The Ghost of Thurber, Texas


True story of the rise and fall of Thurber, Texas – a mining ghost town with a real ghost? Written by Bob Hopkins

Science has made phenomenal discoveries within the last one hundred years but even still some things just can’t be explained. One such ghostly tale must be among those unexplainable events as it occurred many years ago in a soon-to-be real Texas ghost town, a place forgotten by a world of high tech devices, modern conveniences and the worries of the day-to-day rat race. The place was a small community called Thurber located in the far ends of the Palo Pinto hills just on the Palo Pinto and Erath County lines.

Today, the only thing that remains of the old mining town is a very impressive smokestack towering next to row of aged brick buildings, one of which houses the Smokestack restaurant on Interstate 20 about 75 miles west of Fort Worth. During the late 1800s Thurber was a thriving coal mining town with a population of approximately 8,000 souls. Unlike most towns, especially in Texas, Thurber was constructed and owned completely by the Texas and Pacific Coal Company which was headed up by Robert Dickey Hunter and H.K. Thurber of New York.

Hunter constructed the town while dealing with the dissident union miners associated with the “Knights of Labor,” who had been working in the mines there since the mid 1880’s. He fenced off the property owned by the company constructing an entire town and mining complex complete with schools, churches, saloons, stores, houses, a 650 seat opera house, a 200 room hotel, an ice house and an electric plant. The union was not allowed inside.


Eventually the miners’ strike ended and the families moved into the company owned town. Along with the mines, the company owned commissary stores where the town’s people purchased necessities with the use of “scrip’s” which were redeemable anywhere in Thurber. In 1897, a large brick plant was built as well. Hunter, also a partner in this enterprise employed many other types of labor. A stockade, armed guards and barbed wire fence restricted labor unions, peddlers and other unauthorized people from gaining access to the town.

Hunter retired in 1899 and a man named William Knox Gordon took over retaining company dominance about the community. Concentrated efforts by Gordon to keep the union affiliation out of Thurber failed by 1913 and Thurber became a union stronghold for the immigrant workers and remained so until about 1920. By that time locomotives, the primary source of transportation, began to burn oil instead of coal. Gordon, being an opportunist, discovered the huge Ranger oil field just west of the Thurber mines and changed the company name to Texas Pacific Coal and Oil Company in 1918.

The conversion of the nation from coal to oil along with the consistent union strikes led to Thurber’s demise. The need for workers began to dwindle and many miners moved away by 1927. The brick plant remained open until 1930, a general office until 1933, and commissary stores until 1935. By 1939, the company basically dissembled most of the town and concentrated their interests toward the oil fields. The once thriving Thurber became a ghost town.

It was during those declining years that an eerie thing occurred. On a summer’s night in 1930, eleven year old Walter Kostiha and his older brother Frank had an encounter that would stay with them for the rest of their lives. Walter was 82 years old when he shared the tale from the safety of his store within the quaint village of Strawn, located just down the road from Thurber. Walter said, “I remember the night well, always have, always will. A boy never forgets the odd things of life and that one was surely odd for me.”

It was the beginning of the Great Depression which hit Texas harder than most other states. Many grown and able-bodied men were out of work and taking any job they could find so it was rare that two boys could find work. But they did. Walter and Frank would walk down to a local Mexican restaurant on Saturday nights, one of the few establishments left in Thurber, after closing hours to assist the owner with rolling tamales. “One particular night,” Walter said, “was very clear with a beautiful full moon hanging low upon the summer horizon.” The two boys finished their work at the restaurant about midnight and after collecting fifty cents each, they headed home down an old dirt road that paralleled a set of railroad tracks that took coal cars to the town of Mingus, a few miles north of Thurber.

Kostiha said, “We came to the place where we left the road to cross over a fence in order to get to the house.” In those days many fences had “stiles” built upon them…steps in which one could easily climb up, over and back down without having to climb the fence. “We were approaching the stile when the ghostly thing appeared. Here came this beautiful silver-looking thing.” He went on to say, “My brother looked at it, screamed and ran as fast as his feet would carry him toward the house, unfortunately, the long way. I followed but he was bigger and faster than me leaving me further and further behind. Once my brother cleared a considerable distance from the ghost he slowed then finally stopped until I caught up to him, both of us out of breath and scared half out of our wits. Only then could we gather enough courage to look back at it but it was gone.”

