Storytelling event at Winsted City Hall Saturday, April 6 from 7 to 9 p.m.
By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN With professional storyteller Duke Addicks at Winsted City Hall Saturday, April 6, adults and older children seeking an evening of free, enlightening entertainment don’t need to travel far.
“They’ll never forget this experience,” Addicks said. “It’ll certainly be different than anything they’ve had happen to them before, and it’ll certainly be worth their time.”
The event, which is made possible through the Winsted Arts Council, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Attendees will be treated to mesmerizing drum and flute music, along with stories of ghosts and days gone by.
“The flute is an important element in a lot of these stories,” Addicks said, explaining that for Dakota Indians, the flute was originally a courtship instrument young men played to attract young women.
Listening and telling
Storytelling has been part of Addicks’ life since he was 3 or 4 years old.
“I’m part Cherokee Indian,” he said. “I look like a regular Minnesota person, but my grandmother’s side is the Cherokee side. Her farm is in the mountains of northwestern Georgia, and I spent every summer with her and the Cherokee people. I got really immersed in the culture that way.”
At dawn, Addicks’ grandmother would take him down to the barnyard and tell him a story. The next morning, she’d take him there again, and if he could tell the story back to her in his own words, she’d tell him another one.
“She passed on everything she knew through the stories, and made me a storyteller,” said Addicks, who now lives between Falcon Heights and St. Paul.
With his part-Cherokee, part-Minnesota upbringing, Addicks said he’s developed two ways to look at the world.
“It’s like how you have two eyes, and you need them both open for depth perception,” Addicks said.
During his 46-year career as a lawyer, Addicks met people from a variety of cultures.
“Out of law school, I was a prosecutor in Ramsey County,” he said. “You can learn a lot about life from a courtroom.”
In addition to his law background, Addicks also has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, a master’s degree in religious studies, and is a licensed Episcopal minister.
“I’m working on a couple of advanced degrees now,” he added.
Addicks is known as “Minnesota’s master of real ghost stories,” and he spent many years as a “ghost hunter.”
“I’ve investigated hundreds of hauntings in the Twin Cities,” he said.
Ghost-like encounters are not uncommon, Addicks said, and many people have shared their stories with him.
“Mainly, I’d go and listen, and help them understand their experience,” he said. “Some people had never told anyone before, because they didn’t want to sound crazy.”
Through his American Indian relatives, Addicks received the name Asgina Ageli, which means “Walks With the Ancestors.”
Addicks has been a professional storyteller for more than 50 years, appearing at libraries, schools, colleges, festivals, historical societies, and more.
“I don’t perform I just come and talk to folks,” Addicks said. “I just hope they’re entertained and educated, and get a better understanding of what it is to be a human being.”
To learn more about Addicks, go to www.dukeaddicksstoryteller.com.