I Love Scary Stories!
So Who Wants To Share?
I Love Scary Stories!
So Who Wants To Share?
Ok I want to start this off with the Facebook Killer
I want you to keep in mind that some of you, Never Know what your significant other is doing in prison if they are making deals on the side and not paying their debts and someone may be looking for you on Facebook for Revenge
Axe Murder Hollow
A Pennsylvania Ghost Story
retold by S.E. Schlosser
Susan and Ned were driving through a wooded empty section of highway. Lightning flashed, thunder roared, the sky went dark in the torrential downpour.
?We?d better stop,? said Susan.
Ned nodded his head in agreement. He stepped on the brake, and suddenly the car started to slide on the slick pavement. They plunged off the road and slid to a halt at the bottom of an incline.
Pale and shaking, Ned quickly turned to check if Susan was all right. When she nodded, Ned relaxed and looked through the rain soaked windows.
?I?m going to see how bad it is,? he told Susan, and when out into the storm. She saw his blurry figure in the headlight, walking around the front of the car. A moment later, he jumped in beside her, soaking wet.
?The car?s not badly damaged, but we?re wheel-deep in mud,? he said. ?I?m going to have to go for help.?
Susan swallowed nervously. There would be no quick rescue here. He told her to turn off the headlights and lock the doors until he returned.
Axe Murder Hollow. Although Ned hadn?t said the name aloud, they both knew what he had been thinking when he told her to lock the car. This was the place where a man had once taken an axe and hacked his wife to death in a jealous rage over an alleged affair. Supposedly, the axe-wielding spirit of the husband continued to haunt this section of the road.
Outside the car, Susan heard a shriek, a loud thump, and a strange gurgling noise. But she couldn?t see anything in the darkness.
Frightened, she shrank down into her seat. She sat in silence for a while, and then she noticed another sound. Bump. Bump. Bump. It was a soft sound, like something being blown by the wind.
Suddenly, the car was illuminated by a bright light. An official sounding voice told her to get out of the car. Ned must have found a police officer. Susan unlocked the door and stepped out of the car. As her eyes adjusted to the bright light, she saw it.
Hanging by his feet from the tree next to the car was the dead body of Ned. His bloody throat had been cut so deeply that he was nearly decapitated. The wind swung his corpse back and forth so that it thumped against the tree. Bump. Bump. Bump.
Susan screamed and ran toward the voice and the light. As she drew close, she realized the light was not coming from a flashlight. Standing there was the glowing figure of a man with a smile on his face and a large, solid, and definitely real axe in his hands. She backed away from the glowing figure until she bumped into the car.
?Playing around when my back was turned,? the ghost whispered, stroking the sharp blade of the axe with his fingers. ?You?ve been very naughty.?
The last thing she saw was the glint of the axe blade in the eerie, incandescent light.
A Maryland Ghost Story
S. E. Schlosser
When Felix Agnus put up the life-sized shrouded bronze statue of a grieving angel, seated on a pedestal, in the Agnus family plot in the Druid Ridge Cemetery, he had no idea what he had started. The statue was a rather eerie figure by day, frozen in a moment of grief and terrible pain. At night, the figure was almost unbelievably creepy; the shroud over its head obscuring the face until you were up close to it. There was a living air about the grieving angel, as if its arms could really reach out and grab you if you weren't careful.
It didn't take long for rumors to sweep through the town and surrounding countryside. They said that the statue - nicknamed Black Aggie - was haunted by the spirit of a mistreated wife who lay beneath her feet. The statue's eyes would glow red at the stroke of midnight, and any living person who returned the statues gaze would instantly be struck blind. Any pregnant woman who passed through her shadow would miscarry. If you sat on her lap at night, the statue would come to life and crush you to death in her dark embrace. If you spoke Black Aggie's name three times at midnight in front of a dark mirror, the evil angel would appear and pull you down to hell. They also said that spirits of the dead would rise from their graves on dark nights to gather around the statue at night.
People began visiting the cemetery just to see the statue, and it was then that the local fraternity decided to make the statue of Grief part of their initiation rites. "Black Aggie" sitting, where candidates for membership had to spend the night crouched beneath the statue with their backs to the grave of General Agnus, became popular.
One dark night, two fraternity members accompanied new hopeful to the cemetery and watched while he took his place underneath the creepy statue. The clouds had obscured the moon that night, and the whole area surrounding the dark statue was filled with a sense of anger and malice. It felt as if a storm were brewing in that part of the cemetery, and to their chagrin, the two fraternity members noticed that gray shadows seemed to be clustering around the body of the frightened fraternity candidate crouching in front of the statue.
What had been a funny initiation rite suddenly took on an air of danger. One of the fraternity brothers stepped forward in alarm to call out to the initiate. As he did, the statue above the boy stirred ominously. The two fraternity brothers froze in shock as the shrouded head turned toward the new candidate. They saw the gleam of glowing red eyes beneath the concealing hood as the statue's arms reached out toward the cowering boy.
With shouts of alarm, the fraternity brothers leapt forward to rescue the new initiate. But it was too late. The initiate gave one horrified yell, and then his body disappeared into the embrace of the dark angel. The fraternity brothers skidded to a halt as the statue thoughtfully rested its glowing eyes upon them. With gasps of terror, the boys fled from the cemetery before the statue could grab them too.
Hearing the screams, a night watchman hurried to the Agnus plot. To his chagrin, he discovered the body of a young man lying at the foot of the statue. The young man had apparently died of fright.
The disruption caused by the statue grew so acute that the Agnus family finally donated it to the Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C.. The grieving angel sat for many years in storage there, never again to plague the citizens visiting the Druid Hill Park Cemetery.
Excerpt from Spooky Massachusetts
Retold by S.E. Schlosser
Mad Henry was a hermit who lived alone in a decrepit mansion at the edge of town. Rumors were rife about the wild-eyed man. Some folks said that he was a magician who called upon the powers of darkness to wreck havoc upon his neighbors. Others called him a mad doctor who could restore life to foul corpses from the local cemetery. No respectable citizen in town had anything to do with Mad Henry
Then one year a new family moved to town with a lovely daughter, Rachel, who caught Mad Henry?s eye. He showered the maiden with gifts?goblets of pure gold, necklaces of pearl, and a pot of daisies that never dropped a single petal. Despite the gifts, Rachael fell in love with another, Geoffrey, a handsome young man just home from university. A week after meeting they eloped, leaving behind a stunned Mad Henry.
When Rachael and Geoffrey returned from the elopement, they threw a big ball and invited everyone in town. While Rachel was waltzing with her father, she heard a clap of thunder. Lightning flashed again and again. Suddenly, the double doors blew open and a breeze whirled in, bringing with it the smell of dead, decaying things. Mad Henry loomed in the doorway, pupils gleaming red with anger. He was followed by the grotesque figures of the dead, who came marching two by two into the room. Their eye sockets glowed with blue fire as they surrounded the room.
Two of the corpses captured Geoffrey and threw him down at the feet of their lord. Red eyes gleaming, Mad Henry drew a silver-bladed knife and casually cut the bridegroom?s throat from ear to ear. Rachel screamed and ran forward, pushing through the foul, stinking corpses of the dead, and flung herself upon her dying husband.
?Kill us both,? she cried desperately.
But Mad Henry plucked the lass out of the pool of blood surrounding her dead husband and carried her out into the thundering night. Behind him, the army of the dead turned from the grizzly scene and followed their master. The sounds of thunder and lightning faded away as the alchemist and his dead companions disappeared into the dark night.
Geoffrey?s father and Rachael?s father gathered a small mob and followed the evil hermit, intent upon saving Rachel. When they searched Mad Henry?s house, they found it completely empty save for a light, which shone from a series of mysterious globes that bobbed near the ceiling of each room. Mad Henry had vanished.
Search parties scoured the countryside for days, but turned up nothing. Geoffrey was buried in the local cemetery, and the dance hall was torn down. No one in town spoke about what had happened, and no one dared imagine what had become of poor Rachel.
A year to the day after the ball, a timid knock sounded upon the door of Rachael?s parents? home. When her father opened it, he saw a gaunt, gray figure on the stoop. Her eyes were dull with exhaustion and pain. It was Rachel! Her tongue had been cut out so she couldn?t speak. But when she produced a knife from her tattered garments?the knife with a silver blade that they had last seen in the hands of Mad Henry? the gleam of satisfaction in Rachel?s eyes told them that the streaks of blood that coated the knife were those of Mad Henry. That night, Rachel died in her sleep with a peaceful smile upon her ravaged face.
The Brick Wall
The Brick WallA Massachusetts Horror Story
retold by S.E. Schlosser
excerpted from Spooky Massachusetts
Massey was a soldier unfortunate enough to cross me, his commanding officer. He did not live to regret it. There was something very satisfying in the moment when I thrust the tip of my sword into the soldier?s heart during our duel. I watched him fall to the ground with the satisfaction of a job well done.
The men under my command seem depressed in the following weeks. They mention Massey frequently, but I ignore their conversations.
One night, I retreat to my chambers to sulk and soon was joined by a delegation of men who were friends of Massey. I am surprised and delighted to learn that they had come to their senses and now saw the impertinent lieutenant for the cheat he really was. We share a round of drinks and laughed together. I?m afraid I drank far too much that evening.
The other soldiers suggested we explore the lower dungeons. That sounded like a fine idea to me. We set off in merry spirits, drinking and singing and laughing, our voices echoing through the narrow passages. Deeper and deeper we went. My head started spinning and my legs felt like rubber after all that drinking. I am afraid I passed out from drunkenness, much to my shame.
When I came to, I was lying on my back with my wrists and ankles shackled to the floor. Drunken men, fooling around, I thought.
?Very funny, lads,? I called out. ?Now set me free.?
The soldiers didn?t answer me. A moment passed and Massey?s best friend appeared in the doorway, holding mortar and a mason?s trowel. The other men began handing him bricks and I realize that the soldiers are bricking up the entrance to the cell in which I lay shackled. ?Very funny,? I said again.
No one answered me. They worked in silence, laying brick after brick until one row is done, then two. They were playing a nasty joke on me, of course.
Then Massey?s best friend paused in his work and looked directly into my eyes. At that moment I realized that this joke is no joke. Scream after scream ripped from my throat as I struggle against my bonds. But the dungeon was too deep within the fort, and no one heard my screams.
They were on the final row of bricks. I was reduced to bribery now, desperately using my wealth in an attempt to escape my fate. But no one listened to my bribes. I watched in heart-thudding horror as the last brick is put in place, as the last ***** of light faded from my sight. I have been entombed alive in the deepest, darkest dungeon of the fort. I howled in panic, writhing against the iron manacles binding hands and feet and twisting my body. Eventually I fell back against the floor, my wrists and ankles wet with my own blood.
My fingers were torn and throbbing from their intense scrabbling against the hard floor. I found myself weeping angrily, though I have never shed a tear in my lifetime.
The agony of the thought sent me writhing again in spite of the horrible pain racking my wrists, ankles, and hands. Daylight. I must see daylight again. Just once more.
?Don?t leave me here to die alone! Don?t leave me!?
But I was alone, and the sheer brutal horror of it overwhelmed me. My eyes strained against the complete and utter darkness, and I wondered if they were even open.
Dear God, I can?t get out. I can?t get out. I CAN?T GET OUT!
Historical Note: This is a retelling of a story from Fort Independence on Castle Island in Massachusetts. Local lore claimed that an unpopular officer was walled up in the fort's dungeon following a duel in which he killed a more popular man. Edgar Allan Poe learned of the legend while serving on Castle Island in the Army, and his short story "The Cask of Amontillado," is said to be based upon the incident.
