Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Hanged Man's Tree

I have always thought that Mobile, Alabama has a better Mardi Gras than New Orleans.  The floats are more beautiful, the throws are better, and there is less nudity and vomit.    So every year we travel down to the deep South where the lazy oaks are heavy laden with moss to become part of what is a cultural phenomenom.  

Like New Orleans, Mobile is filled with strange stories and has a very interesting history.   In many ways, their histories are very similar.    They both share many things and one of the things they share is an amazing abundance of ghost stories.   I was lucky in that the people we were staying with seemed to know all of these stories and loved sharing them with me.  My favorite story they told me was about an old tree by the Church Street Graveyard.

  According to legend,  there was a man who was having an affair with someone else's wife.  This man was caught in the act by the husband by the Church Street Graveyard.  Somehow, the husband ended up shot and although all the evidence pointed to the wife's lover, he swore on everything holy that he didn't do it.  He proclaimed his innocence all the way to the gallows, but no one listened.  As he stepped up to the gallows,  he said that on the very spot where he had been caught, a tree would grow.  He said this tree would bare witness to his  innocense.   The trees roots would grow deep and strong and nothing would ever be able to tear it down.

His promise came true and a mighty oak grew up from that very spot.   It's survived hurricanes and storms and downtown development and serves as a reminder of his innocence. 

2 comments:

Autumnforest said...

Nice story--very beautiful and sad. I love southern legends. They're always steeped in starcrossed lovers and haunting for eternity.

Grim said...

I've never been to the ol' south but the parties alone make it sound worth the trip. Cool story.