Presented by the Laurens County Historical Society, Dublin, Georgia. For questions and information, please contact Scott B. Thompson, Sr. at dublinhistory@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

TALES OF THE UNCANNY

Old time readers of pulp magazines would remember reading stories of the strange, the weird and the bizarre in Uncanny Tales. But stories of the uncanny don't just happen in the minds of fiction writers. They happen in real life, even right here in Laurens County.

Percy, the Pink Eyed Possum - Percy - that's not his real name because real possums don't have names - was skulking around Cadwell grabbing for some good grub. Clarence Burch, a local filling station operator, spotted Percy and put him in a pen for his curious customers to gaze upon while their automobiles were being filled with gas and oil.

Percy wasn't your average gray, rat-like marsupial. You see, Percy was white, pure white. There was no solitary tinge of gray, black or any other color on Percy's fur, which was thicker and longer than your standard possum's. The pink-eyed albino had such thin ears that they appeared to be pink as well. And so were his nose and toes. (Macon Telegraph, 11-09-1921)

Who Were Those Masked Men? - It was a sad cold day in Dublin on the morning of February 23, 1922. The friends and family of Alma Faye Stuckey Baggett were gathering around her grave in Northview Cemetery to pay their final respects. As Mrs. Charles E. Baggett's coffin was being lowered into the ground, eight masked men, dressed in the full regalia of the Ku Klux Klan, suddenly and silently marched double time two abreast toward the sorrowful gathering of the recently turned thirty-one-year-old woman.

The stunned mourners stared in disbelief as the Klansmen split their columns and surrounded the grave. At the head of the grave, the staid admirers placed a large wreath with a note which read, "In appreciation of the life of this good woman. Dublin Klan No. 108, Realm of Georgia, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan." As silently as they appeared, the octette disappeared into the surrounding neighborhood.

Some speculated that the grieving widower was himself a member of the Klan or perhaps a close member of the departed's family was a member as well. It could just be that the masked mourners were honoring a pure woman, a devoted wife, an affectionate mother and a good friend to all. (Macon Telegraph, 2-24-1922)

Yes, We Do Have Bananas - Residents of Dublin, Georgia rarely see bananas growing in their back yards. Our climate simply won't support the cultivation of the yellow tropical fruit. But Stubbs Hooks, manager of the New Dublin Hotel, didn't believe he, or his customers, should have no fresh bananas. He had been growing them for years. In the fall of 1921, Hooks, proud of his harvest, went out to his garden on the sunny side of the hotel and plucked a bunch of bananas, not the toy variety, but the real thing, large, well matured, ripe and ready for some good eating. (Macon Telegraph, 11-24-1921)

Which Came First, The Chicken or the Egg? - Mrs. J.G. Coleman went out to her coop to gather some eggs for a scrumptious Sunday breakfast. She took what she thought were some nice fresh ones, which in fact had been lying under a laying hen for some three weeks.

When Mrs. Coleman commenced to cook, she accidentally forgot and left one of the eggs on her sideboard. Throughout the afternoon and Saturday, the Coleman family became concerned over the peeping of a lost biddy somewhere in or under the house. Thorough searches revealed nothing. That is until someone wandered into the dining room and found the new born chick wallowing out of its shell and clucking it's heart out. (Macon Telegraph, June 17, 1920)

The Whisperer Speaks - On the radio, Lawyer Philip Gault lost his voice in an unexplained accident and was able only to whisper to his clients. After regaining his ability to speak normally, Gault disguised his new found ability to speak to fight crime by pitting criminal organizations against each other. In real life, H.H. Lowry, a Laurens County veteran of World War I, contracted a case of meningitis while undergoing army training at Camp Wheeler on the eastern outskirts of Macon. Just after camp opened in late 1917, Lowry lost his ability to speak. The camp doctors couldn't cure him. He gave up any hope of ever speaking normally ever again.

Move the clock forward for three years to January 3, 1921. Lowry had relegated himself to another new year without speaking. He was getting dressed and like most people who like to talk to intelligent people and listen to intelligent people talk, the silent soldier began to whisper to himself. When he uttered, there was no husky whisper. Normal sounding words came out of his mouth, which by then had dropped wide open in disbelief. It goes without saying that Lowry never went without saying any more. (Macon Telegraph, 1-4-1921)

If It Weren't For Bad Luck, He'd Have No Luck At All - The hillbilly farmers of Hee Haw whined about gloom, despair and agony, but their problems were pale in comparison to those of Laurens farmer Jim Thomas. Ol' Jim lost six of his finest swine when they swallowed some calcium arsenate and died. Jim set out to clean out their pen and start out with a clean and healthy drift of pork producers.

Jim's chickens made their way into the sty and did what chickens do. They scratched the dirt. The ignorant poultry ate the still poison infested soil and joined their fellow barnyard animals in Hog Heaven. Jim talked about giving up raising hogs and chickens for good, thinking that he would never have any luck at producing either one again. (Macon Telegraph, 1-6-1921)

It's Okay, We're With the Band - The long gray line of aging Confederate veterans, their families and friends were enjoying a good old-fashioned street dance during the statewide reunion in Dublin in the spring of 1920. Dublin policemen Crowder and Hadden were enjoying the band music as well as they manned their post in front of the City Hall on the courthouse square. Ever vigilant for any unruly rousing rebels, two of Dublin's finest spotted a band member named Lloyd walking toward them carrying a two-gallon jug in his hand. Thinking someone was playing a practical joke upon them, the officers decided to put the jesting to an end. But, this was no joking matter.

The merry musician offered to share his liquor with the officers as they arrested him and took him to sleep off his stupor. Several minutes later, a tipsy fiddler stumbled upon the rear entrance of the City Hall in hopes of liberating his mate. The performer staggered toward the front door and fell out of it, nearly killing one of the cops. The lawmen picked up the sot and left him in the company of his band mate for the rest of the evening. (Macon Telegraph, May 16, 1920)

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