Shadow Snatchers: Kentucky Cave Witch Story


Cautionary tale of a Kentucky cave used by witches to steal souls, through shadows! Written by Allen Kopp.

How many of us have ventured into a cave? It makes no difference if it was large or small. A cave is a hollow place in the ground, especially a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter. Caves are formed naturally by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground.

Some are famously known, such as Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky, or Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico. While others are still waiting to be discovered. And others will never be.

They can hold many secrets. Some yet to be revealed. Some we don’t want to know about, some mysterious. Some are used as burial places of lost civilizations.

I’m about to tell you of one such a cave. Its location must be kept a strict secret, for reasons I can not tell you. But, trust me this is more for your protection, than that of this particular cave.

As a youth my buddies and I often ventured into such a cave. We called it “Hollow Cave,” and like its name was located in a hollow, in an abandoned rock quarry. We found it quite by accident, as we frequently visited the old quarry, taking our lunch there and building fires to cook hot dogs.

This cave was behind the retirement home in Louisville, Kentucky, my hometown. More information than that I can not give, as the cave now sits on private property (as it did in my day, but there wasn’t a horde of people trying to find it as there would be today).

This cave ran to the more popular cave in Cave Hill Cemetery over a mile away. It is very treacherous with rockfall (from quarry blasting) and quicksand. You can probably squeeze by the tight spots. But unless you are prepared for the quicksand, you will be in trouble. It doesn’t look much different from the rest of the cave floor. It’s wet looking and sandy.

But once you’re in it, it’s too late and you are in big, big trouble.

I can tell you this – the cave did at one time have the exit everyone spoke about in Cave Hill Cemetery as a spring fed lake. You could see the cave and the spring waters flowing into the lake, some ten or twelve feet above the lakes surface, but you need some kind of boat to reach the entrance. The lake was probably some 25 acres and more than 20 feet deep. Too big to swim across. And we couldn’t sneak a boat past the guard at the gatehouse.

I can tell you this – what resides inside “this” cave, also has been documented in similar caves in other areas of the country.

And I’m sure you all want to know “what” dwells in the cave. It’s shadows.

Now we all know that in the damp, darkness of any cave, void of any “light,” natural or artificial, there can be no shadow – right?

Wrong! There are always shadows. They are everywhere. But without light no one can see them.

You see back in the early 1700s, when witchcraft was so prevalent, covens of witches were known to exist in many areas of this fledgling country. One of these covens was led by a Mary Smith (not her real name). She preformed a cemetery ceremony involving shadows. We do not know what exactly took place in that cemetery that night. But we do know two young girls went missing that night, never to be seen again.

There are documented cases of this happening in many places across the countryside.

I and a small group of trusted friends have spent many years investigating these happenings. We only know that it seems to be some type of curse that the “Countess,“ as Mary Smith referred to herself, placed on these young female victims.

It seems that she conjured up a spell that stole the “shadow” from the victim, hiding it, the shadow, in the one place where it would never be found.

And as in Black Book of Curses, which was brought from the old country, and used by many of those who practice the darkness of witchcraft today, it says that a person can not exist without a shadow.

Now ask yourself where would be the one place shadows could be hidden and never found? Think! Where are the darkest places you could imagine? Like I asked in the beginning of our story, how many of you ever experienced a visit to a cave? Yes, a cave. What better place to hide shadows? A place that by nature is darker than dark.

There is only one obstacle. In the darkness you can not see the hidden shadows. And turning on a light of any type will not help. As soon as light emits onto a shadow, it ceases to be a shadow, and can no longer be seen. For a shadow to be a shadow, it must belong to someone. And these shadows, through witchcraft, have been stolen from victims who now roam the earth looking for another’s shadow. So beware, the shadow you see before you could be gone in a matter of seconds. And when your shadow is gone, death is very imminent. For without a shadow one can not exist.

And if you no longer exist,what happens to your mortal remains? And if as in many instances they are gone, the next question that plays in our “minds,” is did we ever really exist?

Our friends and families will remember that at one time, we did. But we become another statistic called a “missing person.” And eventually forgotten about.

Who are these Shadow Snatchers, we ask? We’ve all seen them.

They walk amongst us everyday and we pay no attention to them. We might even speak to them, and they to us. But be very cautious. As friendly as they seem, they are not. They are after one thing – your soul. And by snatching away your shadow, causing immediate non-existence of your very being, they establish true possession of the one thing they can not have while you are still alive – yes they now possess your very soul.

These creatures, and we need to call them creatures because that’s exactly what they are – creatures – are none other than witches. But not the “witch” from fairy tales or Disney movies. No these are beautiful, young, vivacious females. And we use the female gender rather than young girls or women, because there is no set age range. Some look as young as sixteen, whiles others look much older and still others even older. The truth being there is no way to know their exact age, as through witchery they conceal their true age. Their beauty is something that is not seen in movie stars, or fashion models.

And because of this beauty, we tend to trust them beyond our mortal range of comprehension.

To the point that we let them draw themselves to us, while we think the opposite, that we are the ones that feel we are drawing them to us.

But rest assured that they are only after one thing – your shadow. And when they have your shadow, they have your soul.

For when your shadow is gone, you cease to exist and your mortal soul which now has no ‘body’ to attach itself to is taken over by these witches.

It is because of their need to thrive that they draw from these souls of their victims, and not really needing to be burdened by the stolen shadows, again through witchcraft, they hide the shadows in a place where no one would ever be able to find them. In the depths and darkness of various caves.

Yes, caves. Caves that are void of any light, natural or artificial and are natural place where you want things to remain hidden from prying eyes.

If you have ever been in cave you will understand the theory of shadows. For as long as there is no light, no illumination of any kind, there can be no shadows. For a place to have shadows, no matter where, there must be some type of light source.

