Unaka students hear spooky tales

Published 9:57 am Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Photo by Brandon Hicks For more photos visit www.elizabethton.com

A missing tail and a mysterious face in a courthouse window.
These are not normally topics of early morning classroom lesson, but for students at Unaka Elementary School, that was how they started their day Tuesday.
The students heard two short ghost stories from East Tennessee State University Assistant Professor Deborah Parrott in honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday.
Parrott is a part of the College of Education School Library Media program.
Students first heard the story of “Tailypo,” about a man who goes hunting for food one night, cuts off the tail of an unknown creature that later returns wanting its tail back.
The second story was “A Face in the Courthouse Window,” about Henry Wells, a freed slave accused of burning down an Alabama courthouse in 1876.
Two years later, Wells was caught and placed in an upstairs room of the new courthouse. A mob gathered outside and a storm came in. A lightening strike was said to have etched the “anguished features” of Wells’ face in the pane of glass on the window he was looking out of.
Sixth-grade student Sadie Williams said the courthouse story was her favorite.
“She told us about how the lightening marked this man’s face into the window and it would not come off no matter how much they scrubbed and tried,” she said.
She said she enjoyed hearing the ghost stories, both of which were new to her.
“It was very interesting,” Williams said. “They were good stories.”
Colton Winters, also in sixth-grade, said the “Tailypo” story was his favorite.
“I liked how the animal creeped around saying ‘Where is my tail?’ ” he said. “It was a funny story.”
He said he liked the way Parrott told all of the stories.
“She is really good with sound effects,” he said.
Parrott said she hoped the storytelling event would spark an interest in reading and local folk tales in the students. Before becoming an assistant professor, Parrott worked as a school librarian.
“Folk tales are always passed down from generation to generation,” she said. “I remember hearing these stories in the third grade, and then I passed them on to my students and now some of my students are sharing these stories with their classes. Hearing some of these stories is just a fun thing to do.”

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