Tim Bean

If you’re unfamiliar with the article “The Truth About Lilacs,” you may want to read it first. Otherwise this supplement makes little sense.

The sudden and overwhelming response to that short article surprised me—almost a million views in just three days. That’s about as viral as a regional website of historic hodgepodge can get. Comments have been very supportive. Criticisms, I hope, have been eased.

The most frequent criticism I received is simple disbelief; several readers have thought the article an outright fabrication. Skepticism in the veracity of an Internet article is healthy and understandable. I applaud you for wanting verification. And you shall have it.

In writing articles on this site, I try very hard to verify claims with sources. More than once I have fallen down a rabbit hole of sources for hours chasing a single fact. It’s not an obsession, but a desire to prevent this website from contributing to the overwhelming wave of misinformation and disinformation we face today. I won’t make a quick buck with lies.

I embedded sources in the article itself, but those might not have been enough to satisfy some readers. These listed below should do the trick. The first example I offer is personal. My house in Northwest Indiana was built in 1908 (roughly). Sure enough, about forty feet from the front door, there’s an ancient lilac bush at the very corner of the property where the outhouse likely once stood. The bush is old, kind of ugly, but for a few weeks in the spring, it smells great.

Lilacs and Outhouses: 

A Washington state woman’s 2015 musings on her grandmother, including the clutch of lilacs surrounding the outhouse site HERE.

This Old House posted a blurb about lilacs and outhouses on their Facebook page HERE.

A Chicago Tribune article “Privy to History” highlights the history of outhouses HERE.

Lilacs and Stillbirths/Miscarriages: 

I’ve provided six examples of miscarriages or stillbirths buried under or near lilac bushes below. Two are from novels, being what I would consider cultural examples. The other four are true-life. I hope this satisfies those wanting verification. As mentioned in the article, my wife and I endured three miscarriages, all within three years. It’s not a subject I like researching. These six will have to satisfy.

Modern example of stillborn buried beneath lilac: HERE

Fictional example from 2008 novel HERE.

Example uncovered in a family’s genealogical history HERE.

Fictional example from a 1908 novel HERE.

A stillborn’s gravesite located in Pennsylvania HERE.

A forgotten children’s South Dakota cemetery located in clump of lilacs HERE.

I hope that’s enough support and demonstrates this site’s integrity a bit. If you want additional verification, folks, you’re on your own. But I do thank you for reading and for your interest.


If you enjoyed this article, there’s 49 more like it in Hoosier Tales: Fifty Unknown Stories from Indiana available now in paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon.