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Down the Wild Cape FearA River Journey through the Heart of North Carolina$
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Philip Gerard

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781469602073

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9781469608129_Gerard

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021



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Down the Wild Cape Fear

Philip Gerard

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes how travelers in the 1700s reported hearing beautiful, ghostly singing emanating from this beach. A legend grew up that this was the place where mermaids would gather under a full moon. They had swum up the river till it was cleansed of salt and clarified of the tea-stain of tannin leaching from the cypress swamps in the lower river, to this beach where the mountain-cold water ran purified by fifty miles of fall and drip and seep through a watershed spider-webbing out north, east, and west. Here they would lounge, washing and combing one another's long hair, all the while keening their siren song in a lovely, mesmerizing language no human ear could comprehend.

Keywords:   travelers, ghostly singing, mermaids, full moon, cypress swamps

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