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The Suffolk Miracle and The Gift

DigiTrad:
SUFFOLK MIRACLE
THE SUFFOLK MIRACLE
THE SUFFOLK MIRACLE (3)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: The Weeping Lass (5)
Lyr Req: Dean Gitter SUFFOLK MIRACLE (4)


Mrrzy 04 Jul 01 - 11:19 PM
okthen 05 Jul 01 - 07:48 AM
GeorgeH 05 Jul 01 - 09:08 AM
okthen 06 Jul 01 - 09:01 AM
Snuffy 06 Jul 01 - 09:13 AM
Mrrzy 06 Jul 01 - 10:44 AM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Jul 01 - 03:00 PM
okthen 06 Jul 01 - 07:17 PM
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Subject: The Suffolk Miracle and The Gift
From: Mrrzy
Date: 04 Jul 01 - 11:19 PM

Anybody else think the hankie trick in the movie was taken from the folk song? (I'm deliberately withholding details for those who haven't seen the movie...)


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Subject: RE: The Suffolk Miracle and The Gift
From: okthen
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 07:48 AM

Mrrzy, any danger of some more information?

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: The Suffolk Miracle and The Gift
From: GeorgeH
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 09:08 AM

Like - what film??

G.


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Subject: RE: The Suffolk Miracle and The Gift
From: okthen
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 09:01 AM

Come on Mrrzy, I have lived in Suffolk for 30 years and have prayed several times for a miracle, the thought of having missed it is too galling.

Don't keep me in suspenders any longer, spread the word.

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: The Suffolk Miracle and The Gift
From: Snuffy
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 09:13 AM

There are three versions of The Suffolk Miracle in the DT database. Here are the notes Dick Greenhaus gives at the ends of #3

note: The basic story, that of the ghost returning, courting the maiden, being given a kerchief and vanishing, later to be exhumed wearing the kerchief, has become a bit mangled here. RG

Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: The Suffolk Miracle and The Gift
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 10:44 AM

Right. And the movie was The Gift. More details here, READ NO FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE:

in the version of The Suffolk Miracle that I had on my ghost ballads LP, a dead man "walks" (or, rather, rides) to fetch his ladylove from where her parents secreted her to get her away from him (he has died of a broken heart a year and a day before this part of the song). She doesn't know he's dead, and as they're riding back to her father's house, he complains of a headache. She gives him her hankie and kisses him (which raises the big deal about how in ALL OTHER GHOST BALLADS the corpse refuses to be kissed because it will kill the survivor, so I assume that a few verses after the end of this ballad, the woman dies).
After getting her home, he disappears, and her family is horrified that she thinks this dead guy brought her (THEY knew he was dead, they just hadn't told her), so "They sent for clerks and clergy too / To open the grave and the corpse to view / And though he had been 12 months dead / The handkerchief was 'round his head."

Flash forward to the movie, The Gift. The main character is clairvoyant, of the kind that can be "explained" by really really good intuition. At one point someone is beating her with a flashlight, and a friend of hers comes and beats the guy off her, this friend having been incarcerated earlier in the movie for setting his abusing father on fire. Earlier in the movie, she had given her hankie to this friend, and now he hands it back to her to clean the blood off her head, saying "I washed it." - Well, the instant he handed her the hankie, I KNEW, I just KNEW, that he wasn't really there. And indeed, he vanishes at the police station (after seeing her to safety, just like the song), and she thinks he escaped from the hospital, but it turns out he'd already killed himself. At that point she looks in her bag, and the handkerchief was still there... so I'm sure the writers knew the song. I mean, if not, they would have come up with something other than a handkerchief, no? Or is this a "coincidence" (theme from The Twilight Zone playing eerily)?


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Subject: RE: The Suffolk Miracle and The Gift
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 03:00 PM

t could be coincidence at that; the motif is not that uncommon in tradition and (particularly, perhaps) in ghost fiction.  Professor Child was less than impressed by The Suffolk Miracle, and included it in his canon (as #272) only because it was the sole British representative in ballad form of the widespread Spectre Bridegroom story, in which the intention of the mysterious horseman is generally to take his promised bride down with him into the grave.  In some examples, he succeeds; in some she is saved, or escapes unaided, but often dies soon after.  Sometimes torn fragments of her dress, or a handkerchief, are subsequently found buried with the corpse.

Child describes a Cornish folktale which tells essentially the same story, but in which the girl performs a summoning ritual to bring her lover, three years abroad, to her; his spirit appears, but looking so angry (he is not at that point dead) that she shrieks and breaks the spell.  Later, he is shipwrecked and is saved; he expresses a wish to marry her before he dies, but there is no time.  The story then proceeds as in the ballad, until she realises that he is dead, and calls out for help; she is saved by a blacksmith, and the following day a piece of her dress is found on the grave.  She dies soon after, and it subsequently emerges that, at the time of the aborted conjuration, the young man had raved as if mad, and then lain for hours in a deathlike trance; on regaining consciousness, he had "declared that if he ever married the woman who had cast the spell, he would make her suffer for drawing his soul out of his body."

Child also refers to a French ballad noted in 1879, Les Deux Fiancés, which is almost identical to the English one, though more coherent as a narrative.  By comparison with some of the many Slavic and German analogues, he concludes, "...we may quite reasonably suppose that the headache in The Suffolk Miracle, utterly absurd to all appearances, was in fact occasioned by a spell which has dropped away from the Suffolk story, but is retained" [in a corrupted form, as the spell the girl recites there is only the familiar Hallowe'en charm which young girls used to catch a glimpse of the face of the man who would be their true-love] "in the Cornish."

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: The Suffolk Miracle and The Gift
From: okthen
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 07:17 PM

Thanks Mrrzy, (and subsequent posts) I might get the video when it's released here.

That's probably the last miracle Suffolk enjoyed, oh well I kep hoping.

cheers

bill


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