My Favorite Ghost Stories (For Yogesh Sharma / @ModernDayWriter )
July 13, 2016 9:38am CST
Yogesh Sharma (@ModernDayWriter) asked me what some of my favorite ghost stories are. Be careful what you wish for. These are just a few of them. “The Soul of the Great Bell” by Lafcadio Hearn The Great Bell is one that, so the story goes, was commission by a Chinese emperor 500 years before the story. He demanded a bell that could be heard for 100 li. The bell resounds with the sound of a weeping woman and a word: KO-NGAI The metal caster who had to create such a large bell failed twice. The materials would not hold together. If he failed a third time, he’d be executed. His daughter sacrificed herself to make sure the materials held. “Night in a Haunted House” by Henry Ferris This is a bit long, but is boils down two young men talking over dinner about wanting to spend a night in a haunted house. A clergyman who is at the same dinner tells them about living in the same house when we first married and all the strange things that happened. The younger guys are undeterred. The one guy sees his ghost and regrets it. The story is actually quite funny. “The Specter Bridegroom” by Washington Irving This is another cute one. German Baron Landshort betroths his daughter (who can write her own name well enough her aunts can read it without spectacles) to a count in Bavaria, sight unseen. The count dies while performing his military duties, but not before he charges his companion to explain to his lovely bride-to-be why he won’t be making it. When the companion get to Castle Landshort, he finds a feast waiting. He can’t spoil it by telling them the bad news... There’s also one I read as a kid. I’ve never reviewed it because I can’t remember the name of it. A haunted house supposedly has gold buried in it. A lot of people have tried finding the gold, but have died, presumably from the jealous ghost of the miser. One guy—call him Bob—decides he is going to get the gold and no ghost is going to come between him and it. He’s cooking himself dinner in the fireplace when he hears a THUMP. He sees a ghost leg on the floor and continues cooking himself dinner. He hears another THUMP. Another leg. And so on until there’s an entire ghost and Bob is enjoying dinner. The ghost agrees to show him where the gold is. This will release his soul to go to heaven. He didn’t kill any of the other people. The all died of fright while he was putting himself together. And yes, by the way, it’d be nice if he get his body parts out of the wall where his murderer hid him years ago and give him a nice Christian burial. So Bob, cool, calm and collected, got rich. The ghost got released to heaven and a nice proper burial. And Bob’s dinner was barely interrupted.
This is a cute little send up of gothic ghost stories, set “on the summit of one of the heights of the Odenwald, a wild and romantic tract of Upper Germany that...