Back in the old days, I had a successful bake-shop in Albany. I had a good business, a plump wife, and a big family. I was a happy man. But trouble came to my shop one year in the guise of an ugly old woman. She entered my shop a few minutes before closing and said: “I wish to have a dozen cookies.” She pointed to my special Saint Nicholas cookies that were sitting out on a tray. So I counted out twelve cookies for her...
Aunty Greenleaf was a scrawny old woman with a wild thatch of gray hair and a crooked nose. She lived in a hut surrounded by pines just outside Brookhaven, and she sold herbal remedies to the folks in town. Mostly, people avoided her, except when someone got sick because it was said that Aunty Greenleaf was a witch. Her home remedies worked too well to be natural. Folks figured she had to have help from the devil or one of his familiars...
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. When he stepped on the brake, the car started to slide on the slick pavement. They went off the road and slid to a halt at the bottom of an incline.
If you travel to Bear Lake in Utah on a quiet day, you just might catch a glimpse of the Bear Lake Monster. The monster looks like a huge brown snake and is nearly 90 feet long. It has ears that stick out from the side of its skinny head and a mouth big enough to eat a man. According to some, it has small legs and it kind of scurries when it ventures out on land. But in the water - watch out!...
A storm was raging that night in 1735, when Mother Leeds was brought to bed in childbirth. The room was full of woman folk gathered to help her, more out of curiosity than good will. They had all heard the rumors that Mother Leeds was involved in witchcraft, and had sworn she would give birth to a devil.
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.
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
Many and many a year ago, two Micmac warriors from rival villages got into a terrible argument. Harsh words were exchanged, and then knives were pulled. The warriors battled back and forth on the banks of a small creek...
She lived deep in the forest in a tiny cottage and sold herbal remedies for a living. Folks living in the town nearby called her Bloody Mary, and said she was a witch. None dared cross the old crone for fear that their cows would go dry, their food-stores rot away before winter, their children take sick of fever, or any number of terrible things that an angry witch could do to her neighbors.
My stepmother was vile. I guess most kids think that when their father remarries. But in this case, it was true. She only married Father because he was rich, and she hated children. There were three of us – me (Marie), my middle brother Richard and my youngest brother Charles. We were the price my stepmother Gerta paid for being rich. And we were all that stood between her and inheriting Father’s money when he died. So she took steps against us.
Old Man Whales was an evil man who loved money more than anything in the world, except his wife. In his lust for wealth, he supplemented his farm income by catching runaway slaves who were escaping to freedom through Indiana. Whales would chain the ex-slaves up in his barn cellar until he could collect the reward on them. When he couldn't find slaves, he'd capture free men and sell them into slavery.
You know how they say some folks are lucky at cards and some are lucky at love? Well, that fit Bobby Hansen to a ‘T’. He was the best poker player in the county, but somehow he couldn’t find himself a bride. Oh, he proposed to several girls, and even got accepted by a few. But they always got cold feet a day or two before the wedding, and it was bye-bye Bobby.
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.
Away down South, an old custom dictates that if someone comes up to you on Christmas Day and says "Christmas gift" before y'all do, why y'all are obliged to give that person a present. Mind you, the custom does not say what sort of present y'all should give! But those of us who hail from the South consider ourselves to be gentlefolk. The gifts given and received in this manner are good enough to keep the custom alive and well...
Oksana lived in a small house on the edge of town with her father, her stepmother and her stepsister. Oksana's stepmother disliked Oksana, favoring her true daughter, Olena...
My sisters and my baby brother danced about the house, whispering to each other excitedly about the coming of der Belznickel on that snowy December 5th evening, the day before the Feast of Saint Nicholas. According to the stories, the good Saint Nicholas chains up the Devil on the eve of his Birthday – December 6th -- and makes him visit all of the children in the village to see if they have been behaving themselves and deserved the attention of Kirstkindel.
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 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.
My friend Liverpool Jarge was a small man, wiry and tough, but soft-spoken. Jarge had one glass eye that was an ugly shade of blue which clashed something terrible with his real eye, which was brown. Then one day Jarge met up with a glassblower, a real artist, who make him a special red eye with a star.
He 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.
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.
Something was going on. Jason felt it in his bones. Polly was too happy, too cheerful. No woman could be that upbeat and still be faithful to her husband. Jason sat down to a delicious, warm meal every night, and Polly sang to herself as she washed up. What kind of woman could be cheerful doing dishes? Try as he might, Jason never heard anything that hinted of a secret romance. It drove him crazy. Life was not this perfect.
Mama told me I should never to walk along the marsh shortcut that led from our plantation to the town of Brunswick. She said it was dangerous and I’d get myself killed if I didn't listen to her. That didn't make any sense. The march shortcut was a wide, sandy path that my buddies used all the time when they went to the store in town. None of them ever got hurt. And at the age of thirteen, I was perfectly capable of taking care of myself.
A couple of Welsh miners came to Nevada to help mine the Comstock Load. They were quite a pair of tricksters, yes sir! It got so bad that no one would believe anything they said, 'cause if'n they did, the Welshman would make them look like a fool. But they were popular. The miners dearly loved a laugh after a hard day working in the mine...
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.
Jack was a nasty fellow who beat his wife and kids and was an all around bad chap. So the Devil came and hauled the poor fellow away with him. On their way to hell, Jack asked the Devil if he was thirsty, and ol' Lucifer said he was. So Jack somehow persuaded the Devil to turn himself into a coin so Jack could buy them both a drink from a handy tavern.
Marie-Josephte Corriveau was a beautiful but ruthless woman. She married a good-looking man but soon grew bored with him. So late one evening, she stunned her husband with a blow to the head, then took a whip to his horse, which trampled him to death. The death was ruled an accident and La Corriveau was free to marry again.
Moll DeGrow was a wicked witch who once lived on Gully Road in what is now Newark, New Jersey. She took delight in the misery of others, and made things miserable for the folks living near her. If a neighbor slighted her, she would sour their milk. If anyone called her a witch, she made their dogs turn vicious. People were very cautious around Moll De Grow...
As a special treat, we decided to take the sunset cruise around lower Manhattan the Sunday before Labor Day. It was a silly thing to do – totally tourist – but sometimes playing tourist is fun, even for someone living and working daily in the shadow of the Big Apple.
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.
His mind was full of dark thoughts and the demons spoke to him. His wild eyes and words frightened his people, and he became an outcast, shunned by all. One day in a fury of rage and pain, he attacked old Kan-He-Kan, a local wise man. The demon-possessed man killed the venerable sage on the shores of a beautiful lake near his home, and then ran away, afraid of what the people would do to him when they found out...
There were just the two of us—Mama and me. The only other relative we had was a cousin -- old Granny Tucker. Mama never talked about Granny Tucker, and we never visited her, though, because Granny Tucker was a witch
Ohi'a and Lehua loved each other from the moment they first saw each other at a village dance. Ohi'a was a tall strong man with a handsome face and lithe form. He was something of a trickster and was first in all the sports played by all the young men. Lehua was gentle and sweet and as fragile as a flower. Her beauty was the talk of the island, and her father was quite protective of his only child.
She was always in the garden. Day after day after day. It drove him crazy. Supper never came when he wanted it and he had to go outside and kneel down in the dirt every dad-blame time he wanted to have a conversation with his wife. When he complained, she told him to get his own supper. Ha! She knew he couldn't boil water without burning it.
Adam Gimble was the very best fiddler in Texas. Folks came from miles around to the weekly barn dance, just to hear Adam play. Adam was right proud of his reputation. He liked to boast of his prowess with the fiddle and often said that he could charm rattlesnakes out of their dens. One evening, upon hearing this boast, a dark stranger spoke up from the far end of the bar.
The infamous Red Dwarf (Nain Rouge) of Detroit was reputed to be the foul offspring of the Stone God, who only appeared when there was to be trouble. The Red Dwarf was called "The Demon of the Strait" and its appearance heralded disaster. Cadillac, founder of Detroit, encountered the Nain Rouge while sitting on the bank of the Detroit River.
I got up at the crack of dawn and drove to Larry's place to pick him up. We were going hiking along our favorite trail in the back of beyond. It was a sunny day, but not too hot; a perfect day for hiking. Larry and I walked along the rugged path leading into the woods, chatting off and on as the mood struck us...
Folklore is full of tales of true love and loss, and of not-so-true love and its aftermath. And of course, in some stories, love goes terribly awry.... If you're looking for a happy ending, you may want to go to the Disney channel. But if you want something thought-provoking (and sometimes downright chilling,) these stories are for you!
A fisherman from Newfoundland was having difficulty finding someone to assist him. Help was scarce, and he couldn't find a soul to hire. Then one day he saw a handsome fellow in fancy city clothes walking along the docks. This was obviously not a man looking for work, but the fisherman still called out, half in jest: "Are ye looking for some work?" To his surprise, the city-man nodded and jumped into the boat.
I came home late one night after work and found my wife Ethel puttering about the kitchen with a big yellow cat at her heels.
“And who is this?” I asked jovially.
“This is our new cat,” said Ethel, giving me a hug and a kiss to welcome me home. “She just appeared at the kitchen door and wanted to come in. None of the neighbors know where she came from, so I guess she’s ours. It will be nice to have some company around the house.”
Now Colonel Buck was not what you'd call the most virtuous man in town. No sir! He had an eye for the ladies, did Colonel Buck, and he would chase them 'til he got what he wanted. Then he would drop them like a hot brick...
Now there once was a man named Jean Dubroise who never did a lick of work, but his house and his barn and his crops were still the best in the whole land. This puzzled people, since Jean had no family and no hired men to help him. No one could figure out how he managed to have the best trapping lines in winter, and have fences and barns in perfect repair at all times with no one working his farm.
