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“MAY I CARRY YOUR BASKET?”

Sam Lewis spent the evening playing chess at his friend’s house. It was about midnight when they finished their game, and he started home. Outside it was icy cold and as quiet as the grave.

As he came around a turn in the road, he was surprised to see a woman walking ahead of him. She was carrying a basket covered with a white cloth. When he caught up to her, he looked to see who it was. But she was so bundled up against the cold, it was hard to see her face.

“Good evening,” Sam said. “What brings you out so late?”

But she didn’t answer.

Then he said, “May I carry your basket?”

She handed it to him. From under the cloth, a small voice said, “That’s very nice of you,” and that was followed by wild laughter.

Sam was so startled that he dropped the basket —and out rolled a woman’s head. He looked at the head, and he stared at the woman. “It’s her head!” he cried. And he started to run, and the woman and her head began to chase him.

Soon the head caught up to him. It bounded into the air and sunk its teeth into his left leg. Sam screamed with pain and ran faster.

But the woman and her head stayed right behind. Soon the head leaped into the air again and bit into his other leg. Then they were gone.

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the DEAD MAN’S BRAINS

This scary story is a scary game that people play at Hallowe'en. But it can be played whenever the spirit moves you.

The players sit in a circle in a darkened room and listen to a storyteller describe the rotting remains of a corpse. Each part is passed around for them to feel.

In one version, a player is out if he or she screams or gasps with fright. In another version, everybody stays to the end, no matter how scared they get.

Here is the story:

Once in this town there lived a man named Brown. It was years ago, on this night, that he was murdered out of spite.

We have here his remains.

First, let's feel his brains. (A wet, squishy tomato)

Now here are his eyes, still frozen with surprise. (Two peeled grapes)

This is his nose. (A chicken bone)

Here is his ear. (A dried apricot)

And here is his hand, rotting flesh and bone. (A cloth or rubber glove filled with mud or ice)

But his hair still grows. (A handful of corn silk or wet fur or yarn)

And his heart still beats, now and then. (A piece of raw liver)

And his blood still flows. Dip your fingers in it. It's nice and warm. (A bowl of catsup thinned with warm water)

That's all there is, except for these worms. They are the ones that ate the rest of him. (A handful of wet, cooked spaghetti noodles)

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the WENDIGO

A wealthy man wanted to go hunting in a part of northern Canada where few people had ever hunted. He traveled to a trading post and tried to find a guide to take him But no one would do it. It was too dangerous, they said.

Finally, he found an Indian who needed money badly, and he agreed to take him. The Indian’s name was DeFago.

They made camp in the snow near a large frozen lake.  For three days they hunted, but they had nothing to show for it. The third night a windstorm came up. They lay in their tent listening to the wind howling and the trees whipping back and forth.

To see the storm better, the hunter opened the tent flap. What he saw startled him. There wasn’t a breath of air. stirring, and the trees were standing perfectly still. Yet he could hear the wind howling. And the more he listened, the more it sounded as if it were calling DeFago’s name.

”Da-faaaaaaaaay-gol” it called. ”Da-faaaaaaaaay-gol”

“I must be losing my mind,” the hunter thought.

But DeFago had gotten out of his sleeping bag. He was huddled in a corner of the tent, his head buried in his arms. ”What’s this all about?” the hunter asked. ”It’s nothing,” DeFago said. But the wind continued to call to him. And DeFago became more tense and more restless.

”Da-Faaaaaaaaay-go!” it called. ”Da-faaaaaaaaay-go!”

Suddenly, he jumped to his feet, and he began to run from the tent. But the hunter grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground.

”You can’t leave me out here,” the hunger shouted.

Then the wind called again, and DeFago broke loose and ran into the darkness. The hunter could hear him screaming as he went. Again and again he cried, “Oh, my fiery feet, my burning feet of fire& ” Then his voice faded away, and the wind died down.

At daybreak, the hunter followed DeFago’s tracks in the snow. They went through the woods, down toward the lake, then out onto the ice.

But soon he noticed something strange. The steps DeFago had taken got longer and longer. They were so long no human being could have taken them. It was as if something had helped him to hurry away.

The hunter followed the tracks out to the middle of the lake, but there they disappeared. At first, he thought that DeFago had fallen through the ice, but there wasn’t any hole. Then he thought that something had pulled him off the ice into the sky. But that made no sense.

As he stood wondering what had happened, the wind picked up again. Soon it was howling as it had the night before. Then he heard DeFago’s voice. It was coming from up above, and again he heard DeFago screaming, ”&  My fiery feet, my burning feet& ” But there was nothing to be seen.

Now the hunted wanted to leave that place as fast as he could. He went back to camp and packed. Then he left some food for DeFago, and he started out. Weeks later he reached civilization.

The following year he went back to hunt in that area again. He went to the same trading post to look for a guide. The people there could not explain what had happened to DeFago that night. But they had not seen him since then.

”Maybe it was the Wendigo,” one of them said, and he laughed. ”It’s supposed to come with the wind. It drags you along at great speed until your feet are burned away, and more of you than that. Then it carries you into the sky, and it drops you. It’s just a crazy story, but that’s what some of the Indians say.”

A few days later the hinter was at the trading post again. An Indian came in and sat by the fire. He had a blanket wrapped around him, and he wore his hat so that you couldn’t see his face. The hunter thought there was something familiar about him.

He walked over and he asked, ”Are you DeFago?” The Indian didn’t answer.

”Do you know anything about him?” No answer.

He began to wonder if something was wrong, if the man needed help. But he couldn’t see his face.

”Are you all right?” he asked.

No answer.

To get a look at him, he lifted the Indian’s hat. Then he screamed. There was nothing under the hat but a pile of ashes.

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ROOM for ONE MORE

A man named Joseph Blackwell came to Philadelphia on a business trip. He stayed with friends in the big house they owned outside the city. That night they had a good time visiting. But when Blackwell went to bed, he tossed and turned and couldn’t sleep.

Sometime during the night he heard a car turn into the driveway. He went to the window to see who was arriving at such a late hour. In the moonlight, he saw a long, black hearse filled with people.

The driver of the hearse looked up at him. When Blackwell saw his queer, hideous face, he shuddered. The driver called to him, “There is room for one more.” Then he waited for a minute or two, and he drove off.

In the morning Blackwell told his friends what had happened. “You were dreaming,” they said.

“I must have been,” he said, “but it didn’t seem like a dream.”

After breakfast he went into Philadelphia. He spent the day high above the city in one of the new office buildings there.

Late in the afternoon he was waiting for an elevator to take him back down to the street. But when it arrived, it was very crowded. One of the passengers looked out and called to him. “There is room for one more,” he said. It was the driver of the hearse.

“No, thanks,” said Blackwell. “I’ll get the next one.” Her doctor decided she had lost her mind, and he had The doors closed, and the elevator started down. There was shrieking and screaming, then the sound of a crash. The elevator had fallen to the bottom of the shaft. Every- one aboard was killed.

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ALLIGATORS

A young woman in town married a man from another part of the country. He was a nice fellow, and they got along pretty well together. There was only one problem. Every night he’d go swimming in the river. Sometimes he would be gone all night long, and she would complain about how lonely she was.

This couple had two young sons. As soon as the boys could walk, their father began to teach them how to swim. And when they got to be old enough, he took them swimming in the river at night. Often they would stare there all night long, and the young woman would stay home along by herself.

After a while, she began to act in a strange way–at Least, that is what the neighbors said. She told them that her husband was turning into an alligator, and that he was trying to turn the boys into alligators.

Everybody told her there was nothing wrong with a man taking his sons swimming. That was a natural thing to do. And when it came to alligators, there just weren’t any nearby. Everybody knew that.

Early one morning the young woman came running into town from the direction of the river. She was soaking wet. She said a big alligator and two alligators had pulled her in and had tried to get her to eat a raw fish. They were her husband and her sons, she said, and they wanted her to live with them. But she had gotten away.

Her doctor had decided she had lost her mind, and had her put in the hospital for a while. After that nobody saw her husband and the boys again. They just disappeared. But now and then a fisherman would tell about seeing alligators In the river at night. Usually it was one big alligator and two small ones.

But people said they were just making it up. Everybody knows there aren’t any alligators around here.

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a NEW HORSE

Two farmhands shared a room. After a while, the one who slept near the door began to feel very tired early in the day. His friend asked what was wrong.

“An awful thing happens every night,” he said. “A witch turns me into a horse and rides me all over the countryside.”

“I’ll sleep in your bed tonight,” his friend said. “We’ll see what happens to me.”

About midnight an old woman who lived nearby came into the room. She mumbled some strange words over the farmhand, and he found he couldn’t move. Then she slipped a bridle on him, and he turned into a horse.

