Reader Friday: Trick or Treat?

Happy Halloween! Tell us about any ghosts, hauntings, or paranormal events you have encountered in “real” life. The creepier the tale, the better!


7 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Trick or Treat?

  1. When I was about twelve, a friend invited me to go with her family to their lake place. My mother agreed, but she was a nervous wreck. She’d never acted like that before. She wanted driving directions, the phone number for the cabin, phone numbers for neighboring cabins. She had the awful feeling something bad would happen to me, although if it did, it would have been them calling her and not the other way around. Scared the heck out of me.

    Turned out she had the wrong sibling. Back home, my brother went midnight drag racing and hit a telephone pole doing 110 mph. He survived, but it was a long recovery.


    • Oh gosh, that’s a frightening experience! Of course, mothers have premonitions about bad things happening to their children all the time–thankfully, they don’t usually come true! Thank goodness your brother recovered.

  2. After my mother died, our family listened to a tape she’d recorded. She told a story involving a blackbird. When I went into my bedroom, there were two dark birds sitting on a branch outside the window. They flew off together after I pointed them out to my kids. I like to think it was my parents together again and free to fly off to their next adventure.

  3. As a young teen in central Ohio in about 1980 or so I used to take a lot of walks down all the country roads in the farm area we lived in. We had a lot of old family cemeteries around some that dated back to the late 1700s and the earliest white settlers in the area. As a history buff I loved to go read the tombstones and look at the rolling hills and forests and imagine life on that farm 200 years earlier.

    In the late 70s and early 80s there had been a string of Satanic cult symbols, including blood pentagrams and sacrificed animals found in barns and forest clearing scattered around the area. There had been reports circulating of children going missing, and it was generally pretty creepy. One day I was standing in a cemetery near the road within sight of an old farmhouse rumored to be involved in some of that cult activity, look up Pickerington Midget Farm and Heimburger House for a few snippets on the place. I was standing in front of a tombstone reading the inscription carved around 1802 when I heard a cracking sound in the direction of the house. Startled I turned to leave when suddenly the ground beneath me (right over the grave itself) dropped several inches. My heart leaped into my throat and I froze in terror, waiting for a pair of boney hands to reach up and drag me down to the netherworld.

    Eventually, probably only a few seconds but it felt like forever, I regained my composure enough to run back to my bike and get out of there as fast as my feet could pedal. I realized it was probably the ancient wooden casket finally giving way and collapsing in on itself. But why did it have to happen on the day I just happened to standing on it?

    • I too enjoy cemeteries. While I often “feel” things, my enjoyment comes more from the history captured in those stones.

  4. Homesteading in the mountains of Western Colorado happened late, and didn’t last long. It was rough country; only good for cattle rustlers and rattle snakes.

    I grew up in those red stone box canyons on a 40 acre section of land that had once been part of a homestead, though I didn’t know it at the time. My brothers and I ranged all over that unfenced country exploring caves and arroyos searching for lost Spanish gold and hiding from bandits.

    One day, while playing along the steep sides of the creek that ran icy water from the high country, we moved into a stand of old cedar trees. Bark hung down from gnarled branches that obscured the sun, and something sad and sinister came over us. We wanted to cry even as a sense of impending violence made our hearts start racing.

    There was nothing around us but still air and shadows. We fled and tried to convince each other that we hadn’t felt anything. That night I dreamed of a woman. She stood in front of a tiny cabin, silent with her hands in her stained apron. A child played in the dirt with a ragged china doll. I woke up crying.

    My brothers and I avoided that side of the creek for years, but in our explorations of the other side of the creek we found the ruins of a cabin. There were bits of broken dishes, mason jars, and a single shard of porcelain. I recognized the disembodied eyes and lips that stared blankly back at me. Memories of that child and her doll flooded back into my mind and haunted me for weeks.

    I had to know if my feelings were real or imagined. One brother refused to return with me but the youngest went along and shared once again that feeling of profound sadness cut with a terrible fear of some dark act.

    Wanting to confirm what we experienced was real, we took our father out on a hike a few weeks later and led him to the spot. None of us had told him of our experiences.

    At first we thought he was unaffected by the feelings that seemed to come up from the ground and make our hearts hammer. Then, he wept. Our father, our protector and provider, wept in great gulping sobs with tears tracking through the dust and sweat on his face. In that moment, I was truly frightened.

    He wanted to leave, to take us with him and never return. As we climbed the steep bank, Dad saw something we had never seen before. A sledge for hauling logs lay crumbling with bits of harness still attached on the slope. Feeling driven to keep moving, we climbed higher and one of my brothers found a horse shoe. Higher still I found more harness and another shoe.

    We knew then that a horse had died there on that hillside. The rest of him eaten away and drug off. As we made this realization aloud, the sadness and foreboding lifted. The shadows lessened and we returned in content spirits to share the tale with our mother.

    A couple more years passed and we moved to a different 40 acre property to build a home of our own. It was on the creek with the ruins of the cabin on one side and the remains of the sledge on the other. My brothers and I visited that steep hillside many times and looked out across the creek bed to the ruins of the little homestead cabin and the house we helped our parents build. They were some of the happiest years of our lives. We felt part of some older story; something carried on and finally completed.

    In paying for the property, my father learned the history. It was settled by a man who died in an accident while working the land. I don’t recall his name, but his wife’s name was Marianne. She and her daughter vanished from the historical record. The assumption was that she left the homestead and returned to her family, but we are sure she never left that cabin in the rough desert mountains.

    I don’t know the details of what happened on that hillside or what happened to her, but we finished the work she had begun with her husband, settling their land and building memories as a family. Though we have all moved on to find our own way in the world, I think she is still there, watching over her daughter and her bit of earth.

  5. When we lived in Japan, I was age 5 and there was a hill we called Bamboo Hill because nothing grew there but bamboo trees. They were everywhere, and when the fog descended upon the hill during the evening, it was time to come down and head home.

    One day, all my friends left and because of my A.D.D. I hadn’t paid attention so ended up coming down the hill all by myself. I kept feeling like, among all these creepy bamboo trees, some ghost would whisper my name right behind me and really spook me out of my skin, so I covered my ears and ran home.

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