United States Folklore

The Skeleton’s Lantern

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…

Red Dwarf of Detroit

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.

Invisible Hands

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…

You Can’t Get Out

One dark, windy night, the town drunk was meandering his way home after the bar closed. Somehow he got turned around and ended up walking through the churchyard instead of taking the road home…

Wait Until Emmet Comes

A preacher was riding to one of the churches on his circuit when darkness fell. It was about to storm, and the only house nearby was an old mansion which was reputed to be haunted. The preacher clutched his Bible and said: “The Lawd will take care o’ me”…

Piece By Piece

There once was a crazy ghost over Poughkeepsie way that got folks so plumb scared that nobody would stay more than one night in its house. It was a nice old place, or was, until the ghost began making its presence known. It got so no one would enter the house, not even kids on a dare, and you know what they are like!…

Never Mind Them Watermelons

Well now, old Sam Gibb, he didn’t believe in ghosts. Not one bit. Everyone in town knew the old log cabin back in the woods was haunted, but Sam Gibb just laughed whenever folks talked about it. Finally, the blacksmith dared Sam Gibb to spend the night in the haunted log cabin…

White Lady

In the early 1800s, the White Lady and her daughter were supposed to have lived on the land where the Durand Eastman Park — part of Irondequoit and Rochester — now stands. One day, the daughter disappeared. Convinced that the girl had been raped and murdered by a local farmer, the mother searched the marshy lands day after day, trying to discover where her child’s body was buried…

Telltale Seaweed

Two sisters were motoring through Cape Cod late one stormy night in the early 1900’s when their car broke down in an unpopulated area. Seeing an old, neglected house nearby, they went to the door and tugged on the bell-pull. When no one answered, they looked through a nearby window whose shutter was banging in the bitter wind. The window was broken. Through the window, they could see a library. The dust lay heavy over everything…

Spuyten Duyvil

Once in old New Amsterdam, there was a brave trumpeter named Anthony Van Corlaer who would blow his trumpet when Peter Stuyvesant wanted to call the people together…

Shadow Train

A miner was on his way to Dos Cabezas, where here heard there was good prospecting, when he found himself lost and alone in the flats just north of the Dragoon Mountains. In the blistering sun of midday, his burro dropped dead from heatstroke and the prospector knew that he would shortly follow if he did not find shelter and something to drink.

Phantom Train Wreck

The passengers were grumpy and heavy-eyed as they boarded the train in Salisbury during the early morning of August 27, 1891. The train was headed to Asheville, and the riders settled into their seats and tried to catch a few more minutes of sleep…

Phantom Lovers of Dismal Swamp

He couldn’t believe it when she fell ill just a few short weeks before their marriage. His betrothed was beautiful, strong, and healthy, but she just faded away before his eyes. He held her in his arms as she gasped out her last breathe, and was inconsolable long after her body lay buried beside the Dismal Swamp…

Phantom Drummer

Now when Colonel Howell of the British Army chanced to meet the daughter of the wealthy farmer Jarrett, who owned land near Valley Forge, he fell head-over-heels in love. Howell had a bit of a reputation as a womanizer, but it faded away after he met Ruth. The girl had a brother serving under Washington and none of her family liked the red coats, but so overwhelming was Howell’s love for her that it conquered the reluctant maiden’s heart…

Palatine

The Palatine gleamed in the sunlight as she set out with a full crew, a long list of passengers, and a hull full of merchandise for the American Colonies the winter of 1750-1751. Certainly, there was no indication that morning of the destiny fate had in store for her…

Ocean-Born Mary

Elizabeth and James Wilson were Irish immigrants from Londonderry, Ireland. In 1720 they set sail for America. They had been granted some land in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and were hoping to start a new life there…

Milk Bottles

She was just another poor, bedraggled woman, struggling to feed her family. He saw them all the time, their faces careworn, and blank. The Depression had created hundreds of them. He was one of the lucky ones who still had his grocery and money coming in to feed his family…

Lincoln Death Train

I’d been transferred to the Hudson Division of the New York Central system, and was working the rails on the main line between New York and Albany. I was on the late shift to start with, since I was a bit of a night owl. After six weeks of stomping the tracks and mending the rails, I was feeling right at home in my new job…

Lady in Lace

There is a ghost that walks along the Seventeen Mile Drive on foggy nights. She is called the Lady in Lace. People say she is the ghost of Dona Maria del Carmen Barreto, the woman who used to own much of the land on that stretch of the California coast, returned to keep watch over her land. Others disagree…

La Llorona

Once there was a widow who wished to marry a rich nobleman. However, the nobleman did not want to raise another man’s children and he dismissed her. The widow was determined to have the nobleman for her own, so the widow drowned her children to be free of them…

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