The Brothers' Revenge
Spooky WisconsinA Wisconsin Ghost Story
Retold by S.E. Schlosser
The blizzard was raging fiercely around them as the brothers stumbled down the long road. they were miles from any farm, and knew they had to seek shelter or freeze to death. So it was with gratitude that the two brothers spotted a saloon and pushed their way through the door.
Every eye in the room turned upon them, as the boys ordered coffee with the last of their money. As the bartender went to fetch the hot drink, most of the regulars returned to their conversations. But one man continued to stare; a massive butcher with a mop of red hair and a long red beard who was the worse for drink.
?You?re looking at me funny,? the butcher slurred, looming over the two boys.
?We weren?t looking at you,? said the older boy. ?We were just warming ourselves by the fire.?
?Are you calling me a liar?? he shouted. Around the room crowd grinned; they loved a good fight.
?We didn?t say that,? said the older boy quickly, waving his hands and accidentally striking the butcher on the arm. That did it. The butcher grabbed the boy by the collar. ?No one hits me and gets away with it,? he roared and threw the boy headfirst into the huge fire raging in the hearth.
There was a moment of stunned silence in the saloon, and then the elder boy screamed in agony as the flames engulfed him from head to toe. The younger lad shouted in terror. The older boy stumbled out of the fireplace, as the little brother tried to beat out the fire with his small hands.
The butcher loomed above them, grinning sadistically as the flaming boy lost consciousness, his screams dying away.
?Your turn,? the butcher said to his brother. The younger boy gasped in fear and fled for his life out into the raging snow. The boy?s little frozen body was not found until the spring.
One evening, a decade after the death of the two young boys, a burly man with a long red beard came strolling down the road one taken by the brothers. The butcher had heard rumors of a ghost but had discarded them as so much poppycock and tavern talk.
As he meandered down the road, he became aware that a silence had fallen. In the odd silence, he heard the footsteps of a large animal. They walked when he walked and stopped when he stopped. Pulse pounding madly, the butcher turned. Behind him, large as an ox, stood a black dog with blazing blue eyes and sharp teeth. The butcher had seen those blue eyes once before, gazing at him from the face of a young boy trying to save his burning brother.
The black dog growled softly and took a step forward. The butcher whirled around to flee and found himself face to face with tall figure covered from head to toe in flames. The burning boy reached out toward the butcher with hands withered and blackened by fire. The butcher gave a terrified scream and fell, blood gushing from eyes and nose. He was dead before he hit the ground.
To this day, the black dog and the flaming figure still appeared in that vicinity to harass travelers and speed them on their way.
Retold by S.E. Schlosser
She was sophisticated, poised, and cultured. In retrospect, this should have made them suspicious. A teacher like her should be presiding over a girl?s school in London or New York, not seeking a position in a small town in Georgia. But at the time, they were too delighted by her application to ask any questions.
?It will be good for our daughter to learn some culture,? the attorney?s wife told the pastor?s wife.
?And our boy may find some table manners at last,? the pastor?s wife responded with a smile.
School was called into session in the local church shortly after the arrival of the teacher. And soon, the children were bringing glowing reports home. ?Teacher? was special. Teacher taught them manners and diction as well as reading, writing and arithmetic. All the children loved teacher.
The parents were delighted by the progress their children were making at school. Teacher had been a real find. A God-send, said the preacher?s wife.
But not everyone in town was so satisfied. The local ne-er-do well ? called Smith ? had more sinister stories to tell.
?That woman ain?t natural,? he told the blacksmith, waving a bottle of whisky for emphasis. ?I seen her out in the woods after dark, dancing around a campfire and chanting in a strange language.?
?Nonsense,? the blacksmith retorted, calmly hammering a headed iron bar on his anvil.
?They say she?s got an altar in her room and it ain?t an altar to the Almighty,? Smith insisted, leaning forward and blowing his boozy breath into the blacksmith?s face.
?You?re drunk,? said the blacksmith, lifting the hot iron so it barred the man from coming any closer. ?Go home and sleep it off.?
Smith left the smithy, but he continued to talk wild about the Teacher in the weeks that followed. During those weeks, a change gradually came over the school children. The typical high-jinks and pranks that all children played lessened. Their laughter died away. And when they did misbehave, it was on a much more ominous scale than before. Items began to disappear from houses and farms. Expensive items like jewelry, farm tools, and money. When children talked back to their parents, there was a hard-edge to their voices, and they did not apologize for their rudeness, even when punished.
?And my daughter lied to me the other day,? the attorney?s wife said to the pastor?s wife in distress. ?I saw her punch her younger brother and steal an apple from him, and she denied it to my face. She practically called me a liar!?
?The games the children play back in the woods frighten me,? the pastor?s wife confessed. ?They chant in a strange language, and they move in such a strange manner. Almost like a ritual dance.?
?Could it be something they are learning at school?? asked the attorney?s wife.
?Surely not! Teacher is such a sweet, sophisticated lady,? said the pastor?s wife.
But they exchanged uneasy glances.
Smith, on the other hand, was sure. ?That teacher is turning the young?uns to the Devil, that?s what she?s doing,? he proclaimed up and down the streets of the town.
?Don?t be ridiculous,? the preacher told him when they passed in front of the mercantile.
?I ain?t ridiculous. You are blind,? Smith told him. ?That teacher ought to be burned at the stake, like they burned the witches in Salem.?
The pastor, pale with wrath, ordered Smith out of his sight. But the ne?er-do-well?s words rang in his mind and would not be pushed away. And the children continued to behave oddly. Almost like they were possessed. He would, the preacher decided reluctantly, have to look into it someday soon.
That day came sooner than he thought. The very next Monday, his little boy came down with a cold, and his mother kept him home from school. When the pastor returned from his duties for a late lunch, his wife came running up to him as soon as he entered the door. She was pale with fright.
?I heard him chanting something over and over again in his bedroom,? she gasped. ?So I crept to the door to listen. He was saying the Lord?s Prayer backwards!?
The pastor gasped and clutched his Bible to his chest, as goose bumps erupted over his body. This was positively satanic. And there was nowhere the boy could have learned such a thing in this town, unless he learned it?at school.
At that moment, the attorney?s wife came bursting in the door behind him.
?Quick pastor, quick,? she cried. ?Smith is running through town with a torch, talking about burning down the school. The children are still in class!?
The pastor raced out of the house with the two woman at his heels. They and the other townsfolk who followed them were met by a huge cloud of smoke coming from the direction of the church, where the school children had their lessons. The building was already ablaze as frantic parents beat at the flames with wet sacks, or threw buckets of water from the pump into the inferno. Smith could be heard cackling unrepentantly from the far side of the building, which was full of the screams of the trapped students and their teacher.
The fire blazed with a supernatural kind of force, and the pastor thought he heard the sound of the Teacher laughing from within the building when it became apparent that no one could be saved.
The church burnt for several hours, and when it was finally extinguished, there was nothing left. Mourning parents tried to find something of their children to bury, and Smith wisely disappeared from town, his mission against the works of Satan completed.
The teacher?s burnt body was buried deep in the ground and covered with brick tomb. The children?s smaller bodies were interred beneath wooden crosses. Of all the student?s in the school that fall, only the pastor?s small son survived.
To this day, voices can be heard in the graveyard of at Burnt Church, chanting unintelligible words, as the school children and the teacher once chanted in the woods outside town. Sometimes apparitions are seen, and dark walkers who roam the graveyard at night. And they say that a brick taken from the grave of the evil teacher can set fire to objects on which they are placed.
Dancing with the Devil
A Texas Ghost Story
S. E. Schlosser
The girl hurried through her schoolwork as fast as she could. It was the night of the high school dance, along about 70 years ago in the town of Kingsville, Texas. The girl was so excited about the dance. She had bought a brand new, sparkly red dress for the dance. She knew she looked smashing in it. It was going to be the best evening of her life.
Then her mother came in the house, looking pale and determined.
"You are not going to that dance," her mother said.
"But why?" the girl asked her mother.
"I've just been talking to the preacher. He says the dance is going to be for the devil. You are absolutely forbidden to go," her mother said.
The girl nodded as if she accepted her mother's words. But she was determined to go to the dance. As soon as her mother was busy, she put on her brand new red dress and ran down to the K.C. Hall where the dance was being held.
As soon as she walked into the room, all the guys turned to look at her. She was startled by all the attention. Normally, no one noticed her. Her mother sometimes accused her of being too awkward to get a boyfriend. But she was not awkward that night. The boys in her class were fighting with each other to dance with her.
Later, she broke away from the crowd and went to the table to get some punch to drink. She heard a sudden hush. The music stopped. When she turned, she saw a handsome man with jet black hair and clothes standing next to her.
"Dance with me," he said.
She managed to stammer a "yes", completely stunned by this gorgeous man. He led her out on the dance floor. The music sprang up at once. She found herself dancing better than she had ever danced before. They were the center of attention.
Then the man spun her around and around. She gasped for breath, trying to step out of the spin. But he spun her faster and faster. Her feet felt hot. The floor seemed to melt under her. He spun her even faster. She was spinning so fast that a cloud of dust flew up around them both so that they were hidden from the crowd.
When the dust settled, the girl was gone. The man in black bowed once to the crowd and disappeared. The devil had come to his party and he had spun the girl all the way to hell.
A New Mexico Ghost Story
S. E. Schlosser
Within an hour of my arrival at Fort Union, my new post, my best friend Johnny came to the barracks with a broad grin and a friendly clout on the shoulder. He'd hurried over as soon as he heard I had come, and we talked 'til sunset and beyond.
As soon as Johnny mentioned Celia's name, I knew he had it bad for her. To hear him talk, Celia was the most amazing woman who had ever graced God's green earth. She was the sister-in-law of the captain, and all the young men on the base were infatuated with her. Celia was the prettiest of the eligible ladies that graced Fort Union society. She liked the spice of adventure to be found so near the wilds.
Johnny alternated between elation when Celia talked with him and despair when she flirted with another man. I watched their courtship from afar and was troubled. There was something about Celia that I didn't like. I never mentioned it to Johnny, but I thought she was too much of a flirt. I wished Johnny had fallen for a nicer woman.
About a month after I arrived at Fort Union, a birthday dance was given for one of the officers. To Johnny's elation, Celia agreed to be his partner at the dance. Johnny was dancing on cloud nine all night, until a messenger came gasping into the room to report an Apache raid. With a small scream of terror, Celia clung shamelessly to Johnny and begged him not to go even though he was the lieutenant put in charge of the mission. Well sir, Johnny proposed to her right then and there and Celia accepted. Furthermore, Celia told Johnny that she would wait for him, and that if he didn't come back she would never marry. I doubted Celia's sincerity, but Johnny just ate it up.
I was assigned to Johnny's troop, so I had to leave too. We started out the next morning, and had a rough week tracking down and fighting the Apaches. Johnny split up the troop; taking command of the first group and giving me command of the second. My men reached the rendezvous point with no casualties, but only half of the other group arrived, and Johnny was not among them. They'd been ambushed by the Apaches. I had to take command of the troop. We searched for survivors, but never found Johnny's body. As soon as I could, I ordered the men to turn for home.
Celia made a terrible, heart-rending scene when she found out Johnny was missing. She flung herself into my arms when I gave her the news and sobbed becomingly. The display turned my stomach, it was so obviously insincere. I excused myself hastily and left her to the ministrations of the other soldiers. From that time on, I was careful to stay away from Celia, who mourned less than a week for my friend before resuming her flirtatious ways.
About a month later, a rich handsome lieutenant arrived at Fort Union. He was from the East, and Celia took a real shine to him. Johnny was completely forgotten and so was her promise to him. It wasn't long before Celia and the lieutenant were engaged and started planning a big wedding. Nothing but the very best would suit Celia, and her bridegroom had the money to indulge her.
