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The Carmichael-Moenkhaus Society for the Appropriation of Hoosier Folklore


The Carmichael-Moenkhaus Society for the Appropriation of Hoosier Folklore

This group, named for its spiritual founders is to discuss the ephemera of Hoosier folklore. The entire historical, musical, cultural, and folkloric expanse of the Hoosier state is our stomping ground here.

Members: 42
Latest Activity: Dec 18, 2013


The idea for The CMSAHF was born amidst a flurry of comments sparked by Bill Zink's posting a picture of Hoagy Carmichael which led to some very active tangential discussion.

As starter fodder for possible future discussions, the topics on the original posting included, but were not limited to:

- Hoagy Carmichael's life in Bloomington and his association with Bix Beiderbecke. Hoagy's appearance in the film The Best Years of Our Lives. Mentions of Hoagy Carmichael in Ian Fleming's novels. Hoagy's first autobiography Stardust Road.

- Bill Weaver's work in progress, a biography of Hoagy's pal William "Monk" Moenkhaus. Monk's connection to Dada, and the Lilly library's collection of his correspondence from WWI era Switzerland.

- The idea that many (all?) pop music artists from Indiana share similar themes. Hoagy Carmichael, Dale Lawrence, John Mellencamp, Paul Mahern, Frankie Camaro. Specifically: nostalgic longing and social entrapment/involvement.

- The WQAX cassette compilation Hoagy Picks the Hits

- Bluegrass in Indiana

- Historical immigration patterns and their role in creating the state we now know

- Gennett Records and its role in Indiana's musical history, including appearances of Gennett titles in Harry Smith's hugely influential Anthology of Folk Music.

- The idea of Indiana as two states, a northern one and a southern one.

- The influence of rivers in Indiana's cultural development.

- Peter Lamborne Wilson/Hakim Bey's T. A. Z. theory, Moorish Science, and the wandering Ben Ishmael Tribe.

- John Mellencamp as neo-impressionist painter.

- The possible existence of "hobo caves" in Bloomington.

- Why did Indiana produce very little rockabilly?

- The Underground Railroad in Indiana.

- New Harmony

- Traditional balladry

- The House of Blue Lights and Hoosier hauntings in general.

- The Klan in the Anderson area in the 70s cast as "Scooby Doo villains"

Thanks to Bill Zink for posting the picture in the first place (I think he had no idea it would create such a response), Mike Whybark for suggesting this group and coming up with the name, and everyone that responded to the original pic.

Discussion Forum

The Ben-Ishmael Tribe of Indiana 78 Replies

Started by Spencer (Shecky) Sundell. Last reply by Muhammed al-Ahari Jan 7, 2012.

Happy 111th birthday, Hoagy! 2 Replies

Started by Stephen Canner. Last reply by Bill Zink Nov 23, 2010.

Haints and the House of Blue Lights 53 Replies

Started by mike whybark. Last reply by Tanya Kukuschkin Jun 20, 2010.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of The Carmichael-Moenkhaus Society for the Appropriation of Hoosier Folklore to add comments!

Comment by Barbara Wascher on April 6, 2010 at 10:02am
On the Monk front, an omnibus edition of Eddie Campbell's autobiographical comics was released in February. It's called Alec: The Years Have Pants, and yes, Campbell quotes Monk's poem in the book -- showing himself reading it from Sudhalter's bio of Hoagy, Stardust Melody. His capsule interpretation of Monk's opus? "It means: It's all baloney but don't worry, we'll all be dying soon anyhoo."
Comment by Barbara Wascher on April 6, 2010 at 9:53am
Here's a great cover of Hoagy's "I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)":

