Thursday, June 26, 2014


We know it’s really Christmas time when we see images of a jolly old man in his signature red cap and suit everywhere. While we do know that Santa Claus isn’t real (sorry kids!), there are those who have stepped up to the plate to become real-life St. Nicks. Let’s get to know and appreciate the people who, in true Santa Claus fashion, brought real joy and happiness to others—without expecting anything in return. 

10The Secret Santa Of Kansas

For more than a quarter of a century, residents of Kansas City were baffled by the generosity of a secret Santa. He roamed the streets and handed out $100 bills (sometimes more) to total strangers, with no strings attached at all. The only thing he told the recipients was to perform a good deed for someone else. The secret Santa’s kindness wasn’t limited to Kansas—he also went as far as New York and Florida, where he gave out thousands of dollars to residents who suffered from the terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
Then, in 2006, the secret Santa came forward with his identity—Larry Stewart. He revealed his name, because he was dying of esophageal cancer, and wanted his life to serve as an inspiration to others to share their blessings. He also explained that his tradition of giving started in 1971, when he was broke and hungry on a cold winter day. He went inside a diner and ate breakfast. Afterwards, he pretended to lose his wallet, because he knew he had no way of paying the tab. The owner of the diner saw the whole thing. Then, pretending to pick up a $20 bill beside Stewart, the owner told him, “Son you must have dropped this.” That incident inspired Stewart to embark on his own humanitarian mission later on—by the time of his death he had given away $1.3 million, and trained four new Santas to take his place.

9Man Gives Christmas Trees Away For Free


   When Internet CEO, George Garrick, learned about one family’s plight of being unable to afford a Christmas tree in 2007, he and his family started the “Trees of Joy” program. This program aimed to give Christmas trees to underprivileged families, free of charge. Garrick explained that they wanted to help those families who wished to get into the spirit of Christmas, but were too poor to do so.
   Now something of a personal Yuletide tradition, Garrick and his family are very much involved with the project, making sure the giveaway trees come complete with all the trimmings. Since its inception, and with the help of the local city government, the program has given away 500 trees, for which Garrick has footed the $30,000 bill. He doesn’t mind one bit, as he relishes the gratitude of those who receive the trees. The recipients themselves couldn’t be any happier, with one stating that it was worth waiting an hour for her tree.

8Frequent Flyer Donated Free Flights


   Since 2011, PR man Peter Shankman has given away his frequent-flyer miles to people who couldn’t afford to go home during the holiday season. Due to the nature of his work, Shankman frequently traveled via airplane, and soon racked up an impressive number of frequent-flyer miles. Shankman revealed that he wasn’t too keen on using his miles during the holidays, and figured he might as well give them to people who really needed it. He started a contest on his blog, whereby he told interested applicants to write why they deserved to get the free flight.
   Shankman’s generosity soon spurred other frequent flyers to donate their own miles, and airline company JetBlue to give out additional free flights. Not only that, a few donors have also added their own prizes, ranging from free jackets to free transportation to the airports. For Shankman, he stated his experience is a glaring example of spreading kindness via social media.

7Santa Claus Rescued Man From Burning Car


   For former volunteer fireman, Brad Luddeke, that December 2011 scene was just all too surreal. Dressed in a Santa costume, he was heading out on the highway, for his annual tradition of giving toys to needy children. That’s when he spotted an accident involving two vehicles. Luddeke—who lost his own son to a vehicular accident years ago—quickly sprang into action. He pulled one of the men stuck inside the wreckage out just in time, before the two cars exploded. He then directed traffic around the area, until help could arrive.
   It was later revealed that the man Luddeke saved happened to be the father of one of his dead son’s close friends. After discovering this, Luddeke came to believe that his son may have guided him on that fateful day. He hoped that his act would ensure that his son’s memory would live on among his friends.

