It Was a Dark and Unstormy Night .....
Many years ago, I was returning home after working late. My way, after I left the train station, lay along a straight road bordered by derelict railway storage sheds. I was walking quickly, wanting to get home. It was a chilly October evening and the road had only the faintest lighting from ancient street lamps spaced widely apart.....Now read on!
This is a free Kindle version of a collection dating from 1918 and featuring tales by some of the masters of the genre such as Montague R James and Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. On my 'to-read' list.
I have always loved spooky tales from a young age when I read the classic tales by writers such as M R James and Edgar Allen Poe. Some were so scary that when I re-read them I had to cover up one particular paragraph because it creeped me out too much to read it again. Reading these inspired me to write my own stories, although at that age my ghost stories mainly consisted of children exploring deserted houses and being chased out by very traditional ghosts with clanking chains and flapping white shrouds. Not very original!
By the Pricking of My Thumbs ....
I walked quickly, keeping my coat pulled up around my neck to ward off the evening chill that made my breath stream in front of my face in the faint gleam of a street lamp. I passed through its little circle of light and plunged on into the darkness. The distance between lamps was vast in this part of the road and there were no houses, only the deserted darker shapes of the warehouses looming beside me. I tried not to think that those warehouses would be a really good place for someone to lie in wait, and concentrated on walking quickly and staying alert.
As my eyes peered into the gloom, I thought I saw something moving far ahead of me - or was it nearer? It was difficult to judge distance in this night-dark road. Was that someone walking ahead of me? No, I realised with a shiver. Someone was coming towards me. But surely it was just another person hurrying home, perhaps to the railway station. Of course, that's all it was.
The Old Lamp Post Could Only Light a Small Patch of Road
... Something Wicked This Way Comes
No, I must have imagined it. There was no sign of anyone now. But perhaps they had left the faint illumination of the distant lamp ahead and re-entered the same enveloping darkness that enshrouded me. Yes, surely that was it. In which case, I would pass them in the next few minutes. But still I could see nothing. And I could hear nothing either, over the sound of my own strides, and the bag thumping my side. I clutched it closer and strained my eyes, but could not be sure if a patch of darkness was moving, coming closer. Perhaps they had crossed the road without me being able to see them? I suddenly realised I had reached the point in the road where the local cemetery bordered the road. Pale shapes showed faintly in the darkness where gravestones came close to the railings surrounding it.
The Silence of the Grave ....
Suddenly, an outline reared against the dark. I gasped, seeing the tall figure, with its wrong shape. It had no legs, just an enveloping dark, dark blot that made up its lower half. And it was too close to escape!
Are You Scared Yet - I Was!
Here are a few more spooky things you might like.
The original that started off a whole genre. I especially find John Carpenter's music really eerie.
One of my favourite scary films. An excellent though different take on a classic Stephen King novel.
As the scream rose in my throat, I heard a deep voice. "Good evening." By now the figure was so close, I could see the glint on a cross hanging on its breast. I don't know if I even managed an incoherent reply. I stood, frozen, gazing after the retreating figure of ... a priest from the local abbey wearing a cassock!
A Priest in a Cassock
Yes, how strange an everyday person or object can look in an unfamiliar setting. This is the kind of cassock that had fooled me.
Strangely enough, I've never seen a priest walking along that street in the many years since then!
More Ghostly Tales
Some of these may be folklore, they may be based on real occurrences. It's up to you to decide.
Many years have passed and those old railway storage sheds have been demolished and brighter lamps have been installed all along the road, but I often think of that experience when wending my way home after dark. Have you ever had an experience where perhaps you spooked yourself - or maybe you really had a paranormal encounter?