Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Old Raw Head

I eagerly admit, the name by which this Missouri phantom is known was enough for me to share this legend with you. It's just WAITING to be turned into a horrid, low-budget CGI mess by the likes of SyFy.

Following the Civil War, roving bands of outlaws cut a swath of terror through Missouri and other states, robbing, ransacking, and murdering those who labored to rebuild America.

Morgan County, Missouri was especially hard hit by these higwaymen. It is said the ghost of one victim, dubbed "Old Raw Head" could often be seen throughout the county. A man by the name of John A. Hannay spotted the apparition near Versailles as it sat atop a haystack in a lonesome, moonlit field. Hannay approached for a closer inspection, but the entity slip from atop the stack and disappeared. However, Hannay could see quite clearly the raw red stump where the spirit's head should have been. It wasn't difficult to guess how "Old Raw Head" got his name.

Hannay's grandparents had seen it too. The couple had been driving along a deserted backroad when the ghost appeared quite suddenly between the horses pulling their wagon. It vanished just as suddenly, leaving the couple in a fright.

As an interesting note, there seems to be a long-standing Ozark folktale known as "Old Raw Head / Bloody Bones". There doesn't seem to be any correlation beyond the name, as the story revolves around a razorback hog who eats the roots and magic herbs of a witch. Thereafter, he had the power to talk and act like a man. But the razorback gets carted away to the slaugher house where a thief steals his remains. But the razorback has all that magic in him and is able to summon his bones together and seek retribution.

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