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Author Topic: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?  (Read 512 times)

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Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« on: October 01, 2015, 05:07:00 AM »
Can you feel it?  That chill in the air?  It's slipping in through the cracks, creeping in through our skin.  The sun is setting earlier, sleeping longer; mmm, and the gaze of the midnight moon has grown colder.  Crisp winds swirl the odor of dying leaves.  And it does seem that the recent raindrops bring with them a certain weight, like the weight that accompanies teardrops, does it not?

Yes -- yes! -- once more the season of the witch has returned.  Let me suggest that in celebration of this fact -- or in resignation to it -- we share some spooky stories.  For a few years we engaged in a round of hyakumonogatari kaidankai, the ancient Japanese tradition where people tell stories amid one hundred candles, extinguishing them as they go.  That went fairly well -- I mean, we got what we asked for, anyhow -- so we proceeded to begin a round of de duizenderotischeprikkennacht, the ancient Dutch tradition where people gather together to tell one thousand spooky stories.  When our final story is concluded -- O.K., O.K., it is a long way off, but still -- when our final story is concluded, we will experience a wonderful and strange visitation from the Otherworld.

So they say.

If you have a spooky story to offer, please post it in this thread.  It can have happened to you or to someone else; it can be short or long, simple or elaborate; it can be true or perhaps a little less than true.  Ghost stories, urban legends, blood-curdling parables, and tales of woe are all most welcome.  Stories can be unnerving, gory, even humorous.  I would be delighted if you told multiple stories, simply delighted, although I do advise including only one story per post.  Whispering is fine, as long as we can hear you.  Finally, please give credit where credit is due.  Minor editing of a source is perfectly acceptable.  Your own stories are ideal!

We last discussed the inexorable march of Death.  Why is it that we so often struggle so hard to put off the inevitable?  Indeed, irresistible urges can even spark within us -- urges that we can fight but never beat.  It seems that even within ourselves we are never truly safe.

In this vein, please permit me to return us to our round of de duizenderotischeprikkennacht by recounting Poe's creepy classic short story "The Tell-Tale Heart."  (I've stealthily, stealthily lifted the text from Project Gutenberg.)


The Tell-Tale Heart

TRUE! -- nervous -- very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?  The disease had sharpened my senses -- not destroyed -- not dulled them.  Above all was the sense of hearing acute.  I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth.  I heard many things in hell.  How, then, am I mad?  Hearken! and observe how healthily -- how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night.  Object there was none.  Passion there was none.  I loved the old man.  He had never wronged me.  He had never given me insult.  For his gold I had no desire.  I think it was his eye! yes, it was this!  He had the eye of a vulture -- a pale blue eye, with a film over it.  Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees -- very gradually -- I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point.  You fancy me mad.  Madmen know nothing.  But you should have seen me.  You should have seen how wisely I proceeded -- with what caution -- with what foresight -- with what dissimulation I went to work!  I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him.  And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it -- oh so gently!  And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head.  Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in!  I moved it slowly -- very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep.  It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed.  Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this?  And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously -- oh, so cautiously -- cautiously (for the hinges creaked) -- I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye.  And this I did for seven long nights -- every night just at midnight -- but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye.  And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night.  So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door.  A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine.  Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers -- of my sagacity.  I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph.  To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts.  I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled.  Now you may think that I drew back -- but no.  His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out -- "Who's there?"

I kept quite still and said nothing.  For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down.  He was still sitting up in the bed listening; -- just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror.  It was not a groan of pain or of grief -- oh, no! -- it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe.  I knew the sound well.  Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me.  I say I knew it well.  I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart.  I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed.  His fears had been ever since growing upon him.  He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not.  He had been saying to himself -- "It is nothing but the wind in the chimney -- it is only a mouse crossing the floor," or "It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp."  Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain.  All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim.  And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel -- although he neither saw nor heard -- to feel the presence of my head within the room.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little -- a very, very little crevice in the lantern.  So I opened it -- you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily -- until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.

It was open -- wide, wide open -- and I grew furious as I gazed upon it.  I saw it with perfect distinctness -- all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man's face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.

And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense? -- now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton.  I knew that sound well, too.  It was the beating of the old man's heart.  It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still.  I scarcely breathed.  I held the lantern motionless.  I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye.  Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased.  It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant.  The old man's terror must have been extreme!  It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! -- do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am.  And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror.  Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still.  But the beating grew louder, louder!  I thought the heart must burst.  And now a new anxiety seized me -- the sound would be heard by a neighbour!  The old man's hour had come!  With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room.  He shrieked once -- once only.  In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him.  I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done.  But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound.  This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall.  At length it ceased.  The old man was dead.  I removed the bed and examined the corpse.  Yes, he was stone, stone dead.  I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes.  There was no pulsation.  He was stone dead.  His eye would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body.  The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence.  First of all I dismembered the corpse.  I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings.  I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye -- not even his -- could have detected any thing wrong.  There was nothing to wash out -- no stain of any kind -- no blood-spot whatever.  I had been too wary for that.  A tub had caught all -- ha! ha!

When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o'clock -- still dark as midnight.  As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door.  I went down to open it with a light heart, -- for what had I now to fear?  There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police.  A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled, -- for what had I to fear?  I bade the gentlemen welcome.  The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream.  The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country.  I took my visitors all over the house.  I bade them search -- search well.  I led them, at length, to his chamber.  I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed.  In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied.  My manner had convinced them.  I was singularly at ease.  They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things.  But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone.  My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted.  The ringing became more distinct: -- It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness -- until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.

No doubt I now grew very pale; -- but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice.  Yet the sound increased -- and what could I do?  It was a low, dull, quick sound -- much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton.  I gasped for breath -- and yet the officers heard it not.  I talked more quickly -- more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased.  I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased.  Why would they not be gone?  I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men -- but the noise steadily increased.  Oh God! what could I do?  I foamed -- I raved -- I swore!  I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased.  It grew louder -- louder -- louder!  And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled.  Was it possible they heard not?  Almighty God! -- no, no!  They heard! -- they suspected! -- they knew! -- they were making a mockery of my horror! -- this I thought, and this I think.  But anything was better than this agony!  Anything was more tolerable than this derision!  I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer!  I felt that I must scream or die! and now -- again! -- hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more!  I admit the deed! -- tear up the planks! here, here! -- It is the beating of his hideous heart!"


Fellow storytellers, dissemble no more!  Is it not of the purest veracity that you ardently desire -- demand! -- that I deliver another tale?!  Very well, then!

Spel

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2015, 05:09:09 AM »
But tell me, where is terror bred -- or in the heart, or in the head?  I offer you now "Yellow Ribbon," which I'm basing on this version by S.E. Schlosser.


Yellow Ribbon

Johnny was Jane's next door neighbor and he'd known Jane since she was three.  Jane wore a yellow ribbon around her neck everyday.  And I mean everyday -- rain or shine, whether it matched her outfit or not.  When Johnny was young, he'd barely noticed the yellow ribbon, but now they were in high school together, it bothered him.  He just wanted to untie it, throw it away.

"Why do you wear that yellow ribbon around your neck, Jane?" he'd ask her every day.  But she wouldn't tell him.  "Let me take it off."  But she wouldn't let him.

