I Ain’t ‘Fraid of No Ghosts

It is that time of year. Orange and black. Skeletons. Candy corns. Witches. Goblins. And ghosts. Or “haints” as the some old-timer southerners call them.

You scared of ghosts? No me. “I ain’t scared of no haints.” Ain’t. Haint.

But you know what has always kinda scared me? I mean besides snakes. Ouija Boards. It seems like at every slumber party I went to as a kid, somebody brought out an Ouija Board. And I just never knew for sure. Was somebody moving it? Or was it a SPIRIT? Creepy. Did you have one as a kid? Leave a comment and let us know what you think about the Ouija.

So, I ain’t scared of no ghosts. Or cemeteries. I will pull in and take photos when I see a particularly interesting one. (If hubs isn’t with me, that is.)

Look at this one, with a view of Cold Mountain in North Carolina.

Or this one, in Cherokee County, Georgia.

But there is a “haint tale” that scared me when I was a kid. The one about the PigMan.

I grew up on a dead-end street in small-town America. At the end of the street were woods and at the end of the woods was a swamp. An older girl in our neighborhood named Norlydia must have delighted in scaring/scarring all us younger kids in the area. On summer nights when we were out late, she would gather  the younger kids under the street lights on the street and scare us to death with her tales about the PigMan. This PigMan lived in the swamp at the end of our street. He hunted and ate children at night. She described his face and teeth, his feet and hands. His yellow eyes! I can still see the picture in my mind of the PigMan she described. (You know those pictures of the devil they put in Sunday School books for kids? Or used to. You know, the red horns and pitchfork? I think those pictures were the basis for my vision of the PigMan. Yes, combine Satan with an evil looking Porky Pig and you’ve got it.) And okay, here’s the lame truth. To this day I would not walk down that street, through those woods, and to that swamp at night. No way; not going to happen; not even if you double-dared me. (Of course, I’m also afraid of snakes and other REAL  things that go bump in the night.)

Now that I think about it, my gargoyle kind of looks like the PigMan….

Another local legend was that a gorgeous mansion on a main street was haunted. It was beside one of the elementary schools, so there was a lot of talk about the house during recess. An elderly woman lived there all alone; the curtains were always closed. It was the rumor that the old lady’s son hung himself in the foyer there many years ago. Kids would say they saw the ghost boy in an attic window.

Now that I think about it, one of my other elementary schools was right beside the city graveyard. If my mind wandered in math class and I happened to glance out the window, well, I’d be looking at tombstone after tombstone after tombstone. If I had to take a note to the front office, I’d be walking on the walk beside the graves. Maybe that’s why graveyards don’t freak me out.

And probably our most famous local legend was the resident “witch.” Her name was Mayhayley Lancaster. She had a glass eye and dressed oddly for her day, often in a military hat. Even though she was rumored to be rich, she lived in a broken-down shack. She ran for political office and had some form of a law degree, but made her living by telling fortunes. She amazed and freaked out people with her right-on predictions and fortune-tellings. Later, her fame spread when a movie was made about a murder that she helped solve. Stories about her and her unusual powers circulated during her life and continued long after her death. In fact, the tales grew taller after her death.  One of my friends, who was always a bit psychic, was related to her. Here’s an interesting article about Mayhayley. She had died before I was even born, but Mayhayley’s name often came up at slumber parties, dark summer nights, campfires, and Halloweens when I was a kid.

 

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I’m starting to get ready for my annual soup party. I’ve begun to work on the menu. Today I’m experimenting with a Baked Potato Soup recipe I’m making up as I go along. A new friend gifted me some just-dug-up potatoes from their patch. Check these babies out:

Wait, now, let me put them in perspective for you:

That’s a quarter! Can you believe the size of those potatoes?

And guess what else? I’ve just celebrated my first fire of the season:

Yes, I sure do love this time of year. Crisp sunny days, cool nights, fires, warm apple cider, and the smell of cinnamon buns in the oven. What’s not to love?

Don’t forget to leave a comment. Tell us about any local legends in your hometown or famous ghost stories. And, what do you Farmgirls think about a Ouija Board? Do you like them? Yes, No or Goodbye?