The boys, going the long way home to avoid another face-to-face with the specter, immediately went to their father and told him of the frightful event. Walter asked his Papa if someone was pulling some kind of prank on them. His father replied, “No, this was no prank.” He then explained to the boys that what they saw was something rare indeed, something that very few people in the Thurber area have encountered. He told them the story of an incident that took place in Thurber years before when it was a booming community. A carnival had made a stop in the village. There was a beautiful woman with the carnival who would sing with a voice even more beautiful than she was. She was tragically killed by a local resident who had become obsessed with her. “The woman”, he said, “avenges her murder by returning to haunt the streets of Thurber.”

After that night, Walter said his brother refused to speak of the incident and didn’t want anyone to know of their encounter with the ghost. Walter went on to say, “If people say that I didn’t see a ghost, you tell em to come see me! I saw it with my own two eyes and I know what I saw.” Rumors of the haunting floated in and around Thurber for a few years, however, Walter only personally knew of only one other person who claimed to have witnessed the ghost. The man, a friend of Walter’s father, told Walter and his family of the night he was walking toward his mother’s house, just about the same spot where Walter and Frank saw the ghost. He claimed on a moonlit night he came upon the ghost of a woman sitting on the stile at the fence. He said he was somewhat under the influence of strong drink when he approached the woman thinking it was his mother. “Suddenly”, he said, “she began to rise up into the air before fading away right in front of my eyes.” He then said he’d never sobered up so quick in all his life.

Since then, the road no longer exists. Pasture has reclaimed it and the fence has been gone for many years as has anyone who may have encountered the specter. Walter unfortunately passed from this world in 2006 taking any other information of the ghost with him.

The ghost town of Thurber, Texas was once a thriving place teaming with immigrant workers, mostly Italian, Hungarian and Mexican trying to make a living for themselves and their families. The great flu-pandemic of 1919 took the lives of at least 20 children and several adults in Thurber. Other sicknesses and difficulties plagued the immigrant town as well. A ghost in Thurber could be just about anybody.

Walter had many fond memories of growing up and living in the Thurber and Strawn communities. The coal mines are long gone but reminders of their existence still dot the countryside around the area of southwestern Palo Pinto County. No record exists of the murder of the beautiful carnival queen but that doesn’t mean that the event didn’t happen. Such a person in such a transient profession could have never been reported as the carnival moved on to another town.

If a ghost still exists in Thurber, the only live people it would find to haunt would have to be at the Smokestack restaurant which has reported their own accounts of ghostly happenings over the years. But if you want to see the ghost of the carnival woman, you’ll have to stand out in the field where the road once was. The problem is nobody knows exactly where that was or at least, none of the living. Happy haunting!


To learn more about Thurber, TX:

Wikipedia page on Thurber, Texas
Texas State Historical Association – Thurber, TX

Thurber, Texas

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Thurber, Texas 32.506599, -98.418121  Story: The Ghost of Thurber, TexasGhost town of Thurber, TX. From Wikipedia: \"Thurber is an unincorporated community in Erath County, Texas, United States (near the Palo Pinto county line), located 75 miles west of Fort Worth. It was, between 1888 and 1921, one of the largest producers of bituminous coal in Texas and the largest company town in the state, with a population of over 10,000.[1] The population of the community is 48 per the 2010 United States Census.\" 

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Three Ghost Stories from Summerville (SC) High School


Presenting three ghost stories written by students at Summerville High School in Summerville, South Carolina. Scroll down the page to read them all!

The first ghost story is “The Labrador” – a tale of a mysterious white dog guarding the spot of his master’s death. Written by Bethany Polutta.

On November 7, 1960, a traveling salesman came to Goshen Hill for a few days, selling his wares from door to door. He was a friendly man with a warm grin and a joke for everyone. He was accompanied by a large white dog that rode on the wagon beside him; companion, friend, and guardian of his wares.

The salesman and dog were making their way out of town when a murder was discovered in one of the places in which they had sported their wares. Suspicion blossomed at once against the stranger—certainly no one of the townsfolk was capable of committing such a crime!—and a lynch mob chased the salesman out of town and strung him up on a tree beside the road.