Still, in spite of this aggravation, Johnny thought she was cute.  He asked her to the ice cream parlor for a sundae.  Then he asked her to watch him play in the football game.  Then he started seeing her home.  And come the spring, he asked her to the dance.  Jane always said yes when he asked her out.  And she always wore a yellow dress to match the ribbon around her neck.

It finally occurred to Johnny that he and Jane were going steady, and he still didn't know why she wore the yellow ribbon around her neck.  So he asked her about it yet again, and yet again she did not tell him.  "Maybe someday I'll tell you about it," she'd reply.  Someday!  That answer annoyed Johnny, but he shrugged it off, because Jane was so cute and fun to be with.

Well, time flew past, as it has a habit of doing, and one day Johnny proposed to Jane and was accepted.  They planned a big wedding, and Jane hinted that she might tell him about the yellow ribbon around her neck on their wedding day.  But somehow, what with the preparations and his beautiful bride, and the lovely reception, Johnny never got around to asking Jane about it.  And when he did remember, she got a bit teary-eyed, and said, "We are so happy together, what difference does it make?"  And Johnny decided she was right.

Johnny and Jane raised a family of four, with the usual ups and downs, laughter and tears.  When their golden anniversary rolled around, Johnny once again asked Jane about the yellow ribbon around her neck.  It was the first time he'd brought it up since the week after their wedding.  Whenever their children asked him about it, he'd always hushed them, and somehow none of the kids had dared ask their mother.  Jane gave Johnny as sad look and said, "Johnny, you've waited this long.  You can wait awhile longer."

And Johnny agreed.  It was not until he was on his deathbed a year later that, seeing his last chance slipping away, he asked Jane one final time about the yellow ribbon she wore around her neck.  She shook her head a bit at his persistence, and then said with a sad smile, "Okay, darling, you can untie it."

Jane leaned forward.  With shaking hands, Johnny fumbled for the knot and untied the yellow ribbon around his wife's neck.

And thump! -- just like that, Jane's head fell clean off.


If we are to fulfill the mysterious promise of de duizenderotischeprikkennacht we're going to need many, many more stories.  Perhaps you can help us.  Do you have a spooky story to share?

Spel

Offline Mathim

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2015, 09:12:34 AM »
If you can find it, read H.P. Lovecraft's "The Statement of Randolph Carter".

Offline Valerian

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2015, 10:34:35 AM »
Originally renovated in 1916 by US Secretary of Commerce Robert Lamont, Summerwind mansion in the far north of Wisconsin, was rumored to be haunted before anyone had the chance to live in it.  During the 15 years that the Lamont family lived there, they experienced a vast array of strange and inexplicable things, but the incident that finally drove the family from their home occurred in the mid-1930's. One evening while the family was dining, the door to the basement flew open unexpectedly, and the apparition of a man materialized.  Lamont grabbed his pistol and shot twice, attempting to banish the spirit. The family abandoned their mansion -- some stories say without even bothering to pack -- and it sat empty for nearly forty years, the bullet holes still visible in the door all this time.

In the early 70's, Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw bought the Summerwind and began renovations to turn the mansion into their dream home.  But renovators would leave partway through projects, claiming they could not work in a house where so many bizarre things happened.  There were so many reports of electrical problems, disappearing tools, and windows opening and closing by themselves, that the family could hardly keep track.  Some claimed that even the dimensions of the rooms would change when anyone attempted to measure them.  One window reportedly opened and closed so many times that Arnold eventually nailed it shut.  At one point, the Hinshaws' daughter Mary claimed to have found human remains in a crawlspace, though this was never properly investigated.

Over the six months the Hinshaws lived there, they started behaving strangely, Arnold particularly.  He began staying up late into the night playing the Hammond Organ, which he explained was to keep the demon of the house at bay.  Arnold eventually went into a psychiatric facility.  His wife reportedly attempted suicide.

The mansion was again abandoned shortly afterwards.

One last attempt at renovating the house was made in the 1980's, and yet again the strangeness began scaring away any help the homeowners could find.  Many people reported seeing random furniture appearing in pictures, room dimensions changing, and even dark shadows moving in full view of people.  Finally, in the summer of 1988, the house was struck by lightning, and much of it burned to the ground.  Now, only the chimneys remain, stark against the sky like gravestones.

As of 2014, a plan was afoot by the current owners -- who have never lived on the property -- and members of the Fox Valley Ghost Hunters paranormal investigation group to raise enough money to rebuild a more modern version of the mansion, to be used as a haunted bed and breakfast.

Offline Jagerin

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Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2015, 07:39:05 AM »
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.

It didn't take long for rumors to sweep through the town and surrounding countryside. They said that the statue - nicknamed Black Aggie - was haunted by the spirit of a mistreated wife who lay beneath her feet. The statue's eyes would glow red at the stroke of midnight, and any living person who returned the statues gaze would instantly be struck blind. Any pregnant woman who passed through her shadow would miscarry. If you sat on her lap at night, the statue would come to life and crush you to death in her dark embrace. If you spoke Black Aggie's name three times at midnight in front of a dark mirror, the evil angel would appear and pull you down to hell. They also said that spirits of the dead would rise from their graves on dark nights to gather around the statue at night.

People began visiting the cemetery just to see the statue, and it was then that the local fraternity decided to make the statue of Grief part of their initiation rites. "Black Aggie" sitting, where candidates for membership had to spend the night crouched beneath the statue with their backs to the grave of General Agnus, became popular.

One dark night, two fraternity members accompanied new hopeful to the cemetery and watched while he took his place underneath the creepy statue. The clouds had obscured the moon that night, and the whole area surrounding the dark statue was filled with a sense of anger and malice. It felt as if a storm were brewing in that part of the cemetery, and to their chagrin, the two fraternity members noticed that gray shadows seemed to be clustering around the body of the frightened fraternity candidate crouching in front of the statue.

What had been a funny initiation rite suddenly took on an air of danger. One of the fraternity brothers stepped forward in alarm to call out to the initiate. As he did, the statue above the boy stirred ominously. The two fraternity brothers froze in shock as the shrouded head turned toward the new candidate. They saw the gleam of glowing red eyes beneath the concealing hood as the statue's arms reached out toward the cowering boy.

With shouts of alarm, the fraternity brothers leapt forward to rescue the new initiate. But it was too late. The initiate gave one horrified yell, and then his body disappeared into the embrace of the dark angel. The fraternity brothers skidded to a halt as the statue thoughtfully rested its glowing eyes upon them. With gasps of terror, the boys fled from the cemetery before the statue could grab them too.

Hearing the screams, a night watchman hurried to the Agnus plot. To his chagrin, he discovered the body of a young man lying at the foot of the statue. The young man had apparently died of fright.

The disruption caused by the statue grew so acute that the Agnus family finally donated it to the Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C.. The grieving angel sat for many years in storage there, never again to plague the citizens visiting the Druid Hill Park Cemetery.



To learn more of Black Aggie: Black Aggie Wikipedia Page

Image is of the real Black Aggie before it's removal.

Offline Jagerin

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Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2015, 07:52:24 AM »
"Dark Spirit of the Desart Rude"
By: P.B. Shelley


Dark Spirit of the desart rude
That o'er this awful solitude,
Each tangled and untrodden wood,
Each dark and silent glen below,
Where sunlight's gleamings never glow,
Whilst jetty, musical and still,
In darkness speeds the mountain rill;
That o'er yon broken peaks sublime,
Wild shapes that mock the scythe of time,
And the pure Ellan's foamy course,         
Wavest thy wand of magic force;
Art thou yon sooty and fearful fowl
That flaps its wing o'er the leafless oak
That o'er the dismal scene doth scowl
And mocketh music with its croak?

I've sought thee where day's beams decay
On the peak of the lonely hill,
I've sought thee where they melt away
By the wave of the pebbly rill;
I've strained to catch thy murky form      
Bestride the rapid and gloomy storm;
Thy red and sullen eyeball's glare
Has shot, in a dream, thro' the midnight air
But never did thy shape express
Such an emphatic gloominess.

And where art thou, O thing of gloom? ...
On Nature's unreviving tomb
Where sapless, blasted and alone
She mourns her blooming centuries gone!--
From the fresh sod the Violets peep,         
The buds have burst their frozen sleep,
Whilst every green and peopled tree
Is alive with Earth's sweet melody.
But thou alone art here,
Thou desolate Oak, whose scathed head
For ages has never trembled,
Whose giant trunk dead lichens bind
Moaningly sighing in the wind,
With huge loose rocks beneath thee spread,
Thou, Thou alone art here!            
Remote from every living thing,
Tree, shrub or grass or flower,
Thou seemest of this spot the King
And with a regal power
Suck like that race all sap away
And yet upon the spoil decay.

Offline Lilias

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2015, 07:04:57 PM »
And a little creepy song (earworm risk: high).

Mirel Wagner - Oak Tree

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2015, 05:12:05 AM »
Thank you very much for the spooky stuff, guys!  Quantity, quality, variety -- I love it.  Mmm, and thank you for the recommendation, Mathim!  "The Statement of Randolph Carter" is indeed one of Lovecraft's many greats.  Anyone with a few nerves to spare can check it out here.

Every year we tell some stories involving phones, don't we?  Phones can be so frightening, and not only when you have to call Comcast.  In fact, I think that for my next story I'm going to continue the phone theme that features in "The Statement of Randolph Carter."  Please put your own phone on silent as I recount "Lost Phone," which I'm taking from here.


Lost Phone

One evening, a woman who lived alone came home late from work.  She put her handbag down on the kitchen table and started rooting through it.  She then realized she didn't have her mobile phone with her.  She couldn't remember the last time she did have it.  I must have lost it on the way home, she thought to herself.

She went into the hallway, picked up her home phone and dialed the number of her mobile phone.  The phone rang for a long time and then someone picked up, but they didn't say anything.

"Hello?" said the woman.

There was no answer, but she could hear someone breathing on the other end.

"Hello?  Can you hear me?" she said.

There was still no answer but the breathing got heavier.

"Hello?!  Can you hear me?!" the woman asked again.

Then, a man's voice: "I can hear you."  He then hung up.

The woman tried her mobile again and again, but nobody picked up.  She was sure she'd got the number right.  Eventually she gave up.  It seemed likely she'd never get her phone back.

It was late and the frustrated woman decided to go to bed.  Yet when she went into her bedroom, she was shocked to find her mobile phone sitting on the nightstand.

It was set to "silent mode."


And to think that I thought that phones were supposed to make people safer!  Live and learn... or die and learn, I guess...

Spel

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2015, 05:12:20 AM »
Of course, it's not just phones.  Whatever its origin, second-hand horror can prove extra creepy -- our imagination fills in the gaps, suggests details tailored to needle our particular fears and insecurities...

Hmmm: You know, inspired by that very notion, I think that I'd next like to bring you H.F. Arnold's 1926 classic "The Night Wire," which I'm taking from here.


The Night Wire

New York, September 30 CP FLASH

Ambassador Holliwell died here today.  The end came
suddenly as the ambassador was alone in his study...


There is something ungodly about these night wire jobs.  You sit up here on the top floor of a skyscraper and listen in to the whispers of a civilization.  New York, London, Calcutta, Bombay, Singapore -- they're your next-door neighbors after the streetlights go dim and the world has gone to sleep.

Alone in the quiet hours between two and four, the receiving operators doze over their sounders and the news comes in.  Fires and disasters and suicides.  Murders, crowds, catastrophes.  Sometimes an earthquake with a casualty list as long as your arm.  The night wire man takes it down almost in his sleep, picking it off on his typewriter with one finger.

Once in a long time you prick up your ears and listen.  You've heard of some one you knew in Singapore, Halifax or Paris, long ago.  Maybe they've been promoted, but more probably they've been murdered or drowned.  Perhaps they just decided to quit and took some bizarre way out.  Made it interesting enough to get in the news.

But that doesn't happen often.  Most of the time you sit and doze and tap, tap on your typewriter and wish you were home in bed.

Sometimes, though, queer things happen.  One did the other night, and I haven't got over it yet.  I wish I could.

You see, I handle the night manager's desk in a western seaport town; what the name is, doesn't matter.

There is, or rather was, only one night operator on my staff, a fellow named John Morgan, about forty years of age, I should say, and a sober, hard-working sort.

He was one of the best operators I ever knew, what is known as a "double" man.  That means he could handle two instruments at once and type the stories on different typewriters at the same time.  He was one of the three men I ever knew who could do it consistently, hour after hour, and never make a mistake.

Generally, we used only one wire at night, but sometimes, when it was late and the news was coming fast, the Chicago and Denver stations would open a second wire, and then Morgan would do his stuff.  He was a wizard, a mechanical automatic wizard which functioned marvelously but was without imagination.

On the night of the sixteenth he complained of feeling tired.  It was the first and last time I had ever heard him say a word about himself, and I had known him for three years.

It was just three o'clock and we were running only one wire.  I was nodding over the reports at my desk and not paying much attention to him, when he spoke.

"Jim," he said, "does it feel close in here to you?"

"Why, no, John," I answered, "but I'll open a window if you like."

"Never mind," he said.  "I reckon I'm just a little tired."

That was all that was said, and I went on working.  Every ten minutes or so I would walk over and take a pile of copy that had stacked up neatly beside the typewriter as the messages were printed out in triplicate.

It must have been twenty minutes after he spoke that I noticed he had opened up the other wire and was using both typewriters.  I thought it was a little unusual, as there was nothing very "hot" coming in.  On my next trip I picked up the copy from both machines and took it back to my desk to sort out the duplicates.

The first wire was running out the usual sort of stuff and I just looked over it hurriedly.  Then I turned to the second pile of copy.  I remembered it particularly because the story was from a town I had never heard of: "Xebico."  Here is the dispatch.  I saved a duplicate of it from our files:

Xebico, Sept 16 CP BULLETIN

The heaviest mist in the history of the city settled over
the town at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon.  All traffic
has stopped and the mist hangs like a pall over
everything.  Lights of ordinary intensity fail to pierce
the fog, which is constantly growing heavier.

Scientists here are unable to agree as to the cause, and
the local weather bureau states that the like has never
occurred before in the history of the city.

At 7 P.M. last night the municipal authorities...

(more)


That was all there was.  Nothing out of the ordinary at a bureau headquarters, but, as I say, I noticed the story because of the name of the town.

It must have been fifteen minutes later that I went over for another batch of copy.  Morgan was slumped down in his chair and had switched his green electric light shade so that the gleam missed his eyes and hit only the top of the two typewriters.

Only the usual stuff was in the righthand pile, but the lefthand batch carried another story from Xebico.  All press dispatches come in "takes," meaning that parts of many different stories are strung along together, perhaps with but a few paragraphs of each coming through at a time.  This second story was marked "add fog."  Here is the copy:

At 7 P.M. the fog had increased noticeably. All lights were
now invisible and the town was shrouded in pitch darkness.

As a peculiarity of the phenomenon, the fog is accompanied
by a sickly odor, comparable to nothing yet experienced
here.


Below that in customary press fashion was the hour, 3:27, and the initials of the operator, JM.

There was only one other story in the pile from the second wire.  Here it is:

2nd add Xebico Fog.

Accounts as to the origin of the mist differ greatly.
Among the most unusual is that of the sexton of the
local church, who groped his way to headquarters in a
hysterical condition and declared that the fog originated
in the village churchyard.

'It was first visible as a soft gray blanket clinging to the
earth above the graves,' he stated.  'Then it began to rise,
higher and higher.  A subterranean breeze seemed to
blow it in billows, which split up and then joined
together again.

'Fog phantoms, writhing in anguish, twisted the mist
into queer forms and figures.  And then, in the very thick
midst of the mass, something moved.

'I turned and ran from the accursed spot.  Behind me I
heard screams coming from the houses bordering on
the graveyard.'

Although the sexton's story is generally discredited, a
party has left to investigate.  Immediately after telling
his story, the sexton collapsed and is now in a local
hospital, unconscious.


Queer story, wasn't it.  Not that we aren't used to it, for a lot of unusual stories come in over the wire.  But for some reason or other, perhaps because it was so quiet that night, the report of the fog made a great impression on me.

It was almost with dread that I went over to the waiting piles of copy.  Morgan did not move, and the only sound in the room was the tap-tap of the sounders.  It was ominous, nerve-racking.

There was another story from Xebico in the pile of copy.  I seized on it anxiously.

New Lead Xebico Fog CP

The rescue party which went out at 11 P.M. to
investigate a weird story of the origin of a fog which,
since late yesterday, has shrouded the city in darkness
has failed to return.  Another and larger party has been
dispatched.

Meanwhile, the fog has, if possible, grown heavier.  It
seeps through the cracks in the doors and fills the
atmosphere with a depressing odor of decay.  It is
oppressive, terrifying, bearing with it a subtle
impression of things long dead.

Residents of the city have left their homes and gathered
in the local church, where the priests are holding
services of prayer.  The scene is beyond description.
Grown folk and children are alike terrified and many are
almost beside themselves with fear.

Amid the whisps of vapor which partly veil the church
auditorium, an old priest is praying for the welfare of
his flock.  They alternately wail and cross themselves.

From the outskirts of the city may be heard cries of
unknown voices.  They echo through the fog in queer
uncadenced minor keys.  The sounds resemble nothing
so much as wind whistling through a gigantic tunnel.
But the night is calm and there is no wind.  The second
rescue party... (more)


I am a calm man and never in a dozen years spent with the wires, have I been known to become excited, but despite myself I rose from my chair and walked to the window.

Could I be mistaken, or far down in the canyons of the city beneath me did I see a faint trace of fog?  Pshaw!  It was all imagination.

In the pressroom the click of the sounders seemed to have raised the tempo of their tune.  Morgan alone had not stirred from his chair.  His head sunk between his shoulders, he tapped the dispatches out on the typewriters with one finger of each hand.

He looked asleep, but no; endlessly, efficiently, the two machines rattled off line after line, as relentlessly and effortlessly as death itself.  There was something about the monotonous movement of the typewriter keys that fascinated me.  I walked over and stood behind his chair, reading over his shoulder the type as it came into being, word by word.

Ah, here was another:

Flash Xebico CP

There will be no more bulletins from this office.  The
impossible has happened.  No messages have come into
this room for twenty minutes.  We are cut off from the
outside and even the streets below us.

I will stay with the wire until the end.

It is the end, indeed.  Since 4 P.M. yesterday the fog
has hung over the city.  Following reports from the
sexton of the local church, two rescue parties were sent
out to investigate conditions on the outskirts of the
city.  Neither party has ever returned nor was any
word received from them.  It is quite certain now that
they will never return.

From my instrument I can gaze down on the city
beneath me.  From the position of this room on the
thirteenth floor, nearly the entire city can be seen.
Now I can see only a thick blanket of blackness where
customarily are lights and life.

I fear greatly that the wailing cries heard constantly
from the outskirts of the city are the death cries of the
inhabitants.  They are constantly increasing in volume
and are approaching the center of the city.

The fog yet hangs over everything.  If possible, it is
even heavier than before, but the conditions have
changed.  Instead of an opaque, impenetrable wall of
odorous vapor, there now swirls and writhes a
shapeless mass in contortions of almost human agony.
Now and again the mass parts and I catch a brief
glimpse of the streets below.

People are running to and fro, screaming in despair.  A
vast bedlam of sound flies up to my window, and above all
is the immense whistling of unseen and unfelt winds.

The fog has again swept over the city and the whistling is
coming closer and closer.

It is now directly beneath me.

God!  An instant ago the mist opened and I caught a
glimpse of the streets below.

The fog is not simply vapor -- it lives!  By the side of
each moaning and weeping human is a companion
figure, an aura of strange and vari-colored hues.  How
the shapes cling!  Each to a living thing!

The men and women are down.  Flat on their faces.  The fog
figures caress them lovingly.  They are kneeling beside
them.  They are -- but I dare not tell it.

The prone and writhing bodies have been stripped of
their clothing.  They are being consumed -- piecemeal.

A merciful wall of hot, steaming vapor has swept over
the whole scene.  I can see no more.

Beneath me the wall of vapor is changing colors.  It
seems to be lighted by internal fires.  No, it isn't.  I
have made a mistake.  The colors are from above,
reflections from the sky.

Look up!  Look up!  The whole sky is in flames.  Colors
as yet unseen by man or demon.  The flames are moving;
they have started to intermix; the colors are rearranging
themselves.  They are so brilliant that my eyes burn, they
are a long way off.

Now they have begun to swirl, to circle in and out,
twisting in intricate designs and patterns.  The lights
are racing each with each, a kaleidoscope of unearthly
brilliance.

I have made a discovery.  There is nothing harmful in the
lights.  They radiate force and friendliness, almost
cheeriness.  But by their very strength, they hurt.

As I look, they are swinging closer and closer, a million
miles at each jump.  Millions of miles with the speed of
light.  Aye, it is light of quintessence of all light.
Beneath it the fog melts into a jeweled mist radiant,
rainbow-colored of a thousand varied spectra.

I can see the streets.  Why, they are filled with people!
The lights are coming closer.  They are all around me.
I am enveloped.  I...


The message stopped abruptly.  The wire to Xebico was dead.  Beneath my eyes in the narrow circle of light from under the green lamp-shade, the black printing no longer spun itself, letter by letter, across the page.

The room seemed filled with a solemn quiet, a silence vaguely impressive, powerful.

I looked down at Morgan.  His hands had dropped nervelessly at his sides, while his body had hunched over peculiarly.  I turned the lamp-shade back, throwing light squarely in his face.  His eyes were staring, fixed.

Filled with a sudden foreboding, I stepped beside him and called Chicago on the wire.  After a second the sounder clicked its answer.

Why?  But there was something wrong.  Chicago was reporting that Wire Two had not been used throughout the evening.

"Morgan!" I shouted.  "Morgan!  Wake up, it isn't true.  Some one has been hoaxing us.  Why..."  In my eagerness I grasped him by the shoulder.

His body was quite cold.  Morgan had been dead for hours.  Could it be that his sensitized brain and automatic fingers had continued to record impressions even after the end?

I shall never know, for I shall never again handle the night shift.  Search in a world atlas discloses no town of Xebico.  Whatever it was that killed John Morgan will forever remain a mystery.


Do you have a spooky story to share?

Spel

Offline Valerian

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2015, 09:23:19 AM »
Something of a modern classic, courtesy of nosleep subreddit:



I’m sure that all of you on /r/nosleep are used to the cry for help type stories by now. Help me, help me, blah-blah-blah. I won’t bore you with another. Even if I wanted your help, you couldn’t give it to me, because your help is useless.

Why?

Because you’re not a member.

I just wish that I wasn’t either.

It all started innocently enough. With a phone call.

I’d been up for a few hours, unpacking and cleaning, waiting for the plumber to call. I just moved into a cabin and the contractors fucked everything up. Because of that, I now have the wonderful task of making calls to competent people that can fix what the original contractors did wrong.

The phone rang at 12:06.  Not bad, I thought. Usually plumbers don’t bother to call or show up until 5.

When I picked up the phone I didn’t even get a chance to say hello before a woman on the line told me to “Please hold for the next available operator.”

I hopped up and sat on the cabinet in the kitchen. It was one of the few places in the cabin not occupied with boxes. Elevator music leaked into my ear. I’d started to drowse off when the music stopped and a piano chord that sounded like it was three notes that didn’t quite go together played through the receiver twice.

A voice came on the line.

“Welcome to Boothworld Industries. My name is Samantha and I will be your operator today. Name?”

I didn’t know what to say so I told the operator my name.

“Sir, we know who you are. I’m your operator. Please give me a name to access.”

“I don’t understand,” I said.

“It can be anyone, sir. We just need a name.”

“Uh, okay,” I said. I made up a name. “Harold Withers.”

“Sir, as your operator, I must point out that fictitious names, or the names of people that you don’t know, cannot be used.”

“Used for what?” I asked. How had she known that I’d made up that name? The whole thing felt like it was some sort of prank, but hardly anyone knew my new phone number.

“Remodeling.”

“Remodeling? Is this the plumber?” I asked.

“Welcome to Boothworld Industries. My name is Samantha and I will be your operator today. Name?”

I took that as a yes and gave them the name of an old ex-girlfriend. “Jessica Goodwin.”

I could hear the clicking of a keyboard on the other end of the phone. It sounded like the woman was pounding the thing with her fists. After a few moments of this, she returned.

“Jessica Goodwin,” she said. “Remodeling is scheduled for August 21, 2016. Would you like to reschedule?”

I was silent on my side of the phone. I couldn’t believe this. Someone had to be playing a prank on me.

“Who is this? Is this you, Jessica? Are you playing a prank on me?” I asked.

The woman didn’t respond for a long time. I thought that whoever was on the other end of the phone was holding in a laugh.

“Hello?” I asked.

“Yes or no, Sir?” The woman asked back.

“Yes?” I said, not understanding what the woman was asking.

“I have a Tuesday appointment available. Will that work?”

At this point I thought I was going insane and that it actually was the plumbing company.

“What about today?” I asked. “Do you have anything available for today?”

“Normally we can’t arrange for a reschedule on such short notice, but today we had a cancellation. How does three o’clock work for you?”

“Three o’clock is fine,” I said.

“Three o’clock it is then. Would you like a courtesy call?”

“Sure.”

“Wonderful. We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”

That strange chord played twice again and the line went dead. I rolled my eyes and went back to unpacking.

My phone rang at three o’clock on the dot that afternoon.  “Hello?” I said.

“Sir. This is Samantha with Boothworld Industries again. Your courtesy call begins now.”

“What do you-” I began to say, but was cut off by those diminished chords blaring into my ear, then I heard Jessica’s voice.

“Why are you doing this?” Jessica asked. I could hear the tears in her voice.

“Jessica?” I asked.

“Sir,” the operator said. “She cannot hear you. This is a courtesy call. The appointment has already concluded.”

“Please,” Jessica begged. “Please don’t do this. I’ll do anything you want. I’ll-”

Jessica’s voice choked off into a wheeze and all I could hear on the other end of the phone was the rustling of clothing and more wheezing.

Eventually it stopped and someone picked up on the other end.

“The scheduled work has been completed,” a man’s voice said. “We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”

“Sir?” The operator came back on the line. “Was that to your satisfaction?”

I sat there for a long time, cold sweat dripping down my ribcage. Jessica was my ex, because I walked in on her and my best friend fucking at a party in high school.

I smiled and whispered, “That was perfect.”

“Wonderful,” the operator said. “We at Boothworld Industries aim to serve. Would you like to make another appointment?”

As I stared at the water leaking from the door of the dishwasher, I smiled even bigger.  “Yes,” I said. “Yes I would.”

“Name?”

“Dan. I don’t have a last name. He’s a contractor.”

“Dan Arencibia. July 13, 2032. Would you like to reschedule?”

“Yes,” I said.

“How would Wednesday work for you?”

“Didn’t you say you had a Tuesday appointment available?” I asked.

“I did, but unfortunately that slot has been filled by another member. Would Wednesday work for you?”

“No,” I said. “I have a job interview that day. What about Thursday?”

“Unfortunately Thursday will not work. You are due for remodeling Wednesday night.”

“What?” I asked.

She repeated the exact same thing to me again.

“Can we reschedule my remodeling?” I asked.

“Of course we can, sir,” the woman said. It sounded like she was smiling on the other end of the phone. “There’s always a way.”

I waited for her to tell me how. She didn’t speak.

“HOW?” I asked.

“Boothworld Industries is always looking to add new members. We are, of course, a membership by invitation only club. Sadly, our membership numbers have fallen in recent years. Economic recessions. Wars. Politics. What we would like you to do, in order to avoid your own remodeling appointment, is help us add several new members.”

The light at the end of the tunnel, I thought.  “How many members do you need?” I asked.

“One thousand.”

I choked. “One thousand?”

“Yes, sir. Otherwise we’ll have to keep our scheduled appointment. We must inform you that the member that scheduled this appointment did request a courtesy call.”

Everything stopped at that point for me. All my life I’d just skated by, not doing anything, not making a difference.

My mouth actually dried up. I’d always thought that was just a thing people wrote in books to be dramatic.  It’s not.

“I’ll get you your one thousand members,” I whispered.

“We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”

The connection ended.

I hung up the phone and stared at it for a long time. I’m scheduled for remodeling on Wednesday, and somewhere, someone will be getting a courtesy call to listen to my last few breaths if I don’t get one thousand members to join Boothworld Industries.

