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Friday, October 31, 2014

Mississippi Hauntings

Hauntings, ghosts, and ghouls! Oh my!
The Mississippi Library Commission is in the spirit of All Hallow's Eve and we'd like to share a few accounts of Mississippi hauntings from select books in our collection Feel free to stop by and check out these spooky titles (and more)!

  • The Singing River (West Pascagoula River) in Gautier, MS - The story of the Singing River is much like Romeo & Juliet. According to The Haunting of Mississippi by Barbara Sillery, two lovers from the Pascagoula and Biloxi tribe fall in love (Sillery, 227). This angered the Biloxi, who far outnumbered the Pascagoula. Rather than being killed, the Pascagoula, led by the two lovers, sang a somber song as they stepped one by one off the riverbank. Locals say they can still hear the song, which is described as a hum.
  • Civil War soldiers in Jackson, MS - According to The Haunted Natchez Trace by Bud Steed, there have been several sightings of Confederate soldiers from the Civil War on Fortification Street. Fortification was where the Confederates ran a northern line during the Siege of Jackson in 1863 (Steed, 50).
  • Lakemont and McRaven houses in Vicksburg, MS - Ever heard of a widow that still haunts the Lakemont house, mourning the death of her husband who died in a duel in 1861? Or the McRaven House, that was first owned by robbers and just might be the ideal candidate for most haunted house in Mississippi due to the many deaths that occurred on the property? Check out one of our old blog posts about these places here!

Remember to visit our Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram pages to keep up with our holiday celebrations!

Sillery, Barbara. The Haunting of Mississippi. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., 2011. Print
Steed, Bud. The Haunted Natchez Trace. Charleston, SC: Haunted America, 2012. Print

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mississippi Broadband Initiative

The Mississippi Broadband Initiative will fund a statewide broadband network for Mississippi public libraries. See how here:

Click here to play the infographic: Be sure to share the information about this much needed initiative with everyone you know!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Book of Human Flesh

James Allen, a highway man of Massachusetts in the 19th century, spent his last days in the Massachusetts State Prison.  His last wish was to have his life documented and gave his deathbed confession to the warden.  This confession was titled the Narrative of the Life of James Allen, alias Jonas Pierce, alias James H. York, alias Burley Grove, the Highwayman, Being His Death-Bed Confession to the Warden of the Massachusetts State Prison.  As Allen requested, the book was bound in his flesh and given to his last victim who had escaped Allen's attack. The original copy can now be found at the Boston Athenæum. A scanned copy can also be found here at the Boston Athenæum Digital Collections.

Anthropodermic bibliopegy is the practice of binding books in human skin.  While anthropodermic bibliopegy is uncommon today it was not so uncommon in 16th and 17th century Europe.   During this time skin from executed criminals, dissected cadavers, or willing donators was used to bind books, especially during the French Revolution when “materials” were plentiful.

 Some other books bound in human flesh include:

The University of Cincinnati’s Archives and Rare Books Library houses a book of poems by Phillis Wheatley bound in human skin.

Harvard’s library is said to have several human flesh bound titles.

The University of Memphis’ book by Louis Richeome, a Catholic controversialist, is said to be bound in the skin of a Protestant.

Unfortunately, MLC does not have any books bound in human flesh, but we do have some other creepy titles that will get you in the mood for Halloween.

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