The white dog howled and barked and roared as the mob carried his master away. More than one man was bitten as the salesman, still screaming out his innocence, was silenced forever. One fellow finally shot his gun at the white dog, wounding it enough to send it whimpering away. It soon became obvious to everyone in town that they’d hung the wrong man. The corpse, dangling obscenely from the tree on Old Buncombe Road, was a grisly reminder of the community crime. They would have cut down the salesman and given him a decent burial, but the white dog stood guard over his master’s corpse day after day, savagely threatening anyone who came near the hanging tree. So the salesman’s body withered and rotted underneath the tree beside the road, filling the air with a terrible stench as it desiccated in the summer heat. It was many weeks before body and dog disappeared from the Old Buncombe Road.

A few months later, a man who’d participated in the salesman’s lynching happened to be walking down Old Buncome Road at night. As he drew near the hanging tree, his nose wrinkled in disgust as a whiff of rotten flesh swept past his face and his stomach roiled. He staggered backward, his arm over his nose, wondering what was causing the terrible stench. Then he spotted the hanging tree, and saw upon it a glowing, desiccated corpse dangling obscenely by the neck from one of its branches. And beneath the ghostly figure stood a huge, white dog with glowing red eyes.

The dog growled menacingly when he saw the man on the road, and the man stumbled backward over the rut in the center of the road and then started to run. With an ear-shattering series of barks, the white dog pursued the fleeing man with supernatural speed. The man whipped this way and that, spinning around, leaping into the woods to dodge around trees, trying to avoid the huge dog snapping at his heels. If he fell, the dog would be at his throat immediately.

The man crashed headlong into a tree and flung himself upward. Below him, the ghost dog leapt, and sharp teeth closed on the man’s hand. Pain ripped through him, and he climbed higher, trying to shake off the glowing beast. “Let go!” he screamed, kicking at it again. Suddenly, the white dog turned to mist before his eyes and swirled away. Realizing that the white dog might reappear at any moment, the man seized his chance. He slithered down the tree and ran all the way home. His wife sent a neighbor to fetch the doctor, who stitched up his hand as best he could. The white dog had nearly severed the palm, and the nerves were so badly damaged that he was crippled in that hand for the rest of his life.

The man later learned that every person who had participated in the lynching of the salesman was attacked by the ghost of the white dog. Many—like himself—were crippled in some way. As for the fellow who’d shot and injured the white dog—well, his four-year-old son disappeared and was never seen again.


The second story is “The Impossible” – a ghost story of twins who connect with their dead birth mother from beyond the grave. Written by Makevia Capers.

Beaufort, South Carolina 1994, February 20th, was when Mrs. Cynthia Blake passed away. She was twenty-two with twins named Kaden and Jaden. She passed giving birth to them, her heart wasn’t strong enough, so it gave out on her, and I guess it was her time to go. She wrote in her will she knew she was going to die; she said her friend up stairs showed it to her in a dream, so she wanted me to keep Kaden and Jaden. As I read her will, tears started pouring down my face; I wasn’t only crying because she passed, I was crying because the two handsome boys will never know who their real mother is and how intelligent she was. They will never know what a real mother’s love felt like because I was only sixteen; I was still a child myself.

March 23, 2002, I was sitting in the kitchen, and I heard laughing and playing coming from upstairs. It was an unfamiliar sound added; it didn’t sound like the footsteps of children; it sounded like the footsteps of an adult. I then yelled Kaden, Jaden; then there was a slight pause and they both yelled, “Yes mam” like they were up to something. As I was walking up the stairs the playing and laughing continued as I got to the door, I could no longer hear the third footstep that sounded like an adult footstep. As I opened the door, the two were sitting on the floor looking at me.

“Why are you guys playing so hard?” I asked.

Kaden starting smiling and pointed to the closet door, “It was Mama,” he said.

Looking around I laughed and replied, “But, I am your mama sweetheart.”

He stared at me like he was waiting on me to drop dead and said, “NO! My biological mother.”

That hurt me at heart because I was the only mother he ever knew, but I just kept a smile on my face and said, “Oh really, what is your other mother’s name?”

Then he said the name that was actually his biological mother Cynthia Blake. When he said the name the room began to get chilly, and I felt as if someone was in the room besides my boys and me. I walked out the room trying to ignore the fact that my nine-year old sons know the name of their biological mother, and I have never spoken of her since February 20th, 1994.

