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Interview with Robert Emery

Emery, Robert
Emery, Angela
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Stories and storytellers
Robert Emery talks about his telekinetic cousin Kimmy, and his powerful Evangelist grandmother.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Angela Emery interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
AE (Angela Emery): ( ) OK.
RE (Robert Emery): I guess it just boils down to that my father's side of the family, we were really strange people, and, uh, even though I was too young to remember this, the big story with my family is my cousin Kimmy, my daddy had, uh, four brothers and one sister and, uh, all, all of his brothers's kids were normal but the sister Linda, she had a daughter Kimmy when I was a baby she was about three and a half, four years old and started to show signs of having these strange abilities and, uh, my mother tells me that they go into the kitchen one day and Kimmy's, Kimmy is at the kitchen table in a high chair and, uh, they left her alone for a second went into the living room and come back in and th-, from the time they were-, they left, went into the living room and come back into the kitchen, every bit of silverware on the table was bent, all them up, uh, a series of things kept happening after that, things, a line across the room, they thought the house was haunted, um, they came up with so many different explanations of what was going on and [clears throat] finally when-, one day my grandmother was, uh, in, in the living room and, uh, they said that Kimmy had somehow, took a large knitting needle and somehow like balanced it on her hand and made a shoot out of her hand and go right out of her my grandmother's foot, went up to the bottom of my grandmother's foot and she bedded the, uh, the-, what of the right foot long needle all of the way up to her leg-.
AE: Oh my God.
RE: -At four years old. That's when the investigators came in with you know child services, they took her away, uh, you know, ( ) for a four year old she was an awfully violent child, she would try to hurt me and cut my legs, pinch me, and when they took her to O.S.U. and tested her, they said that she tested higher than any person that they ever tested for telekinesis, but that she was violent, extremely violent even at four years old and that something was-, at the same time she had these abilities, she had some sort of mental retardation, or, or insanity or what have you and so they were afraid, they were afraid of what she could do and, uh, it's like, like, like freaky, it's like the movie Carrie or something and they put her on some kind of medication or something on a medication that basically after 10 years of being on it, by the time she was a teenager she was a vegetable [pause], and I just wish I could have seen, you know 'cause it just, for me, it's just a story that my family tells me 'cause I was too little to witness it, but uh-.
AE: Is she still alive?
RE: Yeah, she is like a vegetable now, they lobotomized her.
AE: [Laughs] // ( ) //
RE: // ( ) // Story [pause]. So what do you want to know about my grandmother?
AE: Tell me about her ( ) and religion and all that on the radio.
RE: [Sighs] Well, I don't know where to begin. I, I had about this-, my earliest memories about my grandmother would show me a Polaroid she took of, of the clouds and in the, in the Polaroid there is Jesus' face and she says, "Look, this is Jesus' face," and I remember seeing the face perfectly clear, and then my mother tells me later that there was no face on the picture and when, when anybody else looked at it they wouldn't see anything, that she had the power of suggestion. She'd make you, she could take a picture of a bush and say that there is a Virgin Mary in that bush, you could see it right here and sh-, she suggested in a certain way to you that your eyes would get tricked and you would see whatever she wants you to see, well, what she was, she was a Pentecostal creature, and, I mean, I just have big memories because my parents got divorced when I was five so these-, all these memories come from between three and five, I remember her babysitting me and just talking to some lady that, that came over and, and all of the sudden she goes into the laundry room and, and starts going, "Blah, blah, blah, // blah-." //
AE: // [Laughs] //
RE: -"Blah, blah."
AE: [Laughs]
RE: But it sounded like three people talking at once.
AE: [Laughs]
RE: It's not funny.
AE: [Laughs]
RE: This-, I mean, she, she truly believed she spoke in tongues and-.
AE: [Laughs]
RE: And, and, and, to the point that, that my mom-, and, and I never got to this, and, and I regret I never got to see this but my mother would go to her church and said that she would have the power to make everybody in the room go into a mass hysteria, convulsions, speaking in tongues, rolling around on the ground, I mean, freaking out.
AE: [Laughs]
RE: She did that for a couple of years and then I guess that that wasn't enough and then she became an Evangelist [clears throat]. And, uh, there is plenty of prisons in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia that she has probably been the only woman who has ever set foot inside certain areas inside the prison and she would go to all of the state penitentiaries where the meanest, baddest sons of bitches around were in, and she would-, she could walk right up to them and they would, there would all call her Sister Cox and they all loved her and she would go in with her 12 string and a banjo, crazy as she was and, all, all the speaking in tongues aside, the woman can play the hell out of, out of the guitar, she was like Jimmy Hendricks, an old lady Jimmy Hendrix on a 12 string, unbelievable, so she would go in there and entertained them and sang them and, you know, and do a little soul saving while she was there.
AE: // [Laughs] //
RE: // She was // just very, still is a very interesting character.
AE: She had a radio station too, didn't she?
RE: Yes, she had a radio station in the morning, every morning she was on the radio.
AE: Really?
RE: Evangelizing from like five in the morning to seven, every morning-.
AE: Wow.
RE: -For 15 years, 20 years.
AE: ( )
RE: Uh-hmm, she still Evangelizes, travels.
AE: ( )