Everyone in Fort Union was invited to the ceremony, and the weather was perfect on the day of the wedding. Everyone turned out in their best clothes and the wedding was a social success. After the ceremony, all the guests were invited to a celebratory ball.
We were waltzing around the ballroom when the door flew open with a loud bang. A gust of cold air blew in, dimming the candles. A heart-wrenching wail echoed through the room. The music stopped abruptly and everyone turned to look at the door. Standing there was the swollen, dead body of a soldier. It was dressed in an officer's uniform. The eyes were burning with a terrible fire. The temple had a huge gash from a hatchet-blow. There was no scalp. It was Johnny.
The whole crowd stood silent, as if in a trance. No one moved, no one murmured. I wanted to cry out when I recognized Johnny, but I was struck dumb like the rest of the wedding guests.
Johnny walked across the room and took Celia out of her bridegroom's arms. She was frozen in horror and could not resist. Johnny looked at the musicians. Still in a trance, they began to play a horrible, demonic sounding waltz. Johnny and Celia began to dance. They swept around and around the room, doing an intricate waltz. Johnny held the white-clad bride tight against his dead body while a deathly pallor crept over her face. Her steps slowed but still Johnny held her tight and moved them around in a grisly parody of a waltz. Celia's eyes bulged. She turned as white as her gown and her mouth sagged open. She gave one small gasp, and died in his arms.
Johnny dropped Celia's body on the floor and stood over her, wringing his blood-stained hands. He threw back his head and gave another unearthly wail that echoed around the room. Then he vanished through the door.
Released from the trance, the crowd gasped and exclaimed. The bridegroom ran to Celia and knelt beside her, wringing his hands in the same manner as Johnny. His cries were all too human.
Unable to bear the sight of the stricken bridegroom, I took my captain aside and asked permission to take a small detail back to the place where our troop had been attacked by the Apaches to search once more for my dead friend. He sent a dozen men with me. We combed the area, and finally found Johnny's body hidden in a crevice. It looked exactly the same as it had appeared on the night of Celia's wedding.
We brought Johnny back to the fort with us and the captain buried him beside Celia. Celia's bridegroom went back East shortly after we buried Johnny, and I resigned my commission a few days later and went home, never wanting to see that cursed place again.
I heard later that Celia's ghost was often seen at dusk, weeping over Johnny's grave, but I never went back to Fort Union to see it for myself.
Devil on Washington Rock
A True New Jersey Story
As it happened to the author
S. E. Schlosser
The dream was so vivid, she didn't realize at first that it was a dream. The party was crowded, the guests cheerful, the food delicious. Then a rumor began to circulate among the guests. The Devil was coming to the party. The Devil was on the way.
She didn't pay much attention at first. Until a hush came over the crowd. Turning to see what it was, she saw a tall, handsome blond man standing in the doorway greeting his hostess. Around her, the murmurs began. It was the Devil. He had come.
She watched out of the corner of her eye as the Devil made the rounds of the room. He looked so ordinary, it was hard to believe he was the Devil. Then he came to her group. As soon as he joined them, she knew the rumor was true. This was not someone to be trifled with. Frightened, she grabbed for a Bible her hostess had left lying on a nearby end-table and threw it at the Devil. For a moment, their eyes locked. The Devil's eyes were full of ferocious anger, terrible evil, and malevolent malice directed right at her. She thought she was dead.
Then she woke, and lay trembling in her bed with the light on until dawn.
The next morning was the end of term. Her parents and younger sister helped her clear out her dorm room and packed the car. It was dusk before they settled into their seats for the two-hour drive home. They talked excitedly as they drove towards their home in New Jersey, interrupting each other often, contradicting themselves and laughing. It was good to be together again.
They were fifteen minutes from home when they left the highway. Her father turned onto Washington Rock Road that led up the mountain, through the C-bend around the Washington Rock State Park and then down the other side of the mountain. As they drove up the steep hill, a noisy motorcycle tail-gated them, trying to pass even though the road was windy and narrow. Finally the hill grew so steep that the driver was forced to slow down and eventually, they pulled away from him entirely.
The car reached the top of the hill and started around the long C curve that took them through one end of the park. The park was dark and still. The whole family automatically looked to their right, out over the gorgeous view of the New York City skyline. They all saw the small park cart, sitting next to the road just inside the park boundary. It was parked directly underneath the only streetlight, where you couldn't fail to see it. And inside the vehicle....
She started trembling fiercely. Inside the vehicle was a tall, handsome blond man with eyes full of ferocious anger, terrible evil, and malevolent malice. It was the man from her dream. The man everyone said was the Devil!
The tension in the car was palpable. She had mentioned her dream to no one. But her parents and her sister all felt the evil pulsing from the still figure in the cart. No one spoke as they drove past the man.
Suddenly, the engine gave a strange cough. Her father gunned the motor, once, twice in a silent, desperate battle to keep moving. She gripped her hands together, praying silently as she stared at the figure opposite their car. The engine caught again and her father pressed down hard on the accelerator. Then they were past the man and roaring away from the park and towards the downward slope of the mountain.
She was sweating profusely, unable to stop shaking. She looked back out the window at the man in the park, and saw the motorcycle come roaring at last to the top of the hill. It drove half-way around the C-bend and as it drew opposite the figure in the cart, she heard the engine of the motorcycle cough. And then stall.
And then the park was out of view and they were riding silently towards home, not daring to speak until they were safely indoors.
She often wondered what happened to the man on the motorcycle.
Spooky South CarolinaA South Carolina Ghost Story
There was something odd in the tone of the dispatcher?s voice when he called to tell me a person needed picking up at Bramlett Road late one summer night in 1947. I shuddered when I heard the name of the street. I did not want to go anywhere near that area, especially at midnight. But I drove a Yellow Cab, and it was my job to pick up a call when it came. So I swallowed and headed toward Bramlett Road and the slaughter yards.
I?d been out of town when ?the incident? happened. I call it an incident, but it was murder, plain and not so simple. A fellow name of Brown who drove a cab with our company was robbed and stabbed to death in his cab. Next day a man named Willie Earle was picked up by the police the very next day and put in jail for the crime, though he denied doing it.
Then a bunch of hotheads who drove cabs for our company gathered together, passed around a bottle of whiskey and talking about ?getting? the fellow who?d stabbed Brown. One of the men went out and borrowed a shotgun, and the mob drove to the jail, grabbed Earle and threw him in the back of one of the cabs. The hotheads took him to the slaughter yards and they dragged Earle forcibly from the cab and started beating him. A man pulled a knife and waded into the mob with it, and Earle shouted: ?Lord, you?ve killed me!? That?s when the fellow with the shotgun put a bullet in his head, reloaded, and shot him twice more.
When the mob was sure he was dead, they climbed back into their separate cabs and fanned out, each heading back to the city by a different route. Eventually word got out and thirty-one fellows were arrested for the crime. But they were all acquitted by a jury of their peers.
After the incident, the slaughterhouse section of Bramlett Road got a bad reputation. No one in the cab company much liked driving there, especially at night. Folks claimed it was haunted by the ghost of Willie Earle.
I shivered as I pulled onto Bramlett Road and slowed down to look for my passenger. No one was there. I parked the cab and got out to have a quick smoke while I waited.
All at once, the temperature around me plummeted. I froze in place, suddenly terrified, as someone moaned in terror from the other side of the road. The sound scraped my nerves raw. I could hear the unmistakable thud of hammering fists and the darkness was filled with swirling black silhouettes pounding on something...or someone. I fumbled for the icy-cold door handle as a man shouted agony: ?Lord, you?ve killed me!? I threw myself inside the cab as a gun exploded, cutting off the man?s cries. The shot was swiftly followed by two more.
I squealed the tires as I spun the cab around. A tall, battered figure that glowed just enough for me to see its lolling head, the blood-stained, dead features, the knife-torn clothes blocked the road in front of me. I gasped, floored the gas pedal and swerved around it, heart hammering so hard it hurt my ribs.
I was still trembling when slammed into the office a few minutes later and told the dispatcher I was quitting. Then I grabbed my things and headed for home lickety split. There was no way I was going to Bramlett Road ever again. And I never did.
Don't Turn on the Light
retold by S.E. Schlosser
She commandeered the room in the basement of her dorm as soon as she realized she would have to pull an all-nighter in order to prepare for tomorrow?s final exam. Her roommate, Jenna, liked to get to bed early, so she packed up everything she thought she would need and went downstairs to study . . . and study . . . and study some more.
It was two o?clock, when she realized that she?d left one of the textbooks upstairs on her bed. With a dramatic sigh, she rose, and climbed the stairs slowly to her third-floor dorm room.
The lights were dim in the long hallway, and the old boards creaked under her weary tread. She reached her room and turned the handle as softly as she could, pushing the door open just enough to slip inside, so that the hall lights wouldn?t wake her roommate.
The room was filled with a strange, metallic smell. She frowned a bit, her arms breaking out into chills. There was a strange feeling of malice in the room, as if a malevolent gaze were fixed upon her. It was a mind trick; the all-nighter was catching up with her.
She could hear Jenna breathing on the far side of the room?a heavy sound, almost as if she had been running. Jenna must have picked up a cold during the last tense week before finals.
She crept along the wall until she reached her bed, groping among the covers for the stray history textbook. In the silence, she could hear a steady drip-drip-drip sound. She sighed silently. Facilities would have to come to fix the sink in the bathroom?again.
Her fingers closed on the textbook. She picked it up softly and withdrew from the room as silently as she could.
Relieved to be out of the room, she hurried back downstairs, collapsed into an overstuffed chair and studied until six o?clock. She finally decided that enough was enough. If she slipped upstairs now, she could get a couple hours? sleep before her nine o?clock exam.
The first of the sun?s rays were beaming through the windows as she slowly slid the door open, hoping not to awaken Jenna. Her nose was met by an earthy, metallic smell a second before her eyes registered the scene in her dorm room. Jenna was spread-eagled on top of her bed against the far wall, her throat cut from ear to ear and her nightdress stained with blood. Two drops of blood fell from the saturated blanket with a drip-drip noise that sounded like a leaky faucet.
Scream after scream poured from her mouth, but she couldn?t stop herself any more than she could cease wringing her hands. All along the hallway, doors slammed and footsteps came running down the passage.
Within moments other students had gathered in her doorway, and one of her friends gripped her arm with a shaking hand and pointed a trembling finger toward the wall. Her eyes widened in shock at what she saw. Then she fainted into her friend?s arms.
On the wall above her bed, written in her roommate?s blood, were the words: ?Aren?t you glad you didn?t turn on the light??
Goblin of Easton
A Pennsylvania Ghost Story
S. E. Schlosser
There was once a monk at the mission who loved money and power more than he loved God. He would hear the confession of the good folk who attended the mission, and then would blackmail them into giving him gold and silver to keep their darkest secrets. He turned many a wayward sinner's feet towards the fires of hell rather than the gates of heaven, encouraging their crimes in secret while he reviled them in public.
It was after he beat one poor old woman to death that the evil monk was imprisoned and sentenced to hang for his crimes. But just after he was cut down from the noose and pronounced dead, his corpse began to transform before the horrified eyes of the people. The face twisted and small tusks sprang from either side of his nose. His shock of white hair grew long and greasy, and two pointed canines emerged from his slit of a mouth. The goblin-monk opened eyes that glowed yellow even in the light of noon-day, and sprang to feet that now ended in claws rather than toes.
The people screamed and fled, and no prayer of his former brothers-in-faith could banish the goblin. It disappeared deep into the forest, only to return at night and prey upon the monks of the mission who had been responsible for its death. After five of the brothers had fallen to the goblin, the rest of the monks abandoned the mission and moved to another part of the country. Since that time, the mission-house had slowly fallen into ruin
excerpted from Spooky Oregon
S. E. Schlosser
Spooky OregonHe never paid much attention to the neighbors living on his city block until the day the pretty middle-aged widow moved in two doors down from him. She was plump and dark with sparkling eyes, and she always wore dark gloves on her hands, even indoors.