The imagery in this video makes me strongly suspect that the artist knows the Hoagy & Bix story. It really has a "meadows of my heart" feel to it. And the cover itself is an interesting re-imagining of the melody, something Hoagy did a lot, especially with "Stardust."
Comment by Michael Eugene Henry on February 11, 2010 at 4:35am
Don't everyone jump in at once.
Interesting points to consider: Check out William W. Warren's "History of the Ojibway People" A Chippewa (as whitey called them) was educated in white schools and then writes this book. It compares the Old Testament to Ojibway traditions and there are many parallels in cultural traditions and religious thought. The Ojibway lived in Indiana.
The Pottawatomie (native to northern Indiana when the white man came) were called "The Keepers of the Fire" (there's a book by the same name about them) does that ring a bell with any Jewish/West African/Roman theologians out there? It pertains to burial traditions where every once in a while the associated bands would gather their dead (regardless of state of decay), pack them up and bring them all to a central location. Ceremonies were held in reverence, gifts given, then they were burned. This differs from paleoindian practices (apparently world wide) of anointing with ochre. Natives of the midwest generally ended up burying the dead wrapped in treebark.
Comment by Michael Eugene Henry on February 8, 2010 at 11:46pm
Oh and he ended up dynamiting the entrance to the cave. Bummer. Enough scholars became convinced it was real enough that there has been ongoing research. He apparently let the river in when he blasted it, though making real excavation next to impossible.
Comment by Michael Eugene Henry on February 8, 2010 at 11:43pm
I read in a Jstore article years ago, that the stones were actually made out of clay, or a clay/mud mix. A laboratory confirmed they were at least a thousand years old due to a crystal that had grown in the stone's matrix. I have the article (paper) somewhere. I no longer have access to scholarly search engines but that doesn't usually stop me. I will post details as they become available.
Comment by Michael Eugene Henry on February 8, 2010 at 11:30pm
Hey all,
Here's something I posted to Whybark's page I sent one like it to a couple of the peeps on the ben ishmael thread. It seems the African, Jewish, Christian influence in Indiana may be 2000 years old. Quick recap- A west african leader Ptolemy the xv was murdered by Caligula (the crazy roman emperor) and his hometown went nuts in revolt. The place had been a mix of many cultures and many religions practiced freely under their beloved leader Juba. When the next Roman emperor Claudius took power, the roman's were broke. Since Juba's country was in revolt the Roman's decided to make an example of them and raid their coffers. Didn't happen. They loaded up the boats and headed west. They went up the Mississippi and ended up in southern Illinois. A local treasure hunter fell into the burial cave and over the years brought out gold coins and many inscribed stone depicting the sailors and royalty and everyone else who had fled.
Comment by mike whybark on October 16, 2009 at 9:18pm
Just reread the Hoagy pic thread, wow, that was some great stuff, all in a couple days! And like a year and a half ago!
Comment by DBJ on January 27, 2009 at 1:03pm
Have you guys checked out the Hoagy collection online?

Hoagy digital

They haven't digitized much audio yet, however. They have some really cool stuff--Tom Roznowski dipped into it for his WFIU Hoagy special a few years back, as did WFHB when they did their Hoagy-thon. They let me borrow a 1939 radio broadcast last year for Afterglow, in which Hoagy plays with the Tommy Dorsey band up at the Circle Theater in Indianapolis, and Hoagy's mom sits in for a version of "Maple Leaf Rag."
Comment by mike whybark on January 27, 2009 at 12:57am
nope, diff book for sure, david, but that one sounds pretty interesting. I think I was looking at two books at my folks' house, both IUP pubs, one from the 30s or 40s and one from the 70s.
Comment by DBJ on January 27, 2009 at 12:02am
Mike W mentioned a Hoosier folklore book in the original Hoagy-photo thread--not sure if it's the same, but one worth checking out is the WPA/Federal Writers' Project Hoosier Tall Stories, published in 1939. There used to be a copy on the shelf at the IU Main Library. (And anybody interested in the Federal Writers' Project in Indiana should definitely check out George T. Blakey's Creating a Hoosier Self-Portrait.)

On Gennett: Jelly Roll, Bix and Hoagy.

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