DS is one of my best friends from my hometown in Tennessee. She is twenty years old and goes to our community college. I called to get her version of the folk-legends about the infamous cemetery in the town next to ours, since she has been there multiple times. The cemetery’s name is Redash and is nestled down a long windy abandoned road we call “ ‘ole 63.”
DS- Redash is a small, super old graveyard on the back road of 63. Everything on that road is just creepy anyway like all the burnt buildings and how it seems to always look dark even during the daytime. Even driving to get there will freak ya out.
Interviewer-Okay so tell me about the legend of Redash itself, like things that are common knowledge about it, even if you haven’t been there.
DS- It’s like a very known and accepted legend around here. So, there are like two different storylines about Redash. One is that there is some kind of half-man-half-goat that will run you out of the cemetery if it thinks you are there to like screw around and be disrespectful. The other one, which is the most common, is about the witch’s grave. She will be sitting on her grave crying over it and people leave coins on her grave if she doesn’t bother them. The major no-no is taking money off her tombstone; apparently horrific accidents have happened to several people who did that. There’s also just a bunch of weird paranormal stuff that kind of varies depending on personal experience.
Interviewer- Okay, so now give me your take on what happens, since you’ve been many times.
DS- I know it sounds crazy, but just walking up to the graveyard has made my stomach absolutely drop every time, and not in like a nervous way. It’s a feeling that I can’t explain and everyone that I’ve asked feels instantly uneasy when they get out of the car too. There really is a women buried there from the 1800s that was said to be a witch and there is always money there, but I would never touch it. I can’t say I have seen her, but I swear I have heard cries. One time we could have sworn we heard someone scream at us to leave and then we all felt such a bad aura that we left. But some of my friends that have gone had terrifying experiences, like after one girl got back in her car, she had scratches all over her body. Oh, and the red eyes, that’s a very common sight from almost everyone.
DS’s account of Redash is an example of a memorate, and supernatural experiences that have a strong impact like hers are the fuel that keep local folk-legends alive. This ghost story contains many of the classic supernatural characteristics like cryptozoology, a witch, and a cemetery. The legend of Redash also contains an aspect of spirits upholding moral standards by the witch cursing someone if they steal money from her tombstone. This follows Valk’s idea that spirits in legends are purposeful and can serve as a warning to the living. Valk also asserts that ghosts can be a way for the living to deal with economic changes, which is relevant to the history of the area where Redash is located. It used to be a booming coal town, but it has been completely desolate for at least half a century. Perhaps the memorate that started the Redash legend was influenced by the economic uncertainties that were to come.