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Oracle of the Ages (2001)

by Dot Moore, Katie Lamar Smith

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Mayhayley Lancaster was many things through her interesting life: lawyer, schoolteacher, political activist, fortune teller, numbers runner, and self-proclaimed "oracle of the ages." In this new volume of creative nonfiction, the people who knew her reflect on her personality, her politics, and her passions, offering the reader a chance to delve fully into Mayhayley lore and legend. Oracle offers strange and often hilarious stories of the poor Georgia South in the post-Depression era, and how the eccentric Mayhayley's charisma and mysterious powers cast a spell on all the people who knew -- and inevitably misunderstood -- her. Oracle of the Ages was the 2002 winner of the Lilla M. Hawes Award for the best book in Georgia county or local history.… (more)
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Over 50 years ago growing up in Troup County, Georgia, which adjoins Heard County where Mayhayley Lancaster lived I heard tales of "going to see Mayhayley." This was usually said in a whisper and with a giggle at the prospect of having one's fortune told. I never met anyone who admitted they actually went but I always wanted to go although I was too young to do it alone. Mayhayley Lancaster would have stayed the stuff of local legends if it had not been for the murder trial of the notorious John Wallace for killing one of his white hired hands, William Turner. After Wallace killed Turner, he tossed his body in an abandoned well but later fearing it would be found went back to retrieve it and dispose of it more thoroughly. He couldn't locate the well again so, in a panic, he went to Mayhayley to get her help in divining the well's location which supposedly she did. Mayhayley became famous during Wallace's trial when she was called to testify by the prosecuting attorney, not about the divination but about the purpose of Wallace's visit to her. The press preferred to speculate on the divination. The Wallace episode is covered in the book, Murder in Coweta County, by Margaret Anne Barnes made into a TV movie where Andy Griffin played John Wallace. Dot Moore tells an interesting story about Mayhayley's life and her times in Heard County, a place where some said time had stalled if not stopped altogether. ( )
  cparker38 | May 2, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dot Mooreprimary authorall editionscalculated
Smith, Katie Lamarmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Mayhayley Lancaster was many things through her interesting life: lawyer, schoolteacher, political activist, fortune teller, numbers runner, and self-proclaimed "oracle of the ages." In this new volume of creative nonfiction, the people who knew her reflect on her personality, her politics, and her passions, offering the reader a chance to delve fully into Mayhayley lore and legend. Oracle offers strange and often hilarious stories of the poor Georgia South in the post-Depression era, and how the eccentric Mayhayley's charisma and mysterious powers cast a spell on all the people who knew -- and inevitably misunderstood -- her. Oracle of the Ages was the 2002 winner of the Lilla M. Hawes Award for the best book in Georgia county or local history.

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