He went out of his way to meet her, and they often "bumped" into each other in the street and stood talking. One day, as she brushed the hair back from her forehead, he caught a glimpse of gold under the glove on her right arm. When he asked her about it, she grinned coquettishly and told him that she had lost one hand a few years back and now wore a golden hand in its place. In that moment, a terrible lust woke in his heart - not to possess the lady herself, but to possess the solid gold hand that she wore under her long black gloves.
He courted the widow with every stratagem known to him; flowers, trips to the theater, gifts, compliments. And he won her heart. Within a month, they were standing in front of a minister, promising to love one another until death parted them. Within another month, he was a widower and had buried his ailing wife in the local cemetery - without her golden hand. It had been so easy. A slow poison, administered daily to resemble a wasting disease. No one - not his wife, not the family doctor, not their neighbors - suspected murder. And the night after the funeral, he slept with the golden hand under his pillow.
It was a dark night. Clouds covered the moon, and the wind was whistling down the chimney and rattling the shutters of the town house. He was deeply asleep when the door to his room slammed open with a loud bang and a wild wind whipped around the room, scattering papers and books and clothing and table coverings every which way. He sat up, startled by the sudden noise, and his pulse began to pound when he saw a greenish-white light bobbing slowly into the room. Before his eyes, the light slowly grew larger, taking on the shape of his dead wife. She was missing one arm. "Where is my golden hand?" she moaned, her dark eyes blazing with red fire. "Give me my golden hand!"
He tried to speak, but his mouth was so dry with fear that he could only make soft gasping noises. The glowing phantom moved closer to him, her once-lovely face twisted into a hideous green mask. "You stole my life and you stole my hand. Give me back my golden hand!" the dead wife howled. The noise rose higher and higher, and the phantom pulsed with a strident green light that smote his eyes, making them water.
He cowered back against his pillows, and the hard shape of the golden hand pressed against his back. And then he felt the golden hand twitch underneath him as the mangled green phantom that had been his wife swooped down upon him, pressing his face against the pillow in a suffocating green cloud. He tried to scream, but it was cut off suddenly by a terrible pressure against his throat, cutting off his breath. The world went black.
The next morning, when the housemaid came into the room with her master's morning cup of tea, she found him lying dead on the floor, with the golden hand clutched around his throat.
Ghost in the Alley
Spooky CanadaExcerpted from Spooky Canada
Retold by S.E. Schlosser
Rumors were rife about the alleyway behind the tavern. It was haunted, folks said. Haunted by the ghost of a young girl who had been found murdered in that self-same passage. People avoided the small street after dark, for the spirit was said to be a vengeful one. Of course, no one could name anyone whom the ghost had actually killed, but the tales were enough to keep people away from the alley at night.
Fortunately for the owners of the tavern that backed onto the alley, their front door faced a well-lit road and so business was not slack.
Then one night, while the tavern was full of drinkers, a nasty character named O?Hare wandered into the bar. Women and children were not safe in his presence, but especially not women.
After O?Hare had consumed far too much alcohol, he suddenly announced to the bar that he?d seen a pretty young thing in the alley out back of the tavern. The bartender froze in the middle of polishing a glass, and the men around the bar exchanged covert glances. No one said a word, but everyone was thinking about the ghost of the vengeful young girl. Everyone in the bar looked down at their glasses as he stumbled to his feet. No one made a move to stop him, and there was a quiet air of ?he deserves what?s coming to him? about the bar as O?Hare left the building. It?s just too bad that there isn?t really a ghost, thought the bartender, setting down the shining glass and picking up another one to polish. O?Hare sorely needed a lesson in human kindness and respect for others.
At that moment, a horrible scream came from the alley. Everyone in the tavern looked up in shock and fear. Had there really been a ghost out there? Or was O?Hare up to his old tricks and even now accosting one of their womenfolk?
The men leapt to their feet and raced to the back door of the tavern. Pouring out into the street, they were met by an unnatural cold, and their eyes were dazzled by a blaze of light.
The bartender thrust his way to the front of the crowd and saw the body of O?Hare lying in a pool of bright white light. His throat had been torn to pieces, and blood was spilling out in gushes. Above him hovered the semitransparent figure of a young girl, her eyes gleaming with red fire, her mouth covered with blood. She glared down at O?Hare and then turned to look at the crowd. The specter licked the blood from her lips thoughtfully, her eyes on the bartender?s neck. Then she vanished, taking the light with her. At their feet, O?Hare gasped out his last breath and died.
The local authorities were summoned to deal with the body of O?Hare. Though skeptical at first, they were finally convinced, since there had been so many eyewitnesses who had seen the ghost hovering over the dying man.
The bartender resigned his position the next morning and took a job across town, the memory of the ghost?s hungry stare at his neck prompting him to look elsewhere for employment.
excerpted from Spooky Maryland
retold by S.E. Schlosser
Once there was an old woman who went out in the woods to dig up some roots to cook for dinner. She spotted something funny sticking out of the leaves and dug around until she uncovered a great big hairy toe. There was some good meat on that toe which would make a real tasty dinner, so the old woman put it in her basket and took it home.
When she got back to her cottage, the old woman boiled up a kettle-full of hairy toe soup, which she ate for dinner that night. It was the best meal she'd had in weeks! The old woman went to bed that night with a full stomach and a big smile.
Along about midnight, a cold wind started blowing in the tops of the trees around the old woman's house. A large black cloud crept over the moon and from the woods a hollow voice rumbled: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" Inside the house, the old woman stirred uneasily in her bed and nervously pulled the covers up over her ears.
From the woods there came a stomp-stomp-stomping noise as the wind whistled and jerked at the treetops. In the clearing at the edge of the forest, a hollow voice said: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" Inside the house, the old woman shuddered and turned over in her sleep.
A stomp, stomp, stomping sound came from the garden path outside the cottage. The night creatures shivered in their burrows as a hollow voice howled: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" Inside the house, the old woman snapped awake. Her whole body shook with fright as she listened to the angry howling in her garden. Jumping out of bed, she ran to the door and barred it. Once the cottage was secure, she lay back down to sleep.
Suddenly, the front door of the cottage burst open with a bang, snapping the bar in two and sending it flying into the corners of the room. There came the stomp, stomp, stomping noise of giant feet walking up the stairs. Peeping out from under the covers, the old woman saw a massive figure filling her doorway. It said: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
The old woman sat bolt upright in terror and shouted: "I ATE your hairy toe!"
"Yes, you did," the giant figure said very gently as it advanced into the room.
No one living in the region ever saw the old woman again. The only clue to her disappearance was a giant footprint a neighbor found pressed deep into the loose soil of the meadow beside the house. The footprint was missing the left big toe.
Spooky North Carolina by S.E. SchlosserAn excerpt from Spooky North Carolina
retold by S.E. Schlosser
Polly was the sweetest, prettiest girl in Goldsboro, yes sir. All the local boys were chasing her, and quite a number of the fellows from the surrounding countryside were too. All the girls were jealous of Polly ?cause they didn?t have no sweethearts to take them to the local dances. They all wanted Polly to choose her man so things could go back to normal. But Polly was picky. None of the local boys suited her, and neither did the fellows from the back country.
Then one day, George Dean came home from university, and Polly was smitten. Polly completely dropped all her other beaus when George came courting, and it wasn't long before George proposed and Polly accepted.
Polly started making preparations for the wedding and shopping for items to fill her new home. George wasn?t too interested in all the fripperies and wedding details. He left the womenfolk to get on with it and started spending time down at the pool hall with some of his buddies. And that?s where he met Helene, the owner?s saucy daughter. She had bold black eyes and ruby red lips, and a bad-girl air that fascinated George. He spent more and more time at the pool hall, and less and less time with Polly, who finally noticed in spite of all the hustle and bustle.
Of course, Polly was furious. She immediately confronted George with the story, and he couldn?t deny it. Suddenly, George had to toe the mark. His pool-hall visits were over, and he spent every free hour he wasn?t at work by her side. That didn?t sit well with George, but his family backed Polly up, so he went along with it.
The day of the wedding dawned clear and bright. The guests filled the sanctuary, and the pastor and the best man waited patiently in the ante-chamber for the arrival of the groom. But George didn?t come. Eventually, they went searching for the missing bridegroom, and found out he'd left town with Helene an hour before the wedding. With dread, Polly?s mother went to tell her daughter what had happened. Polly, all bright and shining and lovely in her long white dress and soft wedding veil, turned pale when her mother broke the news. Then she stiffened, grabbing her left arm as a sudden pain ripped through it. She was dead from a massive heart attack long before she hit the floor.
A few days later, Polly was buried in the churchyard, still wearing her white wedding dress and veil. The whole town came to the funeral and wept at the passing of such a beautiful young girl. George and Helene, who had spent the week happily honeymooning in the Outer Banks, arrived home at the very moment that the black-clad crowd exited the churchyard. Their arrival caused a commotion. The minister had to pull Polly?s father off George before he killed him. And both George and Helene?s family disowned the couple right there in the street in front of everyone. The couple fled town in disgrace.
Time passed, and eventually the scandal was forgotten. Until the day George?s father passed away. It was rumored that he was to be buried in the local churchyard just a few plots away from the girl who had almost become his daughter. Suddenly, the story of Polly's jilting was revived and folks wondered aloud if George would dare attend his father's funeral. But George was too clever for them. He waited at an inn outside of town until it was dark, and then he went to the churchyard to pay his last respects to his father.
As he unburdened himself at his father?s graveside, George heard a sweet female voice calling his name. ?George. Sweetheart.? George looked up in sudden hope. Was that his mother, come to forgive him? Then he saw, rising up from a grassy mound under a spreading oak tree, a figure in a long white gown and a soft veil. Her eyes and her lips were yellow flames beneath the veil, and the rotted wedding dress glowed with a white-yellow light. It was Polly.
George?s body stiffened, shudders of fear coursing up and down his arms and legs. He put a shaking hand to his mouth and staggered backward, the other hand outstretched out ward off the specter floating toward him. The spectral bride cackled with angry laughter and swooped forward until its hand closed over George?s outstretched one in a terrible parody of a handshake. The grip of the spectral bride was so cold it burned the skin, and so hard that the bones crunched as it squeezed. ?Come along into the church, George,? the glowing bride whispered. Through the veil, George could see maggots crawling in and out of Polly?s flaming eye sockets.
?Nooo! Polly, no!? George screamed in terror, but he could not wrench his hand free. The ghost dragged him step by halting step toward the front door of the church. His hand was a red-hot agony of pain, though the rest of his body was shaking with cold.
?No!? George gave a final cry of despair and wrenched again at his hand. And suddenly, he was free. The spectral bride gave a roar of rage as George ran pell-mell down the church lane and out into the street.
?You?re mine, George Dean! If not in this world, than in the next,? the spectral bride howled after him.
By the time George reached his room, the fiery pain in his hand and arm was seeping through his entire body. He rang desperately for the house maid and begged her to send for a doctor. Then he fell into bed and stared at his hand, which was black and withered, as if it had been scorched long ago by a fire. Black and red streaks were climbing up his arm so fast he could almost see them move.
George was unconscious when the doctor arrived, and the swelling was already extending into his chest and neck. There was nothing the physician could do. The injury was too severe and had spread too far. Within two days, George was dead. Polly had gotten her man at last.
Excerpted from Spooky Campfire Tales
retold by S.E. Schlosser
The reports had been on the radio all day, though she hadn't paid much attention to them. Some crazy man had escaped from the state asylum. They were calling him the Hook Man since he had lost his right arm and had it replaced with a hook. He was a killer, and everyone in the region was warned to keep watch and report anything suspicious. But this didn't interest her. She was more worried about what to wear on her date.
After several consultation calls with friends, she chose a blue outfit in the very latest style and was ready and waiting on the porch when her boyfriend came to pick her up in his car. They went to a drive-in movie with another couple, then dropped them off and went parking in the local lover's lane. The blue outfit was a hit, and she cuddled close to her boyfriend as they kissed to the sound of romantic music on the radio.
Then the announcer came on and repeated the warning she had heard that afternoon. An insane killer with a hook in place of his right hand was loose in the area. Suddenly, the dark, moonless night didn't seem so romantic to her. The lover's lane was secluded and off the beaten track. A perfect spot for a deranged mad-man to lurk, she thought, pushing her amorous boyfriend away.
"Maybe we should get out of here," she said. "That Hook Man sounds dangerous."
"Awe, c'mon babe, it's nothing," her boyfriend said, trying to get in another kiss. She pushed him away again.
"No, really. We're all alone out here. I'm scared," she said.
They argued for a moment. Then the car shook a bit, as if something?or someone?had touched it. She gave a shriek and said: "Get us out of here now!"
"Jeeze," her boyfriend said in disgust, but he turned the key and went roaring out of the lover's lane with a screeching of his tires.
They drove home in stony silence, and when they pulled into her driveway, he refused to help her out of the car. He was being so unreasonable, she fumed to herself. She opened the door indignantly and stepped into her driveway with her chin up and her lips set. Whirling around, she slammed the door as hard as she could. And then she screamed.
Her boyfriend leapt out of the car and caught her in his arms. "What is it? What's wrong?" he shouted. Then he saw it. A bloody hook hung from the handle of the passenger-side door.
Excerpted from Spooky Maryland
retold by S.E. Schlosser
After a long day of unlucky hunting, I found myself stuck in the middle of the marshlands for the night, without a flashlight or a lantern to guide my stumbling steps. So I settled beside a fallen log to rest until daylight. As I tossed and turned, I recalled the story my great-uncle told me about a ghost that haunted the marshlands.
There was once a man named Jack who was a nasty fellow. He beat his wife and kids and was an all-around bad chap. Jack got worse and worse as the years rolled by. But finally Jack?s body got so wore out that he died. He went up to heaven, but Saint Peter refused to let such a wretched fellow in. Then he went to Hell, but the Devil barred the door as soon as he saw Jack coming and wouldn?t let him in either. ?Go away and don?t come back,? the Devil told Jack.
?How am I supposed to get back in the dark?? Jack grumbled. ?Give me a lantern.?
So the Devil threw a chunk of molten fire out to Jack, who took it for his lantern and went back to earth, where he wanders forever through the swamps and marshlands of the earth, a bitter spirit whose only delight was in luring the unwary to their doom with his lamp.
At this juncture in my musings, I happened to look out over the marshes and noticed a blinking light in the fog.
?Is that you, Jack O?Lantern?? I called jovially.
?Jack, (jack, jack),? a voice whispered back. I was seriously spooked. I clutched my gun to my chest, the hairs on my arms standing on end. Had that been an echo of my voice, or was someone out here with me?
?Who?s there?? I shouted, trying to sound brave and menacing. I waved my gun around. ?Show yourself at once.?
?Jack, (jack, jack)? the voice hissed from a completely different section of the swamp. A light blinked on and then off. On and then off.
Shudders ran up my spine at the sound of that ghastly voice coming from nowhere. I huddled up against the log, wanting something firm at my back. Suddenly, the story of the Jack O?Lantern didn?t seem so funny.
My heart was pounding so hard it made my chest hurt. I strained my ears in the silence that fell over the swamp.
?Jack, (jack, jack)? the voice hissed from somewhere to my left this time. The light blinked on, off, on?I counted ten heartbeats this time before it went off.
The voice sounded closer. I held very still, my instincts screaming at me to hold my breath and not move until the menace had passed. The voice came again, far off to the right. "Jack, (jack, jack)? it hissed. The light came on, off, on?off.
It?s moving away, I thought, relaxing just a bit. Feeling safer. There was a long, long, long silence. Nothing stirred, not the wind in the grass, not the frogs or turtles in the water, not the crickets or night insects.
"Jack, (jack, jack)? the voice hissed softly, right into my ear. And I looked up into the glowing red eyes and twisted face of the Jack O?Lantern.
I screamed, and lashed out at it with my gun. I ran a few steps, tripped and fell over, knocking my head on a sharp stone. For a moment I saw stars, and I felt blood pouring from my scalp. But the Jack O?Lantern was right behind me. I had to get away. I rolled and fell into a deep pool. I plunged underneath the water, flailing desperately against ropelike grasses that tried to keep me down. My head finally burst out of the water, and I gasped desperately for air, treading water as best I could with my trembling limbs and aching head. I heard the creature laugh in the mist.
?Jack, (jack, jack)? the voice hissed delightedly, and the light blinked on, off, on right over my head, blinding my dazed eyes as horror flowed through me and froze my limbs so I could no longer swim. For a long moment, the grotesque face and red eyes of the Jack O?Lantern loomed out of the mist before my petrified gaze.
My head started to swim with pain from my bleeding skull. The evil face above me, lit by its bright light, whirled around and around, growing dimmer as my eyes started to glaze. I was vaguely aware that I should keep swimming, keep trying to make my way to the edge of the pool, but the effort was too much for my suddenly heavy limbs. I barely noticed myself plunging down and down into the watery depths of the pool, too stunned by my injury to fight my way to the surface a second time.
Then there was only darkness, and silence, and a voice hissing in cold triumph: ?Jack, (jack, jack).?
La Mala Hora
A New Mexico Ghost Story
My friend Isabela called me one evening before dinner. She was sobbing as she told me that she and her husband Enrique were getting divorced. He had moved out of the house earlier that day and Isabela was distraught.
I called my husband, who was on a business trip in Chicago, and he agreed that I should go stay with Isabela for a few days to help her during this difficult time. I packed a small suitcase and got right into the car. It was late, and it would take me at least four hours to drive from my home to Sante Fe. Isabela was expecting me to arrive around midnight.
As I traveled down the dark, wet highway, I kept feeling chills, as if someone or something were watching me. I kept looking in the rear view mirror, and glancing into the back seat. No one was there. Don't be ridiculous, I told myself, wishing fervently that I was home in my bed instead of driving on a dark, rainy highway. There was almost no traffic, and I heartily wished that I would soon reach Sante Fe.
I turned off the highway just before I reached the city, and started down the side roads that led to Isabela's house. As I approached a small crossroads, I saw a woman step into the street directly in front of my car. I shrieked in fright and slammed on my brakes, praying I would miss her.
The car shuddered to a halt, and I looked frantically around for the woman. Then I saw her, right beside my window, looking in at me. She had the face of a demon, twisted, eyes glowing red, and short pointed teeth. I screamed as she leapt at my window, her clawed hands striking the glass. I put my foot down on the accelerator and the car leapt forward. For a few terrible moments, she ran along side the car, keeping up easily and striking at me again and again. Then she fell behind and in the rear view mirror I saw her growing taller and taller, until she was as large as a tree. Red light swirled around her like mist, and she pointed after me, her mouth moving though I could not make out the words. I jerked my attention back to the road, afraid what might happen to me if my car ran off the street.
I made it to Isabela's house in record time and flung myself out of the car, pounding on her door frantically and looking behind me to see if the demon-faced woman had followed me. Isabela came running to the door and let me in.
"Shut the door! Shut it!" I cried frantically, brushing past her into the safety of the house.
"Jane, what is wrong?" she asked, slamming the door shut. She grabbed my hand and led me into the living room. I sank onto the couch and started sobbing in fear and reaction. After several minutes, I managed to gasp out my story. Isabela gasped and said: "Are you sure you were at a crossroads when you saw her?"
I nodded, puzzled by her question.
"It must have been La malhora," Isabela said, wringing her hands.
"The bad hour?" I asked.
"This is bad, Jane. Very bad," Isabela cried. "La Malhora only appears at a crossroads when someone is going to die."
Ordinarily, I would have laughed at such a superstition, but the appearance of the demon-woman had shaken me. Isabela got me a cup of hot cocoa, brought my luggage in from the car, and sent me to bed. She was so concerned for me that she didn't once mention the divorce or Enrique.
I felt much better the next morning, but I could not shake the feeling of dread that grew within me all day. Neither of us mentioned La Malhora, but we were both thinking of her when I told Isabela that I wanted to go home. Isabela insisted on accompanying me. I flatly refused to drive after dark. I was afraid I would see the demon-woman again when I passed the crossroads.
We left the next morning, and we hadn't been home more than twenty minutes when a police car pulled into my driveway. I knew at once what it meant, and so did Isabella.
The officers spoke very gently to me, but nothing could soften the news. My husband had been mugged on the way back to his hotel after dinner last night. His body had not been found until this morning. He had been shot in the head and was killed instantly.
No TrespassingA Texas Scary Story
retold by S.E. Schlosser
Peggy and her boyfriend Tommy were driving down a lonely stretch of highway at dusk when a thunderstorm came crashing down on them. Tommy slowed the car and they crept their way past a formidable abandoned house. Plastered all over the fences and trees were no trespassing signs.
A mile past the house, the car hydroplaned. Peggy screamed as the car slid off the road, plunging down into a gully. The car slammed into a large boulder, throwing Peggy violently into the door, before it came to a rest under a pecan tree. Her head banged against the window, and a stabbing pain shot through her shoulder and arm.
Tommy turned to her. ?Are you all right? You?re bleeding!?
?Arm, shoulder. Feel bad,? Peggy managed to gasp.
Tommy glanced cautiously at her right arm. ?I think your arm is broken,? he said, and he tore a strip off his shirt and pressed it to the cut on her head. ?I?m going to call for help,? he said when it became obvious that the bleeding was not going to stop right away. But neither of them had their cell phones.
?That house we just passed will have a phone I can use.? Tommy said.
Peggy?s eyes popped wide open at this statement. Despite her pain, she remembered the creepy abandoned house. ?Stay here. A . . . car . . . will come,?
?I can?t stay, Peggy,? Tommy said, ?It could take hours for another car to come, and you?re losing too much blood.? He tore another strip of his shirt and placed it gently on the cut on her head. Then he went out and retrieved a couple of blankets from the trunk to cover her with. ?I?ll be back as soon as I can.? He raced out into the storm, shutting the dented car door behind him.
Peggy drifted in a kind of daze. Something at the back of her mind was making her uneasy. She slid down on to the floor and put her head on the seat, completely covering herself with the blankets, head and all. Feeling safer, she allowed the weariness caused by the wounds to take over and fell asleep.
Peggy wasn?t sure what woke her. Had a beam of light shown briefly through the blanket? Did she hear someone curse outside? She strained eyes and ears, but heard nothing save the soft thudding of the rain, and no light shown through the blanket now. If Tommy had arrived with the rescue squad, there surely would be noise and light and many voices. But she heard nothing save the swish of the rain and an occasional thumping noise which she put down to the rubbing of the branches of the pecan tree in the wind. The sound should have been comforting, but it was not. Goosebumps crawled across her arms ? even the broken one -- and she almost ceased breathing for some time as some deep part of her inner mind instructed her to freeze and not make a sound.
She did not know how long fear kept her immobile. But suddenly the raw terror ceased, replaced by cold shivers of apprehension and a sick coil in her stomach that had nothing to do with her injuries. Something terrible had happened, she thought wearily, fear adding yet more fatigue to her already wounded body. Then she scolded herself for a ninny. It was just her sore head making her imagine things. Somewhat comforted by this thought, she dozed again, only vaguely aware of a new sound that had not been there before; a soft thud-thud sound as of something gently tapping the roof. Thud-thud. Pattering of the rain. Thud-thud. Silence. Sometimes she would almost waken and listen to it in a puzzled manner. Thud-thud. Patter of rain. Thud-thud. Had a branch dislodged from the tree?
Peggy wasn?t sure how long she?d been unconscious when she was awakened by a bright light blazing through the window of the car and the sound of male voices exclaiming in horror. A door was wrenched open, and someone crawled inside. She lifted her head and looked up at a young state policeman.
?Miss, are you all right?? he asked and then turned over his shoulder to call for help. Peggy told the officers her story and begged them to look for Tommy. They deftly avoided answering her and instead called the paramedics.
As the paramedics carried her carefully up the slope of the incline, Peggy looked back at the car?and saw a grotesque figure hanging from a branch of the pecan tree. For a moment, her brain couldn?t decipher what she was seeing in the bright lights of the police car parked at the side of the road. Then she heard a thud-thud sound as the foot of the figure scraped the top of the totaled car, and she started screaming over and over in horror. One of the police officers hastened to block her view and a paramedic fumbled for some valium to give her as her mind finally registered what she had seen. Tommy?s mangled, dead body was hanging from the pecan tree just above the car, and nailed to the center of his chest was a No Trespassing sign.
Spooky Campfire Tales(excerpted from Spooky Campfire Tales)
retold by S.E. Schlosser
Charlie winced when his wife hit the wrong note on the piano for the thirty-second time that day. He knew it was the thirty-second time because he?d kept count as he went about his daily chores, cleaning the lighthouse, checking the supplies, mending the rowboat.
Charlie blamed himself for his wife's latest obsession. He should never have taken Myrtle to attend the concert when that high-flutin? concert pianist came to town. But it was a special occasion and everyone they knew was going. So Charlie and Myrtle went too. And Myrtle decided right then and there that what she wanted more than life itself was to play the piano.
Charlie tried to talk her out of it. No one in Myrtle?s family was any good at music. But Myrtle was stubborn. If she couldn?t find a dad-gum way, she?d make one! Before Charlie could count to ten she?d bought a cheap, used piano (that was always out of tune) and hauled it over to the island on her brother Jamie?s fishing boat. From that day on, it was practice, practice, practice. Morning, noon, and night Myrtle sat at the piano with her piano book open, plunking away at the keys. At first, there was not much to hear, and Charlie could ignore the sour sounds. But after a few months, she got better?and a lot worse. There were parts of her song that sounded pretty good; but she never, ever got that one line right.
There was nowhere on the small island that Charlie could go to get away from the sound of the piano, even when he sat in his favorite rocker out in the woodshed with cotton in his ears. Myrtle?s new hobby was the source of much contention between the husband and wife, who had never argued before in their entire lives. Now they argued every day about Myrtle?s piano playing.
?At least try to learn another song,? Charlie begged his wife. But Myrtle was stubborn. ?I ain?t going to learn another song until I?ve mastered this one. You?ve got to practice to get better Charlie.? And Myrtle went back to her piano and started playing again. Dah-dah-dum-dum-BLAT/ Dum-dum-BLAT-BLAT-ding.
Things came to a head the day a nor?easter roared down on the island. Charlie and Myrtle were holed up together in the lighthouse hour after hour after hour. Charlie had nothing to do but sit and carve decoy ducks. And Myrtle played the piano. Hour after hour after hour. Around four p.m. Charlie leapt to his feet and shouted at his wife to stop playing the blasted song. Myrtle leapt to her feet and shouted that she was going to practice until she got it right. Something in Charlie snapped. Afterward, he felt bad about the way he chopped up the piano with his axe. After all, it was a valuable instrument. Try as he might, he couldn?t feel bad about doing the same to Myrtle.
Charlie put on his oilskins, took up a shovel and dug a grave out back of the woodshed. He buried all the little pieces of Myrtle with all the little pieces of her piano. He figured she would have wanted it that way. That night, with the nor?easter raging and pounding the island and the lighthouse rattling and shaking wildly in the blast, Charlie got the best sleep he?d had in months. No more piano playing, ever.
After the nor?easter blew itself out, Charlie spent the rest of the day cleaning the blood off the floor and walls of the lighthouse. After that, he did his daily duties and carefully noted in the log-book that Myrtle had been swept out to sea by a huge wave while patrolling the beaches, helping Charlie look for shipwrecks.
In the middle of the night, Charlie was startled awake by a familiar sound. Dah-dah-dum-dum-BLAT/ Dum-dum-BLAT-BLAT-ding. He sat bolt upright with an oath. It sounded just like Myrtle playing on the piano. This was impossible, since she was buried behind the woodshed.
Charlie leapt out of bed and felt around for his axe. Blast! He must have left it in the woodshed. He picked up a large piece of firewood and carefully stepped through the door into the main room. To his astonishment, he saw a glowing green, translucent piano standing in the place where Myrtle had put it. The keys of the ghostly piano were playing all by themselves. Dah-dah-dum-dum-BLAT/ Dum-dum-BLAT-BLAT-ding.
Then he heard Myrtle?s voice from the stairway leading up to the light. ?Charlie. I told you and I told you. I ain?t going to learn another song until I?ve mastered this one. You should have listened to me!?
Charlie whirled around and gazed up the stairs. Standing a third of the way up was the translucent white figure of his dead wife. And in her hands, she held his axe.
Raw Head and Bloody Bones
A Missouri Ghost Story
S. E. Schlosser
Way back in the deep woods there lived a scrawny old woman who had a reputation for being the best conjuring woman in the Ozarks. With her bedraggled black-and-gray hair, funny eyes - one yellow and one green - and her crooked nose, Old Betty was not a pretty picture, but she was the best there was at fixing what ailed a man, and that was all that counted.
Old Betty's house was full of herbs and roots and bottles filled with conjuring medicine. The walls were lined with strange books brimming with magical spells. Old Betty was the only one living in the Hollow who knew how to read; her granny, who was also a conjurer, had taught her the skill as part of her magical training.
Just about the only friend Old Betty had was a tough, mean, ugly old razorback hog that ran wild around her place. It rooted so much in her kitchen garbage that all the leftover spells started affecting it. Some folks swore up and down that the old razorback hog sometimes walked upright like man. One fellow claimed he'd seen the pig sitting in the rocker on Old Betty's porch, chattering away to her while she stewed up some potions in the kitchen, but everyone discounted that story on account of the fellow who told it was a little too fond of moonshine.
"Raw Head" was the name Old Betty gave the razorback, referring maybe to the way the ugly creature looked a bit like some of the dead pigs come butchering time down in Hog-Scald Hollow. The razorback didn't mind the funny name. Raw Head kept following Old Betty around her little cabin and rooting up the kitchen leftovers. He'd even walk to town with her when she came to the local mercantile to sell her home remedies.
Well, folks in town got so used to seeing Raw Head and Old Betty around the town that it looked mighty strange one day around hog-driving time when Old Betty came to the mercantile without him.
"Where's Raw Head?" the owner asked as he accepted her basket full of home-remedy potions. The liquid in the bottles swished in an agitate manner as Old Betty said: "I ain't seen him around today, and I'm mighty worried. You seen him here in town?"
"Nobody's seen him around today. They would've told me if they did," the mercantile owner said. "We'll keep a lookout fer you."
"That's mighty kind of you. If you see him, tell him to come home straightaway," Old Betty said. The mercantile owner nodded agreement as he handed over her weekly pay.
Old Betty fussed to herself all the way home. It wasn't like Raw Head to disappear, especially not the day they went to town. The man at the mercantile always saved the best scraps for the mean old razorback, and Raw Head never missed a visit. When the old conjuring woman got home, she mixed up a potion and poured it onto a flat plate.
"Where's that old hog got to?" she asked the liquid. It clouded over and then a series of pictures formed. First, Old Betty saw the good-for-nothing hunter that lived on the next ridge sneaking around the forest, rounding up razorback hogs that didn't belong to him. One of the hogs was Raw Head. Then she saw him taking the hogs down to Hog-Scald Hollow, where folks from the next town were slaughtering their razorbacks. Then she saw her hog, Raw Head, slaughtered with the rest of the pigs and hung up for gutting. The final picture in the liquid was the pile of bloody bones that had once been her hog, and his scraped-clean head lying with the other hogsheads in a pile.
Old Betty was infuriated by the death of her only friend. It was murder to her, plain and simple. Everyone in three counties knew that Raw Head was her friend, and that lazy, hog-stealing, good-for-nothing hunter on the ridge was going to pay for slaughtering him.
Now Old Betty tried to practice white conjuring most of the time, but she knew the dark secrets too. She pulled out an old, secret book her granny had given her and turned to the very last page. She lit several candles and put them around the plate containing the liquid picture of Raw Head and his bloody bones. Then she began to chant: "Raw Head and Bloody Bones. Raw Head and Bloody Bones."
The light from the windows disappeared as if the sun had been snuffed out like a candle. Dark clouds billowed into the clearing where Old Betty's cabin stood, and the howl of dark spirits could be heard in the wind that pummeled the treetops.
"Raw Head and Bloody Bones. Raw Head and Bloody Bones."
Betty continued the chant until a bolt of silver lightning left the plate and streaked out threw the window, heading in the direction of Hog-Scald Hollow.
When the silver light struck Raw Head's severed head, which was piled on the hunter's wagon with the other hog heads, it tumbled to the ground and rolled until it was touching the bloody bones that had once inhabited its body. As the hunter's wagon rumbled away toward the ridge where he lived, the enchanted Raw Head called out: "Bloody bones, get up and dance!"
Immediately, the bloody bones reassembled themselves into the skeleton of a razorback hog walking upright, as Raw Head had often done when he was alone with Old Betty. The head hopped on top of his skeleton and Raw Head went searching through the woods for weapons to use against the hunter. He borrowed the sharp teeth of a dying panther, the claws of a long-dead bear, and the tail from a rotting raccoon and put them over his skinned head and bloody bones.
Then Raw Head headed up the track toward the ridge, looking for the hunter who had slaughtered him. Raw Head slipped passed the thief on the road and slid into the barn where the hunter kept his horse and wagon. Raw Head climbed up into the loft and waited for the hunter to come home.
It was dusk when the hunter drove into the barn and unhitched his horse. The horse snorted in fear, sensing the presence of Raw Head in the loft. Wondering what was disturbing his usually-calm horse, the hunter looked around and saw a large pair of eyes staring down at him from the darkness in the loft.
The hunter frowned, thinking it was one of the local kids fooling around in his barn.
"Land o' Goshen, what have you got those big eyes fer?" he snapped, thinking the kids were trying to scare him with some crazy mask.
"To see your grave," Raw Head rumbled very softly. The hunter snorted irritably and put his horse into the stall.
"Very funny. Ha,ha," The hunter said. When he came out of the stall, he saw Raw Head had crept forward a bit further. Now his luminous yellow eyes and his bears claws could clearly be seen.
"Land o' Goshen, what have you got those big claws fer?" he snapped. "You look ridiculous."
"To dig your grave?" Raw Head intoned softly, his voice a deep rumble that raised the hairs on the back of the hunter's neck. He stirred uneasily, not sure how the crazy kid in his loft could have made such a scary sound. If it really was a crazy kid.
Feeling a little spooked, he hurried to the door and let himself out of the barn. Raw Head slipped out of the loft and climbed down the side of the barn behind him. With nary a rustle to reveal his presence, Raw Head raced through the trees and up the path to a large, moonlight rock. He hid in the shadow of the huge stone so that the only things showing were his gleaming yellow eyes, his bear claws, and his raccoon tail.
When the hunter came level with the rock on the side of the path, he gave a startled yelp. Staring at Raw Head, he gasped: "You nearly knocked the heart right out of me, you crazy kid! Land o' Goshen, what have you got that crazy tail fer?"
"To sweep your grave?" Raw Head boomed, his enchanted voice echoing through the woods, getting louder and louder with each echo. The hunter took to his heels and ran for his cabin. He raced passed the old well-house, passed the wood pile, over the rotting fence and into his yard. But Raw Head was faster. When the hunter reached his porch, Raw Head leapt from the shadows and loomed above him. The hunter stared in terror up at Raw Head's gleaming yellow eyes in the ugly razorback hogshead, his bloody bone skeleton with its long bear claws, sweeping raccoon's tail and his gleaming sharp panther teeth.
"Land o' Goshen, what have you got those big teeth fer?" he gasped desperately, stumbling backwards from the terrible figure before him.
"To eat you up, like you wanted to eat me!" Raw Head roared, descending upon the good-for-nothing hunter. The murdering thief gave one long scream in the moonlight. Then there was silence, and the sound of crunching.
Nothing more was ever seen or heard of the lazy hunter who lived on the ridge. His horse also disappeared that night. But sometimes folks would see Raw Head roaming through the forest in the company of his friend Old Betty. And once a month, on the night of the full moon, Raw Head would ride the hunter's horse through town, wearing the old man's blue overalls over his bloody bones with a hole cut-out for his raccoon tail. In his bloody, bear-clawed hands, he carried his raw, razorback hogshead, lifting it high against the full moon for everyone to see.
A West Virginia Ghost Story
The old storage sheds along the tracks were abandoned shortly after the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was built, and it wasn't long before the poor folk of the area moved in. The sheds provided shelter - of a sort - although the winter wind still pierced through every crevice, and the small fireplaces that the poor constructed did little to keep the cold at bay.
A gentle, kindly woman named Jenny lived alone in one of the smaller sheds. She had fallen on hard times, and with no family to protect her, she was forced to find work where she could and take whatever shelter was available to someone with little money. Jenny never had enough to eat and in winter her tiny fire barely kept her alive during the cold months. Still, she kept her spirits up and tried to help other folks when they took sick or needed food, sometimes going without herself so that another could eat.
One cold evening in late autumn, Jenny sat shivering over her fire, drinking broth out of a wooden bowl, when a spark flew from the fire and lit her skirts on fire. Intent on filling her aching stomach, Jenny did not notice her flaming clothes until the fire had burnt through the heavy wool of her skirt and began to scorch her skin. Leaping up in terror, Jenny threw her broth over the licking flames but the fluid did nothing to douse the fire. In terror, Jenny fled from the shack and ran along the tracks, screaming for help as the flames engulfed her body.
The station was not far away, and instinctively Jenny made for it, hoping to find someone to aid her. Within moments, her body was a glowing inferno and Jenny was overwhelmed by pain. Her screams grew more horrible as her steps slowed. She staggered blindly onto the tracks just west of the station, a ball of fire that barely looked human. In her agony, she did not see the glowing headlight of the train rounding the curve, or hear the screech of the breaks as the engineer spotted her fire-eaten figure and tried to stop. A moment later, her terrible screams broke off as the train mowed her down.
Alerted by the whistle, the crew from the station came running as the engineer halted the train and ran back down the tracks toward poor dead Jenny, who was still burning. The men doused the fire and carried her body back to the station. She was given a pauper's funeral and buried in an unmarked grave in the local churchyard. Within a few days, another poverty-stricken family had moved into her shack, and Jenny was forgotten.
Forgotten that is, until a month later when a train rounding the bend west of the station was confronted by a screaming ball of fire. Too late to stop, the engineer plowed over the glowing figure before he could bring the train to a screeching halt. Leaping from the engine, he ran back down the tracks to search for a mangled, burning body, but there was nothing there. Shaken, he brought his train into the station and reported the incident to the stationmaster. After hearing his tale, the stationmaster remembered poor, dead Jenny and realized that her ghost had returned to haunt the tracks where she had died.
To this day, the phantom of Screaming Jenny still appears on the tracks on the anniversary of the day she died. Many an engineer has rounded the curve just west of the station and found himself face to face with the burning ghost of Screaming Jenny, as once more she makes her deadly run towards the Harpers Ferry station, seeking in vain for someone to save her.
Sifty Sifty San
A Texas Ghost Story
retold by S.E. Schlosser
Excerpted from Spooky Texas
There was once a beautiful old house right on the edge of a lake, surrounded by woods. But no one would live there because a spirit calling itself Sifty-Sifty-San drove everyone away.
In desperation, the owner of the house went to the big city, looking for a man or woman who would be able to banish the spirit of Sifty-Sifty-San. The first night in town, he came across a man named Sam who had spent much of his life banishing ghosts.
As Sam approached the house he whistled cheerfully to himself; the prospect of a good night?s sleep in a fancy house and a big wad of money in his pocket made Sam a happy man.
Darkness came swiftly, and with it came a sinister hissing sound from the forest. Sifty-sifty, the wind whistled in the treetops. Saaaannnn, the waves lapping the shore responded. Outside, a huge gust of wind shook the house and howled down the chimney. Sam shivered and threw another log on the fire.
The wind settled down a bit, and Sam could once again hear the tiny sounds of night. Sifty-sifty, the little frogs croaked. Saaannn, belched the biggest of the bullfrogs. The sound of the waves grew louder. Sam heard a huge thud-thud-thud sound coming from the forest. Sam ran around the house, making sure all the windows and doors were locked.
He had just settled down by the fire for supper when there came a soft cry from the far side of the lake. The frying pan shook in his grip, and he hastily put it back on the fire and pulled a Bible out of his pack. The cry came again, louder. A strange gust of air blew through the house bringing with it a strange musty smell, like the dust in a graveyard.
Out on the lake, Sam heard a soft voice chanting: ?I am Sifty-Sifty-San. I?m here on the lake, but where is the man?? Sam froze in place, and the wind picked up again, howling down the large chimney.
?I am Sifty-Sifty-San,? a sinister voice hissed from the shore of the lake. ?I?m here on the shore, but where is the man?? Sam dropped his Bible in his fright. His hands were shaking too much to grip anything, and the dusty, decaying smell coming through the window seemed to dull his thoughts and numb his body.
?I am Sifty-Sifty-San,? a terrible, howling voice called from the front of the house. ?I?m here on the porch, but where is the man?? Abandoning food, Bible, bag, and sanity, Sam wrestled desperately with the back window, trying to open it wide enough to climb through. He heard the front doors slam open with a bang, and down the passageway came the thud-thud-thudding of footsteps. Then the kitchen door slammed inward, and a huge shadow with burning yellow eyes appeared in the frame.
?I am Sifty-Sifty-San,? a horrible, blood-chilling voice bellowed. ?I?m here in the house with the trespassing man!?
?No you ain?t, on account of I?m gone,? shouted Sam, springing through the window, glass, wood frame, and all. He hightailed it back to town faster than a jackrabbit.
And that was the last time anybody went near the old house on the lake. If it hasn?t fallen to pieces by now, then Sifty-Sifty-San may be there still.
A Pennsylvania Ghost Story
She lurks below the surface of the lake near Presque Isle, her lithe form forever swimming through the weeds and the mire. Pale and green of skin, her yellow eyes shine luminously in the dark, and her thin long arms wrap themselves around the unwary, while foul-green pointed teeth sink into soft flesh and sharp nails at the end of long bony fingers stroke you into the deepest sleep there is. She is called by many names, but to sailors of Lake Erie, she is known as the Storm Hag.
The creature is a sea witch, an evil Jenny Greenteeth who summoned the storms and pulled shipwrecked sailors down into her evil embrace to live with her forever at the bottom of the lake. Sometimes she waits until the calm right after the storm to attack. When the sailors relax their guard, lulled into thinking that the danger had passed with the storm, the Storm Hag bursts forth from the dark waters of the lake, spewing forth lightening and wind like venom. And the ship will vanish - never to be seen again.
There is only one warning before she strikes. If you listen closely, you can hear her singing against the harsh wind and the thrashing waves:
"Come into the water, love,
Dance beneath the waves,
Where dwell the bones of sailor-lads
Inside my saffron cave."
If you can, flee immediately, for the Storm Hag is right beside you. If you cannot, then pray to your God for mercy, for the Storm Hag will grant you none. Her whirlpool will suck down your ship, and her long green arms will lovingly stroke you into the depths of the lake, where she will feast on your body among the weeds.
The Vampire Hermit's HouseA Scary New York Folktale
Excerpted from Spooky New York
retold by S.E. Schlosser
She was nervous when her husband said they were to stay in the abandoned house, for it contained the corpse of the hermit who once lived there, enshrined in a coffin in the loft. It was an old custom and one no longer popular among the Iroquois people, but the hermit had insisted upon it before his death. There was good hunting in this place, her man had declared, and so they moved in and she unpacked their few belongings in the front room, refusing to go up into the loft where the hermit?s body lay.
When her husband left to hunt, she immediately put her daughter in the sling on her back and went to look for roots and berries, staying away until her husband returned with the meat. As she prepared the evening meal for them, her husband, tired from his hunting, climbed up into the loft to rest.
The hut soon filled with the delicious smell of roasting meat. She was sorting through the berries when she heard a muffled cry and the crunch of breaking bones. As she stared upward, frozen in horror, blood started to drip from the rafters.
She crept silently to the far corner of the room where she could see up into the loft. A skeleton with glowing red eye sockets was feasting on the body of her husband. Its teeth and chin covered with blood,.
Her daughter stirred restlessly at her back, and she knew that she had to get away immediately.
?I am going to run down to the stream to fetch water for the broth,? she called toward the loft. ?I will be right back.? She took the pail and walked toward the stream, trying to appear normal. As soon as she was out of sight among the trees, she started to run as fast as she could. She heard a terrible howl from the direction of the house as the creature heard them escaping and started to pursue. The young mother stumbled desperately through the woods, the creature?s howls growing closer as it pursued them. Her little daughter wailed in fright at her back as she fled in terror, sobbing and was almost without hope The monster was gaining on her.
In a last act of despair, she shouted the Iroquois distress cry, hoping someone would be near enough to hear it. Her call was taken up and answered by the warriors from the village. She could hear the creature breathing behind her as she sprinted to the trees at the edge of the village. Here, her strength failed her, and she collapsed to the ground,
Just before the monster could pounce on them, a party of warriors burst through the gates of the village chasing the skeleton away. They swung their torches wide, and the skeleton retreated farther into the woods. The warriors chased the creature back to the hermit?s house, and set fire to the cabin. As the flames encompassed the house, a terrible howling and roaring came from the loft, and the vampire hermit fled into the woods in the form of a rabbit, never again to plague the young woman or her daughter.
A California Ghost Story
retold by S.E. Schlosser
When the samurai warrior Kane first came to California from Tokyo, be brought his new wife, the beautiful Ishi. She was an ideal wife: gentle, attentive, and a wonderful cook. Kane was the envy of his new neighbors. But he was a proud man. When a wealthy family moved into the neighborhood, Kane cast his eye upon their lovely daughter, Aiko, and desired her. In his mind Ishi was second best. So Kane plotted to rid himself of his wife so he could woo and win the fair Aiko.
On a stormy night on the way home from a great banquet, Kane pushed Ishi over the cliff and into the bay. No one heard her scream though the howling wind. No one suspected foul play when Kane came rushing back to the banquet hall, shouting for help because his poor wife had slipped and fallen over the cliff.
Kane acted the part of the bereaved husband to perfection. He gave Ishi a splendid funeral. It wasn?t until he was alone in his house that Kane relaxed and drank to his success.
Outside, the wind whipped against the house, making the walls rattle and shake. A stray breeze swept through the sleeping-room with a whisper: ?Vengeance. Vengeance.?
