Scary stories

Burnt Church

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. 

VIDEO:  See S.E. Schlosser on Streets of Fear: Burnt Church Road


wow!!!!!!!! cool!!!!!!!!!! ms sandy


his would be so cool as a movie. you need to make scarier ones though, like ghost stories to tell around a campfire.



Hey that was totally........not scary.....BOO!..That was scarier than that story i just read!..BOO! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

im going to tell this tonight its halloween

woah. kool story one of the best ones ive heard

That was scary.I dont want to go to school...

fun, but not at all scary


lol thats cool

that was freaky. i wonder if my school is evil.

lol nonsense

tis is supr coool


Wow, this one is pretty good. Really, it all depends on the story, and just because you think it isn't scary doesn't mean it isn't scary. Don't be suprized when there is a bump in the night...

Niiiice Great job ms sandy :)

wow that was ok i gess something my little sister would want to read i bet

woooow i wonder if our teachers do that

very scary.....not but i dont want to go to school again!

This story wus kinda cool. i wana take a brick and put it on my skewel or some one i hate *cough* mom *cough*.


good one... :-)


good story



Quite good


dudes i have to say i is a kool story i guess lol yeah but kool. i have to read it smile!!!!ps i love it:)

creepy but my school would never be like that

Wow that was kind of scary ! i cant believe that, those innocent children

that was good

not scary at all ; read ax somthing hollow.!!


that wasnt scary but me liked it

wow this is a good story to tell my lil sis in our sleepovers during october

cool story but im confused how can u resite the lords prayer backwards and i fell sad for the innocent children

eh its ok but i ain't no "story" critic! so i guess it can be a newberry awards winner

man this was a creepy story I enjoyed it.

i never repeat never want to go to church again espiecally when its dark and same with school...also it was pretty scary and awsome...did i mention i would give 3to4 stars out of 5

This would really a 5 star scary movie they should
make more based on a really life stories movies if they do make this a movie they should call it " Wicked wich teacher" I think that is a pretty good name for this kind of story and I really think that ghost and wich craft are reall so I don't no about u but u should belive

har har..not scary

Not scary I mean I new that guy woood do sometin

freaky alot freaky you can make a better storie with micheal jackson

thats cool

Nice story but not much nice enough to scare everyone,bcz its only a story...

OMG! tHAT SHOULD BE MADE INTO A MOVIE. iT WAS AWESOME...bUT i most say... Not so scary

this story was really boring yet im scared to go to wierd

gosh scare me half to death

so scaruy really

that is really scary. Any tips on how to make and/or tell something that scary?

woah that was tottaly scary, i dont wasnt to go to school or church ever again im so scared

i like that story

am not going to be able to sleep to night lolz

i luv it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That wasn't scary at all it was cool


eh not that scary wow im so scared yay right

thats a brilliant story but not particularly scary but good thought :)

Ehh wasnt that scary but a good story

OMG im scared where did you hear it and is it tru?

It was ok. It should be made into a scary movie.

coool but not scary ill tell u a story

Loved it!!

that was like the most freaky story i ever heard great job i think im gonna have nightmares forever now WOW COOL AWESOME

well ... it was not scary at all but the story is pretty cool ... !!!

this story was amazing but the part that most scared me was when the boy started praying backwards!!!!:S

poor kidz. i liked the stories though they didnt scare me. none if these stories scare me and im a 10 year old girl. im awesome and so was this story though could have been more scary. if u find a story thts scary call me.

That's messed up! This was good, I just wish there was more to it

Well i dont think ill ever go to church skool again

You know what i think of it? BORING!

Wow, that was a really creepy story! I had to tone it down a little for my kids, who generally have nerves of steel,lol...

that was long

That was ALOT of BS


It wasn't really that scary, but if it was made into a movie, it could be enhanced and make a really good horror movie for halloween.

This story reminds me of children of the corn minus some murders here and there.

