Reading to highlight Ghost Stories of Sweet Briar

| October 14, 2015

Daisy Williams’ footstone on Monument Hill

Sweet Briar students will summon the College’s spirits with a reading at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, and Friday Oct. 30, at the Sweet Briar Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

The stories and poems featured are spooky and poignant, not gruesome or gory, says Sweet Briar galleries director Karol Lawson. They were written by Sweet Briar students in the early decades of the College and were published in the campus literary magazine, the student newspaper and the annual Briar Patch yearbook.

“These really are quite lovely and sweet works,” Lawson said, “and I really want more people to appreciate the grace of these stories’ and poems’ overarching message — that good spirits keep watch over us on the Sweet Briar campus and wish us well, even as we head into the dark months.”

Lawson also notes that Sweet Briar founder Indiana Fletcher Williams died on Oct. 29, 1900, and was laid to rest at Monument Hill on Oct. 31.

Nov. 1 is observed as All Saints Day by the Catholic Church, as well as by Protestant denominations such as the Episcopal Church.

“Of course many will also recognize the folk art and popular celebrations of the Day of the Dead in Mexico and other Latin American countries,” Lawson added.

Daisy’s 1876 ghost story illustration

After the reading, attendees are invited to tour the museum and learn more about Indiana and her daughter, Daisy Williams, who died at the age of 16, and in whose memory the College was established.

Lawson will have “special artifacts” on view, including a lock of Daisy’s hair; a handmade book of ghost stories written and illustrated by Daisy; the last birthday gift her parents gave her before her untimely death at age 16; and one of her childhood books that was singed in the 1927 fire at Sweet Briar House. The fire inspired one of the ghost stories, which revolves around professors and students at the time seeing Daisy and Indiana enter and then exit the burning house.

The reading will be followed by light refreshments. Halloween costumes are welcome. Reservations are not required, but seating is limited. Children younger than 17 should be accompanied by an adult. For more information, please contact Lawson at (434) 381-6248 or [email protected].

Janika Carey

Category: Sweet Briar Museum