Designing Women S5 E6 Extra Sugar - Southern Secrets: Deep South Unsolved Mysteries & Legends
This week was all thrills and chills on “Designing Women” - something we never knew we’d have a chance to say. As the ladies spent the night in Charlene’s spooky house, they told two urban legend stories around the living room campfire. They weren’t totally new to us - the girl in the prom dress who was never really there at all! And the hook hand hooligan grabbing on to cars while couples are making out. But, it got us thinkin’ about whether there were even more tales we don’t remember or that we’ve never heard.
And, boy are there. Let’s discuss some of the spookiest, most mystifying urban legends from the South, as well as a funsies from Massachusetts, the home state of the spooky season.
Here are some of our sources, if you want to read some more spine-tingers:
State-specific stories we referenced in this episode:
Georgia-specific stories, including the bridge baby
The Louisiana levitation legend of LeVeau (that’s Queen of Voodoo, Marie LeVeau)
Come on y’all, let’s get into it!
Nikki: Hi, Salina.
Salina: Hey, Nikki.
Nikki: Hi, everybody else, and welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar.
Nikki: This week was all thrills and chills on designing women, something I never thought I'd have a chance to say.
Nikki: We had a spooky house.
Nikki: We had spooky campfire stories at a spooky slumber party.
Nikki: And it's that last bit that inspired this week's extra sugar, which I'm calling Southern mysteries, unsolved mysteries, and legends from the Deep South.
Nikki: Around the campfire, the ladies told two urban legend stories I've definitely heard over the years, the girl in the prom dress who was never really there at all, and the hook hand hooligan grabbing onto cars while couples are making out.
Nikki: But it got me curious about whether there were even more tales I don't remember or I've never heard.
Nikki: And boy, are there.
Nikki: I found a couple articles, one from Travel Channel, one from it's a Southern thing, and one from Reader's Digest that I pulled from from this segment.
Nikki: I'll link them in the show notes, but I picked out four Southern oriented urban legends, one from right here in Georgia, one from my home state, South Carolina, one from Louisiana, because it has a tie to a previous episode of Sweet Tea and TV, and one from Florida, just because it was eerie.
Nikki: And finally, I'll tell one from Massachusetts because I always think of Massachusetts as home of the spooky season, even though I know that you were telling us in the last episode that that hasn't always been the case.
Nikki: But as I was scrolling through all the stories, this one got spooky.
Nikki: So I want to tell it.
Nikki: So I want to give you the fullest of the full experiences.
Nikki: So we're going to go into Spooky mode quickly.
Nikki: Let me get the music started.
Nikki: Is that too distracting for you, Selena?
Salina: This is the tale of two podcasters.
Salina: Wait, slow down.
Salina: Slow down.
Nikki: We're not there yet.
Salina: Oh, sorry.
Nikki: Submitted for the approval of the Sweet tea and TV sweeties, I call this story Southern secrets, unsolved mysteries, and legends from the Deep south.
Nikki: For anybody paying attention, that was an inconsistency from what I said earlier.
Nikki: That's the actual title.
Nikki: There you go.
Nikki: Thank you.
Nikki: I was waiting for her to blow the special fire smoke.
Nikki: Many in Georgia Talk of the ghosts of Lake Lanier, of the many tortured souls who haunt the lake, the lake which was created in the 1950s by flooding a beautiful Georgia community, covering the bodies of many who had been carefully laid to rest in cemeteries long ago.
Nikki: Of the woman who roams the lake in a flowing blue dress reaching out for swimmers from the watery depths.
Nikki: But much less often told is the story of the poor farmer from the 18 hundreds and the baby who now haunts a bridge in Georgia.
Nikki: Centuries ago, this farmer's family was expecting their fifth child.
Nikki: The farmer, a practical man at his wits end trying to provide for his family, knew they couldn't care for the baby.
Nikki: So he had the doctor take it to a nearby bridge and do what he thought needed to be done.
Nikki: Today, if you drive to the bridge on a cloudless night with a full moon and sprinkle baby powder around your car, turn on the engine and lights and wait for ten minutes, you'll hear a baby crying and see baby footprints in the powder.
Salina: I have questions.
Nikki: What are your questions?
Nikki: Okay, what bridge?
