Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Kelley Libby, Zander Aloi, Briana Heaney Published

Rural LGBTQ Voices And An Appalachian Village Witch, Inside Appalachia

Two people pose for a photo. Both wear glasses and black outfits, smiling for the camera.
Elandria Williams (left) and Rae Garringer at the Appalshop Ball, December 2018.
Rae Garringer

This week, Rae Garringer felt isolated growing up and thought they were the only queer person in a small town. But they learned otherwise. Now they are collecting and sharing the stories of rural LGBTQ people from across the country.

Also, surface mining changes the landscape in a way that makes flooding worse. And there’s no easy fix. 

And we meet an Appalachian village witch, who wonders: How come we don’t hear about more female cryptids? Why isn’t there a Mothwoman?

You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

Telling Rural LGBTQ Stories In Their Own Words

A podcast cover featuring pink cowboy books. On the cover, it reads, "Country Queers The Podcast."

For 10 years, West Virginia native Rae Garringer has traveled around the country, recording oral history interviews with LGBTQ people in rural areas. Beginning in 2020, they started producing those interviews for a podcast called Country Queers.

Host Mason Adams caught up with Garringer, and they discussed the project and what it meant to tell those stories.

Climate Change, Mining And Flash Flooding

A blurry image of flooding in front of a home.
Flash flooding in Kanawha County.

Credit: Anna Goodnight

In August, historic flooding swept through central and southern West Virginia. Sudden heavy rain swept down the mountains, turning streams into rivers. The floods struck so swiftly that dozens of people had to be rescued.

But just as quickly as the floodwaters rose, they subsided, leaving wreck and ruin. Flash floods like this have become a regular occurrence in much of Appalachia.

WVPB’s Briana Heaney investigated the recent flooding near Charleston.

Interview With An Appalachian Witch

A photograph of an older woman wearing glasses and a red bandana on her head. She has a tan scarf around her neck.
H. Byron Ballard at home.

Credit: Llewellyn Worldwide

It’s the October spooky season, but here in Appalachia, a lot of people take witchcraft more seriously than broomsticks and black cats. It’s part of folklore. H. Byron Ballard, a practicing witch in North Carolina, is the author of “Small Magics: Practical Secrets from an Appalachian Village Witch.”

Producer Bill Lynch spoke with her. 


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Todd Burge, John Blissard, The Dirty River Boys and Tyler Childers. 

Bill Lynch is our producer. Zander Aloi is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens.

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You can find us on Instagram, Threads and Twitter @InAppalachia. Or here on Facebook.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.