I’m continuing my look at Manly Wade Wellman’s pulp hero Silver John, the roaming singer and guitarist who fights supernatural forces in the Appalachian Mountains of long ago, sort of like a countrified Orpheus meets Kolchak. He’s called Silver John because of the silver strings on his guitar and the silver coins he carries in his pockets. For more details click here: https://glitternight.com/pulp-heroes/
***THEN I WASN’T ALONE – In this vignette Silver John encounters an actual, bona fide centaur roaming the Appalachians.
***CALL ME FROM THE VALLEY – If there is such a thing as a Valentine’s Day Silver John story, this is it. Our wandering balladeer gets caught up in a Hatfields vs McCoys-style feud between two mountain families. Wrapped up inside that tale is a Romeo and Juliet love story between a young couple, one from each family, who once dared to fall in love with each other. Top that off with a ghost story and an eerie but poignant finale which Silver John is lucky to escape unscathed and you’ve got a very memorable short story.
***THE LITTLE BLACK TRAIN – John and several other musicians are performing at an outdoor hootenany being held by a woman named Donie Carawan, one of the most memorable Femmes Fatale from the Silver John stories. Part Scarlett O’Hara and part Angela Channing from Falcon Crest, Donie’s a widowed, evil cougar who takes any man she pleases but only for as long as she pleases, while simultaneously maintaining an economic stranglehold on the community. Donie’s life of sin and toying with the lives of those around her is supposedly going to come to an end on this night thanks to a ghostly train with coffin- shaped boxcars that runs only at midnight on one night per year, running down and killing a sinner each time it does. Can Silver John save her? Does she deserve to be saved? Find out.