Scary stories

Raw Head and Bloody Bones

A Missouri Ghost Story

retold by

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.


You can read more North Carolina ghost stories in Spooky South by S.E. Schlosser.


There were some similarity in the story of Little Red Riding Hood! But awesome.

It was ok but no great

Fraky now I'm scared of my cousins mini pork
I'm even scared to see everyone eat one imagine!uuuuuuhhhhhh!

Wow that was so .......... scary

that is not scary

that is so freaky.................................................NOT

that was a good story.....i guess?

that was pretty cool but not scary really!:)

im a pig luver but that was just plain spooky

I've read worse. I just love scary stories but not when they happen to me.

cool i liked it

ok but ive heard scaryir

Watch Out...

Freaky... :( I am really freaked out but I will get over it! lol

Nice combination of a Razorback hog, panther, bear, and raccoon.

thats just weird.....not scary....weird....u can do better than that

it wasnt that scary. ive heard scarier. but i guess i can say its okay. im only reading ghost stories because i want to be a ghost hunter really bad when im older.

cool pig,,,hahahahha

soooo cool ive been readin tons all nite and thats totaly awsome like the rest so scary to i need more!

thx for a great storie....
middle school

poor old lady, but now I have a story to scare my friends

Rawhead Rex is a much better story. I give this story a 2 out of 5. It tries hard but only mildly entertains

OMG! That was so scary!


OMG! I LOVE that story!It was so freaky!

P.S.that stupid hunter better be glad i'm out here and he's in there!!!!

Go raw head p.s. watch out stupid good fer nothing hunter!

These stories r good but i think there should b some scarier 1's cos i love a good scare!!

That is so scary.

Not scary, but it's an amazing story. <3 I love how the witch is actually seen as a good person here. It'd freak anyone out though if you were in the woods where pigs are normally

Dang this is so suspenceful

Yes, I can agree with some other of the comments here. It was similar to The Red Riding Hood. But it was still okay, though not something so scary that it gave me shivers ;D

that pig was tight!!!he was the shytt!!

poor piggy

My father use to try to scare my sisters and i with the phrase "Raw Head and Bloody bones is gonna get yah". I ask him a few years ago and he couldn't recall it. This is the first time i've ever heard the whole story. Great story; now i can pass it along.

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSoooooooooooooo cool

i almost wet my pants!!!!

I loved it! That fact that pig got revenge. Awesome!

that was scary cool

This is a True story.

One time my friend Jessica and I were watching t.v. in her living room and all of asuden we heard a noise outside and we ran outside to see what it was but nothing was there so we ran back inside thinking that it was the dog or something then we heard a tapping noise but it went TAP TAp Tap tap and it got softer every time it happened then we started to freak out so we ran to her sisters room and we asked her sister if she heard the noise and she says what noise and we say just come in the living room with us and she brought her dolls with her and we sat in the room and then we heard it again so we went outside and there we saw a rock lay there but it was a red rock and we thought there is no red rock and so we took it inside and got a magnifing glass to look at it closely then we filled her sink up with hot water and dipped it in there and the red came off so we just layed it back outside and the next day we looked on the news and we saw that there had been a murder with something the night that we found the rock and we still don't know what happened.


awsome!!!!! loved it but im kinda scared of my grandma hog.....but still awesome!!!!!!!

wasnt really scary but a good story with a point to it.

did he kill the hunter???? cus i think he did

I too had been scared silly by my father telling stories of Raw Head Bloody Bones when me and my brother and sister were young. Now I know "the rest of the story".

My papaw told us about bloodybones and rawhide. I'd beg him to tell me stories as he was really good at it. I painted an oil painting dedicated to his stories. Now I find it's rawhead.... Hmmm. Also his story chnged Each time. Interesting to read and learn more!

