First published in 1965 by University of Kentucky Press, The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Tales by Ruth Ann Musick has been popular with children and adults for more than four decades. Through Ruth Ann Musick’s Trunk of Tales, we hope to introduce Dr. Musick’s folklore to a new generation of readers.
This trunk is courtesy of the Daywood Foundation, The Fairmont State University Foundation, and the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University. It contains 30 copies of The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Tales, a classroom set of digital recorders, and teacher resources. Teachers, homeschool groups, and community organizations may borrow the trunk for up to 20 school days. To schedule a time, call the Folklife Center at 304-367-4403. The borrower must pick-up and return the trunk.
Lesson Plans for The Telltale Lilac Bush and other West Virginia Ghost Tales
The lessons are geared towards students in grades 4 through 8; however, the materials are adaptable for grades 9 through 12 with some adaption. Each lesson connects to West Virginia classroom standards. The lessons are about the following topics.
Lesson One – Folklore and the Oral Tradition
This lesson begins with an explanation of vocabulary related to folklore and howfolklore is passed from generation to generation. It culminates with an activity that asks students to compare two versions of a similar story.
Lesson Two – Ghost Lore
This lesson begins with an explanation of three types of ghosts commonly found in West Virginia ghost lore. It culminates with an activity that asks students to identity the ghosts in three stories from The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Tales.
Lesson Three – Storytelling
This lesson is about storytelling as a performance. The activities give students the opportunity to tell a story.
Lesson Four – Collecting Lore
This lesson asks students to talk to family and friends about the stories they know and love. The classroom set of digital recorders provided in the trunk will allow students to record their conversations with friends and family.
Lesson Five – Tales in Context
This lesson addresses the context for some of the stories in The Telltale Lilac Bushand Other West Virginia Ghost Tales that might seem dated or even offensive to today’s readers.
These lessons are free to teachers, parents, and students. If you have questions about the content, please call the Folklife Center at 304-367-4403.