I grew up hearing Pap tell a very silly story about Whippoorwills.
In days gone by, the story was quite popular in our area. In fact the story was so popular a man came to record it straight from the source as they say. Pap was lucky to hear the story from the source and from the later recording.
Old Man Jeff claimed to have been responsible for choking out the Whippoorwills in Bellview (a local community). Pap said back then Whippoorwills were so plentiful that fox hunters said they interfered with their hunting.
Old Man Jeff and his brothers were out fox hunting one night and the Whippoorwills were so loud they couldn’t hear the dogs running. Old Man Jeff told one of his brothers to pull out his shirt tail and tie a knot in it-to choke the Whippoorwills. As soon as he tied the knot the birds quietened a bit. Old Man Jeff told him to tie another one and the birds got even quieter! Old Man Jeff instructed his brother to tie one more knot and as he tied the last knot all the Whippoorwills fell out of the tree dead and there hasn’t been a Whippoorwill in Bellview since!
The story or should I say “tall tale” is funny enough, but Pap says the recording was even funnier.
At the end of the recorded story you can hear a lady say “Anybody who’d believe that is standing on their head!” The interviewer asks who the lady is and Old Man Jeff says “That’s my crazy old woman she don’t believe nothing!”
I love hearing the call of the Whippoorwill. The sound is kind of eerie and lonesome. Seems each year I hear them less. In some areas the Whippoorwill population has been decreased by as much as 80%-not because of someone choking them out with their shirt-tail, but by the continued spread and sprawl of people.