Ghost Stories

Playin' Piano

Spooky Campfire Tales(excerpted from Spooky Campfire Tales)

retold by S.E. Schlosser

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      Charlie winced when his wife hit the wrong note on the piano for the thirty-second time that day.  He knew it was the thirty-second time because he’d kept count as he went about his daily chores, cleaning the lighthouse, checking the supplies, mending the rowboat. 
      Charlie blamed himself for his wife's latest obsession.  He should never have taken Myrtle to attend the concert when that high-flutin’ concert pianist came to town.  But it was a special occasion and everyone they knew was going.  So Charlie and Myrtle went too.  And Myrtle decided right then and there that what she wanted more than life itself was to play the piano. 
      Charlie tried to talk her out of it.  No one in Myrtle’s family was any good at music.  But Myrtle was stubborn.  If she couldn’t find a dad-gum way, she’d make one!  Before Charlie could count to ten she’d bought a cheap, used piano (that was always out of tune) and hauled it over to the island on her brother Jamie’s fishing boat.  From that day on, it was practice, practice, practice.  Morning, noon, and night Myrtle sat at the piano with her piano book open, plunking away at the keys.  At first, there was not much to hear, and Charlie could ignore the sour sounds.  But after a few months, she got better…and a lot worse.  There were parts of her song that sounded pretty good; but she never, ever got that one line right.   
      There was nowhere on the small island that Charlie could go to get away from the sound of the piano, even when he sat in his favorite rocker out in the woodshed with cotton in his ears.  Myrtle’s new hobby was the source of much contention between the husband and wife, who had never argued before in their entire lives.  Now they argued every day about Myrtle’s piano playing.  
     “At least try to learn another song,” Charlie begged his wife.  But Myrtle was stubborn.  “I ain’t going to learn another song until I’ve mastered this one.  You’ve got to practice to get better Charlie.”  And Myrtle went back to her piano and started playing again.  Dah-dah-dum-dum-BLAT/ Dum-dum-BLAT-BLAT-ding. 
      Things came to a head the day a nor’easter roared down on the island.  Charlie and Myrtle were holed up together in the lighthouse hour after hour after hour.  Charlie had nothing to do but sit and carve decoy ducks.  And Myrtle played the piano.  Hour after hour after hour.  Around four p.m. Charlie leapt to his feet and shouted at his wife to stop playing the blasted song.  Myrtle leapt to her feet and shouted that she was going to practice until she got it right.       Something in Charlie snapped.  Afterward, he felt bad about the way he chopped up the piano with his axe.  After all, it was a valuable instrument.  Try as he might, he couldn’t feel bad about doing the same to Myrtle. 
     Charlie put on his oilskins, took up a shovel and dug a grave out back of the woodshed.  He buried all the little pieces of Myrtle with all the little pieces of her piano.  He figured she would have wanted it that way.  That night, with the nor’easter raging and pounding the island and the lighthouse rattling and shaking wildly in the blast, Charlie got the best sleep he’d had in months.  No more piano playing, ever. 
      After the nor’easter blew itself out, Charlie spent the rest of the day cleaning the blood off the floor and walls of the lighthouse.  After that, he did his daily duties and carefully noted in the log-book that Myrtle had been swept out to sea by a huge wave while patrolling the beaches, helping Charlie look for shipwrecks. 
       In the middle of the night, Charlie was startled awake by a familiar sound.  Dah-dah-dum-dum-BLAT/ Dum-dum-BLAT-BLAT-ding.  He sat bolt upright with an oath.  It sounded just like Myrtle playing on the piano.  This was impossible, since she was buried behind the woodshed. 
     Charlie leapt out of bed and felt around for his axe.  Blast!  He must have left it in the woodshed.  He picked up a large piece of firewood and carefully stepped through the door into the main room.  To his astonishment, he saw a glowing green, translucent piano standing in the place where Myrtle had put it.  The keys of the ghostly piano were playing all by themselves.  Dah-dah-dum-dum-BLAT/ Dum-dum-BLAT-BLAT-ding.
      Then he heard Myrtle’s voice from the stairway leading up to the light.  “Charlie.  I told you and I told you.  I ain’t going to learn another song until I’ve mastered this one.  You should have listened to me!”
     Charlie whirled around and gazed up the stairs.  Standing a third of the way up was the translucent white figure of his dead wife.  And in her hands, she held his axe. 

Read more Ghost Stories in Spooky Campfire Tales by S.E. Schlosser. 





It is a spooky story.


Moaning Myrtel?

OMG! scary....kind of. this is a good story. i read it out loud to my friends and thought the same thing...THANKS!

great story it's a little creepy;)

it is a spooky story i am going to tell it on Halloween!!

that was disgustin and spooky at thee sameetimee lool :P ewwwwww
and wat a namee myrtel



All that poor Myrtel wanted to do was practice. I feel bad for her splendid story though I loved it.

woah right after i read this my sister started playing the pianao, what a coincedence.

charlie must have talked to his wife instead of killing her,or bought her a new piano,or bought her a piano techer at least.

OMG that was so scary what do you think the dead wife did with that axe it is so abouse that she killed him and chopped him into tiny little pieces still that man could have just chopped the piano not the wife to that dum old gezer p.s not only was that scary but freaky too.

myrtle sucks! she loves the piano more than her husband and then haunts him so the rest of his life will pretty much be h##l

hmm .. thanks for that story .. i used it in my project it so useful .. :)) thanks .. :)

That was amazing!

The part where he felt bad about the piano and then he said he did the same thing to her scared ME to bits.

Me and my boys were looking online 2 find scary stories for to night...This was very good and scary!!!! at the end all of our mouths droped open.....It was GOOD!!

niceeeeeeeeeee story! great ending, it leaves suspense, and i think that he should've just destroyed the piano not his wife. by the time she got a new piano, they could have a divorce. but that's reality. not this story

i would do the same thing if someone couldn't play the piano and annoyed me. it was a good story though. ;)

watch ghost adventures in travel channel lol one vid of the piano playing solo
its haunted and well when they try to debunk it the piano's keys didnt work so its scary because the melody was playing...

I would of just slapped the crap out of her untill she agreed NEVER to play that piano again

This was pretty awesome and people, she obviously wouldn't HAUNT him for the rest of his life (Besides, he's old, he would die soon), she was holding the axe, can't you read? She killed him, duh!


i would've killed him too if he was relly tht annoyed he should've just got her lessons or at least helped her learn-really good story tho!!!

hey at scouts we told that roundthe campfire and that night scout leader kept playing her portable piano and was scaring me!

HaaaHaaa Mrytle!

wow.......scary. I'm learning to play the piao and i hope i dont get my head chopped off... im not that good of a player he he he

that's scary! :)

strange. Wonder if she killed him

That was so scary!!! Your a great writer... I love it!

OMG Ghost are scary every 1 that has been haunted know that.LOL

awesome story!!!

i listenned to the podcaast and in the end part it got a little louder


Wow, that was good, is she moaning myrtle? Hahaha lol



that was freakin funny

huh....he felt bad about chopping the piano but not about killing his wife....hmmmm...

very scaryyyyyyyy


okay this sounds kind of unreal but its true... sometimes i hear voices and foot steps up in my atic

This is a creepy story but all Myrtle wanted to do was to play that piano. :(



That was kinda creepy and what kind of a name is Mrytle? Is it ment to be from that ghost on Harry Potter? And why did he chop the piano and his wife up? He could have just soled it and tell her they were robbed.

cool but y kill her?

TALK ABOUT SCARY ! that's nicely done . and omq myrtle could have really picked another sonq lolss .

WOW!that is a very great and spooky story!!!I hope my husband does not chop me up!!!I would haunt him forever!!!

ok, awesome!!! but the idiot shouldn't of left the axe.

that was spooky really really spooky kindof

Wasn't scary to me but kinda funny.

5000000000000000000000 year later dum ding dum thepiano is still playing.

eye for an eye
tooth for a tooth

sooooo scary

omg i loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HA! moaning myrtle (^_^) look out Harry!


Creepy but cool I love ghost stories!!!!!!

creepy Ilove it and im going to tell something like it at my next campout.


omg!that was scary

That was a little better than the last one i read. Even though I would have killed him too. He could've helped the woman!!!! should i put this...... AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!::):):):):):):):):):):):)

this one was very creepyyy

Dude... They never should have been married.

that's weird..
chopping her wife's piano does not make him feel bad..

she loves music but music does not love her!!... :D

i would cut the piano strings


wow heart breaking how could he kill his wife

That's disgusting, and I laughed at the ending :D

wow what a couple! :)

charlie could have just chopped the piano
good thing myrtle came back!!!!!!!!!

Hahaha I used to be like Myrtle! My mom didn't like it whenever I don't play the piano right so I kept practicing!
I hate Charlie :(! Good thing his wife settled her revenge.

Geez thats scary >.<


i love this story

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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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