Tag Archives: history

The Boogah Man – Paul Laurence Dunbar

Recently , while researching ghost poetry I came across a poet and story-teller that I really like and felt like his style was right up my alley of spooky historical verse. His poems are simple and stirring and reflect the times in which he lived.  I could not decide on just one, so I am including 3 of my favorites so far, that I enjoyed reading. The first one, made me feel like a kid again, sitting by a warm fire on a dark night, listening to a good spooky bedtime story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Boogah Man

W’en de evenin’ shadders
Come a-glidin’ down,
Fallin’ black an’ heavy
Ovah hill an’ town,
Ef you listen keerful,
Keerful ez you kin,
So ‘s you boun’ to notice

Des a drappin’ pin;
Den you ‘ll hyeah a funny
Soun’ ercross de lan’;
Lay low; dat’s de callin’
Of de Boogah Man!

Woo-oo, woo-oo!
Hyeah him ez he go erlong de way;
Woo-oo, woo-oo!
Don’ you wish de night ‘ud tu’n to day?
Woo-oo, woo-oo!
Hide yo’ little peepers ‘hind yo’ han’;
Woo-oo, woo-oo!
Callin’ of de Boogah Man.

W’en de win ‘s a-shiverin’

Thoo de gloomy lane,
An’ dey comes de patterin’
Of de evenin’ rain,
W’en de owl ‘s a-hootin’,
Out daih in de wood,
Don’ you wish, my honey,
Dat you had been good?
‘T ain’t no use to try to
Snuggle up to Dan;
Bless you, dat ‘s de callin’
Of de Boogah Man!
 
Ef you loves yo’ mammy,
An’ you min’s yo’ pap,
Ef you nevah wriggles
Outen Sukey’s lap;
Ef you says yo’ “Lay me”
Evah single night
 
‘Fo’ dey tucks de kivers
An’ puts out de light,
Den de rain kin pattah,
Win’ blow lak a fan,
But you need n’ bothah
‘Bout de Boogah Man!
 

The next poem on my list of favorites by this author,  is The Phantom Kiss. It is a dreamy little poem that made me smile and yet still left me with a little shiver.

The Phantom Kiss

One night in my room, still and beamless,
With will and with thought in eclipse,

I rested in sleep that was dreamless;
When softly there fell on my lips

A touch, as of lips that were pressing
Mine own with the message of bliss—
A sudden, soft, fleeting caressing,
A breath like a maiden’s first kiss.

I woke—and the scoffer may doubt me—
I peered in surprise through the gloom;
But nothing and none were about me,
And I was alone in my room.

Perhaps ‘t was the wind that caressed me
And touched me with dew-laden breath;
Or, maybe, close-sweeping, there passed me
The low-winging Angel of Death.

Some sceptic may choose to disdain it,
Or one feign to read it aright,
Or wisdom may seek to explain it—
This mystical kiss in the night.

But rather let fancy thus clear it:
That, thinking of me here alone,
The miles were made naught, and, in spirit,
Thy lips, love, were laid on mine own.

Lastly, I chose The Haunted Oak. This poem has a lot of historical significance. Being from Mississippi, I have often been attracted to old trees and have often wondered when I am near one that seems alive with a story, if it were possible that the events mentioned in this poem, had ever happened on it’s branches. If only the trees could speak their secrets.

The Haunted Oak

Pray why are you so bare, so bare,
Oh, bough of the old oak-tree;
And why, when I go through the shade you throw,
Runs a shudder over me?
My leaves were green as the best, I trow,
And sap ran free in my veins,
But I say in the moonlight dim and weird
A guiltless victim’s pains.
They’d charged him with the old, old crime,
And set him fast in jail:
Oh, why does the dog howl all night long,
And why does the night wind wail?

He prayed his prayer and he swore his oath,
And he raised his hand to the sky;
But the beat of hoofs smote on his ear,
And the steady tread drew nigh.
Who is it rides by night, by night,
Over the moonlit road?
And what is the spur that keeps the pace,
What is the galling goad?
And now they beat at the prison door,
“Ho, keeper, do not stay!
We are friends of him whom you hold within,
And we fain would take him away
“From those who ride fast on our heels
 
With mind to do him wrong;
They have no care for his innocence,
And the rope they bear is long.”
They have fooled the jailer with lying words,
They have fooled the man with lies;
The bolts unbar, the locks are drawn,
And the great door open flies.
Now they have taken him from the jail,
And hard and fast they ride,
And the leader laughs low down in his throat,
As they halt my trunk beside.

Oh, the judge, he wore a mask of black,
And the doctor one of white,
And the minister, with his oldest son,
Was curiously bedight.
Oh, foolish man, why weep you now?

