Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spry Ol' Stories

Image from Karen's Whimsy

Hey, if you're ever driving through West Virgina and pass Harts, take a little side trip to Dry Branch Hollow. There, between Board Tree and Frances Tree Roads, you'll spy Spry Cemetery.

First, look for the tombstones of Dixie and Charlie Counts, buried alongside one another. Dixie didn't survive childbirth while having Charlie, who was delivered stillborn.

But death didn't affect the bond between mother and child; in fact, it made it everlasting.

When there's a full moon casting its eerie cold light over the graveyard, it's said that Dixie can be seen rocking her baby at their grave site, both dressed in white gowns and crying. Even in eternity, there's no closer tie than between a mother and her baby.

Then take a stroll to the Spry footbridge crossing the small creek. It has some local lore associated with it, too.

It's been told that the devil appeared to a rough Mountaineer one night in the 1950s, facing off on opposite sides of the span. It seemed to be a good match; the man was a brawler, well known in the community as a person that mistreated his family and neighbors. It was only a matter of time until Old Scratch claimed him.

But this wasn't the time. Satan thought he'd teach the man a lesson before he got to the fiery kingdom, and challenged him to a fight after the ruffian had spent the prior day bragging to all who would listen that he was mean enough to lick the devil himself.

Hey, the guy had a big mouth and a powerful punch, and he also had a trick up his sleeve to back up his bravado - he knew his demonology.

He eyed up the Reaper of Souls and told him "Come over here to the road, and I will fight you." Lucifer, frustrated, said "You know who I am and that I cannot cross running water." At a stalemate, the Prince of Darkness let out an evil cackle and disappeared into the night.

Of course, the street fighter let everyone in town know that night that he had stood down Satan. The next day, a boy was walking through the boneyard. He crossed the bridge and found cloven hoof prints burned into its wooden slats. Maybe for once the town braggart was telling the truth (although we suspect the next meeting may have a decidedly different result).

So if you're ever passing through Point Pleasant under a full moon, head east for a few miles and visit. Spry Cemetery will be worth the trip.

(And please be respectful if you do stop by - after all, Old Scratch may catch you on the same side of the creek.)

No comments: