In the small town in Alabama, a big thing is haunting the streets and are after the town’s children. The scary apparition of the black clad Huggin Molly is still on the prowl.
Children should be home before dark, there is no telling what hides in the shadows, emerging after the sun sets. But the people of Abbeville in south Alabama, they have a pretty good idea of what darkness that lurk in the shadows, in the streets and behind the bushes and in the dark corners.
The children of Abbeville, Alabama has been warned plenty of times to stay indoors after dark. If not, they might encounter the creature known as Huggin Molly on the streets.
The Colonial Town of Abbeville
The small place of Abbeville looks like any other small colonial towns in the south with the cute brick houses with the flag waving towards the paved street and with a population around 2000.
The climate is hot during the summer and mild during the winters. The people can shop in the small boutiques and eat at the family restaurant, a place where people know one another. It is also why when a stranger starts to roam the street, the townspeople takes notice as they watch from hammock on their porches.
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The town of Abbeville has seen many tragedies throughout the years. Not only the hardship of the European settlers, the surrendering of the creek nation and a town in southern Alabama also made it hard for the black people all the way up to the segregation times.
There were reported lynching and sexual violence that went unpunished, making the streets more difficult for black people than the children that was warned to stay indoors after sundown.
The southern town has also experienced tragedies that left a collective trauma so hard that legend took form. One of these being after the fire. At the start of the 1900s, an arsonist burned down all of Abbeville, and this is also at the time when it looks like the legend of Huggin Molly took form. The town was also ravage by an F2 tornado that destroyed many of the old buildings, forcing the town to build on top of the old.
Huggin Molly as The Lady in Black
But these tragedies are not the things Huggin Molly is about. Rather than one of the towns collective tragedies, this is one of the towns big mysteries.
“…..On a cold, dark, rainy night…..so bitterly cold, damp, and dark…..when even street lights won’t burn, and the striking of a match refuses to yield the tiniest flame….on nights like this, Huggin’ Molly comes out of her lair and roams the streets of Abbeville to see whom she can find.”
So begins one account of the story the people of Abbeville have told each other since the early 1900s. The local legend is known as Huggin Molly, or the lady in black. Who is this woman all clad in black, and why is she after the children of Abbeville? What does she want with them?
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The local legend of Huggin Molly has it that a tall figure, around seven feet tall, started walking the streets of Abbeville, looking for victims, mostly children. She has no name other than what the townsfolk started calling her, no face to speak of and no one knows why she is after the children. She almost has this witch like status around her, although her behaviour is anything but.
Huggin Molly is said to be dressed in all black with a wide brim hat, also black, wandering through the night in the disguise of the shadows were even the streets light won’t illuminate her identity. Once she found a victim, an innocent child wandering after darkness, she attacks, hugging the person tightly as she is screaming loudly into their ears.
Read More: There are many stories about women in black around the world: Like some of the ghosts in Unveiling the Dark History of the Tower of London and its Ghosts .
This is it, as there are no stories of her actually hurting anyone. She simply hugs them, although terrifying enough on its own. But are there any origin story to this local legend of a hugging ghost?
The Many Legends of Huggin Molly
Who she is supposed to have been is up for debate and changes as the story itself changes throughout times. Was she a witch or the ghost of a woman that used to live in Abbeville? Is she something completely different from a human?
Read More: One of the theories was that Huggin Molly was some sort of witch. If you are interested in stories about witches, head over to our section filled of them: Here
In some accounts when the local townspeople tells the legend, Huggin Molly was a woman living in Abbeville a long time ago. She experienced a mother’s worst nightmare when lost her own child. Her grief was too much to bare and it made her mad. She started to roam the nights and went after the local children to make up for the death of child. Like it was a way of dealing with the tragedy of loosing her own.
In other accounts of the legend, she was a woman who got murdered in cold blood on the very streets she is now haunting and are trying to fulfill something. Perhaps she was killed after dark with no one to look out for her and are now in turn looking out for others?
Perhaps the real story behind the legend is the version about her being a professor at what used to be Alabama Agriculture School as some of the variations of the legend suggests. In these versions she is only trying to keep the students safe by getting them off the streets at night.
Or perhaps it wasn’t a ghost at all that haunted the street in her afterlife, but someone or something, getting dressed up specifically for this? To walk out in the dark to scare and hug children? Somehow, this comes off as almost more frightening than a ghost who only wants a hug.
A Legend with a Milkshake on the Side
In any case, who Huggin Molly was, what her motives are and if she is still roaming the streets doesn’t seem to upset most people in Abbeville. The people of Abbeville haven’t been too concerned by the legend and there are even a 50s themed restaurant named after her, making her a part of the community and town history.
Even to this day the legend is part of the town and kids today are told about the lady in black on the streets. This is like what Jimmy, an Abbeville lifelong resident had to say when the Huggin Molly’s restaurant asked him to say a few words of her:
“Anybody who grew up in Abbeville grew up knowing the legend of Huggin’ Molly,” Jimmy says. “If your mother or dad didn’t want you to be out after dark, they’d tell you Huggin’ Molly would get you. And you believed it, too.”
Because this is the thing, the legend of Huggin Molly has not once been known to have harmed anyone. So many children grew up to tell tales of what they believed must have been Huggin Molly chasing them. And who knows, maybe she really did?
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