In stock

Trim: 5.5 x 8.5
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-8131-1416-3

Coffin Hollow and Other Ghost Tales

Ruth Ann Musick

Mysteriously vanishing hitchhikers, travelers beset by headless dogs, and long-dead moonshines come alive in this collection of ninety-six Appalachian folktales by Ruth Ann Musick. Set in coal mines and remote farm cabins, in hidden hollows and high mountain tops, these stories recount the days when the state was settled, as well as the brutality of the Civil War era. Stories such as The Ghostly Avenger or A Confederate Soldier may make you check the bolt on the door, or giggle as you get the shivers. With bold illustrations and source information, Coffin Hollow is perfect for lovers of supernatural lore, or just tales about West Virginia.

About the author:

Dr. Musick had become interested in folklore and the preservation of tradition culture, including songs and stories, while in Missouri. She prepared a collection of family folk songs, many of them originating in England and Scotland, and preserved through oral tradition that was recognized the American Folklore Society. After her move to West Virginia, Dr. Musick became interested in the folklore of the Appalachians. In 1948 she began a folklore course at Fairmont State College. She worked collecting folklore, publishing her first collection, Ballads, Folk Songs, and Folk Tales from West Virginia in 1960. Five years later the University of Kentucky Press published The Tell-tale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Stories, a collection of stories and legends that still chills and thrills West Virginia readers. Her next collection focused on mountain legends that had come to the state from Europe – Green Hills of Magic, West Virginia Folk Tales from Europe (1970). This work earned the first literary award to be given by the West Virginia Library Association (1972). Her final folklore collection, Coffin Hollow, was posthumously published in 1977. She also published and presented numerous papers on folklore. She also published numerous poems and short stories in various periodical publications.

Ruth Ann Musick died in 1974. Her manuscripts are housed in the library that bears her name at Fairmont State College.


“A delightfully chilling collection.” – Southern Living

“Highly readable, well-turned tales designed to entertain and delight . . . replete with haunted houses, omens of impending doom, reincarnated cats and dogs, and avenging spirits.” – West Virginia History

“Here are murder, mayhem, buried fortunes, vengeful ghosts, reincarnations, graveyards and corpses.” – Come-All-Ye

“As a folklorist’s reference, it’s a treasure.” – Green Man Review

Pages: 194