Monday, October 10, 2011

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2011 - Track Six - Bone Yard

Welcome back! Sorry we had to meet again on yet another shitty Monday! But... who wants to hear a ghost story? Before we get to the second week of music here in the Spooktacular I want you to gather around and let me tell you a tale guaranteed to induce shudders and blood-curdling screams... that's probably a bit of an exaggeration but it's entertaining nonetheless...

You see that sweetly sinister looking sweetie over there on the left? Her name is Black Aggie and the frightening folklore surrounding this charming little grave statue started here in Baltimore Maryland in 1926 when it was placed on the grave of Civil War General Felix Angus in the Druid Ridge Cemetery. Sculpted by Maryland artist Augustus St. Gaudens, who allegedly named it Grief, the mournful looking figure didn't look out of place with the rest of the ornate gravestones and markers that surrounded her during the daylight hours... it was after dark when Black Aggie took on a supposed "life" of her own.

Quoting directly from the website

"The legend grew.... and it was said that the spirits of the dead rose from their graves to gather around her on certain nights and that living persons who returned her gaze were struck blind. Pregnant women who passed through her shadow (where strangely, grass never grew) would suffer miscarriages.

A local college fraternity decided to include Black Aggie in their initiation rites. Not really believing the stories, the candidates for membership were ordered to spend the night in the cold embrace of Black Aggie. Those who remember the statue recall her large, powerful hands. The stories claimed that the local fraternity initiates had to sit on Aggie's lap and one tale purports that "she once came to life and crushed a hapless freshman in her powerful grasp."

Other fraternity boys were equally as unlucky.... One night, at the stroke of midnight, the cemetery watchman heard a scream in the darkness. When he reached the Angus grave, he found a young man lying dead at the foot of the statue.... he had died of fright, or so the story goes. Just another legend that grew over the years into a ghost story? Maybe, and then, maybe not.

One morning in 1962, a watchman discovered that one of the angel's arms had been cut off during the night. The missing arm was later found in the trunk of a sheet metal worker's car, along with a saw. He told the judge that Black Aggie had cut off her own arm in a fit of grief and had given it to him. Apparently, the judge didn't believe him and the man went to jail.

However, a number of people did believe the man's strange story and almost every night, huge groups of people gathered in Druid Ridge Cemetery. The public attention gained by the news story brought the curiosity-seekers to the grave and the strange tales kept them coming back."

In 1967 the amount of visitors who gathered nightly at the cemetery grew to be a problem and the statue was removed and now resides at the Federal Courts building in Washington DC.

Did you ever hear the Bloody Mary myth? You know... you stand in front of a mirror in a dark room and repeat the name "Bloody Mary" three times and the ghost will shockingly appear and proceed to kill you in a gruesome and/or gory way? When I was a kid the name we never dared to speak into a darkened mirror was not that of Bloody Mary but that of Black Aggie... I guess the legend had been localized over the years.

But now onto the music... in the spirit of Black Aggie and cemeteries in general, I present the next tune in the Spooktacular... this one is by the group called the Three Tops and it's called appropriately enough "Bone Yard." It is lifted off a 70s era 7" on the Atomic label and showcases rather nicely the group's harmonizing skills...


if you dare...


MMcC said...

Spooky story and pic - gotta love local legends.

pcoristi said...

I love the story of Black Aggie!