Memories of childhood flood my mind when I think of Halloween nights growing up in a small village.
All Hallow’s Eve was a evening when you and friends, mainly cousins, dressed up in some sort of costume to disguise who you were. Around dusk we went from house to house in the village, knocking on doors and exclaiming, “Trick or Treat!”
Most folks opened their door with a welcoming smile and offered candy, homemade fudge or other treats they had baked, to our group of wandering spooks.
If no one answered the door then their windows may get rubbed with a bar of soap..that was the trick when no treat was offered to this little gang of spirits who roamed the streets.
At home, It was important to light a candle or two to show you welcome a visit from the ether.
One never knew if a loved one who passed may come through the invisible veil between this world and the next. Halloween was the night they were allowed through the normally guarded portal. The only trouble is, pranksters could also come through and cause havoc to the living.
After a few hours of Trick or Treating and stuffing a lot of the loot in our mouths, it was time for Halloween ghost stories and we make our way to grandmother’s house.
The scariest stories were told by my adorable grandmother as we sat around her warm wood fireplace. I remember it was always rainy and foggy on Halloween nights and the heat from the stove felt wonderful.
The stuff of her stories were ghosts, black cats, witches and all kinds of mysterious sightings and hauntings.
Still excited by the evening of Trick or Treat, my two cousins and I tried to settle down and take in the ghost story.
Grandmother served us tea and cookies which we are too full of candies to enjoy. She understands and asked us if we have ever seen a ghost.
“No!” We squealed in unison. “Have you?”
“Yes, many times,” She said but tonight I want to tell you about one who could be heard but not seen.
Grandmother slowly stirred some milk into her cup of tea and begins the story,
“After my father passed, Mother married a retired sailor who had a wooden leg. He was a kind man who loved the traditions of Halloween. We always knew when he was around by the thud, thud, thud of the false leg on the wooden floors.”
“Every Halloween night after he passed, we could hear the sound of the wooden leg coming down the stairs. There would be three thuds and then silence. Mother did not mind the haunting sound and would say, “There’s my Joe checking on us.”
Grandmother took a deep breath as if back in the moment of hearing the thuds and her mother’s words.
Suddenly we heard… thud, thud, thud, of wood on wood, coming from the stairs leading to the room we were in listening in awe to grandmother’s story.
Wide-eyed and screaming like banshees we huddled together to witness a real live haunting of whatever or whoever was on the stairs.
Within a few minutes a smiling face appeared around the corner of the stairs… no spook but my uncle who delighted in scaring us. He had used a cane to make the sound on the stairs.
This is just one memory of the many scary Halloween nights I enjoyed listening to the hauntings my grandmother experienced and kept us scared out of our wits.
All Photos & Text are mine
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