Southern American culture is famous for it's charm, manners, food, music, whiskey, accent and fascination with the paranormal. This week we dive into why Southerners in particular are more interested in the paranormal. Trigger warning: this blog does touch on indigenous people and slavery. My heart is heavy writing about the sorrow and struggles of the people who have suffered and continue to do so to this day. We mean no offence to anyone but are touching the history to gain an understanding of what has formed the rich culture of The South.
So lets start in the beginning. Like the rest of the United States, The South was inhabited by Native Americans who arrived approximately 15 000 years ago. Over the centuries, they developed a rich culture that was deeply connected to the spirit of the land, The Creator Spirit, animals and plants. They have strong beliefs of Skinwalkers, energies that are connected to the land and how it was used. However, the arrival of Europeans in the late 1400's everything changed. Many Native peoples were slaughtered, forced off their land and died from Old World diseases such as Small Pox. In 1830, the Indian Removal Act allowed Native peoples to be legally forced off their land and to the western parts known as Indian Territory, this would later be come to known as The Trail of Tears. The hurt of all that happened left a spiritual scarring on the lands that the people are so strongly connected to.
The South is very very old. In 1607 British colonists settled in the area followed by migration from other parts of Europe. The South was part of the original 13 colonies, long before the United States was established as a country. This included Georgia, North and South Carolina and Virginia. With them the British bought their own traditional beliefs in the paranormal, festivities and culture from England which again is a very very old country with a culture that is steeped in history. Understandably, they bought with them fear, as they were far from home in a new country that was completely unknown to them. They relied heavily on religion to emotionally cope and help establish order in the New World. Europeans established cities, structures, services and plantations. With the plantations came slavery.
The Slavery trade bought in people from the African continent, who's beliefs are ancient and originate from the very beginning of humanity. As they were forced to assimilate into European society and culture, African Americans mixed their traditional beliefs with that of the Europeans. They too have strong links with the spirit world, this gave rise to religions such as Voo Doo. The South was also the site of the American Civil war which occurred in 1861 to 1865. It's estimated that 652 000 to 750 000 souls were lost and not all of them would have had appropriate burials, not to mention the fear and trauma they would have witnessed during the war and at their time of death.
So naturally people from a region that is steeped in so much tradition and history are going to have a culture that is inclined to believe in more than just the physical. The South is still relatively religious, predominantly being Christian, therefore people are more inclined to believe in the supernatural as it is a part of their faith system. Voo Doo is religion that is still practised in parts of The South and is a large part of the culture with stories and famous figures such as Marie Laveau. There are parts of The South that have not been urbanised, such as the deep Bayous of Louisiana and come with their own oral traditions of monsters that lurk in the dark.
The South being the location of so many old buildings and trauma is naturally bound to hold energies of the past peoples and everything they've experienced. Many cultures believe the Earth holds on to energies as testimony of what happened there. Places of great sorrow can still hold restless spirits and old places can have old souls return to a home they once knew.
I hope that gave an insight into the beautiful and fascinating culture of The South and why Southerners might be more inclined to believe in the paranormal. The history and depth of the Southern culture and people goes much further but y'all would be here reading till the cows come home, so that's all for this week, y'all come back now hear!!