March 24, 2002, at one o’clock in the morning I was still up because I still wasn’t over what Kaden and Jaden had told me the night before. The name Cynthia Blake just kept giving me the chills, so I decided to go down stairs and take some medicine to put me to sleep; as I was walking down stairs there were two hard knocks on the door. I opened the door and there was nothing, but the smell of cookies, and the funny part was I wasn’t baking any cookies, so I thought to myself, could what Kaden and Jaden told me be true? I brushed it off; no, it couldn’t be; that’s impossible. I went to the bathroom to splash some water on my face, then I heard what sounded like Jaden screaming, “NO MAMA, PLEASE, DON’T.” I ran into the room to him sitting up in his bed crying. I asked him what was wrong and his reply was, “Mama said I couldn’t tell, or she would hurt you.” I hugged him and told him it was a bad dream. That night I thought I heard the television switching channels. I didn’t get up to check because the things my sons where telling me was starting to get to me, but then I felt someone lying next to me breathing on the back of my neck, breath ice-cold as snow. I turned over to make sure it wasn’t the air vent, and I wasn’t tripping, but then my face started to get cold too and my lips were feeling as if they were getting blisters from the cold air, but I just continued to lay there still until my body actually fell asleep.

March 25, 2002, that morning I got up hoping the television would be off because that would have meant that everything I thought I heard and felt would have just been all in my head; sadly, I got up to the television on, so I knew that I wasn’t going crazy. I went down stairs as usual to do my daily routine, check the weather and get the boys up and ready for school. I walked outside, and it was pitch black outside and cold as if we were living in Antarctica. I went to go look at the thermometer, it read below twenty degrees. I thought to myself below twenty in July with no sun, and it was almost twelve in the afternoon; that was the strangest thing that I have ever seen. An hour after I came from outside it started thundering, lighting, and raining; so, I decided that was not the type of weather I wanted to send my children into, so I decided that they would stay home with me. We all piled into my bed reading, and all of a sudden the power went off. Five seconds after the power went off, I heard rattling coming from the kitchen. I told the boys to stay there I was going to check; I grabbed the quickest thing that I could use for a weapon. As I was walking down stairs I could hear something coming up behind me; when I turn around it was Jaden and Kaden. “Didn’t I tell you guys to stay in the room?” I said.

“Yes m’am, but we were scared,” they replied.

We continued to walk down the stairs until Kaden kept yelling “Mama is it you?”

I interrupted and said, “Didn’t I tell you I was your…” and before I could finish my sentence a long scream came from out of nowhere.

Jaden started calling again, “Mama, did you come for us?” and then everything in the house started shaking. We finally got down stairs and there was a light; it wasn’t an ordinary old kitchen light; it was a light like a train was going to run us over, only we didn’t live by any tracks, and I saw doctors and two little baby boys. I went up to go hold them, but it was like they were heliographed; then I heard doctors yelling like they were rushing to do something, and right then and there I knew it was Kaden and Jaden’s biological mother Cynthia Blake. The light that I saw got even brighter, so I closed my eyes and when I opened them nothing was there not even Kaden and Jaden; I yelled around the house for them, but there was nothing not a sinker from their laughs, not a thump from their little feet, nothing.


The third ghost story is “The Black Dog,” about a mysterious ghost dog taking revenge on the truck driver who killed him. Written by Brian Latham.

Have you ever heard of the story of the Black Dog? If not, then here is some spooky themes and stories about the Black Dog. The story behind the Black Dog starts off as a normal scary or tragic story. From what I have heard from my family, it started out a normal night with a normal Black Dog walking into the street, trying to get to the other side to the woods. When suddenly, out of nowhere a driver behind the wheel of a truck came around the corner. The driver had not sleep in hours and started to get tired, and when he turned around the corner he passed out in the drivers set and hit the dog; the hit from the car killed the dog immediately. After that, when people start driving and start to get sleepy the Black Dog jumps up on the side of the car, barking and trying to get revenge on the person who ran him over many of years ago.

Not lots of people see the Black Dog when they are tired because they probably are not tired enough to be able to see it. You probably have not heard of the Black Dog before because there is not really any stories to tell because there is not really any sightings of him. Some of the people in my family have seen this beast saying he is almost as big as their entire car causing them to crash or be driven off the road by the ginormous beast. My family members who have seen him say if he was not a spirit dog, that to be face-to –face with this monster would kill by the sight or even the smell that comes off the spirit. Also, they said if I was to come face-to-face with it, I would be torn to shreds. My dad told me his story, when he came in contact with the beast, separated by a thin piece of glass that kept him away from tearing him to pieces. I would never want to come into to contact with this beast.

When my dad got home one day he seemed startled as he had just seen a ghost. He sat in his favorite chair and said to me, “Brian, I never want you to ever be a truck driver.”

