Southern Gothic: Abandoned Churches, cryptic gospel signs, don’t go near the marshes, elusive and overly religious people that are probably Up To Something but everyone is too afraid to ask what
Midwestern Gothic: Something Lives In The Corn, broken down trucks, gravel roads that lead nowhere, empty gas stations placed between tiny towns with only one attendant who makes too much eye contact but never speaks
Southwestern Gothic: Animal skulls hung from posts, shacks miles into the barren desert that still look lived in but nobody is ever seen around, They Watch From The Mountains, shapeshifting creatures hiding in the brush
Okay but surrealism aside all of these Southern Gothic posts are literally how the South is and I’m cackling.
We’ve got creepy ass 24/7 diners that say open but you can’t find the staff for half an hour.
There’s a haunted house and a murder/ghost story in every town.
There’s always a fishing hole no one goes to because of a tragedy living in the waters.
The woods are dark and hunting season is the only time you enter them. So many ghost stories. Haunted everything.
The mountains are alive with the sound of screaming.
Devil’s tramping grounds, hollers, woods, stones, you name it, we got it.
The old people may be racist and bigoted, but they have skin-crawling tales of caution and they’re all true.
Everyone knows someone who’s drowned.
We’ve all got a weird cousin who left the family and never came back. No one knows the circumstances of their disappearance but they were always an “odd duck.”
Community is a foreign concept to many until autumn. People come in droves from the mountain valleys and hollers bearing crafts and baked goods for sale. Apple butter can be smelled from half a mile away and the sound of fiddles fill the air. You will not see these people again until next autumn.
There are cemeteries everywhere, but the ones unloved are left for a reason.
Do not step on the graves, but behind them. If you step on them, apologize to avoid haunting.
You take a seat at the restaurant. A waitress brings you a sweet tea. You don’t look at what’s floating in the sweet tea. You never look at what’s floating in the sweet tea. You take a sip and ignore the taste of copper.
An old woman sits on her porch. You don’t know her name. In fact, you cannot remember ever seeing her leave the porch. She calls you “darlin’” and you cannot resist her call. Southern hospitality is famous.
The children whisper curses, and all of them end in “bless their heart”.
You drive past a cotton field. The stark whiteness of it unnerves you. You aren’t sure if those are cotton bolls. They shiver in the wind and blink at your passing. You grip the steering wheel and don’t look again.
The mayor has been mayor since 1893. No one has run against him in five generations. Sometimes people mention opposition candidates, but you never remember their names. The things that float to the top of the retention pond are unrecognizable as human.
Taxpayers protest fiercely at the cost of filling potholes. Instead, they are patched. They are not patched with concrete. You can hear the squish of fluid every time your tires move over one.
There has always been a Baptist church on the corner of Main and Central. Who are you to insinuate that there has not always been a Baptist church on the corner of Main and Central? You see lights on in the old church at the corner of Main and Central late a night, and you do not speak of them to anyone.
There are no rich people in the tri-country area, but all of the poor people have the idea that the rich should not be taxed.
Small children seems to disappear when people don’t lock their doors at night. But the neighborhood is too nice for locked doors. Southern hospitality is famous.
A family moves in from the North. The next day they all spontaneously combust on a trip to Kroger. “It’s not that hot,” someone says. “Yankees, I ask ya.”