The next thing he knew, she was riding him across the fields at breakneck speed, beating him to make him go even faster. Soon they came to a house where a party was going on. She hitched him to a fence and went in.

While she was gone, the farmhand rubbed against the fence until the bridle came off, and he turned back into a human.

Then he went into the house and found the witch. He spoke those strange words over her, and with the bridle he turned her into a horse. Then he rode her to a blacksmith and had her fitted with horseshoes. After that, he rode her to the farm where she lived.

“I have a pretty good filly here,” he told her husband,

“but I need a stronger horse. Would you like to trade?”

The old man looked her over, and said he would do it. The farmhand picked out another horse and rode away.

Her husband led his new horse to the barn. He took off the bridle and went to hang it up. But when he came back, the new horse was gone. Instead, there stood his wife with horseshoes nailed to her hands and feet.

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the GIRL WHO STOOD on a GRAVE

Some boys and girls were at a party one night. There was a graveyard down the street, and they were talking about how scary it was.

“Don’t ever stand on a grave after dark,” one of the boys said. “The person inside will grab you. He’ll pull you under.”

“That’s not true,” one of the girls said. “It’s just a superstition.”

“I’ll give you a dollar if you stand on a grave,” said the boy.

“A grave doesn’t scare me,” said the girl. “I’ll do it right now.”

The boy handed her his knife. “Stick this knife in one of the graves,” he said. “Then we’ll know you were there.”

The graveyard was filled with shadows and was as quiet as death. “There is nothing to be scared of,” the girl told herself, but she was scared anyway.

She picked out a grave and stood on it. Then quickly she bent over and plunged the knife into the soil, and she started to leave. But she couldn’t get away. Something was holding her back! She tried a second time to leave, but she couldn’t move. She was filled with terror.

“Something has got me!” she screamed, and fell to the ground.

When she didn’t come back, the others went to look for her. They found her body sprawled across the grave. Without realizing it, she had plunged the knife through her skirt and had pinned it to the ground. It was only the knife that held her. She had died of fright.

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the HEARSE SONG

Do you ever think, as the hearse goes by,
That you may be the next to die?
They wrap you up in a long white sheet
From your head down to your feet.
They put you in a big black box
and cover you over with dirt and rocks.
And all goes well for about a week,
And then the coffin begins to leak.
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle on your snout.
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose,
They eat the jelly between your toes.
A great big worm with rolling eyes
Cralws in your stomach and out your eyes
Your stomach turns a slimy green,
And pus pours out like whipping cream.
You spread it on a slice of bread,
and that’s what you eat when you are dead.

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THEY EAT YOUR EYES, THEY EAT YOUR NOSE

There are scary stories about all kinds of things. The ones told here are about a grave, a witch, a man who like to swim, a hunting trip, and a market basket. There is also one about worms eating a corpse—your corpse.

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COLD as CLAY

A farmer had a daughter for whom he cared more than anything on earth. She fell in love with a farm hand named Jim, but the farmer did not think Jim was good enough for his daughter. To keep them apart, he sent her to live with her uncle on the other side of the county.

Soon after she left, Jim got sick, and he wasted away and died. Everyone said he had died of a broken heart. The farmer felt so guilty about Jim’s death, he could not tell his daughter what had happened. She continued to think about Jim and the life they might have had together.

One night many weeks later there was a knock on her uncle’s door. When the girl opened the door, Jim was standing there.

“Your father asked me to get you,” he said. “I came on his best horse.”

“Is there anything wrong?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he said.

She packed a few things and they left. She rode behind him, clinging to his waist. Soon he complained of a headache. “It aches something terrible,” he told her.

She put her hand on his forehead. “Why your as cold as clay,” she said. “I hope you are not ill,” and she wrapped her handkerchief around his head.

They traveled so swiftly that in a few hours they reached the farm. The girl quickly dismounted and knocked on the door. Her farther was startled to see her.

“Didn’t you send for me?” she asked.

“No, I didn’t,” he said.

She turned to Jim, but he was gone and so was the horse. They went to the stable to look for them. The horse was there. It was covered in sweat and trembling with fear. But there was no sign of Jim.

Terrified, her father told her the truth about Jim’s death. Then quickly he went to see Jim’s parents. They decided to open his grave. The corpse was in its coffin. But around its head they found the girl’s handkerchief.

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