Kane sat up and blinked as a dark figure stepped into the room. Its long tangled black hair hung over the dirty, bloodstained kimono. Its face was crushed and broken, with one eyeball hanging from the socket. The ghost of Ishi reached out a broken hand toward her husband, smiling through the shattered remains of her teeth. ?Vengeance,? she whispered, ?Vengeance.?
Kane screamed in terror, leapt out of the window, and ran to a neighbor?s house. Mistaking his fear for grief the neighbors took him in and insisted he stay with them during the first weeks of his bereavement.
A month passed as Kane waited for Ishi?s ghost to reappear, but she?d vanished. Relieved, Kane decided it was safe to bring Aiko and her family to see his home. As he escorted Aiko?s parents around the garden, he felt a hand on his arm. Kane turned around and found himself facing a beautiful Ishi, who kissed him and whispered in his ear: ?Vengeance.? Laughing, Ishi danced away, waving to Aiko and her parents as she passed. Aiko glared after her in jealous rage.
Fearing that Aiko might end the betrothal, Kane pressed forward with his suit, arranging for a grand engagement feast to prove his devotion. Friends, neighbors, and family came to the banquet hall to laugh and toast over food and wine.
Kane was very please with his success. But when he looked across the hall, he saw the ghost of beautiful young Ishi walk into the room and stand demurely in the corner. He paused mid-sentence and stared in horror as she laughed and began to change. Her body twisted and broke before Kane?s eyes, her face collapsing inward and bleeding, her black hair tangling, her eyeball popping out of its socket.
?Vengeance,? she whispered.
?No! No!? Kane shouted.
Around him, Akio, her parents, and the guests stared. None of them could see the ghost. As Ishi drifted out of the door Kane followed, vowing she would haunt him no more.
The ghost drifted along the cliff path with Kane running after her, shouting and cursing. Suddenly the ghost stopped at the place where Kane had pushed her. She turned to face Kane and started to grow, her crushed body bloody and dirty, her eyeball swaying, her shattered teething gleaming in the moonlight.
?Vengeance!? she screamed and lunged at Kane. The samurai stepped backward, face contorting in fear. His foot slipped suddenly on the loose earth, and he plunged backward over the edge of the cliff, his body fatally smashing into the rocks far below.
That same night a terrible storm beat against Kane?s house. Lightning hit the roof and the house burned to the ground. Neighbors claimed they could hear a voice in the wind saying one word, over and over: ?Vengeance.?
Where's My Liver
An Ontario Ghost Story
?Go straight to the store and don?t fool around,? his mother said sternly as she handed over the money. ?Your father?s boss is coming to dinner tonight and we?re having his favorite meal of liver and onions. It?s important that we make a good impression, so get the best liver they?ve got.?
?I will, Ma,? Tommy sulked. His mother had really been after him since he brought home a failing report card.Tommy grabbed his bicycle from the garage and rode down then street. Then saw his friend Chad. ?Come on, Tommy!? Chad called. ?The gang?s playing baseball over at the park, and we need a pitcher.?
Immediately, all thoughts of his errand fled from Tommy?s mind. The boys headed towards the park. Tommy pitched a no-hitter to win the game for his team, but by the time it was over, it was dark. Then Tommy remembered his errand. ?The liver!? he gasped. ?I?ve got to get to the store!?
But, all the local groceries were closed. ?My mom?s going to kill me,? he gasped. First the bad report card, and now this! He would be grounded for life.
As he rode home past the cemetery, he got an idea. It was an awful idea, but it would save him from the even more awful fate that awaited him if he came home without a liver. His great-uncle had died a few days ago and had been buried in the cemetery. What harm would it do to remove it? His uncle certainly didn?t need it anymore.
Tommy hurried home as silently as he could and got his father?s shovel. He returned to the cemetery and began digging up his great-uncle?s grave.
That night, his mother cooked up the liver and onions and the boss raved about the meal and had such a good time that he didn?t leave until quite late.
Tommy went to bed that night relieved he had gotten away with it. He fell asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow but woke with a start soon after, sure that he had heard a voice.
?Where?s my liver?? A ghostly voice rose up from the staircase, deep and guttural. Tommy gasped in fear and flung himself under the covers as the thud of heavy footsteps reached the top of the steps.
Thump. Thump. Thump. The footsteps drew nearer, until they reached Tommy?s door. ? Who?s got my liver?? the horrible voice asked again.
?Go away. Go away,? Tommy whispered repeatedly. His whole body trembled in terror as once more the voice asked, ?Where?s my liver? Who?s got my liver??
Sheer terror made him suddenly bold. Tommy threw back the covers and found the shriveled white face of his great-uncle right above him. ?We ate your liver!? he shouted.
?I know you did, Tommy,? the rotting corpse of his great-uncle said softly, stretching out his bony hands toward the boy?s shaking body. Tommy screamed.
The next morning, Tommy?s parents discovered their son lying dead on top of his bed. His liver had been ripped right out of his body, but the autopsy proved that the boy had already died of fright before his liver was removed.
A New York Ghost Story
S. E. Schlosser
In the early 1800s, the White Lady and her daughter were supposed to have lived on the land where the Durand Eastman Park -- part of Irondequoit and Rochester -- now stands. One day, the daughter disappeared. Convinced that the girl had been raped and murdered by a local farmer, the mother searched the marshy lands day after day, trying to discover where her child's body was buried. She took with her two German shepherd dogs to aid in her search, but she never found a trace of her daughter. Finally, in her grief, the mother threw herself off a cliff into lake Ontario and died. Her dogs pined for their mistress and shortly joined her in the grave.
After death, the mother's spirit returned to continue the search for her child. People say that on foggy nights, the White Lady rises from the small Durand Lake which faces Lake Ontario. She is accompanied by her dogs and together they roam through the Durand Eastman park, still searching for her missing daughter.
The White Lady is not a friendly spirit. She dislikes men and often seeks vengeance against the males visiting the park on her daughter's behalf . There have been reports of the White Lady chasing men into the lake, shaking their cars, and making their lives miserable until they leave the park. She has never touched any females accompanying these unfortunate fellows.
A Texas Scary Story
Retold by S.E. Schlosser
Spooky Texas She snapped awake out of a deep sleep, screaming aloud in terror. In her nightmare, a large white wolf had been chasing her around and around the house, gaining on her with every step until it finally pounced on her and ripped out her throat. She lay shaking for hours, unable to sleep after such a terrifying dream.
But morning finally arrived, and the day was completely normal. Celia forgot all about her dream, until the moment her parents reminded her that they would be going out that night to celebrate their anniversary. Celia turned milk-white. In her dream, the white wolf had come to kill her while her parents were out celebrating their anniversary! She started shaking and begging them not to go. Her parents were astonished at her behavior, and finally shamed her into staying home alone that night.
Fearfully, Celia locked herself into the house as soon as her parents left, checking every door and every window. She tried to laugh it off as she got into bed, and finally she shook off her irrational fear and fell asleep.
Celia snapped awake suddenly, every muscle tense. She heard the tinkling of falling glass from a broken window, and the snuffling sound of a snout pressed to the floor. It was the sound of a hunting wolf. A werewolf. Real wolves did not break into houses when there was plenty of game outside. She could hear the click-clicking of the creature?s claws on the wooden floor. The musky, foul smell of wet animal fur combined with the meaty breath of a carnivore, drifted into the room.
She could hear the werewolf?s panting right outside her bedroom. Then her body was out of bed and she sped through the bathroom and down the back stairs. She heard a soft growl and then the sound of animal feet pursuing her as she raced down the steps and tore open the back door. A glance at the window beside her showed a reflection of the werewolf leaping down the last few steps behind her.
Celia?s feet screamed in protest as she ran painfully across the sharp gravel driveway toward the tool shed with its shovels and baseball bats. Anything she could use as a weapon. But the huge, red-eyed wolf was suddenly between her and the toolshed, stalking toward her. The cold wind pierced her skin as she turned and fled around the side of the house. She gasped as the white wolf howled and took off after her. She could hear the terrifying sound of the creature?s pounding feet.
Faster, faster, she commanded her legs, panting desperately against the fear choking her. She would run around the house and back down the driveway, she thought with the clarity of sheer horror. She felt the wolf snap at her back leg and felt the sting of teeth. She put on speed.
The wolf veered away from her suddenly, and she felt a rush of hope. She couldn?t hear the wolf now, couldn?t see it in the cloud-darkened night. She kept running around the house, heading back toward the tool shed. To her intense relief, she heard the sound of a car coming down the road in front of her house. Her parents were back and would save her from the wolf!
Then her heart stopped in panic as she turned the last corner and saw the shape of the white wolf as it stood balanced on the porch railing right in front of her. It sprang upon Celia, huge teeth tearing into her flesh and ripping out her throat. She fell under the weight of its body, hot blood spilling all over the ground, and died seconds after she hit the ground. One minute later, her parent's car pulled into the driveway, its headlights blinding the white wolf as it pulled toward the house. Frightened, the wolf backed away from its kill and then ran away.
Wraith of the Creek
A Michigan Ghost Story
Excerpted from Spooky Michigan
When he left his tribe to work with the white lumbermen, he changed his name to William Cloud, and the lumberjacks started calling him ?Cloudy.? They liked to hear Cloudy tell the story of the wraith that lived in the creek that powered the local log chute. The wraith was an evil creature that desired nothing more than to wrap its long arms around humans or animals and pull them down into the water to drown.
It rained heavy and long that spring, and the creek was flooded almost to capacity. One stormy night, the order was given to lower the gate of the chute and send the logs downstream to the mill. The thought of going outside in the storm did not appeal to anyone, and so the men drew straws. Cloudy came up with the short one.
Wraith in the Creek
He hugged his coat tightly around him as he made his way silently through the pitch-black night toward the log chute. As he released the first pin, he heard a foul hissing sound from beside the floating raft of logs. Cloudy turned his head and saw a grotesque form rising from the swirling stream. Its face was framed by wild, weed-strewn hair, and dark slimy scales covered its lithesome body.
Cloudy tugged frantically at the final pin, eager to finish his task and get away. But the pin got stuck halfway out. Suddenly, the creature lunged out of the water. Cloudy leapt back, fleeing up the path toward the cabin. Behind him, the wraith howled. Cloudy increased his speed, running blindly in the darkness.
Then the wraith dropped down from the branches of a tree right in front of him, blocking his way. Its yellow eyes glowed, and moonlight glinted against its slimy skin. Its long, thin arms stretch out toward him through the raging storm, claws extended. He gave one loud shout of despair, but the lightning-fast movement of a razor-sharp claw cut off his cry, and the woods were suddenly still again.
Back in the cabin, the lumbermen waited for Cloudy to return. Then Ethan, Cloudy?s good friend, volunteered to go down to the log chute and look for him. Several other loggers decided to join the search.
Within ten minutes, the men were standing next to the gate. They lowered a lantern to the level of the rushing water and peered into the depths. Ethan gave a sudden sharp cry when he spotted the mangled face of Cloudy. The loggers lifted the gate and drew Cloudy up with pike poles. His body had been sliced to ribbons, and his head was almost completely severed. News of the murderous wraith in the creek quickly spread through the lumber camp.
A week after Cloudy?s death, Ethan was awakened by a strange blue light above his bed. He opened his eyes and found himself gazing into the face of William Cloud. The spirit warned Ethan that the wraith had marked Ethan for its next victim. At daybreak, Ethan packed his belongings and left the camp. On his way out, he confided his story to a few of the lumbermen, and soon word of Cloudy?s warning spread throughout the camp. By sundown, it was completely deserted.
The log chute fell into disrepair and slowly crumbled away, never to be replaced. The wraith still lurks in the stream, watching for another victim. But it waits in vain, for the ghost of Cloudy appears to anyone foolish enough to wander near the stream, warning them away with terrible groans and piercing screams.
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