These caves, where the shadows of the forlorn have been cast, to be destined to remain there forever, are referred to as “Shad-O-Cavo.”

If you ever enter a Shad-O-Cavo, be extremely careful, for the shadows are there watching you and waiting for you to let your guard down. While they (the shadows) do not have the sense of sight and are not able to see you.

And, due to the darkness of the interior, you can not see them neither. These shadows of the lost can not see us as we understand sight. Shadows simply have no sense of sight. But they do have a unique way of knowing we are present.

You see the constant temperature inside of most caves is 55 degrees fahrenheit, and when the interior of a subterranean cavern is comprised by the invasion of humans, with an average body temperature of 98.6 degrees fahrenheit, these shadow creatures are able to feel the change in that temperature and sense something is present.

And while you are in this cave, as long as there is light, you will be safe. If the lights are ever turned off, that is when you could be in grave danger. In the darkness you will experience the movement of air around you. This is caused by the “movement” of the shadows of the lost and forever missing victims.

These unseen shadows (due to no emissions of light) are looking for a “new” body to which to attach themselves.

Historic cave entrance - Mammoth Cave Saltpeter Works, Mammoth Cave, Edmonson County, KY HAER KY,31-MAMCA,1-1

Once the new host body is taken over by the shadow, that body will start to reject the shadow’s being and the body will start to wither away, until only the soul is left. Now the Shadow Snatchers enter and claim the new soul, and all of its wealth of wisdom and knowledge from the “shadows” which are once again just that – shadows. Shadows that will remain hidden to us
normal humans. Until, yes until we, you or I venture into one of Shad-O-Cavos. Then it’s too late. We can’t even run. It’s too dark.

You just became the latest victim of these creatures know the world over as – Shadow Snatchers. Except you won’t be able to share this dilemma with anyone as you no longer exist. You don’t even know that this has happened to you. Are you dead? No, not in the medical terminology of death, as there is no body to associate your non-existence.

But you are in all knowledge – gone. No one will ever see you again, no one! Where do these unfortunate victims go? No one knows. It’s just that you are never seen again, ever.

Where do you go? No one knows. How can anyone ever make a qualified guess if you are gone? Never to have existed, ever.

So beware of when you might strike up a casual conversation with any beautiful and seemly friendly females, young or old. Be beware and be afraid, be very afraid.

Remember they have the mysterious, and magical power to be a “Shadow Snatcher.” And we, you and I, can do absolutely nothing about the situation at hand. Only be warned. And whatever you do remember this story. This was or is your only warning. Please whatever you do, do not ignore it, my friends.

Two of my dearest friends Joyce and William “Bill” Blake (not real names), laughed at this story in 2014, and disappeared from their home early on a Saturday morning in early June. Their front door was found standing open. Bed in the master bedroom was found as they had left it – unmade. Night clothes strewed across the bedroom floor. Water running in the shower.

Both of the family’s cars were parked in the two car garage, doors locked. Nothing was amiss. The trunks were likewise locked. Nothing was missing except my two friends, Joyce and Bill.

That was over two years ago. Neither had any siblings, making their disappearance harder to cope with as they had no one to champion their lives, or the fact that their lives, their disappearance was never really questioned by the authorities or anyone in the circle of “friends.”

No one from their church or the country club really looked for them. Both sets of parents were deceased. There were truly no close relatives. And the longer time passed the more obscure their lives became.

Everything points to the Blakes vanishing completely from the face of the earth.

Was this the work of Shadow Snatchers? I believe it was. Right after their disappearance, trained dogs, trained in cadaver search were brought in and they, the dogs, had a terrible time trying to pick up any scent of the young couple.

They picked up the scent in the master bedroom and followed it down the stairs to the front door and out onto the front porch. The dogs circled several times, but never left the porch. They went into the front yard, but not finding a trail, always returned to the porch. What this told the authorities, was that the Blakes never left the porch.

If they never left the porch, where did they go? They brought in a second team of dogs. But, they did no better than the first, finding absolutely nothing.

So please after you’ve read this story and lay it aside, saying “hog- wash” or “polycarp”. Please don’t take this lightly, please.

Take this as a very serious warning. As there other documentations of simple stories across the country. I could tell you many more stories like that of the Blakes. Stories like the Westons, the Herrpers, the Shelbys. The list goes on for ever.

And if you aren’t believers now – l don’t think more gruesome tales reflecting the same outcome will impress you or make you a better believer.

As for me and a lot of friends and acquaintances we are believers and we will always be more aware of the fairer sex, especially the exceptional beautiful female who makes you feel that you are the one who is the charmer.

That’s exactly the way they will play you – then it’s too late. First your shadow is taken, then your very soul. And that will be your final thought – I should had listened to the warning; if only I had listened!


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Dixie: Georgia Witch Story


Careful what you ask the local witch for. Your debt must be paid. Creepy Georgia witch story by Kayla Bolton.

I’m from a little town in the South called Rosebud. It’s a small town, filled with tons of humidity in the long summer months and slow-talking people year-round. There’s a Confederate Monument standing in front of the old brick courthouse, a block away from a bed and breakfast that was built when I was a young lady. This is the town I grew up in, and it is the only home I’ve ever known.

The Leightons are the oldest family in town. They descend from Samuel Leighton, the founder of Rosebud. This influential and close-knit family consists of Randall Leighton, my husband, and his two brothers and one sister. We Leightons have a passel of children and grandchildren running amok in the world, as well. There’s so many of them that, for the life of me, I can’t remember all their names.

I have one ingrate child, whom I happen to love only slightly less than I love her beautiful children and grandchildren. I say ungrateful only half-seriously. I’m old, not dead, and I remember the busy days of my younger years, with all the schedules to adhere to and tasks to finish.

