Folktales and Songs

  • No categories

Entries - Entry Category: Folktales and Songs - Starting with H

Heber Springs Water Panther

The Heber Springs Water Panther is a creature described as a cross between a Sasquatch (or “bigfoot”) and a puma that is rumored to haunt the waters of Greers Ferry Lake in Heber Springs (Cleburne County), though its origins appear to lie in a 2007 book. The myth of the Water Panther begins with the Ojibwe, Algonquin, Cree, Ottawa, Menominee, and Shawnee tribes, and the legend may have been brought to Arkansas with the Shawnee, who were invited into the area by the Western Cherokee in the early nineteenth century. The beast was described as a malevolent spirit with features of a big cat or dragon that would drag people underwater to their deaths. In his 2007 book Ozark Tales …

Hell’s Half Acre

Hell’s Half Acre is a talus hillside (a slope formed by an accumulation of broken rocks) located on Indian Mountain, about four miles northeast of downtown Hot Springs (Garland County). Since the first white settlers arrived in Arkansas, the unique contrast of blighted rock surrounded by otherwise ordinary forest has captured the imaginations of locals. Through the efforts of tourism boosters and storytellers, the area earned its name and its popularized reputation as an area haunted by the Devil himself. A Hot Springs tourist guide published in 1892 described Hell’s Half Acre as “[a] barren, weird, forbidding conglomeration of boulders, an arsenal for Titans. Not a blade of grass, not a shrub, not even a lichen dares brave the atmosphere …

Hilderbrand, Joe

As a fugitive from Arkansas justice in the 1960s, Joe Hilderbrand gained notoriety and even a measure of national acclaim by evading a horde of lawmen with airplanes and bloodhounds who chased him and a girlfriend through the wilds of the Ozark Mountains after he failed to return to Cummins Prison Farm from a furlough to visit his ailing father. It was one of the largest manhunts in Arkansas history. Legends accrued around the mountaineer—that he was innocent of any serious crime and a scapegoat for incompetent and embarrassed law enforcement agencies. Life magazine did a piece on Hilderbrand and the young woman, Frances Standridge, who helped him evade the posses. At least four ballads were written about Hilderbrand and …