Harlan County folklore, legends, ghost stories, murders and other unexplained happenings in these hills, will be explored as part of October’s meeting of the Harlan County Arts Council (HCAC) beginning at 6 p.m. on Oct. 19 and the Harlan County Extension Depot.
Local writers Thelma Lawson Haley and Darla Saylor Jackson, co-authors of “Mystical Mountains,” will be the evening’s featured artists. At the informal gathering, “In the Deep Dark Hills,” they will speak about their work researching and writing about mysterious occurrences in Harlan County.
The evening will continue at 8 p.m. at the Harlan County Courthouse with a tour of the historic structure and a presentation by Tony Felosi, who has been researching a dramatic murder in 1942 on top of Black Mountain that also ended in another murder inside the Courthouse. The famous Joe Christian and Manzo Shepherd murders will be revisited by Felosi during a walking tour of the Courthouse, along with other stories from the past.
“The Harlan County Arts Council recognizes that our colorful history is what makes our culture so unique and rich,” said HCAC President Jennifer McDaniels. “We’re hoping our meeting Monday night will not only be entertaining and fun for this time of year during the Halloween season, but will also provide some insight to who we are as Appalachians.”
Haley said she has long been interested in her Appalachian ancestry as well as the “strange and different.” The book, “Mystical Mountains,” delves into strange traditions and customs of mountain folk, mystical creatures, strange death customs as well as post mortem photos.
“All these are common in Appalachia,” Haley said. “Our book shows that mountain people are as diverse and as mysterious as the mountains themselves. The most mystical thing about Harlan County is our wonderful stories.”
For more information about Monday’s “In the Deep Dark Hills” gathering, contact McDaniels at 606-573-4223.