Urban legends of South Mississippi

Urban legends of South Mississippi

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The river in Pascagoula may sing, but some would say that's not exactly how it got it's name.

"It's called the Singing River because Indians committed suicide and died in it," said Pascagoula resident, Robert Motyka.

Making rounds for years, it's a legend that just may have a bit of truth to it. Pascagoula River Audubon Center Director Mark LaSalle is an expert on the river, and says it all stemmed from a "Romeo and Juliet" type story.

"Chief Tenatalla was here in Pascagoula and Anolla was a princess in the Biloxi Tribe and they were in love," said LaSalle. "That started a war, and then off it went."

Legend has it the Biloxi Indian Tribe forced the Pascagoula Tribe to drown in the river. Rather than putting up a fight, it's been said that members of the Pascagoula Tribe joined hands and willfully walked into the river; all while singing songs.

"We may never know what exactly happened to the Pascagoula Indians, but it's a great story," said LaSalle.

When it comes to the urban legends, Edmond Boudreaux literally wrote the book. He's the author of "Legends and Lore of the Mississippi Gulf Coast," and has studied the tales for most of his life; especially the eerie story of Deer Island.

"The story basically goes that he was helping to bury the treasure and the first mate asked who was going to guard the treasure, and he said 'I will'," said Bourdreaux. "So, they cut his head off and put his body into the grave with the treasure and his head tossed into the bushes."

It's been said people have seen the headless skeleton searching for its body.

Both Victor Williams and Meteorologist Andrew Wilson decided to spend the night on the island, waiting up for hours to see the skeleton.

Several unexplainable sounds whistled through the island's pine trees at night, picking at their curiosity. The next morning, sun rays peeked through those same branches as the duo left with a better understanding of how the island's most haunting rumor can be twisted by folklore and hoaxes into a story passed down through generations.

"It just so happens that some of the people were scared by a skeleton and they noted in the paper at the time that a skeleton had disappeared from one of the doctor offices. So, they think a couple of guys took it out there to scare some folks," said Bourdreaux.

Whether the stories of Deer Island or the Pascagoula River are real, they certainly offer a sense of tradition that some can certainly be proud of.

"There probably is some truth like any legend, or any story like that, but we may never know, said LaSalle.

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