6The Layaway Santa


   When he stepped into a local Wal-Mart, Florida resident Greg Parady didn’t suspect that he’d soon be bringing joy to his fellow shoppers. The 40-year-old had gone into the shop to pick up toys for his company’s charity drive. There, he heard a nearby woman say that she didn’t have enough money to complete the layaway plan for her orders. That statement compelled Parady to go into the layaway part of the store, which he described as “depressing.” He then walked up to the manager and asked for the entire price of all the layaway orders. After being told it was nearly $90,000, Parady knew he couldn’t afford it all, but wanted to pay off at least $21,000.
   He proceeded to swipe his credit cards for customers that came to the counter, some of whom were already thinking of canceling their orders. His generosity baffled the customers at the start—afterwards, when they realized it was for real,they began thanking Parady. Parady isn’t alone in his bigheartedness—the Associated Press has recorded several incidents involving layaway Santas, as far back as 2011.

5Boss Handed Out Cars And Overseas Holidays


   With due respect to all the bosses out there, Clive Palmer is one tough act to follow. In 2012, the Australian multi-millionaire rewarded the employees of his nickel refinery with a very large Christmas bonus (one of the largest ever in Australian history). Previously, the plant was in danger of being closed, before Palmer managed to make it profitable again. As a reward for his employees’ hard work, Palmer gave out more than 50 brand-new Mercedes-Benz vehicles and a mind-boggling 700 overseas holidays. In addition, he also threw a huge Christmas party for those who didn’t receive a car.
   All in all, Palmer spent a total of $12 million on the festivities, but couldn’t care less. He said that he wanted to let his employees know that he truly appreciated them. For those who think that was just a one-time thing, that wasn’t the end of Palmer’s generosity. Last year, at his coastal resort, he hosted a free Christmas lunch for more than 1,000 needy families.

4Airline Company’s Christmas Miracle


   Canadian airline WestJet racked up a lot of brownie points with the public in November this year, when it treated its unsuspecting passengers to a lot of Christmas goodies. The plan was as simple as it was effective: The airline installed video screens outside the boarding gates of two separate flights. These screens allowed the passengers to interact with a Santa Claus, who asked them what presents they wanted for Christmas. The passengers told Santa what they wanted, not knowing that their requests were being noted.
   While the passengers were on board their flights, WestJet employees hurried to local stores to purchase, wrap, and label their gifts. Afterwards, they placed the gifts on the baggage carousel and waited for the passengers to arrive. While ultimately a hugely successful publicity stunt for WestJet (with 31 million views and counting), we can safely say that the pleasant reactions of the passengers when they received their gifts was unscripted and genuine.

3Ex-Biker Became Santa Claus


   Henry Sudduth had a very rocky start in life. He was frequently abused as a child, which led him to falsely equate it with love. After his mother’s death, Sudduth—then 14—headed to California, where he eventually became the head of a biker gang. After realizing the gang could never give him the love he desperately wanted, Sudduth moved to Wisconsin, where he later got married and joined the Marines. Sudduth’s first brush with becoming jolly old St. Nick started when he was chosen to play Santa, while he was still a staff sergeant.
   After he left the Marines, Sudduth began collecting and repairing toys, which he then gave out to local underprivileged children. Fellow residents, who heard about Sudduth’s good deeds, began making contributions, with some even volunteering to be his “elves.” Sudduth later credited his colorful life experiences with making him a better man. Appreciation for his kindness was apparent—townspeople paid $41,000 in hospital bills, after Sudduth was operated for an aneurysm in the brain.

2Cancer Survivor Played Santa To Fellow Patients


 Tanner Nielsen knew what it was like to celebrate Christmas confined inside a hospital. After all, the nine-year-old spent a lot of time fighting leukemia and liver cancer since he was a toddler. After finally being free from cancer this year, Nielsen decided he wanted to give something to the kids who had to endure spending their holidays inside the hospital. With his mother’s help, Nielsen started a project called “Tanner’s Christmas Giving Project.”
   As part of the project, Nielsen and his family used the money they collected from donors to buy toys for the children at Tanner’s former hospital. Nielsen wanted the donations to make the children’s stay at the hospital a little more bearable. Hospital personnel, who received the toys, were grateful for Nielsen’s act of selflessness. They stated that the donation was especially commendable coming from someone who knew what the other kids were going through. For Nielsen, it was a nice change of roles—from patient to Santa.

