Tales from Brookgreen: Gardens, Folklore, Ghost Stories, and Gullah Folktales in the South Carolina Lowcountry

Rated 4.17/5 based on 6 reviews
History, Mystery, and Romance in the South Carolina Lowcountry!

A haunted necklace . . . A trickster rabbit . . . An ingenious slave . . . A shrieking droll . . . A fiancé returned from the dead . . . all come to life in this charming collection of ghost stories and folklore from Brookgreen Gardens, four former rice plantations where a rich Gullah culture once flourished. More

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About Lynn Michelsohn

As an author and devoted traveler, I closed my long-time New Mexico practice of clinical and forensic psychology in 2008 to devote more time to writing, and beachcombing. My husband, a former attorney, and I divide our time between Santa Fe and West Palm Beach where our two adult sons visit us regularly (but not often enough).

Wow! This writing (and beachcombing) is really fun! I recommend it to all of you who have ever thought about starting that memoir or novel or article. Smashwords makes publishing incredibly easy, and who knows, you might even sell a couple of hundred thousand copies (I haven't yet)!

After years of living in Roswell with its sometimes offbeat attractions and history--the Roswell Incident, for example--writing "Roswell, Your Travel Guide to the UFO Capital of the World!" (available in paperback and as an ebook) gave me the chance to share these interests with visitors to the Land of Enchantment. I have also published a shorter selection from it, "Roswell, NM: The Ten Best Free Things To Do," as an ebook.

Next I wrote a book about a distinctly different region, one I have loved since my childhood spent knee-deep in the marshes and saltwater creeks of the South Carolina coast. "Tales from Brookgreen: Folklore, Ghost Stories, and Gullah Folktales in the South Carolina Lowcountry" (paperback and ebook) recounts stories from Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina's popular tourist attraction just south of Myrtle Beach. I am happy to see that the three shorter collections of stories from this longer work are quite popular: "Lowcountry Ghosts," "Gullah Ghosts," and "Crab Boy's Ghost." I hope to get back to work on more lowcountry ghost stories soon.

Did you know that Herman Melville, of "Moby-Dick" fame, wrote a series of articles describing the Galapagos Islands? Neither did I until recently. My latest project has been to put Melville's articles together with wonderful photographs taken by my son Moses in the Galapagos Islands, and writing introductory material to create a book for the modern visitor to the place Melville called "The Encantadas." We call the book "In the Galapagos Islands with Herman Melville" (paperback and book) and hope this glimpse into the "Enchanted Isles," written over 150 years ago, will enrich the visits of today's travelers. I've also published two short portions of it as ebooks that feature even more of Moses' great photos: "Galapagos Islands Birds" and "Galapagos Islands Landscapes."

Recently I've gotten interested in researching the famous New Mexico outlaw Billy the Kid, especially the time he spent in Santa Fe. Did you know that more movies have been made about him over the years than about ANY OTHER individual? I have already completed one short ebook, "Billy the Kid's Jail," with more to come. It's hard not to write more about Santa Fe in the 1870s and 1880s than about Billy. I get lost in reading Santa Fe newspapers from that era. So many fascinating details!

