Have you ever heard of a “haint”? I had never heard the word in my life and nobody at the party I was at last night could believe it. I need an Appalachian dictionary badly I guess. Haints are ghosts. A hill talk twist on “haunt”. I think I have haints around here, and I might have stirred them up myself. I read a book about Cecil Brown who founded the Salvation Army Mountain Mission on the very property I live on. The book said where they buried her and I realized she is in the cemetary next to my property. So I went over and brushed the snow off of every headstone until I found hers. I’m not sure why; I was intrigued and wanted to honor her spirit I suppose. But after I did that I started having dreams of ghosts, I mean haints.

Everyone talks about them, practically everyone knows they are there, every culture and hill and holler in every part of the world surely has their own stories and legends and names for them. In my recent dreams of them I used Jesus’ name to protect myself, but I don’t in general feel afraid. Haints. Surely they are as much a part of the fabric of reality as we are, yet are generally so little known or understood. If nothing else, they continue somehow to remind us that we aren’t as smart as we think we are, that empiricism is limited and that other dimensions beyond our consensual reality continue to exist whether we see them or not.

I thought I would talk about them rather than ignore them. We’ll see what happens next.

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3 Responses to “Haints”

  1. Ted Leach Says:

    I’m sort of in line with Edith Wharton’s comment about ghosts: “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m afraid of them.”

  2. Trace Says:

    That makes me think of the song by Doc Watson,
    ‘If you monkey ’round my widder I’m a’tellin’ you a fact, my big white ghost’ll come a creepin’ back. And I’ll haint ya boys, if you monkey ’round my widder when I’m gone.”
    Not sure of the title, but we’ve got it here somewhere!

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