There were warnings all over campus about a Hatchet Man who was supposedly abused and killed a woman in Bloomington. All the girls were warned to walk in pairs and to stay in brightly lit areas if they had to go out at night.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Massey was a soldier unfortunate enough to cross me, his commanding officer. He did not live to regret it. There was something very satisfying in the moment when I thrust the tip of my sword into the soldier’s heart during our duel. I watched him fall to the ground with the satisfaction of a job well done.
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.
Old Man McManor was the foulest-tempered fellow you ever did see; but he owned and operated the only sawmill over in Camden, so folks had to deal with him. Whenever anyone didn’t pay on time or crossed him, he’d take out his horsewhip and flail at them until they ran away cussing or broke down crying.
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.
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.
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.
There was something odd in the tone of the dispatcher’s voice when he called to tell me a person needed picking up at Bramlett Road late one summer night in 1947. I shuddered when I heard the name of the street. I did not want to go anywhere near that area, especially at midnight. But I drove a Yellow Cab, and it was my job to pick up a call when it came. So I swallowed and headed toward Bramlett Road and the slaughter yards.
A traveling salesman came to Goshen Hill for a few days, selling his wares from door to door. He was a friendly man with a warm grin and a joke for everyone. He was accompanied by a large white dog that rode on the wagon beside him; companion, friend, and guardian of his wares.
As I drove down the seemingly endless dark road, I cursed my friends. “A quaint little bar in the middle of nowhere,” they said. Well they got that right, there was not one blessed sign of civilization anywhere to be seen. Just then, I caught a glimpse of a lighted barn on down the road. Civilization at last!
S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series by Globe Pequot Press and the editor of WorldFolklore.net and AmericanFolklore.net. 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.
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