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: nymeria on Nov. 03, 2012 :
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
If you like reading the historical fables of different locations of the United States, you’ll love reading this book.It’s a book filled with different stories from the area of South Caroline near to Myrtle Beach. The stories start in colonial times and extend through the American Revolution, to past the end of the Civil War. Each of the stories are extremely well-written and make you feel like you’re sitting there, in the shop, listening to the women speak their tales.
Each of the stories are long enough to bring in enough detail that I could see it in my mind, and yet, short enough to keep my attention. Each of them tie in well to each other and lead into the next.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Alyssia Ashkevron on Aug. 23, 2012 :
I really enjoyed this book! I have a strong "elective" sort of interest in anthropology but mostly as it pertains to folklore (such as the works of Zora Neale Hurston) so I had high hopes for this collection. It did not disappoint. The author of the book was careful to arrange aids for readers not as familiar with the subject area, which helped me to follow the scope of the stories. The real prize is the way Michelsohn "tells" the stories - the reader experiences the chapters as oral storytelling told in the voices of the women who passed the stories along to her. Michelsohn's commentary and parenthetical notes, as well as setup, helps the reader to understand context, and her control over diction and tone give the sense that the reader is experiencing the stories firsthand rather than reading them. Sometimes questions are anticipated, tangents are indulged, and 'asides' are made ("you remember her, right?") which adds an ambient sort of verisimilitude to the whole thing. The way Michelsohn weaves in the necessary background knowledge without making it into a data dump or history textbook is also quite impressive. None of the "lessons" ever felt tedious - and my understanding of the stories as well as the history of the place where the stories were set (and even history in general) was the better for it.
Anyone who enjoys reading folklore will find much to love here, but those who enjoy folklore probably already suspected that. The real gem here is the way the writing was accomplished - it is artful and immersive and takes pains to connect to the audience.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Simon Purvis on Aug. 16, 2012 :
Tales from Brookgreen Gardens is a wonderful collection of stories from South Carolina as told by two women who run a museum/shop. Brookgreen Gardens is located in the South Carolina Lowlands and used to be a collection of Rice Plantations, but now, as I previously mentioned, a museum which the author used to visit with one of the workers, Cousin Corrie. Cousin Corrie worked alongside Genevieve Chandler, both of this ladies would tell tales to those who visited the shop.

The book contains about eight different stories that cover a wide period of history. The first one, the Mistress of Brookgreen is set just before the war of Independence and concerns the Brookgreen Rice Plantation and Rachel Moore Allston Flagg, the woman who becomes the Mistress of Brookgreen. This tale contains a nice mix of historical characters, such as the George Washington, General Cornwallis, amongst others who interact with the mistress.

The remaining chapters contain stories relating to disappearing rice, ghosts of a heartbroken Lady-in-white, ghosts of ships, folk tales, and so on. All told this collection of stories creates a very interesting picture of life in South Carolina and I heartily recommend it to everybody!(less)
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Midu Hadi on Aug. 12, 2012 :
The Mistress of Brookgreen:

Reads a bit like E.Nesbit or Enid Blyton stories. A simple introduction about a capable lady who fell in love, married someone else and then fell in love again to marry the man she loved.

Don’t Tief!

A sweet story about how stealing rice from your boss can't be a crime!

The White Lady of the Hermitage:

The story tells us about how the White Lady came to haunt the Hermitage.

Ghost Ships:

Would you build a beach house with the pillars of an abandoned Church?

Brother Gator and His Friends:

A few short fables about the animals of the swamp.

Crab Boy’s Ghost:

Cousin Corrie was too scared too try to catch a Stone Crab and with good reason!

The Wachesaw Ghosts:

An ancient Indian burial ground is discovered along with their ghosts.

The Great Sandy Island Expedition:

How the residents were involved in putting together a folktales book.

Beautiful stories written in a style that begs to be heard, instead of being read.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Deb Novack on March 01, 2012 :
When I started to read this book I did not think I would like enjoy it, but when I really got into it I enjoyed it immensely. In my minds eye I could actually visualize Brookgreen Gardens, past and present. I have learned more about the Lowcountry after only a few stories. It is an awesome thing to learn about the history,legends,folklore and even some ghost stories of a place so close but never been there. There is war,building planting rice,death,sickness and romance all rolled up in this story. It is also fun to learn little things about the author and Aunt Corrie,Miss Genevieve and the Flaggs. Than you so much for allowing me the opportunity to read/review this wonderful book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: shyd on Feb. 07, 2012 :
Bravo to Mrs Michelsohn for a lovely book. I loved this book. It is the perfect mix of history and foklore told in a lovely style. As a fellow Lowcountry person I fell in love with the stories told throughout this book. I found myself laughing at some parts of the story as it felt like I was listening to my grandma or aunts telling me another one of the many stories they have heard over the years. The style of writing with it being told through little short stories told over the years was brillant. I loved learning more untold history that I didn't already know. It was amazing hearing about a lot of the famous events in history by way of stories. I really think this is a must read for history buffs,foklore lovers and those that just love to hear old stories. I am tipping my southern belle hat off to the writer. She brought the old world of the south out in this book tenfold. Overall I loved this book and would recommend it to others.
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(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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