27 April 2008
A couple days ago Billy commented that my blog had an interesting title. So I decided to explain it a little. The phrase is actually inspired by Vance Randolph. The actual line that inspired my blog title is a pretty dark one, in reference to the bad blood that once upon a time would erupt involving accusations of witchcraft. It runs: "Things happen in these hills which are never mentioned in the newspapers, never reported to the sheriff at the county seat." After reading through his "Ozark Magic and Folklore" and "Pissing in the Snow and other Ozark Folktales", which include all kinds of interesting and sometimes bawdy tales, the phrase "things happen in these hills" made more sense as "magic in these hills". For those of you who aren't into Ozarks folklore, which I imagine is just about everyone but me, Vance Randolph single-handedly managed to preserve much of the folklore, superstitions, folk songs and magic of the Ozarks. And while he sometimes looked down on what he recorded in his books the information is priceless as much, but not all, of those old ideas are gone. Randolph's book are an invaluable source of lore for someone like me, someone trying to recapture the magic of the hills of my homeland. As Randolph says: "Wherever railroads and highways penetrate, wherever newspapers and movies and radios are introduced, the people gradually lose their distinctive local traits and assume the drab color which characterizes conventional Americans elsewhere...A great body of folk belief dies very slowly, and I suspect that some vestiges of backwoods superstition will be with us for a long time to come." And he was right. Most of the old ways are gone but I, and hopefully a few others, are trying to breathe life into the old traditions and practices.