Frank and Bottle Tree
Union Church, MS 2002
Frank Clark stands behind a bottle tree in his front yard in Union Church, MS. Once a common site in the Southern landscape, the bottle tree's origins go back to 9th century Congo, where hand-blown glass was hung on huts and trees as a talisman against evil. The practice consists of removing the foliage from a tree (preferably a cedar because all the branches point heavenward) and placing the tree in the yard of the house. The bare branches are then covered with colorful glass bottles that attract any evil spirit that may be lurking near the house. The spirit becomes mesmerized by the play of sunlight through the colorful glass and becomes trapped inside the bottle. When the wind blows past them, the moans of ensnared spirits can be heard whistling on the breeze.