‘Tis but a little space,
And the time will come when these shall dread
The mem’ry of your face.
I feel the rope against my bark,
And the weight of him in my grain,
I feel in the throe of his final woe
The touch of my own last pain.
And never more shall leaves come forth
On the bough that bears the ban;
I am burned with dread, I am dried and dead,
From the curse of a guiltless man.
And ever the judge rides by, rides by,
And goes to hunt the deer,
And ever another rides his soul
In the guise of a mortal fear.
And ever the man he rides me hard,
And never a night stays he;
For I feel his curse as a haunted bough,
On the trunk of a haunted tree.
 

“The Haunted Oak,” written and publsihed in 1900, could have been based on one of the 105 lynchings that occurred that year, but it was inspired in Washington, D.C., by a story that Dunbar heard an old black man relate concerning his nephew in Alabama who bad been hanged on an oak tree by a mob of whites after having been falsely accused of “a grave crime.” According to the story, shortly afterwards the leaves on the limb used for the lynching yellowed and fell off; and, unlike the rest of the normal tree, the offending bough shriveled and died. Townspeople began to call the tree “the haunted oak.” Dunbar, using the ballad form to enhance the superstition, personifies the tree and makes it the most sensitive and remorseful participant in the crime.”  from a review by James A. Emanuel

About The Author

Paul Lawrence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American to gain national prominence as a poet. Born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio, he was the son of ex-slaves and classmate to Orville Wright of aviation fame.
Dunbar was prolific, writing short stories, novels, librettos, plays, songs and essays as well as the poetry for which he became well known. He was popular with black and white readers of his day, and his works are celebrated today by scholars and school children alike.
His style encompasses two distinct voices — the standard English of the classical poet and the evocative dialect of the turn-of-the-century black community in America. He was gifted in poetry — the way that Mark Twain was in prose — in using dialect to convey character.

Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872, to Matilda and Joshua Dunbar, both natives of Kentucky. His mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery and served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. Matilda and Joshua had two children before separating in 1874. Matilda also had two children from a previous marriage. Dunbar married Alice Ruth Moore in 1898. A graduate of Straight University (now Dillard University) in New Orleans, her most famous works include a short story entitled “Violets”. She and her husband also wrote books of poetry as companion pieces. An account of their love, life and marriage was depicted in a play by Kathleen McGhee-Anderson titled Oak and Ivy.
Dunbar took a job at the Library of Congress in Washington. In 1900, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and moved to Colorado with his wife on the advice of his doctors. Dunbar and his wife separated in 1902, but they never divorced.
He wrote a dozen books of poetry, four books of short stories, five novels, and a play. He also wrote lyrics for In Dahomey – the first musical written and performed entirely by African-Americans to appear on Broadway in 1903
His essays and poems were published widely in the leading journals of the day. His work appeared in Harper’s Weekly, the Saturday Evening Post, the Denver Post, Current Literature and a number of other publications.
Depression and declining health drove him to a dependence on alcohol, which further damaged his health. He moved back to Dayton to be with his mother in 1904. Dunbar died from tuberculosis on February 9, 1906, at age thirty-three.

He was interred in the Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio. To read more about this poet and writings, please see the resource links below. See his Find A Grave Memorial Here:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=307

Research Links

More Poems : http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/dunbar/additionalpoems.htm

http://www.dunbarsite.org/

http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/302

“The Crowded Years: Paul Laurence Dunbar in History” in A Singer in the Dawn: Reinterpretations of Paul Laurence Dunbar. Ed. Jay Martin. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1975. Copyright © 1975 by Jay Martin.

Black Poets of the United States, from Paul Laurence Dunbar to Langston Hughes, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973. Copyright © 1973 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/poetryindex/the_boogah_man.html

http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/poetryindex/the_phantom_kiss.html

http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/poetryindex/

http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/bookcover_gallery.html

University of Dayton –http://www.dunbarsite.org/

Modern American Poetry Web Site – English Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/dunbar/dunbar.htm

Paul Laurence Dunbar House Ohio Historical Society
http://www.ohiohistory.org/places/dunbar/

Paul Laurence Dunbar PAL: Perspectives in American Literature A Research and Reference Guide – An Ongoing Project
http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap6/dunbar.html

Paul Laurence Dunbar Collection at the Dayton and Montgomery County Library
http://home.dayton.lib.oh.us/archives/dunbar/DTABCONTENTS.html

The Writings of Paul Laurence Dunbar Springfield Library
http://www.springfieldlibrary.org/dunbar/dunbar.html

Ohio Memory – Paul Laurence Dunbar Scrapbook
http://worlddmc.ohiolink.edu/OMP/YourScrapbook?scrapid=6698

http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/gallery/dunbar_photos.html

compiled and posted by Angela L Burke – MSSPI

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Walking The Twilight Path – A Gothic Book of The Dead

Book Author: Michelle Belanger

 Walking The Twilight Path is a book that focuses on death. It is also a manual for those with an interest in learning how to work with death energies and spirit communications.  The book is extremely thurough in discussing death rituals and personal preparation, death and funeral history, as well as personal preparation of mind, body and spirit for energy work.

