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.