Hey there folks! Welcome to the American Folklore site, which features retold folktales from all 50 states. We answer those pesky folklore questions that keep you up at night, such as: "Why is a black cat bad luck?" and "Who the heck is Paul Bunyan?" So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair, and stay awhile. -S.E. Schlosser

New ghost stories and spooky podcasts; getting scarier each week until Halloween! Read a spooky story below or check out our Halloween jokes & games page for more spooky fun! Scary ghost stories are retold from American Folklore by S.E. Schlosser, author of the Spooky Series.

Folklore Stories

More Spooky Campfire Tales by S.E. Schlosser

Bloody Mary

Legends of Bloody Mary abound in the USA. In today’s folklore, Bloody Mary allegedly appears to people or small groups who say her name three times before a darkened mirror, hoping to see the spirit and have her tell their future. But who was Bloody Mary, really? Was she a witch, a Queen, a vain woman, a murderess, a victim, a vicious ghost or something else entirely? Read our Bloody Mary stories and decide for yourself!

Don't Turn on the Light

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.

The Face

The medical student toppled into love as soon as he set eyes on Sheila, the beautiful new transfer student. She had masses of long black hair and eyelashes so long they got tangled in her curls when she leaned over her desk. The medical student had a withdrawn nature, though not by inclination. He’d learned the hard way that people avoided him when they heard about his insane father; locked away in an asylum.

The Ghost in the Alley

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.

Hairy Toe

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.

The Handshake

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.

Hatchet Man

There were warnings all over campus about a Hatchet Man who was supposedly abused and killed a woman in Bloomington. All the girls were warned to walk in pairs and to stay in brightly lit areas if they had to go out at night.

The Hook

Excerpted from Spooky Campfire Talesretold by S.E. SchlosserThe 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...

Jack O'Lantern (video)

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.

>> See All New Stories


Schlosser, author of the Spooky Series

About the Author: S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series by Globe Pequot Press, as well as the Ghost Stories deck by Random House.  She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of "let's pretend" quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children's Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author. Read more | Visit S.E. Schlosser's Google Plus Profile.

About the Author   |   The Spooky Series   |    Facebook Page   |    Folklore Resources   |   Folklore stories A-Z   |   Reprints/Permissions
Comments; the appearing and disappearing worm!Comments? Email us at webmaster@americanfolklore.net

© S.E. Schlosser 1997 - 2020.

This site is best viewed while eating marshmallows around a campfire under a starry sky.

ALA ALSC Great Web Sites Seal             Yahoo! Picks     WebEnglishTeacher A+ Resource Award