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A native of Appalachia, Melantha Harmon was orphaned as a baby, and after having been removed from the household of an alcoholic uncle, was brought up in various foster homes. At some time during her childhood, she was informed that her mother had died in childbirth. More than one foster parent also speculated that, judging from her appearance, she must have the proverbial Cherokee grandmother in her lineage somewhere. Melantha didn’t let either of these circumstances -- or anything else, for that matter -- keep her from doing what she wanted with her life. Though she always preferred the outdoors to being cooped up inside, she worked hard in school, then went on to put herself through college and the requisite medical training to become a licensed nurse-midwife. She hadn’t quite finished her education when she got the news that she’d inherited the cabin that had belonged to her Grandfather Harmon. Once she got her degree and her certification, she moved back home to North Carolina and has lived there ever since.

From a relatively early age, Melantha has been aware that she can see in the dark like a cat. It wasn’t till adolescence that she started seeing ghosts, and it was a couple of years before she took it into her head to try talking to one. She wasn’t all that surprised when it answered back. Since then she’s learned a bit more about ghosts and in a few cases has been able to “lay” a troublesome spirit. In her words, “A lot of ’em’s just confused ’bout bein’ dead. Once you explain things, they’ll go quiet.” While in medical school, she also gradually came to realize that she could tell things like how close a woman was to giving birth, or when any patient was near death, before doing the tests. She kept her mouth shut about this ability, however, since she didn’t think it would go down well with the instructors.

Currently in her early thirties, Melantha is a tall woman with dark eyes, high cheekbones, and straight, black hair which she usually wears braided. She shares her homestead with three dogs: a terrier mix named Whiskers, a golden retriever named Beau, and Lady, another mixed breed whose general appearance hints at some greyhound in her ancestry. She also keeps chickens and goats and has a large vegetable patch. She drives a beat-up old Chevy truck and is adept with both a shotgun and a hunting rifle. She does carry a cell phone so that she can be reached by clients, though the connectivity in the mountains can be a bit haphazard.

Most of her income is from her midwifery business. She uses a sliding scale when charging fees, and is perfectly ready to accept payment in kind, rather than cash, from her poorer patients. She also has a certain reputation in the hollers as someone to consult about hauntings or other troubles you might not want to take to “one’a them city doctors.” She spends a good deal of time outdoors and knows a lot of local herb lore -- as well as things like which mushrooms are safe to eat.

Page last modified on April 30, 2011, at 10:30 PM