1Lotto Winner Plans To Give Away Entire Winnings


   He’s already putting his words into action—he recently gave out $1.2 million to the cancer center where his wife was treated. Those who heard about Crist’s intentions, including the mayor, were awed by his selfless act. Lottery officials added that it was unheard of for someone to give all his winnings away, especially with such a staggering amount of money involved.
   When retired CEO Tom Crist got a phone call from Western Canada Lottery, informing him that he had won $40 million in May this year, he didn’t jump in the air in joy. Instead, he quietly made plans for all that money to be donated, without any fanfare involved. However, his children’s insistence, and lottery rules requiring a public appearance, pushed Crist into the limelight this holiday season. He announced that he planned to give away all his winnings as a tribute to his wife—who recently passed away from cancer—and stated that he didn’t “really need that money.”


   The World Egg Throwing Federation is based at Swaton, in the county of Lincolnshire, England. This ancient village has stood on this ground since before Roman times. The occupying army created a canal that ran from Lincoln to Cambridge which was fed by, and crossed, by the River Eau at Swaton. Much of the canal is still extant today. The village is mentioned in the Dooms Day book of 1068 as possessing a moated site. It’s known that this small village had a market, its own gibbet and the Church is considered to be one of the finest in England. The first female Sherriff of Nottingham is buried here.
   The organised sport of Egg Throwing is thought to date back to at least 1322 when the newly appointed Abbot took possession of the Parish of Swaton by royal decree. It is said that he was the only person to own chickens and ensured the attendance at church of his peasant by providing them alms of one egg for each attendee. However, when the River Eau flooded, preventing people getting to church, the monks would hurl the eggs over to the waiting peasants. It’s also said that when the flood was even wider that they used small trebuchets to get that extra distance required. It is from these humble beginnings that the sport of egg throwing started and has been played ever since in the village.

   The World Egg Throwing Federation was set up in 2004 in order to regulate Egg Throwing as a number of variations of the sport have come into existence, including nefarious use of eggs in political demonstrations. From its formation the Federation has been joined by local and national groups that practice the sport, and now acts as a central body, offering advice, ideas and as organiser of the annual world championships. Its aims and policies have been adopted by many as the sport continues to grow in popularity and in doing so the Federation raises thousands of pounds for local, nationals and international charities.

   Sport egg throwing comprises of the following disciplines;-Egg Throwing.
-Egg Static Relay.
-Egg Target Throwing
-Russian Egg Roulette
-Egg Trebuchet Challenge

Egg Throwing   This comprises of a two-person team, the winner is the team who can throw and catch an egg over the greatest distance. The team start off 10 metres apart. After each throw each member will move further apart. The team members alternate their throwing and catching roles after each throw.
    A successful toss allows progression onto the next round and is adjudged when the egg is moved between players without breakage or touching the ground.
    A catcher may not move from his start position until the egg to be caught is in the air en route to that catcher.
    Where more than 1 team is successful the players move backwards to a designated spot and repeat with the roles reversed until a winner is identified.
    Where more than 1 team is successful the distance is extended.
    Where no team completes a successful toss at a distance then the throw is repeated, on a knock out basis until a team, or teams achieves success.
    The team that manages a successful toss of the greatest distance is judged to be the winner.
   There are two events; all comers and "under 13"

Egg Static Relay
     A team consists of 11 players.
    Each player stands at a predetermined mark along a route 100 metres long.
    Players may not move more than 5 metres from their mark.
    Upon the start signal a packet of 12 eggs is passed, egg-by-egg, from player to player until the final team member has collected successfully all 12 eggs.
    Eggs must travel individually.
    Where a breakage occurs a 3 second penalty is added to the time.
    The competition is held in heats with a play off to decide the championship title.

Egg Target Throwing
    A selected (volunteer) target is placed 24 feet forward from the throw line in front of a safety net to prevent overthrow.
    The thrower is provided with 4 eggs
    The thrower must warn the target that he a throw is about to commence and receive acknowledgement before each throw.
    Eggs are hurled at the target.
    Points are awarded for strikes on specific areas.
    Eggs that do not break upon impact with the target or rear safety net may be re-thrown.
    If an egg falls outside the safety net area or throw line the thrower is disqualified.