I just miss seeing her, visiting with her, being an active part of her life.

Perhaps it’s my old age or something more sinister, whispering to me that I don’t have much time left; warning me that if I’ve got anything left undone, I had better get to it.

I don’t expect to be absolved, but there’s something freeing in admitting secrets, secrets that have clawed at you for decades. This is a confession-my confession.

In 1932, I was a poor girl born into a sharecropping family. We didn’t live in the town back then, but rather on the outskirts, in the “country” part. I was ten and clever, but not nearly so clever as I thought. I lived with my baby sister, Abby Lou, my mama, Ruby, and my daddy, who went by Cricket. Mama got sick that year, and the doctor was clueless as to what was causing it. It was his belief that we should get on our knees and praise God for everyday our mama still lived because whatever the mystery illness was, it was killing her.

Instead, I cursed God. God was no friend of mine. If He was, my mama would never have become sick to begin with.

Day after day, she was put up in bed, growing progressively weaker. Daddy was unhappy because the love of his life’s fire was extinguishing, and he was helpless. Abby and I were unhappy because Mama was dying, and Daddy had gone from a mostly cheerful man (more cheerful than he ought to have been, as poor as we were) to a short-fused shell of a person.

I knew that Daddy would be telling me to quit school any day. Mama couldn’t work in her condition, and Abby was the baby, so he wouldn’t go to her first. It would be me so that I could take on Mama’s workload on top of my own. I ate from the rotten fruit of bitterness, angry that I’d have to quit. I loved school, and I had the foresight to know that I’d be locked in poverty forever if I didn’t finish.

Randall and I were classmates, and I loathed him. He was a hateful child, full of cruel jokes and jests. I despised him and his siblings, but one day, as I listened to him torment some of the younger kids, a thought peeked out of the shadows of my mind. It was just a fleeting thought, but I snatched at it, and that was the spark that ignited the fire.

‘Lord, I hate that boy, but it’d sure be nice to be his sister, then I wouldn’t have to quit school, and I’d have all the best dresses a girl could want. Too bad we ain-too bad we aren’t older, I could marry him, and Mama and Daddy and Abby and me’d all be rich, too.’

A childish plan hatched in me at the close of that thought, and when I kissed Mama goodnight that evening, I silently swore to her that I’d take care of us all, and she’d get better.

We kids all knew about Dixie Tanner, the rumored witch who lived in a shack in the woods outside of town. We also knew that spells and curses weren’t the only things Dixie sold; she took money for use of her female anatomy, too.

My plan was simple: I’d go to her and ask her if she could make my mama better. If she said no, I was going to ask her to make me a love potion to give to Randall. Without a love potion, the snobby brat would never look twice at the daughter of a sharecropper, a girl in ratty, dirty clothes.

My ten-year old mind rationalized that if he’d fall in love with me, his parents would end up loving me, too, and they’d want to help my family out. All our problems would be solved. I had no qualms about sacrificing myself on the altar of money, if it meant a better life for me and my family. My juvenile, naïve thought process didn’t yet understand words like charity, dignity, and pride, so I really believed this would work.

I’d been to Dixie’s once before, when my friends and I were dared by some older girls to go up to the door and knock. We didn’t have the gall to approach the place; instead, we saw it from a distance and ran for our dear lives when a rabbit disturbed the bushes a couple of feet from where we were crouched. I was certain I could find my way again.

The next night, I sneaked out of the house after everyone had fallen asleep and picked my way through the dark underbrush of the woods, moonbeams shining down on the imposing trees, lighting my way. The woods were creepy that night because they were so damn quiet. To this day, I’ve never been in woods so noiseless.

The trek to Dixie’s felt like it would never end. At one point, I thought I was lost, but then I heard a creek bubbling, and I knew I was almost there.

When I got to the front door, I almost lost my nerve. I felt incredibly vulnerable, numb with fear and doubt. What would happen if she chose to kidnap me and do black magic on me? Or she could simply refuse to help; either route was daunting.

I took a deep breath and raised a fist to knock. Before my balled up hand-made contact with the wooden door, it flew open, and there was Dixie. I’d seen her a couple of times in town, but she didn’t come much, and when she did, I steered as far from her as possible, just like other folks did, even as I was about dying of curiosity for a good gander.

This was the closest I had ever been to her. She was very pretty, in a wild way. Her hair was greasy, but it was long, dark, and wavy. A ribbon held it out of her face. Many necklaces were layered around her neck, some beaded and some woven. She stared boldly down at me, and I got the idea that she’d been expecting me.

“What do you want?” she asked, her thick lips stretching into a smirk.


“Can’t ya talk?”

“Yes…ma’am.” I wasn’t sure if she deserved a “ma’am,” being that she was a prostitute, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

She smiled.

“Damn, girl, just come inside.” She backed up, holding the door open for me.

Timidly, I entered the shack.

Candles were lit everywhere that met the eye. Strange statues of creatures I’d never seen before were placed in various places, dusty books were stacked on makeshift tables, and there was an odor of sage on the stagnant air. Her bed was pushed against a far wall, and my cheeks colored when I thought about the things that were done there.

“What you come here for, girl?” she asked as she shut the door.

I rubbed my hands together and summoned some courage.

“My mama. She’s real sick.”

“She dying?” She fluttered a hand over a chair and I sat. She took her seat in a rocking chair across from me.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Uhn. I can’t help her.”

I jumped up from my seat.

“But you don’t know that! You haven’t even tried!”

She cackled.

“Don’t need to. I ain’t God, girl. There are limits, yes.”

I smoothed my nightgown under my bottom and sat again.

