Would I have to start planning outfits around the tattoo like I plan for weather?
If the Ghost of Employment Yet to Come had visited me when I was the campus operator for Saint Louis University ("Hello operator? My husband's testicles are FIRM and TENDER" — true story), and told me that one day my job would be to read spooky stories then put them on the Interweb for mass consumption, I probably would have thrown up from joy and disbelief.
Believe, Campus Operator Louise! Believe! 'Tis true!
Rejoice! It's the CREEPY CORNER HALLOWEEN READER ROUNDUP!
It's the most creeptastic time of the year!
If Creepy Corner is the highlight of my week, Creepy Corner Reader Roundups are my Crazy Party Night. What in Gef's name am I talking about?
Behold my "WTF Did I Just Watch?" Halloween gift to you!
Thank you to everyone who submitted stories. You warmed the cockles of my cold, dead heart. And fear not, if your story did not make it into this roundup, there will be more opportunities in the future (start thinking about scary holiday/New Year's stories!).
So, as I'm already waaaaaay over word count, here are your scary stories Creepy Corneristas!
"The Photo" submitted by Laura
This photo is of my mum's father and was taken in the 1930s in Malaysia. He was in the British Merchant Navy and is the chap on the right. Unfortunately I don't know who the chap on the left was.
The object they're surrounding is a millstone, and as for the figure on top of the millstone — well, she (I've always thought of it as a she!) wasn't there when the picture was taken.
This photo has scared the pants off me since I was a small child, and my mum has said I can have it after she passes on. I think I want to own it, even though it really scares me now!
What do you think? Is it a ghostly girl? A double exposure? Who knows! Sadly I never knew my mum's dad, so I was never able to ask.
"Madame" submitted by Anonymous
My ghostly encounter took place in New Orleans...of course! My husband and I were staying at a hotel in the French Quarter (of course!) that used to be a private residence.
Because we were newlyweds and broke AF, we took a cheaper room on the fourth floor. The fourth and fifth floors were add-ons to the private residence and looked more like a cheap-ass motel than the fancy antebellum town home they were attached to. Like a cheap-ass motel, the rooms were lined up on one side of an open walkway, with big picture windows facing the walkway.
Our room was the second-last room on the floor, which was a dead end beyond ours and the last room. Both of the doors shared a tiny alcove.
After spending an evening wandering around the French Quarter (just walking, not drinking—in other words, we had all our faculties), we closed the blackout curtains on the picture window, locked the door, and went to sleep.
I woke up around 2:30 a.m. but wasn't sure why. I looked around the room, which was in half-shadow, with some light coming in through the gap in the blackout curtains that didn't close all the way.
Then I heard the noise. Ka-thump, ka-thump, ka-thump. Someone was trying to break into our room. They had hold of the door handle and were shaking the door in its frame. Oh great, I thought—some idiot got drunk on Bourbon Street and is trying to get into the wrong room.
Then the banging stopped. I rolled onto my side and watched the gap in the curtains, waiting for the person to go back down the hall. There was no way out the other way. But no one passed the window. Was his room the one next door, the one on the end? But the room doors were the heavy self-closing kind, and I didn't hear the other one slam. There was complete silence.
I waited a while longer, then gave up. I tried to go back to sleep.
That was when the bed started shaking.
I looked around the room. Nothing else was moving. I looked at the half-empty bottle of water on the nightstand. The water was still. Only the bed was shaking.
This completely freaked me out—so bad that I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing. I should point out that my husband slept through this whole thing. I decided I needed to wake him up, if only to share in my panic, but I was too afraid to move. Then the shaking stopped. I waited, frozen. Nothing else happened.
Needless to say, I didn't fall back asleep till dawn.
The next morning, we stopped at the front desk to ask for a good place to eat breakfast. Just as we were leaving, I turned around and went back.
"Do you have any...ghosts in the hotel?" I asked.
"Well, we've got a couple. Have you...had anything happen?"
The first one, they said, was a Civil War soldier who died of his wounds in the front bedroom on the main floor, but his ghost never left that room.
"What else have you got?"
The second ghost roamed around a lot, they said. She was the second owner of the home, and was pissed as hell that the hotel was named after the first owner and she'd been forgotten.
"What does she do?"
Floats around in the second- and third-floor hallways, they said. Rattles the doors of some rooms.