Russian Egg Roulette
    Individual challenge against an opponent on a knock out basis
Players sit opposite each other, across a table.
    Each player wears a provided head bandana for protection. In appropriate bandanas may not be worn.
    The toss winner decides whether to go first or second.
    A tray containing 6 specially selected eggs will be proffered. 5 hard-boiled, 1 raw.
    Each player takes it in turn to select one and then smash the egg onto his or her own fore head until one-player finds the raw one.
   The finder of the raw egg loses the game or match.
   Inspired by one Montegue Blister of Strange Games

Egg Trebuchet   A team of (at least) 2 players construct a gravity powered machine based upon the ancient trebuchet design. The base of the legs is restricted to 2 square metres (outriggers may protrude beyond this).  The power source must be contained within a 9 litre container. Team member 1 targets a set distance. Team player number 2 becomes the target and positions self at that set distance. When the trebuchet releases the egg projectile team player number 2 may move from his start point. Points are awarded for striking the target. Additional points are received is the target catches the projectile unbroken. 3 eggs are provided for each distance. In the event of a tie a different distance is set until a winner is identified. PPE will be worn.

WETF Egg Throwing Rules
All competitors must be aware of the following generic rules:1. Team members will be provided with protective clothing that must be worn when taking part in the competition. Eye protection goggles will be available.

2. Eye injuries are possible if struck by an egg. Players must be aware of the potential for harm. Eggs thrown in a reckless manner towards unprepared players or others may result in disqualification.

3. In order to reduce the risk of infection from of avian flu or subsequent shortage, all eggs will be stockpiled during the preceding 6 months to guarantee that they are free from any virus.

4. All eggs will come from organically fed, free range, sustainable and happy sources.

            5. The organiser will supply all eggs used. They will be marked for security purposes and required to be broken by the heat or final winner, to prove that they have not been switched or tampered with, at the conclusion of each heat or final.

6. Players are not permitted to use any physical, hand held or worn aid when catching or throwing eggs. Aids include any kind of glove, net, propelling instrument (mechanical or otherwise), stick or any other object that gives and unfair advantage to the team.

   As a responsible sporting governing body, we have banned the use of performance enhancing drugs, including doping agents. Any competitor may be subject to drug testing, people may be chosen at random, or targeted in the case of any allegations. We reserve the right to give any competitor a drug test, and in case   of refusal, the competitor may be disqualified. Swaton Micro Brewery “Happy Jack” real ale is a permitted and indeed recommended, substance.

All competitors must be aware of the following generic rules:1. Team members will be provided with protective clothing that must be worn when taking part in the competition. Eye protection goggles will be available.

2. Eye injuries are possible if struck by an egg. Players must be aware of the potential for harm. Eggs thrown in a reckless manner towards unprepared players or others may result in disqualification.

3. In order to reduce the risk of infection from of avian flu or subsequent shortage, all eggs will be stockpiled during the preceding 6 months to guarantee that they are free from any virus.

4. All eggs will come from organically fed, free range, sustainable and happy sources.

5. The organiser will supply all eggs used. They will be marked for security purposes and required to be broken by the heat or final winner, to prove that they have not been switched or tampered with, at the conclusion of each heat or final.

6. Players are not permitted to use any physical, hand held or worn aid when catching or throwing eggs. Aids include any kind of glove, net, propelling instrument (mechanical or otherwise), stick or any other object that gives and unfair advantage to the team.

   As a responsible sporting governing body, we have banned the use of performance enhancing drugs, including doping agents. Any competitor may be subject to drug testing, people may be chosen at random, or targeted in the case of any allegations. We reserve the right to give any competitor a drug test, and in case   of refusal, the competitor may be disqualified. Swaton Micro Brewery “Happy Jack” real ale is a permitted and indeed recommended, substance.


   Have you ever asked yourself where the scariest places in America are?  There are literally thousands of them and here are just a few to entice you.  Visiting these places may cause you to become a believer in ghosts and the supernatural, if you are not already one.

The Jamestown Bridge

   The first place is The Jamestown Bridge located in Piedmont, Triad North Carolina.  This bridge is said to be haunted because at night many tourists and visitors have claimed that they would pick up a little girl who was looking for a ride on the side of the road.  When they picked her up, everything would be going fine and then all of a sudden when they look over at her again, she is gone.  Many ghost hunters find this spot to be intriguing because it leaves so much to the imagination.  It is said that this girl wears a white dress and can be seen at night.

