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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) PEACE: farmgirl Margaret Lorn and the Bell Witch
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 17:06:24 -0500

mantis wrote:
>The Bell Witch episode in the "Gold" section is another one: is she playing
>a trick on Weer, just like her goat trick, or is there a real ghost?  As
>per my rule before, it is real, whether Margaret means it as a trick or

I think she is pulling his leg, just as she clearly was about the faces on
the Chinese teapot. It's the reverse of the country bumpkin in the big city;
the girl from the country is taking advantage of the city boy's ignorance of
country ways to tease him. As a practical matter, most headstones to be
found in rural cemeteries (of those grave markers to be actually made from
stone), dating from the 19th century and earlier, tended to be simple slabs,
usually no more than 6-8 inches thick. When the egg hunters arrived at the
farmhouse, Den noted that there was no porch and "only a single high stone
step". (91) That the step was "high" makes me doubt it was even a

Also, the Lorn's strict religious observances make me doubt that they would
desecrate a grave or use a gravestone for a doorstep. Neither do I think a
strict country preacher would enlist the aid of a heathen "wise woman" to
lay a ghost.

>But my question is this: when did the Bell Witch scene happen?  When the
>egg hunting party arrived, it was raining cats and dogs.  I guess the
>hunters did spend the night; I guess the Bell Witch scene could be the next
>day before they left with the egg.

It almost has to have been the next day, although the ground would have been
quite muddy. When Weer was looking for Blaine's new house it was "in an area
that had been a farm when I was a boy, a farm I had passed, once, on my way
to the Lorns', when Mr. Macafee and my aunt Olivia had gone to buy the
wonderful egg". (171) The "once" makes it sound as though that was the only
time Weer went to the Lorns' house.

My question is: what is a Bell Witch?



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