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James Callow Folklore Archive

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A GRAVE MATTER

IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY, THE DAUGHTER OF A WEALTHY
KENTUCKY LANDOWNER CONTRACTED A FEVER, FELL INTO A COMA, AND WITHIN
TWO DAYS PASSED AWAY. ON THE FOLLOWING DAY SHE WAS BURIED IN THE
FAMILY CEMETERY. HER BODY WAS ADORNED IN BEAUTIFUL GARMENTS AND
PRECIOUS GEMS WERE PLACED ABOUT HER ACCORDING TO THE LOCAL CUSTOM.
ON THE NIGHT OF HER BURIAL, TWO GRAVE-ROBBERS EXUMED THE CASKET.
THEY OPENED THE LID AND WERE IN THE PROCESS OF REMOVING ONE OF HER
EARRINGS WHEN, IT WAS ALLEGED, SHE AWAKENED FROM HER COMA. THE
SURPRISED GRAVE-ROBBERS IMMEDIATELY GRABBED A SHOVEL AND STRUCK THE
SCREAMING GIRL ACROSS THE BACK OF HER HEAD. THEY THEN LOWERED THE
CASKET INTO THE PIT AND RECOVERED THE HOLE.
THIS STORY BECAME A LEGEND OVER THE COURSE OF THE FOLLOWING
ONE-HUNDRED-TWENTY-FIVE YEARS UNTIL FINALLY IN THE 1920'S LOCAL
OFFICIALS, IN AN EFFORT TO REPUDIATE THE TALE, OPENED THE GRAVE.
THEY FOUND THE REMAINS OF THE YOUNG LADY LYING FACE DOWN WITH THE
REAR OF HER SKULL BASHED IN.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD TALE WHILE A RESIDENT OF LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BELIEF TALE ; LOCAL LEGEND

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Outlaw Criminal Bandit Pirate

Date learned: 10-23-1965

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