Friday, October 13, 2006

Campfire Spooky Tales

Campfire Spooky Tales

The patriarch of the family, affectionately called, “Daddy Straw”, or “Straw I” loved to entertain campers in the night firelight with tales of his adventures. He had been a hobo during the 1930’s Depression and “road the rails” throughout the United States looking for work. Later in life he artfully shared stories by firesides with family, hunting friends, and youth church groups. As we roasted our hot dogs or marshmallows on twigs that were stripped of bark like he taught us, he enlivened the atmosphere with tales. He was a skillful storyteller who used his voice with melodrama, talking slowly to emphasize spooky parts and lifting his voice to a high crescendo at the climax. He felt that people should tell spooky stories based upon real events in their lives.

Below is another Straw spooky tale, based on an actual event.

The Cemetery Spook

In Aberdeen, Mississippi, there is a mausoleum (photo above) for a prominent family. When the matriarch of the family passed away, they placed her body there along with her favorite rocking chair. The mausoleum had glass doors through which people often peered. It is widely known that on full moonlit nights, observers have watched her chair rock. On stormy nights, between lighting flashes, people have sworn they have seen her sitting in the chair, rocking.

Straw II grew up listening to these tales that are still repeated each year during the antebellum pilgrimage. He, his siblings and cousins often went to see if they could detect her rocking. They also loved to play hide-n-seek among the tombstones on summer nights.

One night “It” was counting. Straw II hid behind a nice large tombstone that he felt protected him from view. He sensed that his brother, Clint, and his, sister, Faye, were nearby. He didn’t know where his cousins, Tyson and Bill were hiding. He waited quietly while “It” finished the countdown. “It” shouted, “Ready or not, here I come.”

Straw II crouched lower behind the gravestone. He’d forgotten that he was standing on a grave.

“It” began to walk in his direction. Straw II crouched lower. “It” came closer. Straw II stepped back. Each time that “It” came nearer, he would take a step backwards.

Just as “It” was on him, he backed into something or someone! He could feel huge hands around him! He looked up into a stone cold face. Two arm-like wings seemed to reach all the way to the full-faced moon. He just knew that someone had come up out of the grave or the old lady in the mausoleum had grabbed him!

He let out a blood-curdling scream! His heart pounded so hard that it sounded like Casey Jones’s engine trying to make up time on the trip from Memphis to New Orleans. His feet moved so fast that sparks probably left marks on the sidewalk. He didn’t stop racing and panting until he ran into the backdoor of his house, straight into the protective arms of his grandmother.

How his friends, cousins and siblings laughed the next day when they took him back to cemetery to show him what he had backed into! There stood a huge statue of an angel at the head of the grave where he was hiding! Even though it looked different in the daylight, Straw II never forgot the cemetery spook that almost had him!
A story like this makes good fodder for night time spook tales around the campfire on a cold October night when the moon is full.



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