I’m not sure just how “over” (wrestling term) Kathryn Tucker Windham is outside of the Southern United States, but ‘round these parts she’s nothing less than a legend. Folklorist, author, and celebrity, she penned numerous books, the most famous of which chronicled vintage Southern ghost stories, allegedly true ghost stories, tales based on authentic legends. She was no apologist for paranormal studies, though. Asked once if she believed in ghosts, Ms. Windham replied that she certainly believed in ghost stories. (She did have a ghost living with her, to hear her tell it, a mischievous spirit her family named “Jeffrey” whose presence in her home inspired her to start writing down ghost stories to begin with and who, in cartoon form, became the “star” of all her books concerning ghosts. You’d be hard-pressed to find any Southern schoolboy or girl who didn’t grow up with Jeffery and Ms. Windham’s books.) Concerned less with proving the “truth” of her stories, she was first and foremost a folklorist; it was the stories themselves she wanted to preserve.
Having a passion for Folklore myself, and being as downhome as Ms. Windham (that’s an expression we use, “downhome”, to describe ourselves here in the land of kudzu and cotton fields), I share her priorities. I’ve taken part in paranormal investigations, and I’ve scoured tomes of history looking to corroborate something I “learned” via one of those investigations (always exciting when I’m able to do just that), but my highest priority is the preservation of stories. Stories like the ones Kathryn Tucker Windham specialized in.