The Telltale Lilac Bush has been a bestseller for adults and children throughout the Appalachian region since 1965, when it was first published. Ruth Ann Musick has captured the state’s rich heritage of ghosts in this book. Our “ghostly”heritage was forged by various facets of the state’s history, including its geographic isolation, the bloodshed of the Civil War, and the hardships of miners and railroad laborers. Likewise, The Telltale Lilac Bush contains spooky stories of phantom soldiers, mining ghosts, railroad ghosts, and many more. Don’t miss West Virginia’s most popular collection of ghostly tales.
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.