Scary Stories

A man was driving late one night when he saw a young woman walking by the side of the road. Thinking that it wasn’t safe for her to be out and alone so late on a lonely country road, he stopped and asked her if she needed a ride. She gratefully accepted. She told him she was trying to get home and gve him directions to her house. The driver tried to engage the girl in conversation, but she was strangely uncommunicative, telling him only that she wanted to go home.

 

When they arrived at the darkened house, the driver got out and walked around to the passenger side to open the door, thinking to walk her to her front door. 

She was gone. 

The puzzled driver walked up and knocked on the door, wondering if the girl had somehow managed to get out without him noticing. An old woman answered. When she saw the man standing there, she smiled sadly.  “I know who you’re looking for,” she said. “And she’s not here. She was my daughter. She was killed in a car wreck ten years ago on her way back from the prom. And every night on this date since, some man has come here, telling me that he picked her  up by the side of the road. But she never makes it home.”

***

Maco, North Carolina, lies along the line of the old Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. On a foggy, rainy night in 1867, a brakeman  named Joe Baldwin was working the night train headed for Wilmington. By some mischance the caboose became uncoupled from the train and stranded on the tracks. Joe knew another train would be along soon and his duty was to try to stop it before it collided with the stranded caboose. He ran down the tracks, swinging his lantern.

 

 

When he saw the lights of the train behind, he waved even more frantically. Unfortunately, the oncoming locomotive failed to see him in the fog. It struck poor Joe, killing him instantly.

Since that night, people walking along the tracks near Maco Station have reported a strange light appearing alng the tracks, moving from side to side. They say it’s the ghost of  Joe Baldwin, searching for his severed head.

 

***

In the early  19th century, in the town of Bath in Northeastern North Carolina, there lived a dissolute young man by the name of Jesse Elliot. Jesse loved to drink, gamble, and race Fury, his champion  stallion. He’d never been beaten on that horse, and he swore he never would.

One Sunday, a stranger, all dressed in black, arrived in town on a huge black horse. He challenged Jesse to a race, and Jesse, already half drunk, agreed. Some of the other citizens of the town scolded him fotr drinking and racing on Sunday, but he laughed them off and had another drink. 

The race began, the horses thundering down a nearby country lane. The stranger’s horse kept up with Jesse’s, then began to overtake him.

 

As they rounded the big oak tree that was the halfway point of the race, a spectator called out that it looked like Jesse was going to lose this one. “I’ll ride this horse to victory or I’ll ride him to Hell!” Jesse shouted back. At that moment, Fury pulled up suddenly, throwing Jesse against a nearby tree and killing him. The stranger pulled up beside Jesse’s limp body, and for years, onlookers would shiver as they described his chilling laugh. Then he spurred his horse and rode away, never to be seen again in those parts.

To this day, you can still see a set of mysterious depressions in the ground near where Jesse died.

 

Nothing grows in them, and obects placed in them are gone the next day. In the 1940’s, a newsreel cameraman named Earl Harrell came to Bath and performed an experiment. He filled the holes with dirt and leaves, then made a webwork of back thread over them. The next day, the thread was undisturbed, but  the holes were empty. The locals debate whether the mysterious depressions are the hoofprints of Fury or of the great black stallion whose rider tempted Jesse to his death.

I hope you have a happy Hallowe’en this weekend! And please share your favorite ghost stories, from wherever you live.

 

 

28 thoughts on “Scary Stories

  1. Louise Ure

    Good one, J.D. Scary stories for a scary week.

    My favorite from the desert southwest is that of La Llorona: the Wailing Woman who haunts the banks of the arroyos to find the three children she killed.

    Reply
  2. Alafair Burke

    My favorite ghost stories all come from women on my father’s side of the family, who supposedly share some genetic gift (burden?) to see the dead. The stories all shared the same structure: the observation of some inexplicable fact, followed by the discovery of some long-ago death of a person whose soul continues to haunt. The stubborn smell of a burnt pot in my cousin’s kitchen, followed by her discovery that the home’s previous owner had been murdered, her body found when the burning pot set off a smoke alarm. The delirious rantings of a dying aunt who droned on about the children playing baseball outside, followed by the discovery that the property was once an orphanage with a baseball field.

    I’ve never seen any ghosts, though, so apparently the affliction skipped me.

    Reply
  3. Alannah Lynne

    Hi, I’m a newbie here and I’m so glad I stopped by today. I live about 30 minutes from Bath and have never heard the last story. I’ve heard of (and seen) the sillouette of a man’s head on the side of a house – and no matter which way the light shines on the house you can still see the man’s head hanging there. But this one is new. I go through Bath ever few weeks in the summer time, I’ll make sure I check this out next time I’m there.

