Laurinburg, NC, January 25 — The Storytelling Arts Center of the Southeast by jury declared Weaverville resident Wallace Shealy the Bold-Faced Liar Champion of 2010. In accepting the award, Shealy said, “I am not sure if this makes me the biggest liar in the Southeast or simply that I told the most original tall tale today.”
Shealy, who coaches other pastors on the establishment of churches, won his accolade after telling a story based on the biblical account from the fifth chapter of Mark, about Jesus casting out a legion of demons. With a twinkle in his eye, he allowed that, “Of course I embellished the story slightly.” Maybe more than slightly: When the text says that Jesus sent a legion of demons into a herd of 2,000 pigs that fly off a cliff, Shealy added, “That of course this is the first recorded case of Swine Flu.” He also suggested this text might explain legionnaire’s disease. And when the pigs crash on to the rocky waters below, in the name of full disclosure, he mentioned that he heard that the Underwood family got the hazardous-waste clean-up contract, which explains the origins of deviled ham.
“I am not sure how I am going to explain to the church, public or my real estate clients that I am now officially the boldest liar in the Southeast,“ said Shealy.
Shealy has added to his reputation for tomfoolery and narrative hyperbole by his multi-year involvement with the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. He is also a member of the Asheville Storytelling Circle, whose membership includes a number of prominent regional and national tellers, including Michael Reno Harrell, a judge and featured teller at the liar’s contest.
The 2010 Bold-Faced Liar Champion is already booked to tell his tale at the Reuter Center at UNCA on Friday, Feb. 5 at 11:30 a.m., and he has been invited to be a master of ceremonies at the Storytelling Festival of Carolina. Beyond that, we should rest assured we have not heard the last of Wallace Shealy’s tales.
Storytelling Arts Center’s website is at http://www.storyarts.info