“Alright. Can you make me a potion or cast a spell?”

“I already said, I can’t help your mama.”

“It’s not for…I need a boy to love me.”

“Ahh. That is in my reach. How much money you got?”

Of all the things, I’d forgotten money.

“None,” I answered meekly.

She touched her necklaces and scoffed.

“Get outta here, child. Ain’t nothing in this world free. Spend what time your mama got left with her.”

“No.” I heard myself utter the word and cringed at this newfound spirit.

Her thick brows raised, and she clucked her tongue. I swallowed.

“No, I got no money, but isn’t there something else? Anything!”

Her expression became stony as she reflected on my desperation.

“Yeah, there’s somethin’. I’ll do it, but you got to agree to somethin’. And there ain’t no going back after you agree, ya hear? It’s sealed when you accept.”

“I’ll agree to anything, ma’am, anything you want!”

“I’ll be comin’. I’ll visit you every night for four nights, each time taking something valuable to you. Ain’t nothing you can do will stop me. You sure you want to pay that price?”

“I’ll pay it,” I agreed.

Her hair whipped around like a gust had hit it, but the air in that shack was still. She threw her head back and gleefully laughed. It reminded me of tinkling bells, that laugh.

“All too eager.” She got up and took a scarf off a nail in the wall, draping it over her head.

Without warning, she latched onto my hands with an icy grip and asked, “What’s the boy’s name?”

“Randall,” I whispered.

She closed her eyes tightly and began mumbling words that I’ve never been able to recall, words that sounded both delightful and deadly and made my stomach do flips. I caught Randall’s name a couple of times as she chanted her enigmatic spell, her fingers constricting my hands until I almost couldn’t feel them anymore. Just when I thought I was on the edge of madness, listening to her incantation, she stopped and released me.

“Done.” She grinned. “Remember, four nights. Now, go on-get out of here! And don’t come back!”

I leaped out of the chair and took off running, wanting to escape her big, malevolent eyes.

At school the next day, it felt like my visit with Dixie had been nothing more than a nightmare. When Randall came up from behind and yanked on a strand of my hair, I was sure that Dixie had tricked me. When he relentlessly started calling me ugly and plain, I knew I’d been ripped off. After school, he followed me as I walked home, kicking rocks and whistling a few feet back. I knew he had no reason to go this way; his family lived in a big house in town.

Aggravated and emotionally drained from the night before and the sting of his insults today, I turned and marched up to him.

“What do you think you’re doing? Why are you following me after you’ve been nothin’ but hateful all day?”

He crinkled his freckled nose.

“I-I’m sorry, Augusta. I didn’t mean it, I swear. Let me walk you home?”

I could’ve been no more stunned if he’d socked me in the eye.

When we neared my house, off a dirt road in the middle of a cotton field, he gently took my hand in his.

Dixie had done right by me.

At bedtime, as Abby said her prayers, I pretended to give thanks to God and pray for my loved ones, but all the while I gave thanks to Dixie, and whatever was the source of her power. I expected she’d be visiting that night, so I kissed my only doll-baby goodbye, sure she’d take her first, since she was the item I held most dearly to me.

I don’t know what time it was when I opened my eyes. The wind screeched angrily outside mine and Abby’s window and thunder rumbled deeply in the tumultuous sky. Purple lightning flashed, exposing a figure running away from our house and into the cotton fields. The violent lightning flashed again, briefly illuminating long hair blowing in the wind.

As promised, Dixie had come.

I got out of bed before the sun was up, same as every morning. Abby and I dressed as rain pattered down on the roof. When I picked up my worn down leather shoe off the hardwood floor, I saw her-my most prized possession, the doll, was sitting where I’d left her. I briefly wondered why Dixie hadn’t taken her.

Daddy walked into the room, his eyes bloodshot and glazed, just like they were when he drank whiskey.

“Girls, your mama…” He released a sob. “She passed away about an hour ago.”

We stayed home from school and went in to see her after my aunt and uncle showed up. I loved my mama, but seeing her pale corpse lying there…it wasn’t that she looked like a rotting body, but…I was spooked nonetheless. Daddy had the sense to shut her eyes, at least.

While the doctor went in to take a look at her, I fell silent as I wrestled with the idea that Dixie had taken Mama’s life. That couldn’t be it, though, right? Dixie didn’t say she’d kill someone…right?

dixie-witch-georgia-wooden-coffin-cross-grave small

Daddy and our uncle were to bury Mama in the family plot the next day. Daddy didn’t want to have a viewing. He thought such a practice was obscene and wanted to spare Mama the indignity of having a house full of people stare at her lifeless body.

Daddy went to town to request a coffin be built, and my aunt and uncle were sitting in his and Mama’s room with her shrouded body. My cousins played in the rain like wild children, slipping and sliding in the mud.

In our bed, I held Abby as she cried. My conscience continued to trouble me. This couldn’t be because of the love spell, it just couldn’t. Besides, Mama had been sick. Even the doctor expected her to pass sooner or later.

“Sissy?” Abby mumbled, hiccupping as soon as the word was out of her.


“I don’t feel very good.”

“I s’pose not. None of us do.” I felt her forehead with the back of my hand, the way Mama used to do. “You do feel a little warm.”

“Am I getting a sickness like Mama?”

“What? No. That is just plain crazy. Mama didn’t have a fever, anyway.”

Abby plopped a thumb in her mouth, an old habit of hers that had long ago died, but was now resurrected. Her eyelids drooped until her eyes shut out the world around her, and she was sound asleep.

That night, my cousins slept in mine and Abby’s room, my aunt cooked and sang softly as my uncle dozed, and Daddy sat with Mama. I tossed and turned, not able to turn my mind off. For the first time in my life, I knew what grief and guilt felt like.