    Reply
  4. toni mcgee causey

    In The Myrtles Plantation up just a few miles north of Baton Rouge, a servant girl had been chastised for being lazy. She overheard the owner talking about getting rid of her, and so she devised a plan to make her necessary to keep. She baked a cake for the family for dessert, thinking to make them sick, whereupon she would nurse them back to health and be so loving through the process, no one would want her to leave. She miscalculated, though, and the two daughters ate too much and died. The servant was convicted of their murders and hanged. Visitors to the plantation tell of waking in thier rooms to find two girls playing in there. Sometimes they’re just standing there as if they want to talk, but then run out the door, only to disappear. The servant and the girls have appeared as shadows in photos.

    Reply
  5. Stacy McKitrick

    My favorite ghost stories happened at my grandparents house. They lived on Wilshire (or off of that street) in LA (in the 50’s and 60’s) and their house was haunted. They called the ghost EthelBeth. She was very mischievous, too. One night my grandfather was lying on the bed when his hats started flying out of the closet. He thought my grandmother was in there, but when he checked, no one was there. It was also noted during some family get togethers, that the window in the dining room would suddenly open as they sat there eating dinner. Now, their windows were the old wooden kind that you have to really pull hard upward to open. Needless to say, I was scared to spend the night at their house!

    Reply
  6. Tom

    ‘Polish Mary’ (aka ‘Resurrection Mary’) is a famous ghost in the Chicago area. She appears as a young woman in 1930s clothing, walking along Archer – not the sidewalk, the street. She’ll accept a ride, and explain in Polish-accented English that she wants to go home. More recent reports have mentioned she’s been speaking more, but making less sense.

    As her ‘rescuer’ gets near Resurrection Cemetery, she tells him to stop the car. She jumps out and vanishes into the cemetery grounds (sound familiar. JD?).

    http://graveyards.com/IL/Cook/resurrection/mary.html

    We’ve got a poltergeist, but he’s not colorful (or verbal) like Mary.

    Reply
  7. JD Rhoades

    These are some good ones. Thanks, Louise, Stacy, and Tom, for letting me know that it’s not just us Southerners who have the good ghost stories (although I do love Toni’s).

    Alannah, let me know what you find. I’ve read this story half a dozen times, and I’ve been to Bath, but the lady at the visitor’s center didn’t seem to know a anything about the mysterious hoofprints or where they were.

    My favorite ghost stories all come from women on my father’s side of the family,

    Why am I not surprised, Alafair? 🙂

    Reply
  8. toni mcgee causey

    urgh. I was posting from my iPhone earlier and forgot the key ingredient: poison. She’d added poison to the cake, which was how they convicted her.

    I had a ghost in my own house–first house we lived in. She’d rock the chair, sometimes appear in the window to people as they passed by. The mailman kept mentioning her–he’d apparently wave to her nearly every day. One night, when Luke was a baby, I heard him crying and went to see why when I saw an old woman bent over his crib. I screamed bloody murder, scared the wits out of my husband and yet, Luke had fallen back asleep and the woman was gone.

    One day, the chair rocking was really getting on my last nerve. It’s just weird to be standing two rooms away and see a chair just start rocking. Luke had been up for days with colic, we were tired and cranky, and I turned to the chair and snapped, "Could you please just stop rocking? You’re driving me nuts!" And it stopped. It never rocked on its own again.

    I used to think I was crazy (you know, before there was empirical evidence), and years later, my sister-in-law told me the people who lived there claimed it was haunted by an old woman. She didn’t like that couple, though, because the often fought in front of the kids. She’d lose keys, destroy stuff, things would fly off the shelves. They didn’t live there for long.

    Reply
  9. Judy Wirzberger

    Scary poem from my youth
    Late this morning about the middle of the night
    Two dead boys got up to fight
    Back to back they faced each other
    Drew their swords and shot one another
    A deaf policeman heard the noise
    And came to arrest those two dead boys.
    If you don’t believe this story is true
    Ask the blind man, he saw it too.

    Scary because I can remember that from fourth grade and can’t remember things from yesterday. Go figure.

    Reply
  10. BCB

    Toni, why am I not surprised by that?

    I don’t remember any family members ever telling ghost stories. Not when I was a child and not now. How odd. And it’s not that our family lacked imaginative story-tellers. There was a great-uncle who often held us spellbound for hours. I miss him and his tales.

    But no ghosts. Ever. I wonder whether this is due to the practical stoicism of the region (MN) or because there are simply no ghosts capable of surviving the winters.

