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  Money, Mississippi
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   Author  Topic: Money, Mississippi  (Read 4539 times)
Vance Pollock
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Money, Mississippi
« on: August 17, 2008, 08:51:25 AM »
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Mississippi is one of the most all-around haunted places I've ever encountered. Scattered between sizeable towns are miles and miles of backroads with the occassional village forgotten to the modern world.

I've spent a few weeks all told wandering these backroads and one of the gloomiest, oppressively cursed feeling areas I came across was Leflore County.

The county seat Greenwood is nice enough if you want to feel like you're walking down the sidewalk of any southern small town in about 1960.

Where it went bad was at my decision to start asking around about Billy Joe McAllister. I knew from the old song and the movie starring Robbie Benson that he had supposedly jumped off the Tallahatchie bridge. Now, the Tallahatchie river runs all over Leflore, so just which bridge was my quandary. One local fellow having coffee with some friends at the gas station seemed quite confident. "That was over in Money, wuddin' it?" he asked around the table to shrugs. "Yeah, I'm pretty shore it was over at Money."

Well, leaving Greenwood bound for the "town" of Money you soon cross a sturdy iron bridge which would have suited me just fine for a death leap, and if I'd been told this was the place I would have believed it and gone back to the motel. But I wanted the genuine article, so I travelled a few miles on, by this time in the dark, and turned off on a dirt road by the dustswept sign bearing the seemingly prosperous name "Money."

It seemed like I was driving through desolation... bare cotton fields, twigs sticking up through the clay like skeleton fingers.

The day before as we drove south out of Yazoo City toward Vicksburg, we'd hit a deer... caught him right in the rump with driver's side headlight. This busted the mount but left the bulb burning, so I wired it back in, pointing off into the sky so that my travelling companion commented that it was rigged for possum hunting.

This poor illumination situation made the cruise toward Money all the more dreadful. At one point, bumping along about 15 mph, I nearly petrified with fear when I saw a "ghost" wavering off to the side of the road. A second later I realized it was but a white plastic bag caught and blowing on a stick, but even then the ghostly aura of this place would not subside.

We pulled onto a long, modern concrete bridge, again crossing the Tallahatchie and came to a 'T' in the road. As I stopped and the dust caught up and overtook the car, I beheld Money, Mississippi. It looked like the whole place consisted of about a dozen buildings at most, spread out on a patch of dirt under ancient oaks. Most seemed to be homes, but off to the left was a humble church house with even humbler graveyard alongside it.

We took all of about a minute idling past the settlement and decided the new concrete slab must have replaced an older bridge from which Billy Joe ended it all.

We turned around and, since the whole place seemed asleep, parked the car on the bridge and got out. This was the eeriest single feeling I've ever had. Standing on the bridge and looking down the river into the darkness I witnessed the single most incredible firefly display on earth, seemingly thousands of them. The dark water rolled along like it carried countless forgotten, lost souls. Billy Joe McAllister could not have picked a more macabre venue for his demise.

The haze gleaming with insect orbs over the river turned my thoughts toward will-o-wisps, luring and lulling the wistful observer. Wouldn't the water feel cool? It's so hot, so dusty, sweaty out here. Wouldn't a nice swim do a fellow good?

The draw was almost convincing, but I resisted, my mind nonetheless continually churning, my head almost spinning... a little drunk though I hadn't had a drop all day.

Money, Mississippi... just this side of hell.
---
It was only later that I learned of a more sinister event in Money's history... the murder of Emmett Till.

http://www.thevillager.com/villager_118/documentaryonthegrisly.html
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Vance Pollock
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Re:Money, Mississippi
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2008, 05:58:11 PM »
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I shared this story with the friend who accompanied me on the trip and then started doing a bit more reading. Seems like I'm not the only one who got a negative vibe from the place:

http://www.bluejeansplace.com/EmmettTillMurderSite.html

I turned south off westbound Mississippi Route 8 just east of the Tallahatchie River, and followed a dusty county road south for probably 15 minutes.

Just as the road slid out of one curve and opened into a T-intersection, a scene out of history appeared in the hazy, dust-covered intersection--the abandoned Bryant Grocery where Emmett allegedly said "Bye, Baby" to the store owner's wife.

To say you could feel the evil hanging in the air as you stepped out of the car is an understatement.  There was no one in sight, no wildlife creeping around, no insects buzzing around--not even a sound to be heard.  I was struck by this sensation of nothing moving, almost as if Mother Nature was saying, "This is a place where something wicked happened."  Weeks later, when my film was developed I noticed the stream of light coming down from the heavens to the ground in front of me--a light stream not visible when I took the picture!  I'll let you draw your own conclusions on that issue.

As you might imagine, there's a lot of folklore and history intertwined in this story.  I urge you to read this Washington Post story to get another story on it.  You'll be struck by how the reporter felt the same sense of evil I felt in Money when I was near the abandoned grocery store.


A collage of the old grocery store crumbling.
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