Nikki: A bridge.
Nikki: In Georgia somewhere.
Salina: No, not my question.
Salina: Who figured out the baby powder trick?
Salina: They're like, you know what?
Salina: I'm just going to sit here.
Salina: And then, like, the time they were like, ten minutes perfect.
Salina: You know, someone put in the work.
Nikki: They put in the work.
Nikki: And you know what?
Salina: I appreciate them.
Nikki: Do you, though?
Nikki: Because you're starting to question.
Salina: No, no.
Salina: I have questions.
Salina: I'm not questioning you.
Salina: See the difference?
Salina: It's subtle.
Nikki: Let's move on to the next one.
Nikki: You'll have more questions about.
Nikki: Our neighbors to the east in South Carolina also have a waterbound creature that haunts their nightmares and their roadside emergencies.
Nikki: Legend has it that the lizard man roams the swamps near Bishopville, South Carolina.
Nikki: With his red eyes, green skin and long black claws, he has a propensity for automobile destruction, ripping mirrors and fenders off and shredding roofs.
Nikki: This particular tale dates back to June 1988, when a teen driver headed home from a late night shift at a local fast food restaurant got a flat tire.
Nikki: Stopping to change it at the edge of the scape, or Swamp turned out to be a possibly worse decision than just riding on a flat tire, because as he began his work on the tire, he heard someone running, getting closer and closer.
Nikki: Suddenly, it emerged from the dark.
Nikki: He jumped in his car and sped away, but the creature was soon on top of the car.
Nikki: The teen applied his brakes, causing the creature to roll off, giving him enough time to escape.
Nikki: Over time, more and more sightings and close encounters have racked up, despite criticism from local law enforcement and cynicism even from some community members.
Nikki: Was it the Lizard man the young driver encountered on a dark stretch of road just outside an unforgiving stretch of swampland that summer South Carolina night?
Nikki: Or was it simply the case of a jumpy teenager out in the dark, catching sight of a nearby resident emerging from their property to protect it.
Nikki: Well, you'll have to visit scape or swamp and report back to us.
Salina: I'm just imagining the insurances claims around here and how far they get with the lizard man.
Salina: Yeah, probably not too far.
Nikki: Maybe not.
Salina: That's a tale for another day.
Salina: The tale of the Crooked insurance Man, the State Farm skateboard.
Salina: Swamp insurance.
Salina: What are you wearing?
Nikki: That sounds hideous.
Nikki: Long time sweet teas?
Nikki: Selena and I have a predilection for Louisiana.
Nikki: We're obsessed with its culture, its food, and its architecture.
Nikki: But for many of the same reasons we love it.
Nikki: It's also ripe for urban legends and spooky stories.
Nikki: One such legend is about Marie LaVeau, who Selena told us in season four, episode three, was the voodoo Queen of New Orleans.
Nikki: Born on September 10, 1794, and dying in 1881, Laveau was a dedicated voodoo practitioner in the city for decades.
Nikki: Some say her spirit persists in the city today.
Nikki: According to locals, marking her gravestone with three X's will ensure she grants wishes for you.
Nikki: Others say her spirit revisits the mortal realm on St.
Nikki: John's Eve in late June every year to lead voodoo ceremonies.
Nikki: And even others say if you place a rose on her grave at midnight on her birthday, September 10, you can levitate above her gravesite at St.
Nikki: Louis Cemetery.
Nikki: Speaking of things going up, our neighbors in Florida claim there's a hill that drives cars up instead of down.
Nikki: In Lake Wales at an aptly named Spook Hill.
Nikki: If you place your car in neutral, your vehicle will roll up the hill, according to a nearby sign.
Nikki: Ages ago.
Nikki: I'm reading from the sign.
Nikki: Ages ago, an Indian town on Lake Wales was plagued with raids by a huge gator.
Nikki: The town's great warrior chief and gator were killed in a final battle that created the huge, swampy depression nearby.
Nikki: The chief was buried on its north side.
Nikki: Later, pioneer haulers coming from the old army trail atop the ridge above found their horses laboring here at the foot of the ridge and called it Spook Hill.
Nikki: Is this the gator seeking revenge, or the chief still trying to protect his land?
Nikki: Skeptics call this a gravity hill or a magnetic hill a natural force.
