Small Town, Small Time Gypies

fortune-teller

Since this little tale deals with the belief in hocus pocus- a topic which is often seen by many as an embarrassing pursuit; and a black spot upon one’s ancestry, concerning those from the past who were connected to it- most all of the names have been left out of the forthcoming account:

I recently heard this story where, back in the late, late 1940’s or early 1950’s, there were several gypsies who lived for a while in a little woodframe house where the Fairpoint building on Main Street is now located, here in Blountstown. There was a very superstitious townswoman that would take her grown daughter (who happened to live right around the corner from those palm readers) along on a regular basis to get their fortunes told.

Before too long, the gypsies started warning the two women that they were going to bleed out, that all of their food would turn sour in their stomachs, and all other kinds of horrible curses, if they ever told anyone of the subjects of their meetings. It seems that those small town witches were telling tales from the past, controversial tidings of then current affairs, and forthcoming prophecies, on much of the citizenry. Then one morning, the matron of the darksome clan told the mother that unless she gave them $12,000, she and her whole family would die after sunset that same day! The mother was so convinced of their supernatural powers that she immediately and frantically headed to the bank for the requested money.


Meanwhile, another of her daughters got a telephone call from Hilma Barbee, who worked at the bank in question- the Bank of Blountstown; it was a large, red brick building situated on the northeast corner of the present-day downtown fountain park. (Hilma had called because she was aware of the mother’s withdrawal, and believed the transaction to be highly unusual- such a large sum.) This daughter quickly notified her sister- the one who had been in on the meetings with the gypsies from the start. They then telephoned the sheriff, and headed that way.

The two made it to the den of thieves just in time, as their mother had arrived a few minutes before. The original daughter made her way to the back room, pushed aside the strings of purple beads hanging in the doorway, and grabbed the bag of money from the clutches of the head chiromancer- after shoving her against the wall. In just a minute or two the sheriff showed up, but was told that everything was alright, so he soon turned around and left through the front door. And just as fast, the small band of gypsies scrambled together to get in their vehicles and high-tailed it out of town, as they were already loaded up for a quick getaway once they had the money in hand, even though this time- they didn’t. They were never seen again.


Now that is a pretty cool small town story. It is a good example of “you just can’t make this stuff up.” Who knew that Blountstown had such crazy goings-on back in the day?

3 thoughts on “Small Town, Small Time Gypies

  1. Hilma’s father was an interesting person.
    My grandfather had a key employee, Mr Smith (I need to get his first name from Logan) first a woodsrider and turpentine foreman. Mom said that her father said Mr Smith was a natural genius. Later Grandpa made Smith his commissary manager. All sales were on credit and consequently required meticulous record keeping. Problem was…….Smith was illiterate. He knew numbers and was a whiz at math, but he could neither read nor write. No problem, he assigned symbols for each customer and balanced the account with each customer/employee on payday.
    As told to me by my mother, Mary Leonard Yates.

    Liked by 1 person

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