USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘arkansas’
Tales /märchen

Little Boy at Little Rock

In Little Rock, Arkansas, there is a ghost story about a young boy who wanders very early in the morning through the streets and enters any home that he finds open. They say that the little boy is lost and looking for family members to be with. This story comes as a result of “ghost” encounters and “poltergeist” events happening at homes.You can get rid of the little boy “ghost” by placing small toys outside of your BACK door so the “ghost” is tricked into leaving the home.

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Eloisa is a Michoacan born lady who has lived in Arkansas since she has been a little girl. She used to be really religious, but after being opened up to human rights, and mostly women rights, she has taken a step back and tried to analyze everything to decide on what she can really identify as part of her.

Customs
Folk Beliefs
Gestures
Homeopathic
Material
Protection

Naciemento de JesusChristo

During Christmas time, the whole family gets together right before eating dinner. In this family ceremony, everybody gets a Jesus looking treat, usually something the mom of the family makes, and everybody then kisses Jesus on the forehead and then eats the head. It’s to symbolize Jesus and the Holy Spirit being in you. This always happens between the hours of 2am-3am after Christmas Eve. The time is important, because that is the time in which it connects to the “witch hour” where Evil is supposedly the strongest.

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Eloisa is a Michoacan born lady who has lived in Arkansas since she has been a little girl. She used to be really religious, but after being opened up to human rights, and mostly women rights, she has taken a step back and tried to analyze everything to decide on what she can really identify as part of her.

Legends
Narrative

The Legend of Boggy Creek

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials JK, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted through initials MB.

 

 

MB: The one I remember growing up with they used to scare us with the Legend of Boggy Creek.  It was not in our area, it was by Fouke, Arkansas.  F-O-U-K-E Arkansas.  And um- so this guy claims that he was attacked in his home by a umm, like a big hairy, 7 foot guy, like a big hairy man.  Long arms, kinda like half ape, half man.  And he went to the hospital and he did have a bunch of scratches and cuts, and he was in shock.  He was treated for all those things.  So this was like in the 70s actually, so I don’t know how folklore it is, but his neighbors said that they had seen some things, they had heard some rustling around his home and so they weren’t disputing his claims.  They even said they had shot the thing, but they never saw any blood, and couldn’t find it after they had fired.  But nobody else could really believe the guy, but when people went back to his house there were these strange claw marks all over the guys front door and front porch and everything.  And I think they ended up making a documentary movie out of it.  I’m pretty sure they did.  So that used to scare us all the time.

 

JK: So was that near your place in Hot Springs?

 

MB: No, it was Boggy Creek in Fouke which is a lot further south, closer to Texas and Louisiana.

On sleepovers and bunking parties we’d all talk about it.  It was just a ghost story, but it had enough truth to it it wasn’t a ghost story to us, you know?  I think it was also called the Fouke Monster.  Just like this sasquatch like creature that would haunt all these creeks in Southern Arkansas.  So he would just hang out in the creek system.  And you know why that was so scary for us to?  Because we had a creek running underneath our house, our first house, so that was pretty scary.

 

Conclusion:


This sounded like a classic monster story.  The informant, an Arkansas native, admitted to me that she thinks there are more stories of monsters in the south than there are up north– where she currently resides.  I asked her why she believed this and she told me it’s because people are “a little crazier down that way.”  I liked how this legend gained steam in the minds of the informant and her friends when they would talk about it at sleepovers.  I think getting psyched out with your friends over a monster story at young age is something anyone can relate to.

Legends
Narrative

The Arkansas Traveler

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials JK, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted through initials MB.

 

 

MB: The Arkansas Traveler is a story that we always knew growing up, and they have a song about it, I think it’s the state song….. And it’s about a traveler going through Arkansas and he comes upon a cabin and there’s an old squatter, they called him, that’s what they called him, a squatter, like an old hillbilly type, hayseed, and he’s fiddling on his porch and um.. So the traveler, the Arkansas traveler is tired and hungry, and he asks the guy “Can ya spear some water?”, and the guy says, Oh I ain’t got none.” And he keeps fiddling and fiddling all through the whole thing.  And he says, “Well do you have any food?” and the squatter says, “No, nothing in this cabin.”  But he keeps fiddling this whole time, just playing this little tune over and over again.  And then the guy says “Do you know if there’s an inn up ahead?”  and the squatter says, “Might be, I don’t know, never been there.”  You know, he’s a real hayseed.  The traveler says, “Well, do you think maybe I could spend the night with you?”  And the squatter’s like “Well there ain’t no room”  Oh, and it was raining this whole time, I forgot to mention, that’s a big point in the story haha.  So the squatter says, “There’s only one dry spot in the house and my wife and kid and me sleep there.”  And the traveler says, “Well why don’t you mend the roof?”  The the squatter goes “I’m not gonna mend the roof on a rainy day.” And all this time he’s fiddling, fiddling, fiddling.  Then the traveler says, “Well why don’t you mend it on a sunny day?  Go out on a nice pretty day and mend it.”  And the Fiddler says “The roof don’t leak on a pretty day”  So the traveler is just like exasperated and he goes “Why do you keep fiddling that same tune over and over again?”  And the fiddler is like, “I can’t figure out how to finish it.”  The traveler says “Well give me the fiddle” and takes the fiddle and he puts an end to it, you know, he fiddles it up, and he puts an end to it.  Then the squatter looks at him with just this huge smile, like thank you you’ve rescued me from this torture, he’s so happy that this guy has finished his song for him and now he’s let loose from this fiddle and he says, “Oh come on in!! You can have the dry spot!!”  He calls to his wife and says, “Make up some dinner!!” and calls to his son, “Grab some whiskey, we got us a visitor”  In other words, the last word is like, “You can have the dry spot”  cause remember it’s raining.  

 

JK: So the song the traveler completed for the Fiddler is the state song of Arkansas?

 

MB: I think it is the state song, its called “Arkansas Traveler” and that’s why the baseball team is called the “Travelers” (the AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals– The Arkansas Travelers).

 

Conclusion:

I found this to be a very interesting story.  My mom is originally from Arkansas– the informant is one of her childhood friends– so I’ve visited the state every couple of years since I was born.  For me, it was especially interesting to hear how the Arkansas Travelers baseball team got their name.  I’ve been to a fair amount of their games and I’ve always wondered why they’re called the Travelers– I was just too lazy to look it up.

 

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