I asked, “Why don’t you want me to be a truck driver?” At first he was hesitated from telling me but then he said, “Because of the Black Dog.”

I thought hard to think about the Black Dog, but I just thought of a dog that’s fur was black, and I asked, “Are you talking about a black dog that scared you when you were driving?”

He gave me a look as if I just said something stupid, but then it seemed, by the look of his face, that he realized that no one told me about the Black Dog. He stared at me and asked me, “Would you like to learn about the Black Dog, so that you can understand a little better?”

I immediately said, “yes I want to know everything about the Black Dog and do not to leave anything out about the Black Dog.”

He told me everything about how the Black Dog died, and why it tried to run people off the road and take revenge on his killer who fell asleep behind the wheel.

I said to my dad, “That’s kind of overboard, don’t you think?” He looked at me and the last thing he told me was that some people report seeing a huge kind of black mist around the car accident and that some people believe that it is the Black Dog to see if it was his killer.

When he was finished about the history of the Black Dog, he told me what happened to him and how he said it made me even more afraid of the Black Dog. He told me this: “I was driving last night, and I haven’t slept in a while, and I was getting extremely tired. I was thinking of pulling over to the side of the road to take an hour or two long nap to get some rest. Instead I decided to drive for about one more hour, and then I would get some rest. I started to get near the end of the hour of driving and decided it was time to pull over to a truck stop. Before I came to my stop to get some rest, the Black Dog jumped up, and hit the truck and the Black Dog did not take his eyes off me; and I was for sure I would be in an accident and pretty darn sure that the Black Dog was going to be having me for supper that night. The only thing going through my head at this point was that stare of his eyes that were blood-shot red.

Over the weekend after my dad got home, I was allowed to spend the night at my cousins’ house, and I told him about the Black Dog. As scary as it seemed to both of us, we decided to get my cousins’ go-cart with homemade doors on it, and when we got really tired, we went to see if we could see the Black Dog. I drove the go-cart because my cousin was way too short to reach the peddles, but I was the right height for the job. We got on the road and started to drive down the road and began to attempt to see the Black Dog; and on top of that, I was trying so hard not to go to sleep. We pulled over to the side of the road and closed our eyes for about ten seconds before we woke up to see the Black Dog. Somehow it seemed as if the beast had seen me before, and then I realized about my nickname that I was given. Little Keith was my nickname because I looked lots like my dad and then it hit me knowing that it thinks that I am my dad. It gave me a stare that made me feel as if I was being turned to stone by Medusa. It began to attempt to break the doors off. I took off and turned around facing the huge beast. I reacted and by hitting the gas pedal and headed straight for the Black Dog, and he did the same charging towards us. My cousin kept yelling, “Stop Brian, Stop!” I refused and hit the pedal to the floor board of the go-cart. When we were at least five to six feet away from the beast, it disappeared right into thin air. My cousin still believes it was not after us, but I think that it was because of the adrenaline that we had been going so fast that we were not tired anymore, and we became aware, alert, and awake. To this day, I have not seen the Black Dog, and I don’t plan on seeing him again for the rest of my life. This is my story and my experience with the legendary Black Dog.


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The Remains of a Clock


Creepy haunted house story from Alabama, written by Irran Butler.

I don’t believe in ghosts. I am, however, a witness to something that defies my reasoning when it comes to that sort of thing. When I was eighteen years old, a friend and I decided to venture out to an old house that was said to be haunted. Neither of us really expected we would find anything, but we figured it would be a good story to tell others, after embellishments were added of course. So, off we went in search of whatever we might find.

Following the directions we had received from another ghost hunter friend of ours, we located the house quite easily. It sat half hidden by kudzu at the end of a short narrow driveway that was itself almost covered by that same eager vine. We parked just feet from the front porch and retrieved our flashlights from the back seat, preparing to enter the decaying remains of a rather small house. Whenever I have given any thought to a haunted house, I have always assumed it to be a rambling structure with plenty of rooms for resident ghosts and ample opportunity to get lost within it’s gloomy, dark and dusty bowels. This particular house was far removed from such. It was your run-of-the-mill four-room farm dwelling… not fancy, but sturdy even in it’s neglected state. There were few panes of glass in the windows and the front door was missing. I could stand in front of the house and see through the front door, all the way out the back door; a distance of less than thirty feet. It didn’t seem large enough for a ghost to inhabit comfortably.