The desk clerks jumped and looked at one another again, and I knew they'd heard stories similar to mine before. "Yep, that's her. But don't worry. She just wants to see who's staying in her house. She should leave you alone from now on."
(The clerks were surprised that I encountered the ghost on the fourth floor. They said she probably sought me out because I was the type of person who would be open to her style of communication.)
I didn't take any chances. I went to a New Age store and bought a stick of incense and a purple votive candle. That night, I put the votive candle in a heavy-bottom water glass, lit it and the incense, and had a little chat with Madame. I told her we were houseguests who appreciated her hospitality and we'd only be staying a couple more nights, if she didn't mind. She didn't give any sign that she heard me, but she did indeed leave us alone for the rest of our vacation.
"The Neighbor" submitted by AstroProgrammer
When I was pre-school/early elementary school aged, I would ride my tricycle in our driveway that extended into our backyard and watch our elderly neighbor putter around his backyard doing gardening or going in and out of the garage. I would talk to his wife, but never to him. He was especially fascinating as he missing part of one his arms.
When I was older I was reminiscing about our neighbors and asked about him, my parents said I couldn't have met him. He died before I was born.
"The Couple" submitted by NovemberDecember
This story belongs to my uncle, and occurred sometime in the 1970s in a small Newfoundland town when he was a teenager.
My Mom was sitting at the kitchen table in her childhood home one night when her oldest brother came in, looking shaken and disoriented. She asked him what happened and he told her the following.
My parents are from one of those towns that you can throw a rock across. It has that famous small-town friendliness to go along with its low population. So when my uncle was walking home after dark and saw a couple he didn't recognize walking ahead of him — a man and a woman — he thought, Oh good; someone to walk home with. Even though he only saw the backs of their heads and couldn't identify them. So he tried to catch up to them, jogging toward them.
But here's the thing; he never got any closer. He said it was like he was running in place. They stayed the same distance apart.
That's nothing compared to what happened next. Because as he tried to speed up, or call out, and get their attention somehow — the couple sank slowly but surely into the ground and disappeared.
My Mom immediately accused him of being stoned, but he swore up and down that he was stone cold sober. It really freaked him out. And he never did get an explanation.
"The Footsteps" submitted by Jessica_Swanlake
Back in the day, and by this I mean the late 1990s, I lived in a massive old pre-Civil War mansion that had been sub-divided into apartments in the 1920s. It had a reputation of being haunted.
At the time I shared an apartment with my boyfriend. I had just gotten home from a day of waiting tables and headed into the bathroom to take a shower. My boyfriend had left for work before me, so I had the place to myself.
The apartment was laid out strangely — it was basically half of the old dining room, but had two bedrooms (one was part of a sunroom and one was where the servants stored linens and dishes). There was a long hallway at the entrance and at its end you could either duck to the left into the “outer bath” (an area with a sink) or continue on into the living room.
Anyway, I got into the shower, which was really just an old claw foot tub with a hose attachment, and tried to relax.
About 5 minutes later I hear someone walking down the hallway, from the front door into the living room. I had locked the door, so I figured it was just BF, and called out to say hello. He probably forgot something, right? No answer.
The steps continued through the living room and seemed to turn into my bedroom. Then footsteps moved from my room and through a door into the outer bathroom (the shower was located in the “inner bath”— a room tucked back beyond the sink area).
I got angry, because seriously, I am in the freaking shower, don’t just stroll in.
Then the light goes off. And my heart drops a thousand miles. Those footsteps are not BF.
It was late summer and he wore sandals — those footsteps were definitely boots. There were no windows and the room was completely dark. I was so scared I shut off the water and just stood there with my eyes closed because I did not want to see whatever was in the bathroom with me.
A few minutes later, I got brave enough to peek out from behind the curtain. Nothing. I shut and locked the interior door and turned on the light. It was an old fixture, so you had to screw it in to turn it on and off. It was unscrewed enough that it nearly fell out when I touched it.
I got myself together and made a break for the front door it was still dead-bolted. My apartment was totally empty.
I ran up to the third floor to a friend’s place and hung out with him until BF got home. My BF was mildly horrified by my story, but we decided to stay anyway because we had a lease and loved the place and had tons of friends who lived in the building. And stop rolling your eyes, I know we should have GTFO of there in retrospect, but it really was a great place.
Thank you again Creepy Corneristas! You all are officially the most wonderful bunch of creepsters on the Internet.
I leave you with this.