Huntingdon College

   The second place is called the Huntingdon College located in Montgomery, Alabama.  This place will "knock the socks off of you".  It is said that a lady ghost roams the city here.  Here name has been called "The Red Lady of Pratt".  The legend says that the red lady was a lonely, quiet and unpopular student.  She often tried to make friends and she was unable to.  The more that she tried to make friends, the harder it became for her to make them.  The students would often make fun of her because she only wore the color red.  She found no hope to her situation and eventually she hung herself in her room.  The Red Lady of Pratt is often seen when students are picking on other kids.  She has been seen to appear in and through walls. Some students have even experienced a gust of air that comes through the rooms in the middle of the night.  What makes this place even more shocking is that it has a second ghost that roams around in the middle of the night.  His name is called, "Ghost on The Green".  This ghost is said to haunt the campus because he once dated a girl here and she broke up with him because he was too clingy.  He could not take the rejection and so he shot himself in the head.  Several days later, the campus returned back to normal.  Some students claim that they now see him walking the green.  Many students that walk the green at night claim that he often messes up their hair, blows in their ear or even tugs on their clothes.  This indeed is a haunted place that you do not want to miss out on.


  The third haunted place  is Dudleytown, New England, Connecticut.  Did you know that you are not allowed to enter Dudleytown and if you are caught trying to enter, you will be arrested for trespassing and given a $75 dollar fine or more?  This place is said to have ghosts, hauntings and spirits swarming around.  People that have seen Dudleytown claim that the birds are silent here and you get a spooky feeling here.  The story of Dudleytown actually begins in England.  Edmund Dudley was said to be beheaded for trying to overthrow King Henry the VIII.  It is said that a curse was placed on the Dudley's for treason.  The curse states that all descendants of Edmund Dudley would face horrors for all eternity.  The son of Edmund Dudley also tried to overthrow the crown.  John Dudley's third son Robert Earl, left England to avoid loosing his own head.  The Dudley's settled in what is now called Dudleytown.  You might be able to catch pictures of Dudleytown from ghost hunters.  However, this place is not allowed to be trespassed and you may be surprised that many people have not ever heard of or seen this place.
   These are some of the most haunted places in America.  Many people throughout the world will tell you that these place are chilling to visit and often cause you to believe that ghosts really do exist.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Huendoara Castle

  Hunedoara is not a name that frequently pops up in conversations about vampires and especially Dracula.  Few people know that Hunedoara is actually the castle where Vlad the Impaler, the man who gave inspiration to Hollywood's Dracula, was imprisoned during the fifteenth century.
   Located in Transylvania, Romania, the castle pretty much stands the way it looked back then during Vlad's time.  The castle is Gotic in style and has both round and square shaped turrets with a red roof, perched over a cliff near the Hungarian border.

Vlad the Impaler

 Hunedoara, or Hunyadi as it is more properly known, has a rich background in Eastern European history.  Because of its close location to Hungary, at one point it was claimed as part of Hungarian territory when the nation was part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire until the end of World War 1.  As with any other castle, Hunedoara, also contains grand rooms for those who once owned it; a knight's hall, diet's hall, guard rooms, and sleeping quarters.  The castle was first built by the Anjou family which claims its origins back to the House of Angevin, a French dynasty that had branches well in to the regions of Poland, Hungary, and the Latin Empire.

Inside Hunedoara Castle

  Vlad Draculea, better known as Vlad the Impaler, was the Prince of Wallachia in the south part of Romania.  He lived up to his name for he was known as a cruel punisher, frequently impaling his victims which would always result in death.  He was only 17 years old when he ascended the throne in Wallachia, eventually becoming greedy enough to want to fight the Ottomans in order to protect and preserve his land of reign.  He allied with the Hungarians, finally launching a crusade againt the Ottomans which resulted in the impalement of over 23,000 Turks.  Leaving his calling card-the impaling stick-Vlad turned back but only to find the Ottoman troops ready to attack and capture him.  Vlad could not be subdued by the armies and his stepbrother Radu was left to fight the Ottoman troops.  The Hungarians gave up on Vlad and had one of their men, Matthias Cornivus, imprison Vlad in Hunedoara castle for crimes against the Turks.

