Author: L. Stevens

Dueling Banjos

On it’s own, the jangling banjo tune featured in the 1972 film Deliverance doesn’t have a hint of foreboding to it. But when it’s layered over the antics of it’s four main characters, it builds an increasing sense of dread. The movie centers around four friends, Lewis, Bobby, Drew and Ed embarking on a canoe trip down the Cahulawasse River, which is about to be dammed and turned into a massive lake. When the group arrives in the area at the beginning of the film, they stop to gas up and hire a few locals to drive their cars down to the end of the river, where they will meet them in a day. As the camera cuts from the musical exchange between a steely eyed local and Drew to the increasingly obnoxious antics of Lewis and Bobby, the audience, along with Ed, becomes increasingly unsettled. The whole scene provides foreshadowing for the conflict the group will face with a pair of locals later in the film, and the tune itself will bring a feeling …

Disaster and Calamity: Loss

Originally posted on Cross, Massachusetts:
Disease and disaster are never easy to overcome. Invariably, we lose something of ourselves. In 1912, this was driven home when a strange illness afflicted residents of Elm Street and only Elm Street. Seven people came down with the disease. Rather, seven young men between the ages of 18 and 23. The young men lived in a pair of boarding houses, each across the street from the other. On Saturday, the men woke up, prepared to go to work, and ate their morning meals. They were, by all accounts, hale and hearty at seven in the morning. By 7:30, all were struck low, screaming and clawing at their faces. Of the seven men, only one of them, Alexander Keel, survived the experience. While his unfortunate co-victims died screaming in agony, Alexander took the drastic step of cutting his entire face off. Surprisingly, he survived the massive shock to his system through the valiant efforts of the local Red Cross and a pair of doctors who had learned their trade fighting…