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I shudder to think what my life was like before I discovered the incredible, indispensable Reference Desk, created and maintained by Bob Drudge, who knows--or knows how to find out--everything. Do yourself a favor and take a leisurely tour of Refdesk. Make it your home page. You heard it here first: if it's not on Refdesk, it's still just a twinkle in God's eye: Reference Desk

Visit this vast repository of online books, including classics and oddities: Digital Library

A Research Guide for Students: Visit this astounding virtual library of useful URLs arranged by Dewey Decimal Classification: Virtual Library

Do you want to hear what you want to believe about the paranormal, or do you want the truth? If you're a "true believer," explore this site, and at least give reason a chance: Skeptical Inquirer

Visit the Joe Nickell Files where Joe Nickell, a Senior Fellow with the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, shares his in-depth and sensitive look into everything from hauntings to alien abductions to spontaneous human combustion. While you're there, browse around the great web site of the Southeastern Science Fiction Association and subscribe to one of their informative newsletters.

The Nine8 Planets is an overview of the history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons in our solar system. Each page has text and images, some have sounds and movies, most provide references to additional related information.

"Have you ever looked up at the night sky, marveling at the vastness of the Universe and your own connection to it? It's hard to communicate the full sense of wonder that floods through us at such a moment, but we all understand. At least once, the dimly glittering night sky has stopped us in our tracks, bringing quiet contemplation of how the Universe came to be and what our relationship is to everything within it." (Preceding text courtesy of NASA Origins web site) NASA Origins Program

The most comprehensive and well-researched anthology of all time comprises both the 50-volume “5-foot shelf of books” and the the 20-volume Shelf of Fiction. Together they cover every major literary figure, philosopher, religion, folklore and historical subject through the twentieth century: The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction

The 1914 Oxford edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare ranks among the most authoritative published this century. The 37 plays, 154 sonnets and miscellaneous verse constitute the literary cornerstone of Western civilization.

Complete E-Text of James Frazer's THE GOLDEN BOUGH: A STUDY IN MAGIC AND RELIGION. "A monumental study in comparative folklore, magic and religion, The Golden Bough shows parallels between the rites and beliefs, superstitions and taboos of early cultures and those of Christianity. It had a great impact on psychology and literature and remains an early classic anthropological resource." THE GOLDEN BOUGH

"Documenting the American South (DAS) is a collection of sources on Southern history, literature and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the 20th century." It contains first person narratives about the American South, a library of Southern literature, slave narratives and much more: Documenting the American South

Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories provides the opportunity to listen to former slaves describe their lives. These interviews, conducted between 1932 and 1975, capture the recollections of twenty-three identifiable people born between 1823 and the early 1860s and known to have been former slaves. Several of the people interviewed were centenarians, the oldest being 130 at the time of the interview. The almost seven hours of recordings were made in nine Southern states and provide an important glimpse of what life was like for slaves and freedmen.

"South Carolina served as a portal for a vast majority of African and Caribbean slaves entering this country, and with them came a wealth of musical traditions and identities. Our history and identity as a nation and region are told in this music, in the spirituals, blues, ragtime, jazz and protest songs that developed from these early slave traditions. USC’s Center for Southern African-American Music will establish the centricity of Southern African-American music by collecting, preserving, teaching and performing this music, asserting its importance both as a historical and living tradition." (preceding text courtesy of Center for Southern African American Music web site) Visit the site for audio and video clips. CENTER FOR SOUTHERN AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC

For more in-depth information about Gullah culture, including the Penn Center at St. Helena Island, Georgia, visit this site, which is part of the African-American web ring: Gullah Culture

Library of Congress site with stunning photography plus slave narratives from the Federal Writers Project: American Memory: Born in Slavery

Site about Cajun culture of Louisiana:
Cajun culture

Site about Creole culture:
Creole culture

Read about the Louisiana Live Oak Society, founded to encourage appreciation of the live oak tree: Louisiana Live Oak Society

Start here to learn about the rich tradition of shape-note singing: Shape-Note Singing

Index to the soulful lyrics of many shape-note hymns, including "Evening Shade," ("the day is past and gone, the evening shades appear...") used in the story, "Something Green That Grows" in MARIAH OF THE SPIRITS. Hymn Lyrics

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings: Supporting cultural diversity and increased understanding
among peoples through the documentation, preservation, and dissemination of sound.

Songs of the Old Regular Baptists from the Smithsonian Folkways Collection of American Music. "The oldest English-language religious music in oral tradition in North America, the lined-out, congregational hymnody of the Old Regular Baptists, is heard in the heart of the coal-mining country of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. This music of worship once was the common way of singing sacred song in the American Colonies." While at this site, explore the extraordinary Smithsonian Folkways library of American folk music, which includes recordings of old-time hymns and everything else you can think of Songs of the Old Regular Baptists

You can hear Bascom Lamar Lunsford, "the minstrel of the Appalachians" and author of "Mountain Dew" at this Smithsonian Folkways site. Bascom Lamar Lunsford

Learn about the geography and ecology of the southeastern coast from this site about Sunset Beach and Bird Island in North Carolina: Carolina coast

DuPont State Forest with more than 10,000 acres of forest, trails, and waterfalls between Hendersonville and Brevard in Western North Carolina: DuPont State Forest

The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920 documents the historical formation and cultural foundations of the movement to conserve and protect America's natural heritage... (description courtesy of Refdesk.com): Evolution of the Conservation Movement

Radio production of Edith Wharton's classic ghost story, "Afterward," collected in THE GHOST STORIES OF EDITH WHARTON. You will also find there a radio production of another classic ghost story, "The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. While you're there, seek out the naughty, naughty comment by Nathaniel Hawthorne which gave this site its naughty name: Scribbling Women

Any true lover of ghost stories has seen the 1960 Twilight Zone episode, "The Hitchhiker," starring Inger Stevens. If not, please see it (available on video) before you listen to this radio play, written by Lucille Fletcher. It features a male character as the victim, played by Orson Welles. The Hitchhiker



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