I Needed Ghosts

Desperate for ghost stories, I hung on the words of my superstitious Maw Maw. While the men were out hunting, she held her grandchildren spellbound with all the scary tales she knew.  Should she falter, one of my aunts urged her on…”Mama, remember about the big black dogs running through the house.” Her stories were more terrifying because she believed them with all her being.

“Oh yeah, lots of times, late at night, if the wind was still, and the night was dark, me and Granny could hear them ghost dogs, howling and scratching at the door, trying to get in…but once in a while, if the moon was full, we’d see them big, black devil dogs blowing right into the room where me and Granny was, made of black smoke from the fires of hell with blazing coals for eyes.  We hid under the covers, ‘cause Granny said ‘if you ever looked in them fiery eyes, you was bound for Hell’.”

Opportunities to hear scintillating stories like these were rare, usually limited to visits to Maw Maw, my paternal grandmother. Mother could hardly snatch her spellbound children from the writhing mass of cousins clustered around Maw Maw’s knees. Daddy ruled the roost, and he liked the stories as much as anyone.  Mother held the ridiculous notion that tender minds didn’t need to hear scary stories, more concerned about the nightmares she’d be dealing with in a few short hours than the extreme pleasure they afforded us at the time.

I do wish I could hear and savor those stories again, unmolested by that nagging voice in the background.  “There’s no such thing as ghosts.  Those stories are just pretend, like cartoons. Now, go on to sleep and forget about them.”

11 thoughts on “I Needed Ghosts

  1. We used to love hearing my father’s ghost tales best when we were on the trap-line, in the cabin in the winter with just the wood-stove lighting the single room, or around the camp-fire outside the cabin in the summer. Either way, the sounds of the woods added a great deal to the eeriness, and with my 10-year-old imagination, every squirrel was an axe-wielding escapee from the maximum-security prison that I was sure came into existence whenever Dad started talking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ghost stories… I liked how you invoked the way those stories were told, huddled close to the elderly narrators. Even the cynical reminders in the background smack of truth. We had so many people to fall back upon for that stuff, especially when we visited our village. I remember the goosebumps and the quick hurried glances towards the dark, unlit crevices of the house, and huddling deep under the sheets after that. Even my departed father had a few unnatural encounters to chip in with at times.


  3. I love to hear ghost stories myself, what child doesn’t. I don’t mean the kind with ghosts who want nothing more than scare people to death; but the kind I watched as a child which had a friendly type ghost like CASPER. Perhaps that’s why when I took the advice of another to write something for a younger audience after being unsuccessful trying to write an adult Contemporary romance novel, I wound up writing a MG/YA Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss romance novel entitled “I Kissed a Ghost.”


    BTW – the book has received an average of 4 STARS based on 14 reviews.

    And if you or any of your readers are interested in reading several UNEDITED SNIPPETS from the novel, here is the link:



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