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Blood on the Pulpit: A Story of Foresight


David Greenberger travels the country, talking with older people about collecting their stories. Here's one based on a conversation he had in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with Edna Wofford, who knew a bit too much about the future.

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Mr. DAVID GREENBERGER: `I was the seventh child, and I was different than any of the other 10 children my mother had. Now this may seem strange, but it's true. I wouldn't tell you a lie. I could go to bed at night and dream something, and I could see things happen before they happened, and I'd get up and tell them in the morning, and after a while, they got so they didn't want to hear about it. My sisters would say, "Don't you go to sleep. And if you go to sleep, don't tell us nothing in the morning." I could tell them a lot of things around the church, too, that was going to help, and they had quite a bit of respect for me, and they still do at the church that I go to.

`Now I don't have the dreams as often as I did when I was active, 'cause it seemed that I'd get a warning of how it was going to turn out and what was going to happen. I told them here not long ago, one night I was in the bed, and I was dreaming. And I went to church that Sunday. I said to them, "Something's going to happen here this morning that never happened before." And they said, "What?" I said, "I dreamed that I saw some blood on the pulpit." So sure enough, when the preacher preached that Sunday, his nose began to bleed, and he had to be taken out. They all said to me, "Don't dream no more," and then they'd want to know if I did dream, you know, if anything was going to happen.

`One time I dreamed that something was going to happen in the choir room of the church. I saw this great big old bag of dirty clothes in my dream, and I said, "Something's going to happen here today, and I can't forget." And they said, "Well, don't tell us about it. Don't tell us." I said, "I can't tell you too much about it, because something is going to be unpleasant. It's not going to be pleasant what's going to happen." And sure enough, two ladies got into it back in the choir room about the other lady's husband.

`I just dream so many things that's going to happen to me and my family, the church, my neighbors until now lately. Since I'm not active, I don't have too many dreams. But I see most things before it happens. If I dream anything, I always think about it awhile and wait to see what's going to happen, but I haven't had any bad dreams in a long time. I used to dream good dreams, tell good things that's going to happen, just like the bad, but I can remember the bad things worse, 'cause it always seems to happen around the church, and you just hate to see that.'

NORRIS: David Greenberger relating a story told by Edna Wofford of Chattanooga, Tennessee. A collection of these stories is on Greenberger's CD the "Mayor of Tennessee River." The music is by Shaking Ray Levis.

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SIEGEL: This is NPR, National Public Radio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.