WOOOooooOOOOOoo! Gather round, children, while I tell you a tale to give you the shivers!
Okay, so I’m being cheesy. But growing up ghost stories were always a must, especially at summer camp and sleepovers. Can’t tell you how many times I stayed up all night terrified to go to sleep after some ghostly tales! This is also why I don’t like scary movies, haunted houses, ghost stories in the dark, seances, static radio stations, and haunted TV shows*.
*Okay, I do like these shows but only in moderation and only during the day when there are other people in the house.
I wanted to share some spooky stories with you this month and what better tales to tell than ones that are true?! Mwahahaha!
You may argue that the South isn’t the most haunted area in the country and you may be right. But I live in the South and I’m gonna say our tortured spirits are better than yours. (kidding, kidding) Between the few ghost story books I’ve read and all the haunted history/places shows I’ve watched, one thing that I’ve drawn is that a lot of our ghosts down here have extremely violent stories. Which, to me, is much more scary than a lonely widow who died of a broken heart while her husband was out to sea. I’m just saying…
There are many stories within this book, but I chose two from it because I’ve been to/lived in these particular places before.
The Brown Family
This particular story took place in West Alabama, which is where I currently live (sort of). It was a sweltering Alabama day, the humidity so thick you could cut it with a knife. Johnathan Brown was returning home from working his fields, eager to see his wife Sarah and his three children. In the distance it looked as if a storm was brewing, so he hurried along. As he neared the house, he saw that the wooden fence was demolished. The yard was torn up, grass and shrubs uprooted. The windows of the house were dark. As Johnathan stood under an old oak tree, its bark stripped, he felt a few drops hit him. Rushing inside, he found the house silent and dark. He lit a candle and saw that something had passed through the house, leaving a trail of broken furniture. He followed the path up the stairs, but did not see his family. Jonathan ran outside, calling for his family, but there was no response. He dropped to his knees under the oak tree and it started raining harder; fat, dark drops hit the back of his neck. Wiping it away, he noticed that the drops were not rain, but blood. Looking up, he saw what he had feared most.
If you take a trip to Jackson, Alabama on a late summer day when the wind is high, and the winding country roads lead you to a secluded farmhouse set back from the road, you’ll see a lone oak tree sitting in the house’s overgrown yard. And if you wait until late at night, a lone figure will appear making its way towards the house. It will return moments later and drop to the ground in front of the oak, silently screaming. And if the moon is just right you’ll be able to see just why Jonathan Brown is screaming – hanging at the very top of the oak tree, the four bodies of his family can be seen “dripping their lives onto the ground.”
The Tannehill Ghost
Growing up we went to Tannehill state park quite a good bit. Despite this spooky story, it’s actually quite lovely and definitely an Alabama attraction you should check out! At the park lie the ruins of the Tannehill Ironworks in a secluded area that can only be reached by footpath. Tannehill, which began in 1859 and would become key to the Confederate war manufacturing industry, was run like a plantation with as many as six hundred slaves, including brothers Jebediah and Ezekiel Washington. Jeb and Zeke, as they were called, were hard working. They had grown up at Tannehill and knew no other life. But they had plans: after the war they planned to buy their way to freedom. The brothers bided their time, believing that as long as they were together, they were doing alright. One night in March, the brothers were in the woods, unaware that the Union Calvary was pushing through the woods on a campaign to destroy war industry sites in Alabama. Jeb and Zeke heard shots ringing in the distance, followed by cries of men. They smelled smoke from the burning of the Ironworks. Distracted, they did not see that tree they had been cutting was about to fall. The tree landed on Zeke, trapping his leg. Zeke urged Jeb to run, to escape to freedom, but Jeb refused to leave his brother. He went to find a saw but came face to face with a Union soldier. Before he could react, the solider shot him dead. The soldier pushed on, searching for anyone who had escaped the destruction, but didn’t see Zeke trapped under the tree. Zeke eventually died due to exposure and blood loss.
Jeb still remains at the ruins of the Tannehill Ironworks. Unable to leave his brother Zeke, on certain afternoons and evenings when the air is still, you might sense his presence around you, brushing against your cheek, as he searches for his brother and the freedom they dreamed of together.
I declare this meeting of the Midnight Society closed. 🙂
Also, I do encourage you to pick up a copy of this book… I haven’t read all the stories in it, but the ones I have read are definitely shiver-inducing!