It’s funny. I’d always wanted to join an elite club. Skull and Bones. New World Order. I'm not sure how I got in, but now I’m a member. I've got until Wednesday to enjoy it.

Like I said at the beginning: even if I wanted your help, you couldn’t give it to me, because you’re not a member.  Membership is by invitation only.

I’m inviting you in.

You can help me.

Just call 630-296-7536.

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2015, 05:10:55 AM »
Thank you very much, Valerian!  Fortunately for me we don't have phones over here in the Otherworld, because I'm really tempted to call that number.  If only Thomas Edison would get off of his astral butt and get back to work on that Spirit Phone...

For my next contribution I'm going to relay a tale first told by someone named Snarkychu; you can find it here.  It's called "There's Something on the Stairs"...


There's Something on the Stairs

When I was a kid, I would race up to the top of the stairs as fast as I could, like it was some sort of silly game.  Well, I must have been five or six at the time.  I'm not sure, but I know I was very little.

Somewhere along the way, a voice at the top of the stairs started to whisper to me.  It would make bets with me, such as "I bet you a penny you can't make it to the top of the stairs."  I don't really think there was a certain amount of time or anything.  As I said, I was very little so I probably didn't have any counting abilities anyway.  Ha.  I recall just sitting at the top of the stairs, having conversations with this voice, about the betting, of course.

Eventually the voice (it was like a whisper of a man's voice, not my own voice in my head) started to bet me my life.  Instead of pennies, it'd say, "I bet you your life you can't make it up the stairs."

As I got older it stopped.  I never really thought about it at all.  I never mentioned it to anyone...

... until one night I was sleeping over at my brother's place (I was about eighteen, he was twenty-two) and we were talking about "spooky" stories.  Out of nowhere I brought up "the voice at the top of the stairs" and my brother got all quiet and weird.  He said, "Did it make bets with you?"


Do any of you have a spooky story to share?  Ooo, I'll bet that you do...

Spel

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2015, 09:45:20 PM »
Well... I have lost a bet or two in my time... now where were my pants again...?

No matter!  I'm positively filled with terrible stories.  Uh -- "terrifying stories," I mean!  Terrify-ing.

Permit me to demonstrate!  I offer you now an enchanting Inuit folktale about lycanthropy that I'm taking from here.  I found it when I was combing the Internet for photos of naked Inuit women -- but that's a terrifying story for another time.


Kiviuq and the Fox Woman

"Ataataak unikkaaqtualaurit.  Father, tell me a story."

"Taitsumaniguuq," he began, "there lived a heroic man who's name was Kiviuq."

Oh goody, I thought, Kiviuq was my favourite story character.  Though the story has many versions, the beauty of Kiviuq was that he could and would adapt to anyone's storytelling style.  In some stories, he has supernatural powers, and he always came into conflict with evil beings -- both human and animal.

Then again, he was a bit of a trickster figure, and could come into conflict with just about any entities who happened to be around.  But it was the monster stories that were best.

We were at spring camp and it was warm enough to move into a tent.  I, being the eldest child, was near the far wall, and I could entertain myself by staring at the white canvas, which had interesting spots.

I could pretend that the patterns on it were story characters, and "move" them around as they were silouetted against the white of the canvas tent.  So, as my father spoke, the story came to life in my eyes as well as in my ears.

"Kiviuq was a powerful man," he said, "and had travelled to many strange places.  He was powerful, but not as great as Iqimarasuqjuqjuaq" (an Ancient whose name has lost its meaning due to its archaic nature) "and he fell into trouble from time to time."

"Kiviuq was kayaking that day when he came across a little island which seemed something like a small, waterbound peninsula.  Having been on the search for a wife for a long time now, he thought there might be women about, and wasted no time in landing his kayak.  He hid it in a safe place and continued in on foot.  His seal-skin boots were soon full of holes from walking on the pebbly ground by the shore.

"Not only were his clothes in bad need of repair, but he was starving, having paddled on the sea for many days.  It was then a welcome sight when he noticed a trail of smoke rising over a little hill.  Not believing his good luck, he decided to be cautious and peered from behind a rock.

"To his amazement, there stood a beautiful woman, the likes of which he had never seen before.  She had long, shocking white hair, and was tall and slender.  She was hanging some skins on a line attached to her tent, and -- wonders of wonders -- was cooking a large pot of caribou stew over a welcoming fire!

"Kiviuq wasted no time and immediately limped down to the tent, playing a tired exhausted hunter for all it was worth.

"'Lovely woman, don't be afraid, I'm not a ghost,' he said by way of introduction.  'I've been washed up on these shores and I have not seen land for a many a day.  Please take pity on this poor man and be so kind as to give me just a little stew.  That is all I need.'

"He didn't have to beg so hard, as the lovely vision of a woman said in the faintest of voices, 'Welcome to my humble home.  I live alone and human company would be refreshing, after all.'

"Thus it was that Kiviuq began living with the white-haired, beautiful woman.  It was not a bad life being waited on hand and foot, but soon Kiviuq began to feel uneasy about the whole situation.  He could not exactly pinpoint any problems, but it was a feeling that gnawed at the edge of his happiness.

"'So what,' Kiviuq said to himself, 'that she is a little strange and has some eccentric habits.'  Every couple of weeks or so, she would insist on hunting by herself at night, and would arrive in the wee hours of the morning looking not like herself at all; in fact, a bit... disheveled.

"That, Kiviuq didn't mind so much.  When she returned from such hunts, however, she would kind of smell funny, like she had been eating old meat.  Again, Kiviuq was ready to endure all for the sake of living in peace.  'I'll get used to the smell,' he thought, 'after all, I'm a little strange myself.'

"It was only when these peaceful times began to deteriorate that Kiviuq was beginning to doubt his sanity.  His wife, the beautiful woman, began to have times when she would launch into a temper tantrum and decry Kiviuq's abilities as a provider and capable man.  'What kind of man are you,' she would scream, 'that you send your wife out to feed you?  You're like a monster, and you smell of sweat!'

"Kiviuq kept quiet, but each time the verbal abuse became sharper and just plain strange.  Once, Kiviuq swore that he heard a sound like a high-pitched squeal in one of her tirades -- more like the sound a small animal would make when threatened.

"'Uakallangaa, I've got to do something,' he thought to himself, 'and I've got to do it soon.  All this lying around and being treated like dirt is getting to me.'

"One day, while he was cogitating upon his lot in life, he thought he saw scratchings in front of the tent that he hadn't noticed before.

"'And why,' he asked himself, 'does she always hang skins outside, even on a bad day?  Oh, of course!' he cried in his Kiviuq logic.  'How could I have been such an idiot!  She loves another!  Why didn't I see it all before?  That is who is giving her all those animal pelts.'

"He then hatched a plot to spy on her and follow her the next time she went 'hunting.'

"So it was that, one evening, Kiviuq pretended to fall asleep -- even faking a loud snore for good measure.  He thought himself to be quite clever.  'You have to wake up pretty early to pull one over on old Kiviuq,' he chuckled to himself.  'Wait till she sees what I have in store!'  He then lay on the smelly bed, keeping one eye open to launch his plan.

"One night he got lucky.  His wife had gone out of the tent 'for a pee' and hadn't seemed to return.  Peeking outside, he spotted no sign of life.  Not even a slight breeze came up on that early fall night.  It seemed that not only had Kiviuq's wife left, but she had taken a whole load of furs previously hanging on the line.  'Don't tell me she's leaving permanently this time,' Kiviuq growled.  'Women!'