Twilight was just settling over us as we entered the abandoned dwelling. This gave us ample ambient light to see within the four tiny rooms. The living room and the kitchen shared a back-to-back fireplace, which I thought to be unusual. I had never seen this arrangement before and I had been in dozens of old abandoned houses on ghost hunts throughout my high school years. The living room side had a mantle over the fireplace, which still gave rest to several aged items including the remains of an old windup clock. We’ve all seen clocks like this at our grandparent’s house; sitting there with it’s pendulum swing back and forth… with it’s constant and creepy ticking. … I remember my parents saying that they enjoyed hearing that creepy monotonous sound, but I never really acquired a taste for it myself, in fact I found it very unsettling.

Bracket Clock

Having toured the four rooms, we decided to step outside and wait for darkness to envelope us, thus making it more likely that we would see a ghost… at least that was our thinking. We talked for some time about ghosts and what exactly we were looking for at this particular place. At that moment we suddenly realized that our other friend had not told us what it was that we were supposed to encounter. As we talked on, darkness overtook us. About then, we experienced one of those odd moments of near complete silence that we have all experienced, when everyone stops talking and any other sounds stop suddenly, generally highlighting that one person saying something that he didn’t especially want everyone to hear. You know what I mean. At that moment, I very definitely heard the ticking of a clock. Both my friend and I turned and looked back at the front door of the house… then at each other. We had both heard the same sound. I spoke up, “Did you hear that?”. I knew what it sounded like, but every cell in my brain was telling me that it was not possible for the clock we had just seen to make the sound we had just heard… and were still hearing. We both expressed our amazement, but that quickly changed to skepticism. There had to be an explanation for the sound. I stuck my watch to my ear… that wasn’t it. The sound was completely different.

We then turned our attention to the car. Everybody knows that a hot car engine makes a ticking sound as it cools off. After we carefully investigated the car, it was very obvious to us that the ticking was coming from inside the house. Only a few feet from the open front doorway, we could hear the ticking very clearly. We shined our flashlights on the door of the house and knew we had to go back in there if we wanted to know for sure the source of the ticking. I first walked back and forth in the yard shining my light on the walls of the living room trying to see the mantle where the clock sat. I could see part of it but not the part where the clock was. The ticking persisted.

My friend said, “Well, let’s do it.” And we stepped up on the porch. The sound of our footsteps on the planks in the porch floor momentarily drowned out the ticking. We both stopped at the doorway and peeked around the facing into the room. The ticking stopped. Shining our lights on the mantle, we saw the remains of the clock… it was completely nonfunctional and was definitely not ticking. It could not possibly be the source of the sound we had heard. We both expressed how weird this was and decided to walk through the other rooms, just to be sure we hadn’t missed something the first time. There were a few pieces of broken down furniture and miscellaneous debris, but absolutely nothing that resembled a clock, other than the one on the mantle.

We walked out the doorway and stepped off the porch. Our footsteps, in the gravel, as we walked to the car were the only sounds we noticed, until we stopped just before getting in. There it was again… that creepy ticking. I can think of nothing else that makes the same sound as one of those old windup clocks. This was, without doubt that exact sound. Shaking our heads we got in and as we turned the car around to leave, we both heard a single ringing sound of a windup clock striking the half-hour. If the only clock we had seen was not capable of ticking, it certainly would not be able to strike the half-hour. I looked at my watch and it was nine-thirty on the dot.

We had a bona-fide paranormal experience to pass on to our friends and families and could hardly wait to do just that. Over the next few days we spread our story freely and were really quite surprised at the dull impression it seemed to make on everyone that we told it to. I guess that a haunted clock just doesn’t pack the punch that a flaming headless woman in a blood-soaked white gown appearing in front of you does. I’ve never seen such a woman, but… I have heard the clock.


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The Scent of Honeysuckle: Alabama Ghost Story


Creepy Alabama ghost story of a house haunted by a strange girl, and the ghostly scent of Southern honeysuckle. Written by Irran Butler.

Anyone who lives in the South is familiar with the scent of honeysuckle. It blooms in May and stays around until the weather gets so hot the blooms drop off. It fills the air with its sweet lingering fragrance and is welcomed by every nose.

The story I’m about to tell is strange and I have no ordinary explanation for the facts to which I will swear here and now. I have never believed in ghosts but always enjoyed going on ghost hunts with my friends from high school. We still occasionally go on a hunt even though we are several years out of high school. It’s still fun and we have a great time.