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

www.rebekahteal.com

Leave a comment 14 Comments

  1. Julie says:

    I don’t remember any scary stories. However my brother’s birthday is on Halloween. So when me, my sister and brother went trick or treating (only to homes that knew us) they would give my sister and I candy and my brother would be fawned over and given extra treats bc it was his birthday. Stinker!
    I love this weather, walking Violet is much more fun bc I’m not sweating 😉
    Julie

  2. Janice K. says:

    A little tip that I have in regard to potato soup is that I simmer my potato cubes in chicken broth, instead of just water. Makes then just that more tasty! I include crisp bacon chunks after I get the basic soup simmering with thickened milk and top it with grated sharp cheddar and chopped green onions….Yummo…. Also use clam nectar for cooking my potatoes when I make clam chowder..Isn’t this a time of comfort food cooking?!?!
    I can remember visiting a burial plot at a historic plantation in Georgia. Such history, that you could almost feel the family watching us walk by! It was a chilly afternoon and when we came inside the tour guide asked us if we went down to the river (yes, we had). Did you know that the ‘gators’ were ‘wintering’ somewhere down there? Yikes! We are from Washington state and didn’t give it a thought…

  3. Jenn says:

    Here in Oldham County, there is an awfully scary tale of people hearing crying babies at certain times of the year. So much so, a lane is named CryBaby Lane. The oldest stories begin back when Kentucky was part of Virginia, still a colony. Life was hard, very hard on the banks of the Ohio River and it was whispered many infants and sickly children were tossed into Harrod’s Creek at an isolated part of the creek. During fall and winter, apparently when starvation threatened, this happened. *shiver* And as the decades passed, many people hear the wails and cries of babies from the deep cold water of Harrod’s Creek. Now, as a child growing up, my uncles told me that during the 1950s, small babies and children began disappearing from Oldham County houses and homes. Even in the fifties, this county was still very isolated and most roads were simply tracks except of course for the big horse farms and dairy farms. Thick heavy woods were everywhere, many many springs and creeks and caves and old quarries hid in these woods. The story says as many as eleven or twelve small children vanished over the decade…until some deranged person burst into the the Sheriff’s office confessing of the existence of a cult that stole the babies and children and threw them into Harrod’s creek or even worse unspeakable things. This man had either been a reluctant member of the cult or forced to join but he had fled from the dreadful cries and sobbings of the babies…and when he looked back, swore that small pale-white babies and children were climbing up from the creek and through the woods…crying crying crying. At night, even now, at times, people hear this constant crying of babies and small children wafting on the cold autumn air and even some people have stepped outside to see if there is perhaps a baby on the lawn or steps. I hadn’t lived here one summer without some of the older people telling me to never sleep with the windows open when it’s cold and if I heard a baby crying…DON’T GO OUTSIDE.

    There are some very eerie areas in Oldham County and at night, in those thick woods near the creeks or by a cave, there are many that swear they have fled from camping or parking or all the things people do in the woods, even big ol’ burly hunters have fled leaving behind all their gear!

    As for me? I live a good good distance from CryBaby Lane and like it that way. Especially at night.

    Jenn

  4. Shery says:

    Ouija board — they creeped me when I was a kid and they still do. Playing Mr. Potato Head and Cootie with little ones is more my speed. Aint no haints in tater face or a cootiebug ;o)

  5. Cathy Harvey says:

    Frankly, Rebekah, I DON’T like Ouija boards. My sister thought it would be fun to dabble in that and we got a board and also had a seance and lived in a haunted house after that. I have a lot of scary stories growing up in a haunted house and we’ve always believed they ushered the spirits in. It was a frightening place for a child, you can be sure. I don’t mean to put a dampener on Halloween but you asked for opinions.

    I love your posts and those are some BIG taters! One would make a panful from the looks of it. I love home grown potatoes!

    Thanks for your posts. I always enjoy them…

  6. I LIVED in a truly haunted house. Seems the haints there zeroed in on me. My parents repeatedly told me it was my ‘imagination’, until we moved away. THEN, my mother told me she often heard some of the same things I did. As far as I know, I am the only one who actually ever SAW anything, and most of the time, I think I may have been the only one to hear anything, either. Although, one of my younger brothers eluded to it in later years.

    It was lonely and horrible at night in my bedroom alone, knowing no one believed me and that I would ‘get in trouble’ if I screamed yet again, waking the more dreaded ‘haint’…my father. Once, he was so frustrated with me when he came to my ‘rescue’, (yet again), in the night that he took me by the arm rather roughly and up to the attic to show me there was nothing there. That really convinced me…(Whoever SEES them?)

    Today, I am fully aware that it’s some sort of psychological transference thing, but I am angered by fear and by the attempts of some to genuinely produce it in others. This is a huge part of the reason why we celebrate harvest with happy, kid-friendly costumes and activities rather than images and stories that create fear. This is our choice and I know folks like us are pretty much outnumbered. We don’t judge those who celebrate Halloween traditionally, we just go a different route.

