Silver John: Can These Bones Live?

Silver John: Can These Bones Live?

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/

NOBODY EVER GOES THERE – Just a reminder that all the Silver John stories published after his marriage to his beloved Evadare (click here if you missed the tales chronicling that landmark event – https://glitternight.com/2011/06/03/pulp-heroes-silver-john-four-for-friday/  ) jump around in time. This short story is set when John is much older. This tale breaks from the tradition of having the stories narrated by Silver John in the first person. We get a third person narrative in which the older (probably 40’s) balladeer comes to the aid of two young lovers in the town of Trimble.

Mark Banion and Ruth Covel, two teachers at Trimble High, cross to the forbidden side of Catch River, where ancient, shadowy life forms caused the disappearance of an entire textile factory crew plus their families. All of that happened over 75 years ago, but strange sounds still emanate from the creepy-looking abandoned factory and the company houses nearby. The romantic leads investigate the strange place and find themselves surrounded by the nebulous creatures from the  past. Can Silver John use music to drive away the malevolent entities, like the Native Americans did long ago?

NONE WISER FOR THE TRIP – In this vignette Silver John encounters Jabe Mawks, who vanished 28 years ago. Jabe has now returned, as young as he was then, and with no memory of any time passing, but his wife has passed away and his grown children are strangers to him.

CAN THESE BONES LIVE? – Silver John arrives in Chaw Hollow, where the malformed bones of a large, humanoid skeleton have been discovered. Our hero helps the coffin-makers carry the huge casket they’ve made for the remains of the unknown being. At the graveyard outside Stumber Creek Church Preacher Melick performs a burial service and assumes the affair is completed. Silver John knows better, of course, and spends the night in the graveyard.

Late at night the bones of the skeleton reassemble themselves, reanimating the figure, who bursts up from its grave. The huge, walking skeleton is strong enough to tear up trees with its bare hands, and is ravenously hungry. Its hunger can be satisfied only by feeding on the living in order to restore flesh to its frame, and Silver John and one of the creature’s gravediggers look to be its first meal after untold years of hunger.


Filed under Pulp Heroes


  1. Paul the Sox Fan

    Awesome! This guy deserves his own tv show now!

  2. Silver Jim

    I just gave myself the nickname Silver Jim since Silver John sounds totally raw! I’m checking these stories out dude!

  3. Eileen the sharer

    I agree with you that they should make a Silver John tv series since it would be a nice break from vampires and zombies.

    • Thanks! I’d love to see it but it would have to be done by one of the country-music channels because I can’t picture any of the others going along with such a “rural” theme.

  4. Awesome! A country version of X-Files!

  5. I loved your article post.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

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