The book provides detailed ritual excercises and personal preparation excercises to help you learn to work with spirit energies. It has a self evaluation test as well as many journaling excercises for those who choose to follow the Twilight Path as a ritual practice or are considering making such a decision, as well as also being an informative guide to those who study energy, healing and/or paranormal phenomena and spirit communication practices.

Even if you do not chose to take such a path, I found that this book  helped me on a personal level, not only to, help me make choices, as to how far I am willing to go into studying spirit energy and the paranormal, but also helped me to evaluate my own personal level of spiritual awareness, and helped me to face my own mortality.

This book would be of interest to those who are into learning about death customs, rituals, history and funeral rites and spirituality. 

Ms. Belanger has drawn her information from the wisdom of  magicians, Tibetan Buddists, shamans, ancient Egyptians and others, detailing very interesting facts and customs.  She also includes beautiful cemetery and headstone photos and the book is beautifully illustrated.  She even provides recipes for helpful herb and oil and incense blends to help with spirit communications and ritual practices, and discusses some of the history behind the herbs and potions she mentions in the book. I also like the fact that she lists an extensive bibliography of recommended reading and source materials.  All in all, I found this book to be extremely interesting, informative and soul stirring. I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in learning something new and fascinating about death, rituals and customs  and working with ” otherworld” energies.

I have really enjoyed the book and though I have not yet chosen to walk this path as a ritualistic way of life, I have learned some very useful information that I can, and have applied to my daily life, my spiritual awareness and my personal study of the paranormal.  It has also helped me face my fears about death and dying and has helped me to appreciate life in a more intense way. I believe that regardless of your personal beliefs,  religion or your chosen path, that everyone who reads this book can come away with something to enrich their lives.  I would highly recommend this book to those with an interest in learning death related history, shamanic and mystical rituals and those who want to overcome their fears of death and dying.

Michelle Belanger is an occult researcher, author and lecturer. She has appeared on radio and television shows in the United States and abroad. She has appeared on networks such as History, WE and A&E. She is well known for her expertise on vampires. She studies a wide range of topics, including paranormal phenomena, energy work, folklore, shamanism and Gothic Sub-Culture. She also teaches and lectures on energy work at private ritual workshops and national conventions.  Michelle is also a talented song writer and vocalist and has been involved with several musical groups such as the dark metal band URN and Nox Arcana. She is a former 1990’s editor of Shadowdance Magazine.  Michelle is also the founder of House Kheperu, a magikal society based in part on the concept of death and rebirth.

You can find Walking The Twilight Path- A Gothic Book of The Dead by Michelle Belanger  at www.llewellyn.com

Book Review by Angela L Burke- MSSPI Darkpens Blogger

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Witchcraft The History & Mythology

Written by Richard Marshall

The subject of witchcraft has exerted fascination throughout recorded history. Witchcraft The History & Mythology explores the bizarre and often political terrain of the witch’s universe. Tales of vampires and werewolves, legends of fairies and demons can be found here. As can be found the history of the very real and tragic human abominations of the witch burning times and the heroes who stood against these atrocities of madness. Sorcerer’s Merlin, Morgan le Fay, heroin Joan of Arc and villainess Medea, the hysterical youngsters of Salem Mass and the helpless innocence that they accused, are among the many stories and characters contained in its contents. Less well-known victims, men , women and children tortured and accused out of ignorances and ill wills, including the priest Urbain Grandier, who was accused of bewitching a convent with a bunch of roses and was then burned alive. Because the arts of magic and the fears of them are timeless and universal, the scope of this book covers content from all continents and includes many modern forms of witchcraft today. Lavishly illustrated from sources around the world, with engravings, photographs, woodcuts and the art of those with a compelling interest in mythology and the occult.

Witchcraft The History & Mythology provides a comprehensive and balanced account of a sometimes dark and misunderstood subject and sheds light on some of its legends, myths and historical origins.

About The Author

Richard Marshall of Yorkshire England, was educated at St. John’s College, University of Cambridge. He lives in upstate New York. He was the chief contributing writer for Reader’s Digest Mysteries of The Unexplained ( 1982) and a collection of essays published as Strange Amazing & Mysterious Places ( 1993)HarperCollins. The Updated version of Witchcraft History & Mythology includes new material on Wicca and modern witchcraft by contributing editor Clare Gibson. Published 1995 & 2006 by Saraband Ltd. The Arthouse 752-756-Argyke St, Glasgow G3 8UJ Scotland. ISBN-10 1-887354-03-4

Personal Review

I personally own and have read the book and often refer to it while doing research related to paranormal related history and legends. I found it very informative as well as interesting reading and the illustrations and graphics were excellent. I believe that all paranormal researchers should have a copy of it in their library as a reference source. 

this review submitted by Angela L Burke – MSSPI Case & Research Manager

Cover Art courtesy of The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division of a nineteenth century poster illustration.

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