Nikki: But is it possible there's something a little more sinister happening here?
Nikki: Finally, on our creepy tour of urban legends, let's make a stop in Massachusetts, the spookiest place in America, in my.
Salina: Opinion, the most southern place in the north.
Nikki: What with the Salem witch trials and its centuries old building.
Nikki: Apropos to the witch trials is the legend of Sheriff George Corwin, which still haunts Salem today, having become the high sheriff in Essex county at the age of 25.
Nikki: In 1692, Sheriff Corwin oversaw the executions of many accused witches.
Nikki: He was particularly known for his terrifying interrogation techniques, which earned him the nickname the Strangler.
Nikki: As you can probably guess, it's because he was fond of a form of strangulation for eliciting confessions or information.
Nikki: It's said that he used the land on which the Joshua Ward House still stands today in Salem for the interrogations.
Nikki: It's also alleged that he performed other kinds of torture of the accused in the basement of the house that once stood there.
Nikki: Today, some who visit the Joshua Ward House report unexplained scratch marks and burn marks after even the briefest of visits to the house.
Nikki: Even other visitors to the house claim to have seen half melted wax, even in rooms where no candles are present.
Nikki: Perhaps scariest of all are the stories of poor visitors who report feeling the sensation of two hands around their neck squeezing as if trying to squeeze a confession from them.
Nikki: Is it true, or is it the result of some very active imaginations?
Nikki: I won't be finding out.
Nikki: Selena, do you have any urban legends we didn't talk about in this segment that, you know?
Salina: I don't think so.
Salina: Everything I would pull from will be from the movie.
Salina: See Urban Legends 1998, Jared Leto, National Treasure, many years before he became the.
Salina: I don't.
Salina: I think that hook one is the one that always stands out for me, and there's like a thousand iterations of it.
Salina: And I guess I'll just say that in the spirit of what we were talking about in this week's main episode is this idea that a lot of this stuff was to get kids under control, and a lot of the stories are to get kids under control.
Salina: I like that yours weren't, but a lot of them were, like, ways to scare you to not have urban legends.
Nikki: I was telling Kyle about this segment because he has an urban legend that he's told me about from Fayetteville, where he grew up.
Nikki: And there's a bridge that we had to cross to get to his parents'house.
Nikki: And it's not like a big draw bridge or a big, like, one of those old wooden bridges.
Nikki: It's like a small little footpath bridge on the street.
Nikki: But there was a legend of, they called it, like, the water babies or something.
Nikki: And it's similar to the first story that I told.
Nikki: And actually, that's the reason I told that story, is because when I was researching urban legends in Georgia, it was so similar to this story that he told me, but in a slightly different iteration.
Nikki: And I found that story repeated in multiple places.
Nikki: And it's so bizarre to me that that same story gets told in multiple places with minor facts changed, but basic facts remain.
Nikki: There's a bridge, a doctor, a farmer, and babies that come back at midnight if you turn your lights off and your engine off.
Nikki: And it just kind of gets propagated over time.
Salina: You just put a little diaper cream on your face and just sit there, let the moonlight touch it for 18 seconds.
Salina: Flip around.
Salina: Yeah, I mean, that's funny.
Salina: I think there probably would have been more familiar with some things like that that were, like, Henry county specific.
Salina: When I was younger, I think maybe there was something about some kids around a railroad or something, but I just don't remember the details anymore.
Salina: But I think they're a lot of fun, and I think it's something that's really dying out because, I don't know, I just feel like there's an explanation for everything now, and there is something a little fun in the not so.
Nikki: Well, incidentally, I would say to everyone I read somewhere in all my research some tales of podcast listeners who don't leave positive reviews, maybe having their phones destroyed by the lizard man of South Carolina.
Nikki: Perhaps it was simply a harmless urban legend, a fun little campfire story, or perhaps a mistake that could cost you a replace your phone and a terrifying visit from the Swamp Man.
Nikki: Best avoid it and just leave us a good review.
Nikki: Share us with your family and friends, and then go visit all our social media handles so you can find all the fun stuff we're up to.
Nikki: So I think that's it for me this week.
Nikki: Happy spooky season.
Nikki: Thanks, y'all, and thanks for tuning in to this week's extra sugar.