    I am more angered by the real and ugly spirits that I know exist and that prey upon small children than anything else…and it’s only been since adulthood that I have heard similar stories of others who say they were ‘singled out’ in their childhood.

    Because our home was a typical Victorian, the bedrooms all had doors adjoining another bedroom. Our adjoining doors were blocked by dressers, but in my room there were three doors-one to the adjoining bedroom, (my brothers),blocked by my dresser on one side and theirs on the other, one to a tiny room that led either down to the kitchen or up a winding, stooped staircase to the attic. The other led to the hall. At the other end of that hall was my parents’ room, which adjoined another bedroom, my older sisters’.

    Perhaps it was because everyone else had a roommate, or perhaps it was because of the location of my room, I don’t know. I do know this, I didn’t have the typical ‘closet door fear’ that so many children have. I had enough other worries.

    The most memorable incident was the night the doors closed. My parents were out. My older sisters were downstairs. (I was a late-comer and my sisters were 10 and 15 years older than I.) My brothers were in the neighboring room, asleep. Bedtime procedure left the hall light on. Thank heavens.

    Try closing your eyes in a room where the light is on and then turn the light off, eyes still closed. You can tell the difference, right? So, I was in bed, eyes tightly shut, foot wiggling, (I had developed the habit of foot wiggling because if I wiggled my foot I couldn’t hear sounds as well), everything but my nose covered, and ‘Lion’ tightly clenched to my heart. As always, I faced the door that faced the hall with the light on.

    Then, through my closed eyes, I noticed a difference, the light from the hall grew dimmer. Of course, my eyes popped open. What I saw I have never forgotten. The door on the right wall, leading to the ‘attic room’ and the door directly opposite me were closing. Both at the same time. One, closing from left to right, the other closing from right to left. Both slowly. Both with no one there.
    I don’t know how long I pondered and inwardly panicked. If I got out of bed, I knew I’d be in big trouble. You didn’t get out of bed in my day if you were supposed to be in bed, without consequences. If I stayed in the room, maybe ‘it’ would leave me alone, but then, maybe ‘it’ wouldn’t. Also, if I left the ‘safety zone’ of my bed to make a run for the closed door, would it be locked? And how long would the safety zone be safe? Would it ‘get me’ before I reached the door? You might think a five year-old wouldn’t think this way, but in a matter of split seconds, I did. Remember, this was back in the day before such movies played…I had no pictures in my head of what it could be like…I was living the horror of the unknown. I don’t know what it was, but I do know it wasn’t friendly. It was something even a child, or perhaps, especially a child, could sense as evil.

    Finally, I scrounged up every morsel of my five-year old courage and took off for the door leading to the hallway.
    Heart pounding, I turned the knob and was relieved that the door opened. Fast and silent, I tip-toed to the opening of my brothers’ bedroom. One was a tease, the other two, his ‘gangstas’. Even with all I had witnessed up to that point, I wasn’t past suspecting that they were pulling some sort of prank…but the eldest of them was only six, and his ability to pull off something like that, as I consider it in retrospect, was limited. At the time, however, I thought it was perhaps his hand at play…So, I stood, safe in the lamp-lit hallway, away from my room, and listened. I listened long. Nothing and more nothing, except the occasional movement of sleeping bodies readjusting themselves beneath the covers.

    I passed their room to the front staircase leading downstairs to the foyer. Now, what?

    Afraid now of ‘getting in trouble’ and worse, being escorted back to bed, I sat at the top of the stairs. I listened again for tell-tale snorts or chuckles, still not completely convinced my brothers hadn’t tricked me. Still no sounds. Finally, gathering courage again, I timidly descended. At the bottom of the stairs, I sat again. I thought if my parents came home, I could run up to my room before they knew I’d been out of bed. But of course, I didn’t want to go THERE. Part of me wanted so badly to risk telling my sisters what had happened. I knew, though, that they would be as stern with me as my parents. And to date, I had suffered a certain amount of ridicule for my cowardice, as well. So, I sat there in Limbo, garnering more courage to proceed.

    I could faintly hear my sisters’ voices off in the kitchen, at the other end of the house, directly beneath my bedroom. The water was running. They were talking and laughing…Laughing at me? Could they have been the ones pulling a prank on me? But no, their voices assured me otherwise. Their voices presented the air of peace and normality, and I knew in my heart they wouldn’t do that to me for any amount of laughs. That’s where I wanted to be, in the kitchen, smack dab in the middle of their ignorance about the evil things in the night. If I could get to the back staircase without them knowing, I could sit there in the dark, within the safety net of their presence, without their knowing. Without anyone or anything but, ‘it’ knowing. And to my thinking, ‘it’ couldn’t get to me there. I took the chance and made my way through foyer, den and dining room to the back steps, where I melded in against the wall of the bottom step. It was as close to the kitchen as I dared venture.