One night in early summer, a few years ago, my girlfriend, another couple and I were in route to a location that was reported to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl who died of a bee sting, some fifty years before. Admittedly, dying of a bee sting seems strange enough, but the rest of this story is even stranger.

We arrived at the abandoned house where the ghost was supposed to reside. The house was at that time located in the middle of a thirty-acre pasture adjacent to an old roadbed, which had been the main thoroughfare connecting this area of the county with the main county road leading to town. It was obvious that many things had changed over the years, but the remains of what used to be, were there to see, if one took the time to look. I don’t profess to be anything like psychically tuned, but a feeling of sadness was easy to perceive.

The story that brought us to this place, as told by the couple that was with us, goes like this:


The young girl who lived there loved the smell of honeysuckle and would pick a bouquet every day and bring it to the house where her mother would place it in a vase. One day the mother had put the honeysuckle in the vase and placed it on a table in the living room. The young girl was gently brushing her nose against the blooms and was stung by a bee hidden among the flowers. Unknown to either of them, the little girl was allergic to bee stings. She suffered briefly and died that same day. She is rumored to be buried very near the house in a small family graveyard. The story is that, when the honeysuckle is in bloom, the ghost of the little girl can be seen standing in the door of the house. Imagining the ghost of a young girl standing in the doorway of an old ramshackle house is disturbingly creepy, but subsequent events of that evening were even more so and differed substantially from the original story.

There was some joking about the story and naturally us guys began pretending to see things and tried to scare the girls with our fake sightings. The first thing we seriously noticed was the obvious outline of three grave markers silhouetted against the open pasture by the bright blue-silver moonlight. That actually reset the mood for the occasion; it wasn’t quite so funny after that. We noted that the old house was in poor condition as we walked around it looking through the windows and doors, none of which retained even a single pane of glass. One of the girls remarked that front of the house looked like a face with the windows resembling dark eyes on either side of the open door, which could be taken to be an open mouth. Once you noticed it, it was an eerie sight.

This old house was one of those that had never seen a drop of paint and was topped by a rusty tin roof. The chimney at one end of the house was made of fieldstone stacked with great care and it’s builders had used no mortar, typical of old farmhouses in this area. The house sat on a gently sloping hillside with the front of the house facing downhill toward the road. The front door was at a height of about two feet from the ground as the house rested on pillars of stacked fieldstones. Blackberry briars guarded the doorways effectively deterring any attempt to enter. The house didn’t have a front porch and the steps at the front door had collapsed years ago. We stood discussing the fact that we were just outside what we believed to be the living room where the bee had stung the little girl. After a brief time, one of the girls mentioned that she had smelled the scent of honeysuckle and, of course, we all began to sniff the air. Sure enough, we all smelled it. It got very quiet, with only the far away sound of a whippoorwill and then, from inside the house, there was the very definite sound of footsteps. Clearly the footsteps were coming toward the front door. We all backed away several steps as a knee-jerk reaction to a sound that wasn’t supposed to be there.

We stared in disbelief as the moonlight illuminated the figure of a grown woman in a long dress and a light colored apron standing at the front door. She was holding what appeared to be a vase of flowers. The moonlight was bright enough that we could see the expression on her face was that of a very unhappy woman. The girls both screamed and I came pretty close myself. The figure paid no attention to the screams of the girls or our presence at her front door. We watched as the woman threw the vase out into the yard. I saw the vase flying through the very bright moonlight and expected to hear the crash when it broke against the rocky ground. That sound never occurred and before my eyes the woman faded into the thick, warm, night air. With numbed amazement, I looked back at the spot where the vase should have landed and could see nothing that resembled it. I must admit that the hair was standing on the back of my neck and a weird paralysis in my legs held me fast in place. At this point after the woman had disappeared, the heavy scent of honeysuckle filled the air again. We all looked at each other and I am sure we were all thinking the same thing. The girls echoed it in unison, “Let’s go.” I am sure the four of us completely agreed with that sentiment, thus we moved toward where the car was parked, with some haste.

The car was parked about two hundred yards away on the side of a dirt road, but that walk (actually, more of a run) seemed much, much longer. We spooked a few cows in our hurried flight and quickly let ourselves through the pasture gate, to where the car waited. In the car, we had a loud and vigorous discussion about what had just happened as we hurriedly drove away. We all agreed that what we had seen had to be the little girl’s mother throwing out the flowers, which concealed the bee, which had killed her little girl. The woman’s apparition had every right to appear unhappy and it was very evident that her spirit remained unquiet and had been so for all the years since the girl’s death. She had likely reenacted this same futile act of throwing out the flowers, countless times… every year… when the honeysuckle is in bloom.