Radu Draculea

Matthias Cornivus


   While at Hunedoara, Vlad continued his bizarre rituals of blood and torture, extending them to rodents, but making friends with the bats.  He continued to eat rare meat that still had blood remaining in it.  During the twentieth century, the castle was restored and turned into a museum.  Visitors can walk through the different  rooms and turrets and hear an occasional mysterious laugh that seems to come from beyond.  Like many castles, the Hundoara is haunted, but it is the ghost of Vlade the Impaler that haunts it.

Vlad's Burial Spot


    Tinku, an Andean tradition, began as a form of ritualistic combat. It is native to the northern region of Potosí in Bolivia. In the language of Quechua, the word “tinku” means encounter. In the language of Aymara it means “physical attack". During this ritual, men and women from different communities will meet and begin the festivities by drinking and dancing. The women will then form circles and begin chanting while the men proceed to fight each other; rarely the women will join in the fighting as well. Large tinkus are held in Potosí during the first few weeks of May.

    Because of the rhythmic way the men throw their fists at each other, and because they stand in a crouched stance going in circles around each other, a dance was formed. This dance, the Festive Tinku, simulates the traditional combat, bearing a warlike rhythm. The differences between the Andean tradition and the dance are the costumes, the role of women, and the fact that the dancers do not actually fight each other. The Festive Tinku has become a cultural dance for all of Bolivia, although it originated in Potosí, like the fight itself

Tinku Combat


    The Andean tradition began with the indigenous belief in Pachamama, or Mother Nature. The combat is in praise of Pachamama, and any blood shed throughout the fighting is considered a sacrifice, in hopes of a fruitful harvest and fertility. Because of the violent nature of the tradition there have been fatalities, but each death is considered a sacrifice which brings forth life, and a donation to the land that fertilizes it. The brawls are also considered a means of release of frustration and anger between the separate communities. Tinkus usually last two to three days. During this time, participants will stop every now and then to eat, sleep, or drink.

Groups Who Participate

    Tinkus occur "between different communities, moieties, or kin groups". They are prearranged and usually take place in the small towns of southern Bolivia, like Macha and Pocoata. Tinkus are very festive, with a numerous audience of men, women and children, who bring food and beverages. Alcoholic drinks are also brought and sold along with food during the tinku.

Methods of Combat

    During the brawl itself, men will often times carry rocks in their hands to have greater force in their punches, or they will just throw them at opponents. Sometimes, especially in the town of Macha in Potosí, where the brawl gets the most violent, men will wrap strips of cloth with shards of glass stuck to them around their fists to cause greater damage. Slingshots and whips are also used, though not as much as hand-to-hand combat. The last day of the fight is considered the most violent and police almost always have to separate the mass of bloody men and women.


    Men attend tinkus wearing traditional monteras, or thick helmet-like hats made of thick leather, resembling helmets from the Conquistadors. These helmets are often times painted and decorated with feathers. Their pants are usually simple black or white with traditional embroidering near their feet. Often times the men wear wide thick belts tied around their waist and stomach for more protection.

Festive Tinku Dance

    The Festive Tinku, a much more pleasant experience than a ceremonial tinku, has many differences. It has been accepted as a cultural dance in the whole nation of Bolivia. Tinku music has a loud constant drum beat to give it a native warlike feel, while charangos, guitars, and zampoñas (panpipes) play melodies. The dancers perform with combat like movements, following the heavy beat of the drum.


    For men, the costumes are more colorful. Their monteras are usually decorated with long colorful feathers. Tinku Suits, or the outfits men wear during Festive Tinku performances, are usually made with bold colors to symbolize power and strength, instead of the neutral colors worn in ceremonial tinkus that help participants blend in. Women wear long embroidered skirts and colorful tops. Their costumes are completed by extravagant hats, painted and decorated with various long and colorful feathers and ribbons. Men and women wear walking sandals so they can move and jump easily.


    The dance is performed in a crouching stance, bending at the waist. Arms are thrown out and there are various kicks, while the performers move in circles following the beat of the drum. Every jump from one foot to the next is followed by a hard stomp and a thrown fist to signify the violence from the ceremonial tinku. Many times the dancers will hold basic and traditional instruments in their hands that they will use as they stomp, just to add more noise for a greater effect.