As I attempted to sleep, Dixie came again. I noticed a shift in the shadows outside that had to be her, creeping by our window. I was seized by the sudden feeling of needing to make a trip to the privy. I squeezed my eyes closed.

Rays of sunshine poured into my room the next morning. My cousins’ loud banter landed on my ears as I stirred awake. I poked Abby’s back as I yawned.

“Get up, Abby. We slept late today.”

She didn’t move.

“Abby Lou, I mean it. We gotta see if there’s anything Daddy wants us to do.”

She pretended not to hear me. Agitated, I rolled her over. Glassy, lifeless brown eyes stared past me, into the void.

I screamed.

The doctor came a couple of hours later.

“I don’t know what it is, Cricket, but there’s a sickness in this house. You’d best be getting you and Augusta out of here,” he said.

Daddy didn’t seem to hear him. He looked blank. This time, it was my uncle who went to town to request another coffin.

Randall showed up at our front door after the doctor had gone. Judging by the red dust covering his church shoes, he’d walked all the way to my house in his Sunday best. He passed me flowers and softly told me that he was sorry for my loss. Even with his soothing presence, I was suffocating indoors. Daddy was so stricken with grief, that he was openly weeping in front of us, so I led Randall out back, and we climbed a tree. He held my hand after we’d situated ourselves on a sturdy limb, and I let my tears flow freely.

It was starting to sink in. I’d murdered my mama and baby sister.

We buried Mama that day, but had to wait for Abby’s coffin to bury her. We went to spend the night at my aunt and uncle’s house after the funeral.

Too emotionally wrecked to sleep, I crept through the house and sat down on the front porch. I prayed to God, begging Him to give me a sign, to reassure me that the deaths of my mama and sister weren’t related to my contract with the witch.

From my spot on the porch, I hadn’t noticed Dixie slinking around, but that morning, when I heard shrill crying, I knew she’d come. This time it was Daddy who was found dead. The doctor again blamed it on the mysterious sickness.

The fourth night, as I started out the front door of my aunt and uncle’s, a voice called to me from the darkness.

“Augusta-where are you going?”

For a second, I thought it was the witch. A lump rose in my throat before I realized it was Randall, hiding in the cover of night.

“I have something to do. You can come with me, if you promise not to tattle.”

He promised, and we set off to Dixie’s shack.

She waited at her door, as if expecting us.

“I told you, girl, ain’t no takin’ it back.”

“You never said you’d take my family!” I shouted.

Randall glared at her.

“We should leave, Augusta. I don’t know what’s going on, but I know this woman is bad.”

“Scared, Randall?” Dixie taunted.

He balled his fists up and puffed his chest out.

Using the element of surprise, I shoved the witch backward with all my emotional might. Stunned as she was, I managed to knock her down to the floor. She landed on her back right inside the shack.

I had spotted it as Randall and I approached the witch, and presently I pulled it out of the tree stump it was lodged in, walking back to her sprawled out body.

“You going to kill me?” she asked quietly, her eyes trained on the weapon I wielded.

I lifted the heavy ax over my head and swung as Randall belted out loud, terror-filled protests. My arms shook with the effort as the blade plunged into the soft flesh of her belly. Blood sprayed and gushed out of the deep wound, and Dixie howled and wailed, writhing on the ground.

“Bitch! I curse you, you little bitch! Hear me? I curse you!” As she lobbed her threats my way, blood bubbled out of her mouth and drizzled down her chin. In the darkness, it could’ve been chocolate or gravy.

Randall pushed me away from her and wriggled the ax free. He lifted it and planted it in her face. She ceased moving and grew silent.

“Your secret’s safe with me, Augusta,” he reassured me as he straightened back up to his full height.

We left Dixie dead on the floor and went to the creek. Randall told me to get rid of my gown as he ditched his own clothes. He instructed me to bathe in the water, then he told me he’d be right back.

“Don’t worry, I just have to get something,” he said with a smile.

I washed the blood from my body and waited for his return. He came back with a shovel that he said he got from Dixie’s and dug a deep hole. He flung our clothes into it and buried them. After we dropped the shovel back off at Dixie’s, we walked back to my aunt and uncle’s, naked and changed forever.

I relive that night a lot, but to write it down, in detail…it’s as if strangers swung that ax, a long time ago-not me, not me, and not my Randall, either.

In the light of the new day, only the witch had perished, but I think a part of Randall and me died with her.

Randall had only to ask his parents to allow me to live with them; they granted his wish almost immediately. My aunt and uncle were relieved to have the burden of another mouth to feed off their backs, so in the end, everyone was pleased with the arrangement.

The Leightons took real good care of me, even if they couldn’t understand how or why Randall was so smitten. I had my own bedroom and the best dresses. I took piano lessons, learned French, traveled, finished school, and completed an English degree. When we were 22 years old, Randall and I were married in the little white Baptist church my mama had occasionally managed to drag Daddy, Abby, and me to for the Sunday morning service.

Randall and I still live at home, with an around the clock aide. We also have a nurse who pops in daily to check our vitals and whatnot, though the Lord knows why. I think my daughter believes we’re going to live forever.

I am not as spry as I was even a couple of years ago, but I am not in near as bad health as my Randall. Alzheimer’s claimed his mind some years back, and my husband has not been himself for a while now. Every morning, I expect whatever aide is working the day shift to rush in and tell me he isn’t with us anymore.

Earlier I mentioned maybe it’s something more sinister pushing me to spill my guts about Dixie. Well, the something more sinister is Randall.

