The Swamp Road Chronicles


To the Editor:


I read with great interest your article on Sally Blackstone; I have some additional information which is part of our family history that I would like to share with you.


Your article said that Sally's mother hanged herself on the front porch of their home and the rope was left hanging there for many years until it came up missing. I know what happened to that rope, at least, if family lore can be believed, that is.


You see, people used to believe that ropes used to hang criminals had a certain magical quality to them. But it was a dark magic, empowered by evil. If the hanged person was guilty, (often they weren't) the spirit of the deceased would infuse the rope with some of their evil energy which could be used for malicious acts by malicious people.


My people, specifically my grandfather, believed in the power of the hanging rope. He went to the Blackstone home in the middle of the night during the new moon and cut the rope loose from the rafters and took it home with him. He had plans for it. He had enemies and he intended to use that rope against those enemies.


The first attack was against a neighbor whom my grandfather believed had stolen some chickens. Grandpa went to that neighbor's home during the night and hid 2 feet of the rope under the neighbor's front porch where it had to be crossed over every time someone went into or out of the home.


It took about two months, I was told, but eventually that neighbor, whose name I was never told, took very ill and soon after died. I was told that if a greater length of rope had been used the man would have died sooner; less rope would have made him ill but wouldn't have killed him. There was only about eight feet of rope, so it had to be used judiciously. After one use the rope lost its ungodly influence.


It was insinuated to me, by an uncle, that the next victim of the rope was a man my grandfather suspected of having designs on my grandmother. That man was called 'Slim'. Slim died as well, but more quickly. I guess more rope was used.


My grandfather noticed that Grandma was a little too upset when she heard of Slim's demise. Grandfather asked her about it, but she denied any affection for the man. I guess Grandpa wasn't convinced because Grandma died a month after Slim.


Remember, all of this is just family legend passed down by word of mouth. Every family has its stories, some are true and some are not. The human heart can be a dark and secretive place and the truth of many a dark deed is taken to the grave.


As submitted by Ancil Moffet Reel, March 2, 2023


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