April 06, 2017
Taking on the role of an investigative reporter Jeffrey Frazier said, on March 30 in the Stevenson Library, that he sought to determine if there were any “kernels of truth” behind stories of folklore.
Driven by his childhood experiences of exploring Pennsylvania and the homesickness he felt after graduating college and moving out-of-state, Frazier has Spent about 40 years collecting folktales. He is an author of seven books which together make up a series called Pennsylvania Fireside Tales, in which he seeks to preserve tales of early Pennsylvanian history.
In his lecture titled Pennsylvania Mountain Folktales, Legends, Folklore: Fact or Fancy, Frazier tells the stories which he places in historical contexts as well as categories; indian tales; hunting stories, ghost/witch tales; and stories of gypsies, moonshiners and exaggerated animals. Frazier says, “I was surprised and privileged to find out a lot of world history has been handed down through families that never made it in the history books.”
Many of the stories that early settlers repeated to each other had their origin in their home country, mainly Germany, including rumors of werewolves. A great many also involve the wild life, namely, wolves and mountain lions where people must invent curious ways of escaping, throwing food over their shoulder or creating loud sounds to scare them away for example. There also exist tales of Indian creation and of ghosts which remain mysteries.