Now, every time I smell honeysuckle I relive that night when I looked into the face of a very real troubled spirit that was trapped in a fruitless cycle between the peace of the grave and the torment of living with the loss a child. …May she, one day, find peace.


From the Author:

“This story was set in Northeast Alabama (Etowah County). The house survived until about 2002. It has since been removed and the pasture where it was has been subdivided. No new houses have been built at this time.

The house was real, but my story… not so much. My friends and I did go there and my description of it and the general area are reasonably accurate, but we didn’t see a ghost or hear footsteps. The original story of the little girl’s ghost appearing in the doorway came from a story told many years ago by a relative who has since passed away… I decided to add a twist to it. To my knowledge, any version of this story has never been published, as I believe it was strictly a local yarn.

I have friends who swear to their encounters being very real, setting them apart from me, as I remain a nonbeliever in this sort of thing. I’ve tried and I want to believe because I do really enjoy the stories… and the thought of lingering spirits from the past hold a special place in my heart/mind, but it just hasn’t happened for me… yet.”

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Marigold Goes A Visiting: Georgia Ghost Story


What does a missing cow have to do with ghosts? Find out in this Georgia ghost story written by Julie Ann Wallo.

It was an unusually warm day for late October in the foothills of Georgia. Windows that would normally be shut tight as a drum, were open wide to invite the flow of warm fall air in before Jack Frost made his arrival… That is how it began…

“Mr. McGillicuddy! Mr. McGillicuddy! Your cow is out! Your cow is out!”

“Marigold? I knew I hadn’t seen her in a spell. I figured she was down at the creek or over eating acorns under the old oak tree”, said Mr. McGillicuddy. “You know she’s gentle as a kitten, Earl. She wouldn’t harm a fly.

Which way did she go? I’ll go fetch her home. I wonder how she got out.” Mr. McGillicuddy scratched his bald head.

“Well, sir”, Earl began, “if you don’t mind me saying, your fence is about as rickety as that ole’ barn of yours…”


“EARL! I don’t need any sass from a young whipper snapper like you! That barn is as sturdy as the house I live in!

“Yes, sir. I’d have to agree with you about that, sir.” Earl looked around at the dangling shutters barely clinging to the side of the house. The house leaned to the left. He was sure not to visit on a windy day for fear the house would blow away.

“So, which way did Marigold go, Earl?”

“She’s at the house, Mr. McGillicuddy . I’ll help you get her home, but first I need to find Reverend Mathis and set up some kind of arrangements.”

“Arrangements, Earl?”

“Yes, sirree. The Misses, she’s deader than
a doornail.”

“Mrs. Fletcher?”

“Yes, sirree. Not a breath left in her, Mr. McGillicuddy.”

“Well, what happened, Earl?”

“Well, the wife’s been reading some of those danged ole’ scary books, the kind that keep you awake at night. And, ya’ know…she’s been a little hard of hearing since the termites ate the legs off the cupboard and all the cast iron skillets came crashing down like a mountain of rocks.” Earl answered.

“Yeah, yeah. But what does that have to do with anything, Earl? Sorry as I am about Mrs. Fletcher, I ain’t never heard of anyone passing away from a lack of hearing.”

“Oh, no sir. That’s not how it happened, sir.”

“Well, son, spit it out. What in the world happened?”

“Well, sir. You see…she was smack dab in the middle of one of those scary stories, the ones she gets from Mrs. Jones, that lives twenty-seven fence posts down towards the holler. The Misses, she
was all tied up in the words, gnawing on her fingernails, with her feet all drawn up in the chair. You know how them women folk get…”

“I recon I do. Yeah, so?”

Earl says, “And it’s been pert’ near warm for late October…”

“Yeah, Earl, go on…”

“So, she must have been at a really scary part, ya’ see. That’s when it happened. That cow of yours stuck her head in the window, and let out a long….slow….MOOOOOOOOO. Well, the wife, with her ears half cocked, done thought she’d run up on a ghost. When Marigold said, ‘MOOOOOOO’, the wife heard, ‘BOOOOOOOO’, and she killed right over like a fly smacked with a fly flapper!”


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