"Kiviuq followed her tracks, which were visible on some sandy part of the ground.  Oddly, there seemed to be an animal either with her or following her, as he began to see some strange footprints mingled with hers.  'What the... !?!'  Kiviuq muttered a few curses to himself.  'This can't be happening.'  Suddenly, the woman's tracks had vanished into thin air."

This was the part of this story that I had been waiting for, the part that came with sound effects and funny voices.

"'Either this lady can fly, or I'm going crazy.'  Kiviuq doubted his sanity.  Nevertheless, he followed what was left of the tracks to arrive at what seemed to be a small gathering of people.

"Actually, what he could see through the fine mist that had risen up from the ground made it difficult for him to see shapes.  The mist also had the strange effect of muffling the people's voices.  Kiviuq thought he heard a cough, but it was someone who seemed to have laughed at another's joke.

"'Ha, ha, cough, ha, ha -- that's a funny one,' he heard.  'But you know what's funnier?  What's funnier is how their children look when they're born.  They look like overgrown lemming cubs, all hairless and blind!  Ha, ha, ha, bark, bark!'

"'Good grief!'  Kiviuq barely managed to exhale in breathless terror.  'These are animals! Animals who were talking!

"And, there, right in the thick of it all, was his wife.  Only, she was not in a shape that Kiviuq was accustomed to.  She looked kind of like a fox but only bigger.  Who could mistake those beautiful, hazel eyes, and that lovely, white hair?  But her mouth: it was no longer human, but canine.  And to complete the effect, her voice had become high-pitched and gravely.

"'Ka, ka, ka, ka, kaw!  Ka, ka, ka, ka, kaw!  Ka, ka, cough, ka, kaa, ka, kaa...'

"Then they turned, and they saw him.  Kiviuq fled.

"'Bark, bark!  A human!  Yip, yip, yip, yiiiiiii...!'

"'Kaa, ka, ka, ka-ooooww, come bacck!  Kaa, kaa, kaa, cooommme seeee your son, yip-yip-yiiiip!'

"Kiviuq prided himself as a brave man, but he ran hard, refusing to look behind him.  He ran until he could no longer hear that voice, the voice that he knew so well as belonging to his beautiful wife, but that was also the voice of a fox.

"He ran until he was out of breath, finally leaning against a rock to get his bearings.  He had run so hard that sweat was streaming down his face, mingled with tears.  His tears were salty and tasted like the sea that he had had to prowl for many a lonely night.

"He left in his kayak that very night, and before long, the mist obliterated the island that had been his home, leaving nothing but grey clouds on the horizon.  Ahead, a small shaft of light from the setting sun once more became a lure to him, and promised adventures to come."


Another?

Spel

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2015, 09:45:35 PM »
Prithee, let us engage in a quickie now!  I'm snatching this one from Reddit's celebrated "two-sentence horror stories" thread.  This particular tale was added by the charmingly-monikered "i-am-the-assbutt."  With no more goo goo gado...


My sister says that mommy killed her.  Mommy says that I don't have a sister.


Do you have a spooky tale to share?

Spel

Offline Valerian

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2015, 09:00:23 AM »
Another story from the far north:

Alaska is littered with abandoned Russian settlements, deserted prospecting sites and the wreckage of so many doomed expeditions into the cold, dark and mysterious Far North. Spirits of the ancients are even said to be trapped in the great animals roaming the Great Land, ferrying souls from this realm to the next.

And while there's talk of ghosts and spirits rustling in trees, haunting old lodges, moaning in the mountain passes and dwelling near shipwrecks, only one recurring premonition can be said to have scared off state government.  The old railroad that serviced the Kennecott copper mines in the Valdez and Chitina mining districts is said to be so haunted, so spooky, that to this day -- 73 years after the final lode was hauled -- phantoms plague repeated attempts by locals and even state officials to redevelop the area.

The Copper River and Northwestern Railway is an abandoned, 200-mile stretch of track ambling from Kennicott Glacier south to Cordova. Copper was hauled there and then shipped south to smelters in Tacoma, Wash. The railroad spanned a massive glacier (the tracks had to be moved, continually, as the glacier shifted and settled) and bridged yawning canyons.  During construction, thousands of workers were required to dig through snow and avalanche.  Many were reported to have died during construction of the CR & NW.

The rail line cost Kennecott Corp. $20 million to build at the time. Adjusted for inflation, that's more than $458 million in today's dollar.  While the track eventually became a very profitable investment, during construction railroad workers and miners swore the acronym for the CR & NW stood for "Can't Run and Never Will."

Widespread and persistent stories of hauntings along the old track have been reported from the region, especially near Chitina. It is well documented that the railroad created thousands of jobs.  But how many lives were lost during the railroad construction and the mining boom -- and the inevitable bust? Practically overnight, the once-bustling communities surrounding Kennecott mines turned to ghost towns.

When the National Park Service showed up, after establishment of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Kennecott flourished again, albeit it in lesser fashion, as a tourist attraction.  Over the years, visitors to the present-day Kennecott historical landmark have claimed they've seen tombstones just off the old dirt path that in places where it parallels the CR & NW.

Thing is, on the way back from their adventures, these wayfarers have consistently reported that the grave markers are gone, vanished into the still, cool mountain air.

Back in the late 1990s, the state of Alaska is said to have begun developing a government housing tract out along the trail. But during construction, workers so regularly recounted phantom visions and "disembodied voices of both children and adults along the Old Copper Railroad" that keeping work up became impossible. Eventually things got even worse. Construction workers, having seen the tombstones and heard the wails of long-dead miners, then started losing their tools, right out of their tool belts and boxes. It was enough to frighten off even the boldest and bravest public servant and the whole project is said to have been canceled.

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2015, 05:44:21 AM »
Thank you very much, Valerian!  Just my kind of thing; I really enjoyed it!

I myself would now like to recount a tale that I came across here.  Ghosts, vampires, werewolves -- they're all spooky, naturally (or supernaturally, as the case may be).  Sometimes, though, you don't know exactly who or what is after you or why, and that can be just as frightening...


Why the Country is Scary: Sorcia's Spook-a-thon

We have never figured this out.  And now, the three living witnesses have to be good and freaking druuuunk to discuss the whole thing.

I was seven, my brother 10, my mom in her early 40s, my grandmother (her mom) in her 60's.  So we were all cogent.  No one was too young or too senile to not recall this nonsense.  Yet, still no bloody answer.

Grandma lived on an isolated country road in NC that was named after her family since they were the only crazy bastards who lived on the land for about 1000 acres.  And I do mean crazy.  We have stories about relatives that start with, "You remember that time Uncle Bob was in the ditch with a shotgun?"  "WHICH TIME?!"

Her house had been empty for several weeks while she'd been visiting us in Florida, but we were all back, spending the weekend with her before trekking back to the Sunshine State.  The house is in the foreal country, literally over train-tracks, past a salvage yard and her nearest neighbor (a cousin -- everyone is related to everyone who owns a house on the road) ain't within screamin' distance.  Yes, that seems to be a real system of measurement -- "screaming distance."

