneer woman had not someone told her story to Mr. House.

The Cruel Blacksmith. This ballad began as a poetry-writing challenge. I realized that my poem about Zona Shue, the Greenbrier Ghost, could be sung to the tune of Barbara Ellen, and so a new ballad was born.

The Greenbrier Ghost. The best-documented and most famous ghost story in West Virginia, court records of the case confirm that the testimony of a ghost was used to convict a man of murder.


Mountain Story, Mountain Song: Stories and Songs from the Mountains and Beyond (CD)

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Original stories and old-time ballads from storyteller Granny Sue!
Included on this CD are stories and songs that are funny, sad, haunting and memorable. Come to a quiet place and be reminded of the goodness of just listening to a story.

l. The Headless Woman of Briar Creek. This story began as a short memory Larry had of a favorite story his Granny Holstein shared with him when he was a boy. Since he could only remember parts of the stories she told, we combined them into one tale about a true experience Larry had when he was about twelve years old.

2. Pretty Saro: I loved this old song the first time I heard it on a CD by Doug and Jack Wallin. The haunting melody and the longing of the young man for his sweetheart stuck with me until, after listening to many versions, I began singing it myself. It is generally agreed that the date in the song was originally 1749, a time of great migration from the British Isles to America, and changed over the years to fit the melody better.

3. Gracie’s Cabin: This story began life in an odd way. I heard and loved the story Tayzanne, a Haitian tale collected by storyteller Diane Wolkstein. It was the motif of the tale that grabbed me. I had been thinking of it for several months when we passed a road in Hampshire County, WV called Gracie’s Cabin Road. Who was Gracie, I wondered, and why was a road named after her? The two chains of thought combined in my mind to produce this story.

4. Lord Lovell: Child Ballad # 75: The lilting melody is so at odds with the tragic content of this ballad that it drew me in right away. Starting out as a happy adventure, it ends in tragedy. And yet the ending is not completely sad, is it?

5. Captain Wedderburn’s Courtship: This story is based on Child Ballad #46. While browsing a book of West Virginia folk songs, I happened on one called The Riddle Song. It was short and sweet, and I was curious as to whether it was actually part of a longer ballad. I found that it probably came from Captain Wedderburn’s Courtship, a much longer and bawdier song. The nerve of the young woman to propose that the Captain solve riddles to win her hand was an intriguing idea to me, and the story grew from that seed.


Self-Rising Flowers: A Collection of Stories of Strong Appalachian Women

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What does it mean to be a "mountain girl?" Fifteen women explore the characteristics of strong Appalachian women in stories that will make you laugh, cry, and nod in appreciation and understanding. Included in the collection is my story, Yellow Roses.