His behavior gets queerer all the time. Every night for the past week, I wake up to see him leaning over me, his face mere inches from mine, watching me like a cat watches a mouse. He’s even taken to whispering inaudible words to me, and I may not know what it is he’s saying, but I know it makes my hairs stand on end. The wonder of it all is that he has to have assistance dressing and ambulating and taking a shit, for Christ’s sake, but he can go for a midnight stroll into my room all on his own.

Today I heard him crying in his room. When I went in to console him, he bellowed, “Get away from me, you conniving whore!”

Then he added, in hushed tones, “Remember Dixie, Augusta? I see her, honey, see her all the time. She talks to me sometimes, says she’s coming to collect.”

It could be the Alzheimer’s, but I’m certain it’s not. He gazes upon me with knowing, condemning eyes. I think his illness has annihilated the love spell, even if he doesn’t talk about it. I took his free will from him. He’s been my puppet since we were children, so I’ll put up with any abuse he dishes out.

I have something coming to me, and I can live with that. I’m the reason my family was put six feet under. But my child and grandkids? They don’t deserve the punishment that I’ve evaded all these years.

I worry so for them.

Dixie never got her fourth night. There’s no taking it back, she said. She has a debt to settle, a long overdue one. I don’t think she’ll stop at my daughter-I believe she’ll run through all my descendants, picking them off one by one. Somehow, I’m sure of that.

I’m afraid I’ve made a terrible mess of things. Please, God, don’t let my daughter and grandkids pay for my sins.


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The Boo Hag Woman: Song Inspired by Georgia Witch Story The Boo Hag


Song based on Georgia witch story “The Boo Hag” about a man who suspects his beautiful new bride might be a witch. Song written and performed by Frank Whitaker. Original story written by Veronica Byrd with Craig Dominey.

Way out past the salt marsh, by a creek that leads to sea;
There is a spooky four-room shack beneath a twisted live oak tree.
A strange young lady lived there with a man she’d met in town.
Her perfect skin, it lured him in, but after ‘while he found;
That she was creepin’ out at night;
And she was slippin’ out of sight;
And she hardly ever acted right at all.


He thought she might be cheatin’ on him, but his friend said, “Son;
You done married yo’self a Boo Hag, and she’s slippin’ out for fun.”
“Boo Hags shed their skins at night, like evil spirit crones.
They suck the air from young men’s lungs;
And try to crush their bones.
She may look good by the light of day;
But at night, she’ll never stay;
And if a man can’t slip away, she’ll ride his back until he falls;”
And I said . . .

Boo Hag Woman, get on back – I don’t believe the things you say!
You can’t spook me with your sweet-talk, Girl —
I’ve got to live to see another day.
It is a sin to shed your skin.
You gon’ get got, I guarantee –
Boo Hag Woman, get on back from me.


Now, to get rid of a Boo Hag, there is just one thing to do –
If she can’t get back in her skin, then her Boo Hag days are through.
So late one night, when she went away, he searched around the shack.
Her slimy skin was hangin’ in a closet in the back.
He took the salt and the pepper down;
And he shook it all around;
Inside that skin that he had found, ’till he was done.

She came back ‘fore the morning, when the sun was ’bout to crest; And she said, “I am a Boo Hag, and Lord knows, I needs my rest.”
But when she slipped back in her skin, and gathered it around;
That skin, it started smokin’, and it made a bubblin’ sound.
And then that lyin’ witch;
She started jumpin’ from the itch.
He saw her body start to twitch and melt there, in the risin’ sun;
And I said . . .


He boiled her Boo Hag body in a barrel full of tar;
And poured himself a brand new roof, that hasn’t leaked so far.
And now, he lives there all alone, beside that crooked stream.
That Boo Hag taught a lesson, ’cause she was not what she seemed.
If there’s a pretty girl you know;
Then you’d better take it slow;
‘Cause there’s no tellin’ where she’ll go;
When she slips-out at night;
And I said . . .


. . . I don’t want no old Boo Hag attack, I said;
Boo Hag Woman, get on back from me.


A Wish Too Far


Mississippi folktale of a desperate fisherman who is granted a wish from a mysterious sea witch. And you know what they say about wishes. Written by Harris Tobias.

Once, on the Gulf coast of Mississippi, there was a poor fisherman who had five daughters. These daughters were very plain and could not find suitors so they lived at home with their mother and helped her keep the house and sell their father’s catch. They were a great help to the family but also a great burden. With so many mouths to feed, the old fisherman was at sea every waking hour trying to catch enough fish to keep his large family fed and clothed. Those few hours when he was home his old wife gave him no peace. “Whatever will we do for money. Without a big dowry no one will marry our daughters. You must work harder and catch more fish.” And on and on she drove him. It was only at sea that he could find any peace.

One day when the fishing was extremely poor, the old fisherman sailed his boat further from home than ever before. A dense fog fell and covered the coast and when it lifted the fisherman found himself in a strange cove where he’d never been before. He was about to cast his net when the tide changed and a great whirlpool grabbed hold of his boat and spun it around and around. Faster and faster the boat spun until it traveled down the funnel of the whirlpool like a bit of dirt down a bathtub’s drain. Eventually the boat came to rest on the bottom of the cove. The fisherman saw a small hut and an old woman hanging clothes on a line.

“Hello good wife,” called the fisherman, “what place is this and how come you here?”

“I am the witch of the cove,” the old woman said, “and this is my home. No mortal has ever been here before. If you keep my secret, I will grant you one wish.”

“I wish I could catch more fish,” said the fisherman without hesitation as he thought that having more money would silence his scolding wife.

“It is easily done,” said the witch. “When you throw your net you must say ‘Damma damma dammaree Fish of the sea come to me’ and you will have as many fish as your boat can hold. Now you best leave before the whirlpool closes.”

So the fisherman climbed back into his boat and rode the whirlpool’s funnel back to the surface. When he got into familiar waters, he tried out the witch’s chant. As he threw out his net he called “Damma damma dammaree fish of the sea come to me.” Sure enough he soon had as many fish as his boat could hold. He hurried home and told his wife of his great good fortune.

Fishing Boat

Day after day the same thing happened and every day the fisherman’s catch was as much as his boat could hold. Even though the family had more money than before, the old fish wife was still not happy. “You know,” she said, “if we could marry off our daughters without having to pay so many dowries, we could live very well you and I. Why don’t you go and ask your witch to work some magic to make our daughters comely so they could marry wealthy suitors?”

Day after day the old woman nagged the fisherman so that he again had no peace. Finally he could stand it no longer and set off along the coast in search of the secret cove. After many hours a thick fog enveloped the boat and obscured the shore. When the fog lifted, the fisherman again saw the secret cove and he waited for the tide to change and the again he rode the whirlpool around and around to the sandy bottom.

This time the old witch was sitting on her porch rocking and smoking her pipe. When she saw the fisherman she said, “What, you again? Aren’t you catching enough fish?”

“Oh yes. The fishing has never been better.”

“Then what brings you here?” The old crone fixed him with her black and twinkling eye. “What more do you need?”

“It’s my daughters. I have five daughters and while I love them dearly, they are homely creatures and cannot find husbands. Have you some magic that can make them beautiful?”

“It is easily done,” said the witch, “but you must not come here again lest you make me angry.”

“I promise not to bother you again,” said the old fisherman.

“When next you cast your net, you will find five blue fish amongst the catch. Take these fish home and tell your wife to cook them for your daughters. When the daughters eat of them they will become beautiful.”

The fisherman thanked the old witch over and over and as the whirlpool lifted him higher and higher he heard the old witch say, “Remember your promise.”

That night when the fisherman returned to his home he bade his wife to cook the five blue fish for the daughters who ate them. Then they all went to bed. When they woke up the next morning, the homely daughters had become the five most beautiful maidens in the South. It didn’t take very long before the girls had their choice of wealthy suitors. All of the girls chose plantation owners or planters sons and went to live in great mansions with servants and fine furnishings.

“There, are you happy now?” The fisherman asked his wife.

She just sighed a great sigh, “How can I be happy when we live in this tiny hovel that smells of fish? How are we to have our daughters and their wealthy families to dinner? And what of our grandchildren? Don’t you want to see your grandchildren?”

The old woman kept on in this manner day after day giving the fisherman no peace. “So what is it you want?” he asked his wife.

“I want you to see your witch and ask her for a fine stone house or enough gold to build one.”

“But I promised not to see her again lest bad things befall us,” the fisherman protested.

“Bah. What can she do? If she refuses to help, we are no worse off. And if she helps us, our lives will be much improved.” So insistent was she that she wore down the old man’s resistance and so he finally gave in to her demands and went once again to seek the secret cove. Once again he sailed up the coast and once again he was enveloped by the fog and once again his boat was whirled around and down to the bottom of the sea. This time the old lady was in her garden planting cockle shells. When she saw who it was her face darkened and she said, “You again. Didn’t I tell you never to return?”

“I’m so sorry,” said the fisherman, “It’s my wife. She won’t leave off nagging me to come to you with one last request.”

“And what do you want now?”

“We want a fine house so we can meet with our well married daughters as equals. We want a house of stone with many rooms. A fine house as befits a wealthy man.”

“It is easily done said the witch, “If it’s gold you want, it is gold thou shall have and a fine house to dwell in.” and with that she stooped down and picked up a stone and handed it to the fisherman. “Plant this stone where you wish your house to stand. Tell your wife to go into the cellars with a basket and find the gold that is there. Tell her she must go alone. This is your last wish. Thou hast broken thy word and I am sorely vexed. You shall find me no more.” And with this she turned her back upon the fisherman and went inside her hut. As the fisherman rose higher and higher on the whirlpool he heard the old witch call, “Remember, true happiness does not come from magic.”

Happy and relieved, the fisherman sailed home and told his wife what the old witch had said. Together they planted the stone in a hole in the backyard and went to bed. The next morning they could barely open their door as one wall of a great stone house was pressed against their hovel.

“Oh come and see,” exclaimed the wife, “see what a fine house we have.”

“And you are to take a basket and go into the cellar and retrieve the gold that lies therein.”

“Gladly,” cried the wife overflowing with joy and she found an old fish basket that her daughters once used to sell their catch in the town and hurried into the big house and down into the cellar. She climbed down and down winding stairs and through twisting hallways with many branchings until she lost her way entirely. She called to her husband and often her cries could be heard echoing through the great house but of the fishwife could not find her way out. And of the old woman and her gold nothing was ever seen again.

The fisherman and his neighbors went into the cellar looking for her and found only a single chamber empty save for an old basket. For many days the fish wife called, “Help me. I am lost. I have gold much gold but I would give it away for a single breath of air and the sight of a blue sky.”

The daughters and the rest of the town considered the great house cursed and no one would ever set foot inside its walls. The old fisherman spent the remainder of his days a sad and lonely man. The great stone house stands there still, you can see it to this day along the Mississippi shore just east of Biloxi.


Harris Tobias lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the author of The Greer Agency , A Felony of Birds and dozens of short stories. His fiction has appeared in Ray Gun Revival, Dunesteef Audio Magazine, Literal Translations, FriedFiction, Down In The Dirt, Eclectic Flash, E Fiction and many other publications. His poetry has appeared in Vox Poetica, The poem Factory and The Poetry Super Highway. You can find links to his novels at:

You can help keep the stories coming by making a donation to The Moonlit Large or small, any amount helps!


The Cupcake: Tennessee Halloween Story


Tennessee Halloween story of a creepy old woman giving strange treats to neighborhood kids, including one you may not want to eat! Written by Harris Tobias

Springfield, Tennessee, 1995. All Hallows Eve. It was a freer time. You could let your kids go door to door unsupervised and you knew who your neighbor was. Or did you?

“Trick or treat!” the eager young face of little Terry Whipple called. Old Mrs. Parker beamed her kindest smile at the elaborately costumed seven year old.

“Aren’t you just the cutest thing? And what are you supposed to be?” Mrs. Parker asked, straining to keep her pleasant demeanor.

“I’m a witch,” replied the little girl who, with her wig and pointy hat, looked like a cartoon version of the Wicked Witch of the West right down to the hairy mole on her chin and miniature broom.

“You don’t really believe in witches,” the old lady asked. “Do you?”

Terry shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Well, you’re so cute, I’m going to give you a special treat,” Mrs. Parker said as she reached around and handed Terry a cupcake. “I baked these this morning especially for us witches.” She slipped the cupcake into Terry’s goody bag. Mrs. Parker chose one of the little cakes from a tray that must have held a dozen of them. They all had orange frosting and a face made of candy and sprinkles. The expression on little cake’s face matched that of Mrs. Parker’s – a person not used to smiling. Terry thanked her and went to the next house on the street.

Halloween Cupcakes With Bats

Ever since Mrs. Parker moved in to the old Spencer house, strange things had been happening in the neighborhood. First the Spencer family were all afflicted with some bizarre allergy and were forced to sell their house and move to Arizona. Mrs. Parker bought their house the very day it went on the market. The Whipples became her next door neighbors. Terry had been introduced to Mrs. Parker when her mother brought her a plate of cookies and welcomed her to the neighborhood.

“It’s so sad about the Spencers,” Terry’s mother said. “We’d been neighbors for such a long time. It’s so strange them getting sick like that.” Mrs. Parker just smiled her not-quite smile and said nothing.

Then the Bartlett boy disappeared. The police were still looking for him.

Now it was Halloween and Terry was allowed to visit her neighbors and ring their doorbells all by herself. Terry knew all the families up and down the block and they all knew her. Everyone gave her something, mostly it was candy but sometimes coins. When she got to the Bartlett house she hesitated, wondering if it was okay to disturb Mrs. Bartlett what with Billy being missing and all. But after some small deliberation, she rang the bell. Mrs. Bartlett answered. There were dark circles under her eyes, it was obvious she had been crying. “Trick or treat!” called Terry, sorry she was there.

“Well, aren’t you the cutest thing,” said Mrs. Bartlett making an effort to be happy and handed Terry an apple. The Bartletts always gave out apples on Halloween. They believed that sugar was bad for children. Then, quite unexpectedly, Mrs. Bartlett burst into tears and had to close the door.

When she had been to every house on the block, Terry returned home and dumped her loot out on the kitchen table. She had an assortment of miniature candy bars, thirty eight cents in coins, Mrs. Bartlett’s apple and Mrs. Parker’s cupcake. Terry liked cupcakes. What kid didn’t? She examined it closely. The face looked different. The candy mouth was open and its little sugar teeth were pointy. It didn’t look that way before, did it? She figured the cupcake had gotten squashed in her bag. She didn’t like the looks of those teeth.

Putting the cupcake aside, she reached for the apple. That was one snack her mother wouldn’t mind if she ate. She was about to take a bite when she noticed that the apple had already been bitten into. The apple’s white flesh was already turning the color of dried blood. She didn’t remember the apple having a bite missing when Mrs. Bartlett handed it to her. She threw the apple in the garbage. Maybe Mrs. Bartlett was too upset to realize what she was doing. That must be it, poor woman. It must be hard to lose a child like that. One minute he’s playing in the street and the next he’s gone.

Terry looked at the cupcake again. Now the face was smiling, a nasty satisfied smile, the kind of smile you get when you’ve done something bad but it feels so good. This was too much. Terry picked up the cupcake and tossed it in the garbage. She noticed a blob of orange frosting on her hand. She licked it off reflexively without even thinking. It tasted sweet but also vaguely odd like hamburger cooked very rare. It gave her chills.

She washed her hands, brushed her teeth and got ready for bed. She slipped into her pajamas and kissed her parents good night. She lay in bed for a long time before sleep would come, and when it came it was restless and filled with nightmares. She dreamed she saw the Bartlett boy, his skin blue and frozen. When she touched his shoulder he turned toward her, his mouth contorted in a silent scream. He had no arms.

She screamed herself awake. Her parents came running. They put on her light and dispelled the darkness her mother stroked her hair and comforted her until she could speak.

“That’s what comes from too much candy before bed,” her mother said.

“I didn’t have any candy,” Terry said in a tiny voice.

“What’s all this then?” Terry’s dad said pointing to an orange stain on her pillow. It was the frosting. Now Terry was really scared. She tried to explain about the cupcake and the terrible dream but it all came out garbled and didn’t make any sense. Terry made her father check under the bed and in the bedroom closet but he couldn’t find anything. When her parents finally said goodnight and returned to bed, Terry tip toed into the kitchen and looked into the garbage pail.

The cupcake wasn’t there.


Harris Tobias lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the author of The Greer Agency , A Felony of Birds and dozens of short stories. His fiction has appeared in Ray Gun Revival, Dunesteef Audio Magazine, Literal Translations, FriedFiction, Down In The Dirt, Eclectic Flash, E Fiction and many other publications. His poetry has appeared in Vox Poetica, The poem Factory and The Poetry Super Highway. You can find links to his novels at:

You can help keep the stories coming by making a donation to The Moonlit Large or small, any amount helps!