Friday, June 20, 2014


The Lost Art of Hollerin’

    Hollerin’ is considered by some to be the earliest form of communication between humans. It is a traditional form of communication used in rural areas before the days of telecommunications to convey long-distance messages. Evidence of hollerin’, or derivations thereof such as yodeling or hunting cries, exists worldwide among many early peoples and is still be practiced in certain societies of the modern world. In one form or another, the holler has been found to exist in Europe, Africa and Asia as well as the US. Each culture used or uses hollers differently, although almost all cultures have specific hollers meant to convey warning or distress. Otherwise hollers exist for virtually any communicative purpose imaginable -- greetings, general information, pleasure, work, etc. The hollers featured at the National Hollerin’ Contest typically fall into one of four categories: distress, functional, communicative or pleasure.

    Within the US, particularly the Southeast, folklore researchers have found the practice of hollerin’ to be present primarily among traditionally black communities. Although hollerin’ is rarely found to have survived in white communities, many folklorist believe it to have once been widespread throughout the region and practiced by both whites and blacks alike. Oddly, in Sampson County, North Carolina, the reverse of the norm is true; while hollerin’ has continued to live on in white localities, there is little or no evidence of its existence among the black population.

    Although similarities abound -- particularly in sound, hollerin’ as defined by the Spivey’s Corner contest, is not the same thing as yodeling or other farm or hunting calling. Rather, it is viewed, at least by Sampson County natives, as an art form to be taken seriously. Its roots, however, can be traced back to the men working on rafts in the 1700s, when logs were transported from Sampson County via its many rivers and streams to Wilmington. The loggers operating the rafts hollered back and forth to one another about their rafts so that they wouldn’t run into each other, or so that if stuck, others would come to their aid. The tradition has survived since its colonial origins.
    The “trademark” holler of Sampson County, NC is one considered unique because of its virtuoso rendering. This holler “consists primarily of rapid shifts between natural and falsetto voice within a limited gapped scale” and the typical melodic movement “consists simply of alterations between the first, third and fifth of the scale” so that the voice is “employed almost as a musical instrument.”

Types of Hollers

    The hollers native to Sampson County can be classified in one of the following groups:

Distress hollers: In many ways, hollers were essential in rural communities; they notified others within hearing range of imminent danger or brought assistance to otherwise isolated farmers when needed. In the past, locals say, hollers have helped locate lost children, saved drowning men, and even ended house fires. “There was just as much a need of hollerin’ as there was of eatin’ at that day and time,” says 1971 Hollerin’ Champion, Leonard Emanuel. Distress hollers are typified by a falsetto tone and sense of urgency.

Functional hollers: These are the hollers used in day-to-day life on the farm or in the field. Each farmer or rancher had his own distinctive hollers to bring in this hogs, cattle, sheep or dogs. This was particularly useful when farmers’ animals grazed common land. A farmer could round up his hogs with his unique holler without disturbing any of his neighbors’ hogs. This is also the type of holler used each morning to let nearby farmers know that one was up and about, as well as by women to call home their families from the fields at the end of the day.

Examples of The Different Types of Hollers'

Communicative hollers: “Howdy neighbor” is the main purpose of these cries. Ermon Godwin explains: “A man working alone in a field might holler just to hear a reassuring answer from his neighbor in the next field a mile or two away” . Women also frequently used this form of holler.

Expressive hollers: Some hollers are voiced purely for pleasure’s sake -- they are known as expressive hollers. Often, this is a hollered version of a popular tune or melody and serves no purpose other than of entertainment. Many of the contest champions have won using expressive hollers, particularly in recent years. Even North Carolina's Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham gets into the act with a hollerin' impression of a mule. You won't believe the Duet, but my favorite is the Quartet rendition of "Amazing Grace."

History ofThe National Hollerin’ Contest (1969-present)

    Every year, on the third Saturday of June, in an otherwise sleepy borough of southeastern North Carolina known as Spivey’s Corner (population 49), some 5,000-10,000 folks gather from far and wide to take part in the festivities and entertainment in the day-long extravaganza known as the National Hollerin’ Contest.
    You may have heard of the contest -- since its inception in 1969, the contest has garnered attention and fame throughout both the country and the world. The contest and its winners have been featured on television shows such as The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman, in magazines with worldwide circulations such as Stars and Stripes and Sports Illustrated, and have even been the subject of documentary films, featured on The Voice of America, and mentioned in television sports commentaries.