When the new priest came to the poor parish, there was no house or church for him. A farmer took him in, while the men built him a small shack in which to live. The priest, a true saint with no false pride, was happy in his new parish. But the people wanted more for their priest, so they decided to build a church. The priest was pleased with their noble idea, but troubled because the work of hauling stone was back-breaking without a horse.
Long ago, there were a number of lonely lumberjacks working in the center of a very large forest. They cut down mammoth trees and watched them crash into the thick snow in exactly the place where they said the trees would land. They would cut up the trees and haul them hither and thither. They worked hard, Mon Dieu, very hard indeed! But they were lonely for the women they had left behind.
She was nervous and excited as she approached the psychic's store. Normally, she didn't go in for fortune telling. But her best friend had visited the psychic a few months ago, and everything the woman had predicted came true. Everything!
Once there was a lovely young woman growing up in a wealthy shipping family in New York. In those days, wealthy young women were expected to make their debut in society and to marry a wealthy young man from a good family. But our young lady was a bit of a rebel. When she grew old enough to marry, she scorned the wealthy young society men in favor of an older man who was working as a servant in her house.
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...
I was putting the finishing touches on a nice big dinner - meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie - when Charlie blew in the back door. He'd spent the day ice-fishing in the quarry, and I expected him to be in a jolly mood. But he stood there with his gray hair standing on end, his cheeks bright red with rage and his coat and pants covered with snow.
He had not expected to meet the woman of his dreams, but there she was strolling along in the moonlight beside the cemetery. Carlos quickened his pace until he was level with her, hoping for a glimpse of her face under her veil.
She lost her husband and her hope at a young age, and the beautiful girl could not find her way through the sorrow upon sorrow that was her lot in life. So she stepped one day into her canoe, singing a death song softly to herself, and paddle out into the current. Soon the canoe was caught by the rough waves and hurtled toward the falls. But as it pitched over and she fell, Heno, the god of thunder who lived in the falls, caught the maiden gently in his arms and carried her to his home beneath the thundering veil of water.
The boy had been out looking for work all day with no luck. When night fell, he was far from home. He decided to spend the night in an empty, rundown house. The minute he laid down he fell into a sound sleep. The boy was awakened quite suddenly by a thump on the roof. With a pounding heart, he sat up and lit a candle. A voice called out, “I’m falling down!”
We were on our way back to Yuma following a futile attempt to find Pegleg's lost gold mine out in the heat and dust of the desert. We stopped to make camp for the night between a rock and a hard place, and soon my friend Eddie was snoring loud enough to wake the dead. I drifted off myself, and started dreaming about the pretty girl I was engaged to marry...
They say that the Wampus cat used to be a beautiful Indian woman. The men of her tribe were always going on hunting trips, but the women had to stay home. The Indian woman secretly followed her husband one day when he went hunting with the other men. She hid herself behind a rock, clutching the hide of a mountain cat around her, and spied on the men as they sat around their campfires telling sacred stories and doing magic...
Tommy Knockers are the spirits of departed miners that help miners find ore. They also knock on the walls of the mines right before a cave-in. When you hear a Tommy Knocker knocking, it's best to depart the area right quick. They have saved the life of many a miner who has been in a danger. Some folks say that the very first man to hear the sound is jinxed, but that is not always the case...
We timed our visit to Pendleton to coincide with the Roundup, and managed to snag one of the very last hotel rooms in town. My husband was a big rodeo fan and was as excited as a little kid to be attending the famous Pendleton Roundup. I myself was looking forward to the rodeo, and very much enjoyed the Wild West feel of the town, but my biggest wish for this trip was to visit the famous, or should I say infamous, Pendleton Underground.
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 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...
I don't do battlefields. Oh, it's not because I am against history. Nope, the truth is I'm psychic and I find battlefields...overwhelming is the best word I can come up with. The fact of the matter is, I don't deal at all well with being psychic, having been raised in a family of scientists and "seeing is believing" kind of people. I was the only one on either side of my family who had any sort of ESP, and it made things rather difficult growing up. For instance, when my high school class took a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, I fainted as soon as I stepped out of the bus, overhelmed by the smells and sounds of the Civil War battle which I saw raging before my eyes. It was freaky. And embarassing. Pretty much the story of my life. Anyway, after that, I decided to avoid battlefields.
Many moons ago, two brothers lived with their father in a small house in Korea. The younger brother worked hard and was kind to all he met. The elder, knowing he was to inherit his father's prosperous rice farm, was arrogant and proud. He scorned his younger brother and ignored his aging father.
They were not even close to the main camp when the sandstorm storm hit, blasting hot sand into their eyes, hair, and skin. The wind whirled above, around, and under the hasty shelter the two cowboys had set up, offering no protection at all. They took small sips of water every hour or so to relieve the dryness of their throats and to shift about to keep from being buried completely under the sand.
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.
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.