Tag Archives: Appalachian

Who was Sammy Spangler?

In the Scott County area of Virginia, there lived a man who would certainly draw attention today. As far as it’s known, no such figure existed before or after him. He lived in the region from birth until death, encompassing the latter portion of the Nineteenth Century and into the Twentieth. The “old timers,” of today discuss his life, and his passing, but few details are available.

He was incredibly friendly, known to be warm and generous, eager to help others. He could always be found chopping firewood and hated shirts. So, what made him so special? He was covered in hair and had a tail.

I intend on checking census records against what I know to see when he lived. I would also like to know precisely what the census-takers classified his race as.

Perhaps, Mr. Spangler was simply a product of genetics we seldom see today, perhaps it was these unqiue features that started the legends around what we today call “Wampus cats.”

Only time will tell as Mr. Spangler was not wealthy or esteemed during his life, but his neighbors alive today still fondly recall him.


Appalachian Folklore: Woman in the Shack

There’s a shack in Tennessee, somewhere around the Gap Creek area. Decades ago, when traveling salesmen were frequent visitors, one such salesman had a difficult day in the area. He worked hard, but his success had been only minor. He was walking towards the next town when a storm came. The only shelter within sight was a broken down shack. Lights were on inside. The salesman hoped they would let him sleep somewhere and maybe provide him with some food.

They let him in to the small room, but a gang of men surrounded the tiny table in a game of cards. It was stuffy and filled with cigar smoke. There was no food, so he asked about sleeping. They told him he had to share a bed with the woman who traveled with them, but he couldn’t touch her because she was ill.

He slept fitfully and eventually just gave up. The bed was uncomfortable, small and he could only use the edge. He sat up and peeked over at the woman laying with him.

Her corpse had been shot in the forehead, her was body decomposed. He fled back into the area where the men had been, but they were gone. He fled into the nearest town to summon the sheriff, but by the time they returned, the cabin was empty. There was not only no sign of the people who had been there, there was no sign anyone had been there in years.

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