    Reply
  11. Catherine Shipton

    We’d looked at some really questionable properties. One that was so awful that my eldest daughter looked at it and went, ‘this place smells like sin.’ There was so many stains it did your head in speculating what caused them.

    So when we first inspected this house they ended up renting, we had a pretty simple list ;affordable, roof intact, and clean. It was a century old queenslander. A queenslander is the local term to describe a timber house on stilts to let the air move around underneath, and to survive flooding.

    Underneath this house was a laundry and storage room that my youngest daughter and I couldn’t go past the doorway of. You know that feeling that something bad has happened in that room?

    The rest of the house felt ok, the rent was affordable, and there weren’t a lot of other houses to rent at the time. So the girls moved in.

    Soon after they had a party and my youngest daughter’s band played just outside the storage room. Maybe the booze flowing, the loud noise scattered whatever was dwelling in that room because it felt tolerable after that.

    However the lights upstairs would flicker, and doors would swing open and shut. Nothing to the point where it was threatening, just a little off. One of their housemates did leave as it was freaking her out a little as she would feel cold patches in her room. We’d put it down to not a lot of sunlight getting in as the houses are built so close together.

    Her room, ended up being the spare room where I’d sleep when I visited. It wasn’t easy sleeping in this house as the walls were paperthin and all you’d hear all night were sirens from a near by hospital. So one morning just before dawn I was half asleep and felt someone sit at the base of my bed near my feet.

    This all happened in that weird time freeze, where lots of things happen in only a couple of seconds. I sort of half opened my eyes and could see by the light of the street light that it wasn’t one of my daughters. It wasn’t anyone…yet I sensed an old man in a brown cardigan…he felt harmless if not a bit lonely.

    I’m not good without adequate sleep…so I sort of growled out, ‘ I don’t have time for this,’ felt the pressure ease and went back to sleep.

    The next girl that moved into that room was a gorgeous black irish/australian she never seemed to have a problem sleeping there.

    Reply
  12. Evie

    Here’s the story of Fisher’s Ghost, which is from my hometown of Campbelltown in South-western Sydney, Australia. Campbelltown is now an urban population centre and part of Sydney, in 1826 it was a remote rural outpost in a colony which was only 38 years old (the English set up the colony in 1788).

    Frederick George James Fisher was born on August 28th, 1792. By his early twenties he was a shopkeeper, unmarried, but thought to be the father of two children.

    Either innocently or deliberately, Fred Fisher obtained forged bank notes through his business for which he was arrested and tried at the Surrey Gaol Delivery on July 26, 1815 and sentenced to fourteen years transportation to Australia.

    By 1822 Fred Fisher has served half his sentence and applied for a ticket-of-leave and permission to purchase property. Among other properties, Fred Fisher secured a farm at Campbelltown.

    His neighbour was a man named William George Worrall, known to be an honest and industrious man.

    In 1825 Fred Fisher and a local carpenter, William Brooker, had an argument over money, during which Fisher pulled a knife. William Brooker was not badly hurt, however Fred Fisher received a light prison sentence.

    Worried about his property, Fred Fisher gave George Worrall Power of Attorney during his imprisonment. Fisher served his sentence and returned to town a short time later.

    On the Evening of June 17, 1826, Frederick Fisher left his home in Campbelltown and was never seen again.

    George Worrall claimed Fred Fisher had sailed for England because he was concerned about a forgery charge recently made against him.

    Three weeks after Fred Fisher’s disappearance, George Worrall sold Fisher’s horse and personal belongings, claiming Fred Fisher had sold them to him before he set sail.

    On a night almost four months after Fisher’s disappearance, a wealthy and respectable Campbelltown farmer, John Farley, stumbled into a local hotel in a state of shock, and claimed he had seen the ghost of Frederick Fisher.

    The ghost according to John Farley, had been sitting on the rail of a bridge and had pointed to a paddock down the creek, then faded away.

    One month later, October 25, 1826, two young boys were returning home across Fisher’s farm and noticed bloodstains on a fence. On closer investigation, a lock of hair and a tooth were also found.

    A local constable searched the area to no avail and decided to call in an Aboriginal tracker from Liverpool (a little to the north of Campbelltown). On testing the water from puddles in the area, the tracker announced ‘white fellow’s fat here!’ Fred Fisher’s remains were found laying in a shallow grave on George Worrall’s land.

    Worrall claimed he had not murdered Fred Fisher, but that four other men (who had been lodging with Fisher) had in fact committed the crime. All four men were then arrested.

    On the scaffold, Worrall confessed he had murdered Fred Fisher by mistake, thinking him a horse in the wheat crop, however, this confession was never believed by the locals. The motive for Worrall’s crime is believed to have been greed: an attempt to keep the property Fisher had temporarily given him power of attorney over.

