Huggin' Molly's gonna getcha: Flashlight & A Biscuit, No. 28

Beware the embrace of small-town phantoms.

Welcome to Flashlight & A Biscuit, my Southern sports/culture/food offshoot of my work at Yahoo Sports. Thanks for reading, and if you’re new around here, why not subscribe? It’s free and all. Today: more Southern small-town spookiness! Or at least, mildly disturbing creepiness!

We’re nearing Halloween, and that means it’s time to start digging around in local tales of terror. Pretty much every Southern small town on the map has its own little haunt, haint, ghost, demon, phantom, apparition, wraith or general spectral bit of otherworldly strangeness. Nobody’s ever caught one of these things, mind you, but there’s a guy who lives right over there who can tell you all about the time his cousin was driving home late one evening and saw something you wouldn’t believe …

Should you, in your travels, find yourself in the tiny town of Abbeville, Alabama — it’s right between Eufaula and Dothan, you can’t miss it — be very careful walking late at night.

There’s a dark, looming presence in Abbeville, you see — a seven-foot-tall woman shrouded in black. Should she spot you, she’ll begin walking toward you, arms outstretched. No matter how fast you run, she’ll be right there behind you.

This is Huggin’ Molly, my friend, and she’s coming for you.

And when she catches you … she hugs you. Hugs you, I say! And shrieks! And then she lets you go! And then—


That’s it?

She hugs you? And then screams in your ear? That’s annoying as hell, but is it really scary?

Hell, Huggin’ Molly sounds a sorority sister at the end of Rush Week. That’s a terrifying thought, true, but for entirely different reasons.

Anyway, hugs are, as you know, verboten in these days of social distancing, so maybe ol’ Huggin’ Molly was ahead of the curve in using this as a method of instilling terror. (Man, I miss hugs. Parental hugs. Good-to-see-you hugs. Bro hugs. Bank teller hugs. Gas station attendant hugs. Homeless dude hugs … you know, I’m probably saying too much here.)

So, yes, the thought of some black-cloaked woman the size of Anthony Davis looking to wrap you up is a little freaky in and of itself. But … scary? I don’t know about that, unless she were to look like …

Whoa! Yes, definitely like that. Sure, with the blank eyes and skull necklace and fangs and such, our lady Molly looks like she belongs on the cover of a ‘90s comic, but in this version she’s still pretty damn terrifying.

Other variants of the story have Molly hugging her victims till they die, sort of a grandmother’s love/boa constrictor mashup. One telling suggests that “Molly” was actually a college professor trying to scare his students straight, which seems the kind of problematic move that results in police records, unfortunate mug shots and loss of tenure.

Bottom line, this seems a whole lot like one of those tales parents made up back in the olden days — you know, pre-2005 — to get their kids home on time. (Nowadays, she’d be called “Phone-Stealing Molly.”) No, I’m not willing to stand alone in the middle of a lonely Abbeville road at moonlight to prove my belief, but I’ll still declare it nonetheless.

But should you find yourself in Abbeville, make sure to stop by Huggin’ Molly’s, a ‘50s diner-style joint that leans hard into the whole HM legend. (“Serving burgers, shakes and hugs!”)

Just get indoors before dark. You never know.

That’ll do it for this time around, my friends. See you Saturday for another SEC tale, and until then, hug someone in your bubble … and scream at someone who’s not. Seeya!


Sources: Small Town Myths, Huggin’ Molly’s. (Got a small-town tale of your own? Tell me.)

This has been issue #28 of Flashlight & A Biscuit. Check out all the past issues right here. And if you dug this, share it with your friends. Social media is an absolute nightmare, and not in a good Huggin’ Molly kind of way. So brighten someone’s timeline with a little F&AB. Invite others to the party, everybody’s welcome.

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