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 the south of 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 small place 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.

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. 

Huggin Molly as The Lady in Black

“…..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 known as Huggin Molly. Who is this woman all clad in black, and why is she after the children of Abbeville?

The local legend has it that a tall figure, around seven feet tall, started walking the street, looking for victims, mostly children. She has no name, 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.

She was dressed in all black with a wide brim hat, wandering through the night in the disguise of the shadows. Once she found a victim, she attacked, hugging the person, screaming loudly into their ears. 

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.

Huggin Molly 
In the small town in Alabama, a big thing is haunting the streets after the town's children. The scary apparition of Huggin Molly is still haunting the streets.
Huggin Molly: Downtown Abbeville, Alabama where Huggin Molly supposedly roams. // source

In some accounts, Huggin Molly was a woman who lost her own child. This made her mad and made her go after the local children to make up for it and as a way of dealing with the tragedy of loosing her own.

In other accounts of the legend, she was 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?

Perhaps the real legend is 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, but someone or something, getting dressed up specifically for this? Somehow, this comes off as almost more frightening than a ghost who only wants a hug.

In any case, the people of Abbeville haven’t been too concerned by the legend and there are restaurants 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.

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. 

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References

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Abbeville Ghosts « Chattahoochee Heritage

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