I have heard better than this bs, i'll tell u a bit of my scary story. 100 years ago in poland there was a girl her 2 brothers and mom and dad one brother was 3 months old the other was 16 the girl was going to school she was excited the next day when she went to school the moment she entered the school door she felt something behind her she didn't want to beleive it so she kept walking something didn't feel right that night she had a nightmare so she slept with her parents now one night her brother never came home from his grandma the father didn't worry he thought he stayed longer, when the clock struck 12:00 the mother smelled blood she followed the scent it lead to her brothers room it said in blood i know what you did then it said leave this place at once they were scared she called the police one came out with the blood sample it said it was her brothers blood however 1 cop never came out to this day no one knows what happened, her mother started to grow insaine every night she cried tears of blood dripped from her cheek her father tried to comfort her mother but she never stopped crying one night she tried to run away from home. They had to put her in rehab from the incident they put her in an insaine prison the brother looked at the girl with suspitiousness one night he disapeared too it said i know what you did written all over her house this time when the police did the dna sample it was unknown blood then on her first day of high school her father never came back now she was left all alone in the dark stormy night.

not bad but not good


OMG amusing

thats awsome

that was one of the scariest stories ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

uh....such a sad story ...feel very bad about the little children..

That surely was a freaky story -
can't wait to read the others!!!

LOVED IT!!!! It waz awesome!!!!!


scary all of us kids at my school say our school is haunted

Cool story broh!

I liked that story it was perfect for the mood of October!It was really sad too cuz i love childeren!
My school is haunted in the fitness room where apearently the old old janitor that used to have to live there went crazy and hung himself with a chain in the fitness room!I swear i am not lying i heared that from my friends and my drama teacher.

This story was sow kool I love it

Best story on this site so far. Some people are saying these stories aren't scary because they have too many other things running through their minds. Shut off all the lights (if you dare) and focus on the story, read it completely through without any interruption and put yourself in the characters shoes or into the story and VOILA, you WILL undeniably be frightened. Have a spook-tacular time reading.

It was good,it kinda gave me goosebumps,u should make another one but more scarier...:)

tonight is halloween and i am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo going to tell that scary story



those poor kidz i hope my teacher does not get all wako


Smith should have shot the teacher or something instead-of killing the stundents.

my school is haunted too. we have a elevator where someone died in. teachers even say that it is haunted. one teacher quit because she was so scared!!!

That was creepy... poor kids...


I really enjoyed this. Back in 2006, some friends and I read about "Burnt Church Rd." and we went to see. It was truly an awesome visit. I can't say as I seen anything, but we all heard things. Things that weren't quite normal, but neither could we place what they came from either. So thanks, it was cool.


kind of scary but need more information of what happend to the wierd words luis comment kind of scary but it needs more suspense



wow!!!! this was soooooooooo creepy!!!! good thing i'm a couch potatoe!!!!!!!!


my teacher would never turn against the good lord

good i guess! i likes it! XD

wow, cool! ps: anyone know where that "Happened", because i would have some use for those bricks ;)

this story was not bad but not great either... THANKS ALOT NOW IM AFRAID TO GO TO SCHOOL TOMORROW :(


scary... superb

This is really good I like it , it's scary but good at the same time

urghhh, that's just plain creepy


I think it is really a scary story!!!

so scary!

reminded me of a movie i watched recently called the children its about weird psychokiller kids and theres no teacher though

not that scary

that was soooo good! the best one so far. they do need 2 make this into a movie. i wud be one of the first ones 2 c it. i luved it

this should be a moviee

I just read that in the bath with the lights off and then read all the other comments and what i got from most of them was "That was scary" or "That was not scary". So if anyone in the future is dumb enuf to read my comment know this that stories end was ok but if I hadn't google searched "scary storys" and only read the first part of this story I would have thought it was a romance novle or somthing. a good scary story is one that makes the person your telling it to nerves.....But a great one is one that filles your readed with so much fear that they can't stand.

Freaky! I love this story as i lovee freaky ones anyway !! Thanks for this story xx

this is creepy has any one ever tried bloody mary freaky dont do it seen the movie she was pretty really pretty

Now I have an excuse not to go to school! I LOVE YOU PEOPLE!

Oh My God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's creepy...

That's creepy...

thats so scary.....


Going to have a hard time sleeping tonight.

this story was awsome, but dont you think it would have been more dramatic if Smithy were blamed, or something lik that?


it really wasnt that scary. it was good, and i really liked it.. but if you wanna scare someone, make it more ominus... thats just my opinion

ok so it wasnt very scary ,but thats cause im use to my grandpa telling me true scary storys all the time about things that have happend to him or his friends in the mountians. But i have to say this would make a heck of a creepy movie. therefore if i was a movie director and saw this story i would automaticly start making this into a movie. It would make a killing in hollywood!

I have a teacher like that...

it is not so scary


Famous characters Ghost Stories Folktales


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

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

©| S.E. Schlosser 1997 - 2020.

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