Ghost Stories and Tall Tales of the American South

The Click-Bok Tree – Story Credits


Written and Told by Lester Thomas

Directed by Craig Dominey

Illustrations by Thomas Bird IV

Sound Design by Henry Howard

We’ll let storyteller Lester Thomas tell you where “The Click-Bok Tree” came from:

“In my family, like a lot of families in south Alabama, (the elders) would warn us from danger by telling us tales. We’d be warned, ‘Don’t play on the train track at night, or the headless conductor would get us,’ and ‘Don’t play near the river at night or the Swamp-boogie would et ya.’ Of course these tales were designed so we wouldn’t get drowned or be hit by a train. These tales would mostly do the trick – not only because they were scary, but mostly because they had a bit of truth about them. The fact that a train really beheaded a conductor or that children have been known to disappear while playing by the river at night would fuel these tales.

The tale of the Click-bok tree has its origin in an Alabama River town called Camden. The story goes that a slave got his hands on some gold and hid it in a tree that was six paces from the big house. When he returned after the Civil War (around 1870), that same tree was now eighteen paces from the house. How can this be? Trees don’t get up and walk – or do they?”

Lester “Mudbone” Thomas has been a professional storyteller since 1994. All his stories spring from family ghost story sessions during power failures. Lester is a computer engineer/ex-standup comic and lives with his wife and three children in Atlanta, GA.

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