I'm 43 and I remember, as a child, my dad holding open the back door and calling into the night for Bloody Bones to "come n git me" unless I agreed to behave myself. This story is like hearing from a childhood a twisted way. Dad grew up in the Nash County, NC area.

i want a hog now! he can f-in ride a horse1

i think it was gross

I was raised hearing this story also. Now I also know the rest of the story!

i think it was very gross

that was not scary but it isgood

i loved this

i loved this story i want the book

this story is so long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember my 6th grade English teacher reading this to us on Halloween!!! It was the day I went vegetarian ahahah no joke

Haha... one word ppl, scary version of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD! lol

i think it was stupid and weird hahaha lol

that stuff is wack yo hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahaha i love this site

uhhh....not that scary.....At all.

I thought that it was not scary but just very freaky boy did I have wierd pictures in my head. p.s i feel bad for the lady and the piggy

it was so coll and i think the guy that got eaten diserved it

make more things die and id like it:)

Freakin sweet. I mean enchanted pigs...OMG.

I use a version of this story on our Haunted Hayride we do as a Relay For Life fundraiser. The part of the story where the old woman is looking for Raw Head is when I yell out in the darkness RAW HEAD (as loud as I can yell). At other points I yell out RAW HEAD and BLOODY BONES LIIIIIVVVES!!!
It scares most people or at least makes them uneasy. LOL


That was freaky and kinda gross, but it was NOT scary.

that was really creepy.. im never going 2 eat pork againnn!!

Freaky... Loved it! I especially love how he didn't just KILL the hunter, he ATE the hunter!
PS that's why I only eat animals that were raised on a farm for the purpose of eating.

it had little red riding hood and the headless horsemen but it was still a really good story

AHAA. The pig rides the horse:L:L:L.

way to scary but heard it

that is one of the scariest things i have ever read and i read some freaky stuff

My mother spent her childhood growing up in East Tennessee. I remember her telling me some stories that her grandmother and father told her. One was of a witch that would turn her husband into a mouse. Divorsays like that one...hehehe.(I spelled it phonetically because I don't have a hyphened E on my keyboard.)I guess Mountain people do have a strange sense of humor. But I love my fort huggin ancestors by god. We're pioneer people and we built this country. Mountain people are the sweetest people on this earth. And the least understood. Be proud of your heritage people. Love the story by the way.


Anyone feel like Bacon?

I like this story! It reminds me a little of Little Red Riding Hood when he said "What'd you got them whatever for?" I said that because he was talking about that tail, teeth, eyes, etc.

whaat??!!? oh kaaaay, that was weird,but it did get spooky at times, and hahaha niice combination of racoons and panther,LOL

This is creepy for me cuz I live in Missouri and I own a summer place in the Ozarks!! O_O

good story, not the least bit scary, tho.

sound familiar... maybe... Little red riding hood?

i love this story

it was ok ands people you really dont have to b so mean gosh i mean seriously u can b so rude

i wud hate being ate by a pig!!! dude tink about it WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Serves that hunter right for killing poor Raw Head. He must've been such a cute lil hog.

Old Betty knows her stuff.

it sounded a bit like little Red Riging Hood

Im glad Im a vegetarian.


Haha thats why im a vegetarian!! Great story!!

Weird and somewhat original, but not scary and sounded at the end like Sleepy Hollow

the hunter should have won i don't like pigs

I liked it, i think the hunter deserved what he got!!!!!!! :)

now that was awesome raw head is awesome

Kinda scary, reminds me a little of Red Riding Hood.

And If I find a razorback pig, I'm staying away from it now. :S

I remember being little and every Halloween my grandpa would say "better watch out for raw head and bloody bones!" nobody would tell me the story either so I was always freaked out lol. Now that I've read the story, it reminds me of Little Red Riding Hood and The Headless Horseman all jumbled up into one.

Wow that was really scary I will never hunt hog EVER!

it was ok :S

I will never eat ham again

Okay I get scared easily but that wasn't very scary.... Good story though

cool story it was kinda scray

remides me of little red riding hod

In TN the story is way different.

the true story by anonymous is much scarier!!!!!

This is a good story even though it is not that scary:D

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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

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