Celebrate Halloween with a true Appalachian horror tale at Red Fox Storytelling Festival

Mike Still • Oct 23, 2019 at 2:48 PM

POUND — While Halloween stories abound in October, Southwest Virginia has its own real-life tale of horror and the macabre in Dr. Marshall B. Taylor — the Red Fox.

The Red Fox Storytelling Festival in Pound on Friday and Saturday draws on its namesake and other local tales of mystery to entertain and let folks see the scene of Taylor’s most notorious act: the 1892 Killing Rock Massacre.

Marley Green, community development representative with Appalshop — a sponsor of the festival along with the Historical Society of Pound and the Pound Economic Development Authority — said the festival enters its second year with several activities centered on storytelling including Red Fox and another well-known part of Pound’s history, the Edith Maxwell murder case.

“We were pleasantly surprised with last year’s festival, even though the weather was rainy,” Green said Tuesday. “We had 50 people attend, and it felt like everyone had fun, so we decided to come back for another year. We’re hoping for 100 or more visitors this year.”

Friday kicks off the festival at 8404 Main St. in Pound with a night under the festival tent. Open-mic music and storytelling start at 6 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. with a screening of a 2009 play by Pound High School students of the play “True Lies.”

The play examines the 1935 case of schoolteacher Edith Maxwell, who was convicted of killing her father with her shoe after a fight when she returned home late from a night out with friends. Maxwell was convicted, had her conviction overturned and was convicted again before being pardoned in 1941 and moving to Indiana.

At 7:30 p.m., festival guests can watch a screening of Appalshop Roadside Theater’s “Red Fox/Second Hanging.” The play tells the story of Taylor’s ambush of Ira Mullins and several of his family as they traveled by wagon and horse in the area of what is now Pound Gap.

Mullins and four of his family died from gunfire by Taylor and two accomplices. After his conviction, Taylor was hanged at what is now the parking area behind the Wise County Courthouse.

Concessions will be available Friday.

The Pine Mountain Trail, which leads to the ambush site at Killing Rock, will see the Chasing the Red Fox hike and 5K race Saturday, with registration starting at 9 a.m. and the hike and race at 10 a.m.

The festival tent sees more entertainment starting at noon Saturday. The day’s entertainment includes:

Noon: music.

12:30 p.m.: storyteller Nancy Smith — Austin and a Civil War Prison.

1 p.m.: storyteller Sarah Hopton — Red Fox the Mystic.

1:30 p.m.: break — meals available.

2:00-2:30:  music by Strawberry Jam.

2:30-3: storyteller Oakley Dean Baldwin — Aftermath of Killing Rock.

3:00-3:30: music by Pierceton Hobbs.

3:30-4: storyteller Royce Mullins — The Fleming Brothers.

4:00-5: storyteller Pamela Gilmer — Edith Maxwell, Accused Killer and Media Darling.

Guests can order food for delivery at the tent by local vendors for a $5 delivery fee.

At 5 p.m., festival guests can head to the Pine Mountain trailhead and walk to Killing Rock for a bonfire and storytelling by Kenny Mullins.

For more information on the Red Fox Storytelling festival, visit Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1732720486860222/