Song: Possum Kingdom by The Toadies

 Place: Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas

Possum Kingdom Lake
Lyrics passage Make up your mind
Decide to walk with me
Around the lake tonight.
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Possum Kingdom Lake  Possum Kingdom Lake  Hell's GateHell's Gate The dam at Possum Kingdom LakeThe dam at Possum Kingdom Lake
The jig is up. Toadies lead singer - and the very guy who wrote this song - says it’s not about vampires. So put the fangs and capes on the ground and back away slowly.

Before you go dancing your end-zone boogaloo, the very same guy - and remember, he wrote the song - also says it’s not about a real-life murder. Nor even a rapist. The nerve! Provoking such controversy amongst their listeners and then offering nothing solid to back it up!!

But controversy can be a good thing. Remember Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”? Without its cross-burning video, you might not. The religious sect raised such a stink about that video there’s no way it would go softly out of the world’s collective memory. And while the Toadies were never on a level with Madonna fame-wise, the words that have been exchanged by their fans over the inspiration for this song are weighty enough to sink a barge.

So listen up. We’re about to give you the real lowdown.

We begin with the fact that Possum Kingdom is - yes - a real place. It’s a man-made lake on the Brazos River about 75 miles west of Forth Worth in Texas. One story has salesman Ike Sablosky moving to nearby Mineral Wells in 1906 to try and get healthy. While there, he couldn’t help but notice the demand for possum fur (possum fur?!?) and he wanted to get some of the action. He connected with some suppliers from Northwest Palo Pinto County who he affectionately began calling “the boys from Possum Kingdom.” And a kingdom it became; Ike struck it rich with his fur trade, becoming a millionaire before retiring to Dallas.

The name stuck, and the area became known widely as the Possum Kingdom. The lake and dam there cover around 18,000 acres of land, providing amazing fishing, camping, and swimming amenities for anyone so inclined.

However - and this is the important part - there is no record of any vampires using this place as a feeding ground. Nor - and this is the second important part - is there any record of anyone being killed by a deranged murderer, or even one who’s non-deranged. And - bonus! - there’s no record, even, of anyone having been raped in the area.

Armed with this information, we are confident that Toadies front man Todd Lewis - who wrote this song - was truthful when revealing to RIP magazine in 1995 that “it’s just a story I heard long ago; just a really cool, eerie lake and some stuff I heard and some stuff I just make up. I tend to do that. They dammed up this big river up there and it’s got all these spooky names like Hell’s Gate. It’s really cool.”

Now, we all know about stories told around campfires, made scarier the more detail is thrown in, and they are designed to make little kids go diving for their sleeping bags head-first to try and disappear. These, children, are Boogey Man stories. And once you hit the age of 12 or thereabouts, you begin to realize that Uncle Bill was only trying to scare you, that your brother was just a really good actor making all the appropriate scary noises. And then it’ll hit you: Those bastards. They made you pee your pants for no reason. And you just don’t speak to them anymore for the rest of your life. But I digress.

Offering up something to those who still choose to believe it’s based on a true life story, Lewis added, “I was down there (in Texas) for Thanksgiving, and after the family got through talking about who died and who's got cancer and all those things that families talk about, they started talking about this guy who was peeping in windows and started breaking into people's houses. He'd go out of his way to be seen, and everyone is like armed to the teeth, and he's like tapping on windows. The whole family was freaked out about it." So if you really must believe in the reality of the words in the song, here’s a tenuous thread.

Aside from the controversy, the 1995 album containing this song, Rubberneck, only reached 56 on the Billboard chart, even though the song made it into the top 10. You'd think with all the things being said back and forth, the fans would have notched this one up a bit higher.

Regardless, there are those who will remain passionate about their belief in what they perceive from someone else’s words. It happens all the time in Hollywood (right?). So far be it for us to dissuade you from your morbid thoughts. Go ahead and feel free to tell whatever creepy stories you’d like around the campfire. Just stay away from Possum Kingdom Lake and maybe the Boogey Man will leave you alone. For now.
~ Shawna Hansen Ortega
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Cody from possum kingdomits really just a lake like any other, poor people work for rich people
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 Video: Possum Kingdom

 Place: Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas


Song : Possum Kingdom

In the film Dark Secrets: The Stories of Rubberneck, Todd Lewis talked about writing this song. "In my teens and, I guess, my 20s, I would go to Possum Kingdom Lake where my family has some land and it was just really cool and creepy and just a really interesting place. Names like Hell's Gate and Devil's Island and all this weird nomenclature that just kind of lends itself to that kind of storytelling.

I was reading a lot of Stephen King and similar type horror fiction and every dark thing that I could read, so that song is about a character that's kind of stuck in another world, out floating around Possum Kingdom Lake. He's lonely and freaked out and just wanting to lure somebody else into his little realm. This guy wants to convince somebody else to do what he did, which is to burn themselves alive in order to be this other thing.

The essence of that is taking something that is beautiful and whole and destroying it in order to create something else. That's why in the video there's a creepy guy with a block of ice and he's creating this ice sculpture which will just be beautiful for just a moment and then it's going to melt and just be nothing. It's weird. It's how my brain works."

Album : Rubberneck
Released : 1994
US chart position : 40

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