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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dent Meyers, The Wildman

In the sleepy little town of Kennesaw, GA lies one of the most controversial antique shops in the country:  Wildman's Civil War Surplus and Herb Shop. 

Now you may think, that Civil War Surplus and Herbs are an unusual combination, but this shop is run by a very unusual man.   Meet Dent Meyers.

Dent is a true enigma.  To some he is a beloved folk hero, to others he is nothing more then a disgusting racist.

Dent became known as a poster boy for a controversial law in Kennesaw that required citizens to own a gun.  Dent honors this law by keeping two loaded pistols in a holster at all times. 

Dent's prime focus is on the Confederacy.  Dent was told by a psychic that he was the reincarnation of Stonewall Jackson, and he believes it.  Dent states that he hasn't had a president in 150 years, since Ole Jefferson Davis was booted from power.

Dent's shop looks like an episode of "Hoarders".  There are piles old yellowing new clippings, racks and racks of clothing, piles and piles of dusty books and other indecipherable clutter.  There is a "museum" in the back with a 50 cent entrance fee, but its actually just more shop, where everything is for sale.  In the museum you will find a lot of old military stuff.

There is also a large selection of herbs.  Apparently, Dent has a distrust of doctors and western medication.

And standing right next to the herbs is this:

Sweet Jesus!  Let me out of here!

There are some very disturbing racist displays

So, its pretty cut and dry here.  Dent Meyers is a terrible evil racist Bastard.

But, Dent disagrees.  Dent states that he is not racist.  Dent states that his displays are either jokes or have historical significance.  Dent states he does not believe that any race is inferior to another.  Dent even claims to like black people.  He has a wall of photos of black people enjoying his shop to prove it.

There was actually an African American customer in the store at the same time as me.  His reaction: he laughed as if the store was the most hilarious thing he had ever seen.

Then you have Dent himself.   He comes off as a folksy old grandfather.  He is pleasant and loves to chat with customers.  Dent has been interviewed many times to find out what his "deal" is.  Dent refrains from saying anything horribly racist (nothing worse then you'd hear on fox news).  Dent simply claims loyalty to the southern "lost cause". 

His belief system is somewhat puzzling.  He seems to be big into any conspiracy theory he can find.  He has a great distrust of the United States Government, which he believes is controlled by the Illuminati.  He claims Pearl Harbor and 911 were inside jobs.  He believes car seats were designed to train children to be accustomed to being confined, so the government can control them.

Meyers was a big believer in the 2012 Mayan apocalypse to the point where he went ahead and had a giant tombstone erected in the local cemetery marking his death year as 2012.  It is the largest stone in the cemetery and has his life mask plastered to it.

I have to imagine he is somewhat disappointed.

So what is there to say about Dent?  Is his store racist?  Yes.  Is Dent racist?  Probably.  Still, he is a fascinating southern character study.  That is something that can't be denied. 

The Carpetbagger

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