    Then I realized the mistake I’d made. If Mom and Dad came home, or my sisters left the kitchen, I couldn’t go up those stairs, they led to the landing just before jutting up to the left towards the attic. There was a door there at the top of the steps, going into the tiny room, and then the opposite door of the tiny room that I’d watched close simultaneously with the hall door. When I left my room, that door was still closed. Also, unlike the front stairway, this stairway was steep and narrow. And pitch black without the light on. If I dared turn on the light, the sound of the switch would surely be heard by my sisters…and I was right back into trouble again.
    Again, I sat. I wanted so badly to be able to tell someone what had happened. There were no windows open to outside winds. And if this was something caused by air pressure via furnace ons and offs, why had it never happened before…and why did it never happen again?

    Eventually, I took myself and my footed pajamas silently back the way I came, each part of my return journey as hesitant as the trip there. Back to the front stairs. Back to the top of the front stairs. Listening again for brothers’ noises…Still nothing. Finally, heart all but caving in upon itself, I crept back to my room, leaving the hall door open wide. I was too afraid of what might be on the other side of the tiny room’s door, so I left it shut. Better shut, anyway. It could stay shut forever as far as I was concerned. I cuddled up with Lion, pulled the covers up to my nose, wiggled my foot double-time, and kept my eyes wide, staring at the hall light, until sleep overtook me.

    Morning brought the bravery that comes with daylight and I ran to the closed door leading to the tiny room adjacent the attic stairway. If there was a string on it, I wanted to find it before my brothers awoke and got rid of the evidence of their prank…only, there was no string. Not on the other door, either.

    That’s all I remember. That’s enough for me. I have made it my business to circumvent possibilities for fear such as this. I have mostly been successful…except for that time when I was pregnant in Massachusetts. That’s where I heard the rattles, bangs and voices in the basement. The basement that the dogs were scared to go into at night. The pitch dark house where my hand before my nose was no more than blackness. The house where my father’s wife claimed my dead mother was after her. My husband finally awoke enough to witness it, too…but that’s another story.

  7. April says:

    Ouija boards…..toss ’em out.

  8. Cindy Hailey says:

    Oh…I forgot to add…Thumbs down on the Oijas.

  9. Lisa says:

    Ah oooooh! Love Halloween too- I’ve had my goodies up since August. Oigua are wierd…. Christians oppose them- but my experience is (my 1960’s Mom was OK with them) that me and a sweet neighbor plugged in often… one of my answers at about 10 yrs. old was that I would marry a dark haired, mustached handsome man named David with a green Porche. Well, I’m still waiting on the Porche, but married the man 25 yrs. ago. Happy Halloween!

  10. Karmell says:

    Ok, I am spiritual and love love Halloween! But I will never mess with a Ouija board again. Scared the **** out of me. The person I was using it with could not have known about my dead Aunt Kathy………

  11. Debbie says:

    Oh, we love Halloween here too! We fooled around with the Oigua board when we were kids but I don’t recall anything strange ever really happening.. I’m not afraid of them, but I’m not rushing out to get one either! We did go on a Lantern Ghost Tour in downtown Plymouth Harbor where much of the tour took place in a graveyard at night! I thought I might get creeped out ( never been to a graveyard at night ) but the gal giving the tour was sort of animated and would break out in a wickend witchy laugh at times so it was hard to take it all too seriously! But,it was fun and of some historical interst! Would, have made a great MJF Halloween post but I forgot the camera! Happy Halloween Rebekah!
    Love, Deb

  12. Fran Curtis says:

    I live on Cry Baby Lane in Oldham county and tonight it is busy ! Guess the word is out about the crying babies ! Lots of traffic tonight on this little one lane road .
    Just found your blog while Googling Cry Baby Lane .Interesting !! Fran

  13. Brenda says:

    I use to have a Ouija board along time ago and oh the questions we use to ask. never was scared by it. Now about your potato soup let us know how it turns out potato soup is one of my favorite of course soup any kind is top of my list of food.

  14. Betty says:

    This year our library sponsored a Ghost Walk at a local cemetary. No, it wasn’t to frighten anyone, it was to let people know who (that was part of our local history) was buried there. Well, I was the ghost of Rebecca Jane Gardner. I rented the appropriate (1840’s) dress and hat, and luckily we had a beautiful evening. There were other ghosts here and there through the tour, and over 400 people came through with guides. Hope you had a lovely "Month of Scare".

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