It's early in the AM, like just before daybreak.  We're awake because these are farm freaks who wake at the crack of dawn from sheer ingrained habit.  We're eating cereal when we hear someone pull up outside.  Curious, we all run to the big picture window that looks onto the front yard.  There is a strange truck there.  No one seems to be behind the wheel, though the engine is idling.  The truck is... well, old, for one thing.  It's old-timey like from maybe the 1930's?  You could picture the Joad Family heading to California in this thing.  It's rusted but it was probably once painted blue.

We stare at the thing, bewildered.  Mom asks grandma if she knows who that is.  Nope, not a clue, says grandma.  She runs to get the phone to call her cousin and ask him to come up -- she thinks maybe it's a hired hand and he's just at the wrong farm.  Just as she asks him to come on down, the phone goes dead.  Well.  That's unsettling.

All at once, there is a loud, insistent banging on the front door.  We all scream.  My grandma, who is terrifyingly resourceful, huddles us all into the living room, away from a window where anyone can see us.  Then, while mom, me and my brother tremble there on the couch, she grabs a serrated bread knife from the kitchen and cautiously approaches the front door.  She peeks out a side window, very stealthily.  She turns back to us and looks confused.  She shakes her head, like, "No one is there."  We all kind of breathe easier.

Then EVERY goddamn door in the house is banging -- relentlessly.  I can still hear it.  Rhythmic and terrifying, like all the doors are about to splinter and crack.  There were two doors in the basement beneath us, so the sound is also a reverberation at our feet.  The three ground-floor doors are shaking -- we can see them trembling and jerking on their hinges from our vantage point on the couch.  Finally, mom runs to the window -- either from a psychotic break with reality or terror, I have no clue.  She cries, "Oh thank Christ -- Cousin is here!"  We run to her and peek out the picture window -- there is no one that we can see in the yard, but we can't see all the doors from our viewpoint.

Cousin walks by the truck with a shotgun in his hand.  Cousin, it should be noted, has pretty much every gun ever made.  He looks puzzled, looking at the rear of the truck, then he glances in the cab window and he stops.  He goes pale, runs a hand down his face.  Then he RUNS towards to house, towards us.

My grandmother flings open the kitchen door as she sees him coming.  He shouts, "Everyone get behind the couch!  Get DOWN!"  He runs past us as we bolt for the couch.  The banging starts AGAIN, all the doors and now we can hear the windows rattle.  It's like a tornado or the end of the world.  We are too scared to even scream.  Cousin flings open the front door and fires the huge shotgun, once, BANG, deafening.  As he does, the truck roars into life and it sounds like a train.  We scramble up; the banging stops, mercifully.  Cousin is advancing onto the lawn, gun leveled at the truck.  We run behind him, wanting to be out of that shaking, quivering house and near the dude with the gun.  The truck peals out, backwards, cutting across the yard and racing into a breakneck speed.  Tires squeal, rubber is burned.  Cousin fires again and we all cower behind him.  He blows out the back window with the sound of a thousand plates smashing into linoleum but the truck never even hiccups, just roars down the road.  No tags, not even a vanity plate on the back.

There was NO ONE behind the wheel of that thing.

We all had a clear view.  Everyone agreed.  Not a driver in the cab.

Well.

Not anything we could SEE, anyhow.

The police were called (Cousin had to go home to his house to call -- this was way pre-cell phone era).  The phone line had been cut.  There was not a single boot print in the entire yard except Cousin's, from where he'd run into and out of the house.  Cousin reported that there had been no plate but when he looked into the cab, it looked like "something from a horror movie."  He said there were all kinds of weird restraints -- handcuffs, c-clamps, nylon straps -- and he said the floorboards looked covered in what "smelled like" blood to him (Cousin was famous for his keen sense of smell and the window was down, so it's possible).

Cousin said he thought he saw a blur of something out the picture window and ran to fire the first shot, but "missed" because, once he stood there, nothing or no one was on the lawn or in the truck.  Then it shot backwards out of the yard and out of our lives, leaving no answers, just a deep sense of unease every time we'd visit.

Grandma and Cousin have passed.  Deeply religious people, they stuck by their unchanging versions of the story until they died.  My brother, mother and I have never been able to figure it out -- neither did the cops, I think it should be noted.  We don't know how all the windows and doors were banging, and we don't know why we never saw a SOUL anywhere or how they could get around the sides of the house without leaving a trace in the damp earth.

Appendix: My co-blogger, Luker, can back me up on this part -- when I told this story in Oxford to a group of friends, one of them was recording my voice in the dark.  The next day, the recording was all screwed up, like you couldn't hear anything, make anything out.  Also, that same night, one of the remaining great-aunts still living on the road died.


All Hallows' Eve creeps closer and closer.  Do you have a spooky story to share?

Spel

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2015, 05:14:37 AM »
Alas!  Just about time to wrap up this year's session of our round of de duizenderotischeprikkennacht.  Partly in honor of the ongoing Fall Classic, I'd like to begin our ending with a tale involving baseball.  The bones of this one originally featured in Alvin Schwartz's More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, I think, but I'm using a version that I found here.


Baseball in Heaven

Mike and John were two guys who absolutely loved baseball.  They based their whole lives around it.  They played it every chance they got; Mike was a pitcher, while John was a slugger.  They went to every game they could possibly get to.  They watched games on TV, listened to them on the radio, studied the results in newspapers, read books about the game, memorized statistics.  They were obsessed.

As the years went on they decided to make a pact with each other: If one of them died before the other, he would come back and tell the one still living if there was baseball in heaven.

Because, after all, how could it truly be heaven if there was no baseball?

Decades later John died of a heart attack.  Although saddened by his friend's death, Mike couldn't help but be excited at the prospect of finally finding out if there really was baseball in heaven...

... and three days after his death, John's spirit did indeed come to visit Mike!  It was about two in the morning when he arrived.  "Psst -- Mike -- Mike! -- it's me!" said John, hovering over Mike's bed.

Mike stirred, then awoke and jumped at the sight of John's spirit floating over him.  "Jesus!" he cried.

"Not quite," John said.  "It's me, John!"

"John, buddy, good to see you!" Mike said.  "So tell me: Is there baseball in heaven?"

"Whoa, whoa, calm down," John said.  "I've got some good news for you, but I also have some bad news for you..."

"Well, tell me the good news first."

"O.K.  You ready?  There is baseball in heaven!"

"That's great!" Mike exclaimed.  "But what's the bad news?"

"Well," John said, "the bad news is, you're pitching tomorrow."


Time enough for one more!

Spel

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Dare We Share Some Spooky Stories?
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2015, 05:14:51 AM »
In his "Notes on Writing Weird Fiction" Lovecraft says:

The reason why time plays a great part in so many of my tales is that this element looms up in my mind as the most profoundly dramatic and grimly terrible thing in the universe.  Conflict with time seems to me the most potent and fruitful theme in all human expression.

Given our own struggles with time, I've decided to take a cue from him and finish up with a piece whose appearance he'd doubtless approve of: Shelley's "Ozymandias."


Ozymandias of Egypt

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: -- Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert.  Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


Many thanks to you, Mathim, Valerian, Jagerin, and Lilias.  I hope that all of you and that all of you listeners had a thrilling and chilling time.  I hope, too, that you'll return next year.  Stay spooky!

Spel