For the month of October, It Still Lives  is bringing you spooky tales of the supernatural from right here in Rabun County, Georgia. Join us each week from now until October 29th for tales about witches, haints, and jack-o-lanterns! This week features an excerpt from storyteller Don Patterson of Hiawassee, Georgia. Don’s tales about witches will be featured in the upcoming publication Foxfire Story, available Spring 2020.



Don Patterson (DP):

Now, I’ll tell you this about spirits. Lot of people these days, they don’t believe in it much. There’s three kinds of spirits. There’s a evil spirit, there’s a unrest spirit, and then the Holy Spirit. Well, now I’ll tell you somethin’ about the spirits, in case you ever encounter one, which is not likely these days. Or you might, sometimes. There’s still things happenin’ around, but it’s not like it used to be. And things like that, a lot of it happened back then. But I was going to tell you about this here lady from Commerce, Georgia. Me and her was talkin’ one time–it was around Halloween I guess, we was talkin’ about it and got started on them spirit things. And she told me, “Now you know there’s three kinds of spirits.” And she explained all that to me, and everything. And she said there’s an evil spirit and an unrest spirit and the Holy Spirit. But, she said, “In case you ever encounter one, or anything that you would think was one, if you ask it what it wants.” If it’s an unrest spirit, it will talk to you and tell you. And then it will leave and never return. If it’s an evil spirit, it won’t say anything. It’ll leave and never return. And the way you ask it is, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, what do you want?”. See, just ask it that. It ain’t going to harm you or anything. Your hair’s probably standin’ on end, but they’ll never return, and an evil spirit, if you see it, will appear in black. And if it’s an unrest spirit, it will appear in white. Be in white. Now this lady was tellin’ me all this here, from Commerce. She said when she was a little girl, her sister had a boyfriend and back then you didn’t go out on dates unless you had some chaperone with you, you know. And she said he was comin’ to carry her to church up there above Commerce and they went to church. Said that the guy was in a well-to-do family and had a surrey. You know what a surrey? That’s a two-seated thing with fringe around the top. One of them fancy jobs. And had two big horses to it and had all that fancy harness and everything. Like drivin’ a Cadillac today, you know. And so he carried her sister to church and she went with them. And, said they went to church and said they started back. And they’s ridin’ along, and she was ridin’ on the outside. Said she just happened to look over and here’s this here lady dressed in a weddin’ gown holdin’ onto the arm of the surrey seat, walkin’ along beside it. Just walkin’ along. And said that she punched her sister like that and she looked over there and punched her boyfriend and he looks over there and he said “Whoa!” Stopped, you know, and said “Lady, you can get in the back seat there and ride if you’d like. We just goin’ on down towards Commerce.” And says get back there and ride. And she said she just stood there. He says “Okay.” And started the horses up like that and she just went right alongside it. He just took that whip and went “ka-pow”. Them horses let out you know. And she said that thing stayed right there, right to it. And he was runnin’ them horses to death, and so he slowed them down and it just stayed right beside them, holdin’ on to that handle. And they came to—back then there was hardly any bridges, you had to ford a creek. And he just pulled up to it and stopped and let his horses drink after runnin’ ‘em. And said, when he done that, this thing turned loose of the thing and walked, went straight down the river. See, a spirit will not cross water. It won’t cross water. That’s why that thing over there that followed that feller, come on this side of the branch? It went to the other one, turned up it, come back out, went to the other one, turned up it. But it won’t cross water.

Foxfire: Why not? Do you know?

DP: Ah! I ask her why, and she said “I don’t know.” Says, a spirit will not cross water. So if anything gets after you, if you know where a branch is, run to it right quick and jump over it. 

Spooky Ride by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (