A Wooley Swamp in Second Life

The Legend of Wooley Swamp, October 2020

Amaya Mavinelli dropped me a line recently suggesting a visit to The Legend of Wooley Swamp. It came alongside an invitation from Mathias Laurent, one of the region’s designers, to also pay a visit – so off I hopped!

Occupying a Full region with the additional private region bonus, Wooley Swamp is the work of Matt and his SL partner, Aleriah Laurent (Aleriah Huntsman), and it takes as its inspiration The Legend of Wooley Swamp, the 1980 recording by The Charlie Daniels Band that forms the second track on their album Full Moon. It’s a story about a man – the song’s narrator – who hears a fable about a ghostly place called Wooley Swamp, and ignoring the advice of others, determines he has to confirm the truth of the story for himself.

The Legend of Wooley Swamp, October 2020

If you ever go back into Wooley Swamp son you better not go at night
There’s things out there in the middle of them woods
That’d make a strong man die from fright
There’s things that crawl and things that fly
And things that creep around on the ground
And they say the ghost of Lucias Clay gets up and it walks around.

– Charlie Daniels, The Legend of Wooley Swamp

Through the song, we learn of the fate of Lucias Clay, a miserly old man who cared more for money than people, at the hands of of the Cable brothers, and the turnaround fate meted out to them after they’d murdered him for his jars of money. What the narrator discovers is left open, but it leads him to state, there’s some things in this world you just can’t explain.

The Legend of Wooley Swamp, October 2020

The old man lived in the Wooley Swamp way back in the gurgling woods
And he never did do a lot of harm in the world
But he never did do no good
People didn’t think too much of him
They all thought he acted funny

– Charlie Daniels, The Legend of Wooley Swamp

It was a popular song of the day, following on from the success of The Devil Went Down to Georgia, and remained popular at the Band’s concerts. What might be less known to those not so familiar with Charlie Daniels, is that Wooley Swamp is a place where he used to hunt at night as a youngster. Thus, The Legend of Wooley Swamp – the region – could be said to be not only inspired by the song, but also a little bit of a homage to the singer / songwriter, who passed away earlier this year.

The Legend of Wooley Swamp, October 2020

In keeping with all this, the region presents a swampy environment, dank, dark, and with sluggish water through which alligators can be sighted. Rotting houses and cabins and an old houseboat are scattered about, the paths and trails misted, whilst a partially-flooded graveyard adds to the spooky mix. Which one might be old man Clay’s cabin is up to you to decide; none look particularly homely, although there are occupants and hints of occupancy to be found – together with one or two nods to the season. There are also signs of mysterious goings-on as well: strange noises, orange and red eyes glaring menacingly out of the darkness at passers-by, human skulls  gathered together in a fire bowl…

Those visiting are asked to accept the local experience on arrival (you need only do so once, lest you later opted to remove it through the viewer). This adds a level of interaction to a visit.  As you explore the region, you may come across Mason Jars (normally for preserving food, but in the song, old man Clay filled them with money and buried them in the grounds around his cabin). Touch them, and you get an extract of the song and a gold coin. Beware, however, you can also get yourself killed – but as Aleriah noted to me, this can only happen just once a day!

The Legend of Wooley Swamp, October 2020

Coupled with a rich sound scape, lending itself to a range of windlight settings as well as its own default, and with plenty of little touches – some with a horror edge to them, some not – The Legend of Wooley Swamp makes for an interesting, photogenic and slightly different visit for Halloween.

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One thought on “A Wooley Swamp in Second Life

  1. I went there last night. Talk about creepy…this build is super creepy without any monsters (excepting one) and yes, you go there at night. If anything, the build is creepier (?) than the song was. This is a semi-guided walkthrough, with mason jars that tell the story when clicked, The only light is from lanterns scattered around the places where the story is acted out.
    For sheer tension and (again) creepiness, this place is hard to beat, a perfect pre-Halloween treat for us in Second Life.

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