    It is thought by some that the story of the ghost may have been invented by Farley as a way of concealing some other speculated source of his knowledge about the whereabouts of Fisher’s body, but this cannot be confirmed. Contemporary police and court records do not mention the ghost story – but they are also silent on how the authorities knew where to look for Fisher’s body. I personally favour the idea, which Agatha Christie had in one of her books (where a woman subconsciously noticed something behind a curtain), that Farley had noticed something was wrong without knowing he had noticed it, and that the ghost had suggested itself to him.

    The bridge and creek where Fisher’s Ghost is said to have appeared are now named after Fisher, and Campbelltown has held the Fisher’s Ghost Festival every year since 1953. People don’t seem to claim that THEY have seen him, I think the idea is that he only appeared because he could not rest until his body was found and Worrall’s crime uncovered.

    Reply
  13. Heather Menchero

    It is interesting how pervasive some of these stories are across cultures. I remember hearing about La Llorona (mentioned in previous comment) and different takes on the dead teen girl while living in both Costa Rica and South Texas. I currently live in China and there is a ghost tale here of a maiden in white who appears to a young man and then later disappears. I have also heard of a "llorona" type story in Vietnam. (And I’m sure they are found in other places, as well.) I suppose they speak to some of our primal fears/anxieties that are shared among all peoples?

    This whole post has given me the inspiration to examine Chinese ghost stories and folktales more closely. Since the Cultural Revolution, people here are dismissive of these things as "superstition," but I have noticed that as time goes by, more and more people are becoming interested in the folktales and holidays like Tomb Sweeping Day (Very similar to Mexico’s Day of the Dead and the West’s All Saint’s Day) are being observed again.

    Reply
  14. transmetteur fm

    I like from the desert southwest is that of La Llorona. I knew the author’s view and so I could not wait to get my hands on the book. These stories are certainly well written easy reading and very accessible.

    Reply
  15. ClubPenguinCheats

    The stubborn smell of a burnt pot in my cousin’s kitchen, followed by her discovery that the home’s previous owner had been murdered, her body found when the burning pot set off a smoke alarm.

    Reply
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  22. 2cool4you

    this is just as scary its about mikey
    The Mickey Mouse chain letter is a popular scary e-mail at the moment. Apparently classic Disney characters can really creep people out.
    Mickey Mouse

    This scary Mickey Mouse e-mail is cursed and once you start reading it you cannot stop. Once you finish reading it you must send it to 5 friends to undo the curse or suffer the consequences.

    If you do not send this on, a horrible fate awaits you. Tonight at 12am, Mickey Mouse will come into your bedroom and kill you. This is no joke. So don’t think you can get out of it by just deleting this email now because Mickey Mouse will come to you if you do not send this on. He will slit your throat and your wrists and pull your eyeballs out with a fork. Then he will slide your dead corpse under your bed. If there is no room under your bed, he will hang you in your bedroom cupboard.

    What are your parents going to do when they wake up tomorrow morning and find you dead? It won’t be funny then, will it? I hope you don’t think this is just a fake messsage designed to scare you, because ifyou do, you are so wrong… so very wrong.

    Want to hear about some of the sad, sad people who have been seriously hurt or lost their lives because of this email?

    Here we go:

    Case 1: Annalise Richmond. She got this e-mail. “What a load of rubbish”, she thought to herself as she deleted it. And now, Annalise dead. Probably lying under her bed, rotting and smelling up the house.

    Case 2: Louise Whitefield. She sent this e-mail to only 3 people. That’s two too few, Louise! When she woke up in the morning, there was blood all over her bed and she was bleeding from her wrists. She had deep lacerations on each arm. Luckily, her parents brought her to hospital and she didn’t die. But she came close and now she is scarred for life.

    Case 3: Thomas Crowley. He sent this e-mail to 4 people. Big mistake, Tommy Boy! That night, Thomas was lying in his bed watching TV. When the clock struck midnight, the TV mysteriously flickered and turned off. Thomas’s bedroom lamp flashed on and off several times. Suddenly, it went pitch black and Thomas looked to the left. There was Mickey Mouse, standing in white rags, blood dripping from his deformed mouse-lips. He began squeaking in a high pitch voice as he raised up his right hand. Mickey was holding a knife. Thomas disappeared. He was never seen again.

    This is just a warning. The only way to undo the curse is to send this e-mail or else look into a mirror in a darkened room and softly sing the Mickey Mouse song. You know the one that goes like this:

    “M I C K E Y M O U S E… Mickey Mouse… Mickey Mouse.”
    say it 3 timees and your safe

    Reply

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