Lantern-Light Tales

My Old Kentucky Ghosts


Before people had television, computers and video games to occupy their time, they would often entertain each other by telling ghost stories. My grandmother fondly recalls as a child being almost too scared to sleep after an evening of listening to her grandmother tell scary stories. This is a time before most people had electricity, so the shadows created by the lantern or candle light must have made the stories seem very much alive. The following tales may also be familiar to anyone who has ever exchanged stories around a campfire at night.

Drip Drip- There was a family, a man, a woman and their daughter, who live near a prison. One night the man and woman had to be away over night for a business trip. Before they left on the trip, they heard on the radio that a prisoner had escaped from the jail. The couple did not want to leave their daughter home alone, but she assured that she would be okay because the dog, a german shepard, would protect her if anyone tried to come in the house. Reluctantly, the couple went on their trip. That night after the daughter blew out the lantern and got in bed, she reached down on the other side of the bed and petted the dog on the head to be sure it was there to protect her. As she lie in bed she started to hear a sound-drip, drip. She got up and lit a candle, and looked around to see where the sound was coming from but didn't find it and went back to bed. She reached over and petted the dog on the head again to reassure herself. As she lie in bed the dripping got louder, and she realized it must be coming from the closet. She again got out of bed, lit her candle and opened the closet door. There was the dog, hanging from a rope, and dripping blood into a puddle on the floor. And who do you suppose she had been petting beside her bed.

Raw Head and Bloody Bones - There was an old house that everyone said was haunted, but there was a certain woman who did not believe this. To prove this, she decided to spend the night in the house. During the night she heard a noise and went to investigate. She saw two legs coming out of the chimney, a few seconds later an arm came down, then another arm, followed by a body. Then the parts began to assemble together. After the body was all together, a head came down the chimney and was added to the body. Then blood squirted out of the eyes, and the eyes popped out. This is the part of the story where my great-great grandmother would always jump out at the kids and scare them to death. My grandmother said that no matter how many times she heard the story, she would jump at the end every time.

Dividing Up the Dead - Two boys had collected walnuts, and at the end of the day they were dividing them up. About that time an old man came walking by and heard the two boys but couldn't see them because it was getting dark and he could not see well. The man heard the boys say, "One for you, one for me." The confused old man thought this was God and the Devil dividing up the dead. When he heard one of them say, "I think there's another one over by the fence," he dropped his cane and ran off like a wild rabbit.

The Forked Skirt - A girl was at a party and was dared to go into a nearby graveyard in the dark with no lantern. This graveyard was known to be haunted, but the brave girl wanted to impress her friends, so she accepted the dare. To prove that she had actually went into the graveyard, the girl was to stick a fork in the ground next to a certain grave. When the girl found the certain spot in the graveyard, she stuck the fork in the ground, but, because it was so dark, she did not realize that she had also stuck the fork in her dress. When the girl started to walk away, she felt something pull her dress. Thinking that a spirit had grabbed hold of her, the girl was so frightened that she died. When she did not return to the party, the others went looking for her and found her dead with the fork stuck in her dress.

The Hitchhicker - A long time ago, two teenage boys were driving to a barn dance. They were driving one of those old cars that donít go as fast as cars do today. On the way to the dance, they spotted a girl, in a fancy dress, walking beside the road. The girl was alone in the dark with no lantern. The boys pulled over and offered the girl a ride. The girl was very pale but beautiful anyway. The girl agreed and got in the car. When she found out the boys were going to a dance, she asked if she could go alone. The three went to the dance and had a great time. When the dance was over, the boys offered to take the girl home. One of the boys let the girl wear his jacket because she complained of being very cold. When they reached a certain house the girl told them to stop. She got out of the car and ran into the house, forgetting to return the jacket. Not wanting to disturb anyone who might be sleeping inside the house, the boys agreed to come back the next day to retrieve the jacket, and, if all went well, get the know the girl a little better. The next day, the two drove back to the house and knocked on the door. The girls mother answered the door, and the boys explained what happened and asked if they could she her daughter again. The woman went very pale and said, ďMy daughterís been dead for five years. She died in a car wreck on her way to a dance.Ē She told the boys where the girl was buried. The stunned boys went to the gravesite and there they found the jacket, draped over the tombstone.

The Wealthy Farmer's Daughter and the Farmhand - A wealthy farmer had a daughter that he thought more of than anything else in the world. To the farmerís dismay, the daughter fell in love with a farmhand. The father didnít think the farmhand was good enough for his daughter, so he sent her to live with an aunt. After the daughter left, the heartbroken farmhand took sick and died. The farmer couldnít bring himself to tell his daughter what had happened. One night, a few week after the funeral, the daughter, who was still living with her aunt, heard a knock at the door. When she opened the door, she was thrilled to see the farmhand. He told her that her father wanted to see her. She grabbed a few things, and the two climbed on a horse and rode towards her fatherís house. She noticed that the her lover felt very cold, so she wrapped her shawl around his shoulders to warm him up. When the two got to the house, the girl quickly dismounted the horse and knocked on the door. When the father answered, he looked surprised to see her. Confused, the girl asked, ďDidnít you send for me?Ē The father said that he hadnít. When the girl turned around, her lover and the horse where gone. The girl nearly fainted when her father told her that her lover had died a few weeks earlier. To prove it to her, the next day her took her to the cemetery where the farmhand was buried. And there, lying on the grave, was the girlís shawl.