Ghost Stories From the Diaspora. Happy Halloween!

Dec 17, 2020

You know we had to do it for you! Enjoy these scary ghost stories featuring main characters of color! They are ghost stories, so they may be a little frightful, but isn't that what Halloween is all about? Don't be skuurrddd! ;-)

Boo Hag

retold by S.E. Schlosser from Spooky North Carolina

You know how they say some folks are lucky at cards and some are lucky at love? Well, that fit Bobby Hansen to a ‘T’. He was the best poker player in the county, but somehow he couldn’t find himself a bride. Oh, he proposed to several girls, and even got accepted by a few. But they always got cold feet a day or two before the wedding, and it was bye-bye Bobby.

After the third time, Bobby was mighty discouraged, and his Pa felt real sore for him. They worked together in the family grocery store, and Bobby would sometimes sit on top of the pickle barrel and tell his Pa all his woes. And his Pa told him to hang in there, because a nice lady was on her way. Neither of them believed it, but it made both of them feel better to hear it said. Well, the day after their latest talk, the old woman who poled her barge through the swamp to deliver milk and eggs to the grocery store had a long talk with Bobby’s Pa. Seems she had this daughter who was hankering after a husband with a good steady job, and the old woman thought Bobby would do the job nicely. She suggested they introduce the pair at the next dance, and Bobby’s Pa agreed.

The night of the dance, Bobby’s Pa insisted that his son dress in his best. Bobby was dragging his feet a little, remembering all those women who played him false and not wanting to go, but his Pa dragged him out anyway. Well, the moment Bobby clapped eyes on the dark-eyed, red-lipped girl from the swamp, he was head over heels in love. Her eyes sparkled like the sunlight on the bay. Her skin was as creamy as new milk. Her voice was low and sweet.

The pair cuddled and cooed and waltzed the whole night long, and come sunrise Bobby was all for bringing his new love before the visiting priest who delivered his sermons in the grocery store (since there weren’t no church in that vicinity) and getting married right away. Well the girl was willing to get married, but not by a priest.

“Let’s just go to Beaumont and have the judge marry us,” she said to Bobby, and he was so smitten he agreed, though it would have been quicker and easier to just walk a mile down the road to see the priest.

By the next evening they were wed, and Bobby brought his pretty bride to the nice little cottage he rented just down the road from the family grocery. It had a nice front porch with a swing, a big bedroom on the second floor and a big attic with a window that could be made up into a second guestroom should his new mother-in-law care to visit from her home in the swamp.

After fixing him a nice dinner, Bobby’s new bride sat awhile in the rocking chair near their bed while Bobby yawned and watched her fondly. She cuddled under the blanket and knitted and hummed, and Bobby’s eyes grew heavy. He didn’t wake up until early morning, when his new bride crept into bed all hot and sweaty and fell asleep at once. When he asked her where she’d been, she wouldn’t answer him. Bobby was mighty sore that his bride had snuck out on him on their wedding night, but when she got snappish and her eyes blazed like they did when he questioned her, he grew frightened and backed down.

Life took on an odd pattern for Bobby. During the day, everything was perfect. His wife was sweet and pretty and loving. She kept the house sparkling clean and cooked him wonderful meals. But each night she refused to come to bed after supper. Like their wedding night, she sat up singing and rocking and knitting until he was asleep and did not come to bed til just afore dawn. She was always sweaty and cranky when she came to bed, and went to sleep before Bobby could question her.

Bobby was very confused and upset by this behavior, and finally confided in his Pa one morning after opening up the grocery store. Bobby’s Pa was awful worried. The visiting priest had gone on to his next parish, and there was no one they could consult but the local conjure woman. So he sent Bobby to her with a couple of chickens as a gift.

The conjure woman knew all about hoodoo magic and was an excellent herbalist. Local folks went to her when they were sick, on account of the doctor lived nigh on twenty miles away. When she heard Bobby’s story, she told him to pretend to go to sleep that night and watch what his new bride did. Then he was to come back and tell her everything. Bobby agreed.

The next evening, he pretended to fall asleep while his bride rocked and sang in her chair. Then he followed her up to the attic and watched through the crack in the open door as she sat down at the spinning wheel and spun off her skin, leaving only pulsing red muscles and blue veins. She was a terrifying sight and she sprang through the window and flew away into the night. Bobby ran out to the privy and was sick after he saw her. Who, what was this monster he had married? He was still trembling and in shock when his bride, looking like a normal person again, crept into bed at dawn, and he had trouble behaving normally at breakfast.

As soon as he could get away, Bobby ran to the home of the conjure woman and told her about the spinning wheel and the terrible skinless creature who flew away from his attic. “A boo-hag,” the conjure woman said at once. “You’ve married a boo-hag.”

“What’s a boo-hag?” asked Bobby. “A Boo Hag is a witch and a shape-shifter,” said the conjure woman. “She lures men into her trap and then delivers them to her Boo-Daddy, who eats their flesh and gnaws their bones. And that’s what she’ll do to you if you don’t get rid of her first.”

The conjure woman told Bobby to get himself some blue paint. As soon as the boo-hag left the house that night, he was to spread blue paint on every window frame and every door frame and make sure it was two coats thick. A boo-hag couldn’t fly through a window or door that was painted blue. And if she didn’t get back into her skin before dawn, she would be trapped without it, and be revealed for the monster she was. So he was to leave one tiny window unpainted, and keep it open a sliver so the boo-hag could squeeze through. Then he was to fill up her skin with salt and pepper, which would burn her up from the inside out. And Bobby promised to do exactly as the conjure woman said.

That night, Bobby lingered over his dinner, looking with sad eyes at the pretty woman sitting opposite him. He knew she was really a monster inside, but it was so nice to have a little wife in his home. He hated like anything to see her go. But he didn’t want to get eaten by a Boo-Daddy, and that was his fate if she stayed. So he went up to their bedroom and pretended to fall asleep while she rocked and sang and knitted. Then he followed her quietly upstairs and put salt and pepper into her skin after her ugly red-muscled blue-veined figure had flown out the window to her Boo-Daddy. He spent the rest of the night painting over every door and window frame with blue paint, leaving only one small unpainted window open in the cellar. He nailed it up so that it would open no further than a crack, just as the conjure woman instructed him. Then he hid himself behind a large chest of drawers up in the attic to wait for the boo-hag.

Just before dawn, the boo-hag came flying up to the attic window. As soon as she touched the blue frame, she gave a shriek of pain and rage. Bobby listened as she flew around the house, testing each window and door and howling like a banshee when it burned her skinless hands. Then she found the little window in the cellar, and he heard the thump as she landed beside it, followed by a painful whimpering sound as she squeezed and squeezed herself through the narrow opening, her skinless red muscles and blue veins tearing painfully against the rough wood.

The boo-hag ran up three flights of stairs into the attic and squeezed and squeezed into her skin as fast as she could. She just barely got it on when the first light of dawn shone over the horizon. And that was when the salt and pepper did their work, burning the boo-hags body from the inside out. With a scream of agony, she flung herself out the attic window. The glass shattered everywhere as she tried to fly away, tearing at the skin to get it off. But it was too late. She exploded into tiny pieces right over the swamp, and the alligators had them a mighty feast of cooked boo-hag for breakfast that morning.

So Bobby was once again without a wife. But bachelorhood looked much better to him after that, and he never went looking for a wife again. ‘Course, after he made a pile of money in oil, the girls started chasing him. But that’s another story!

Originally from: americanfolklore.net

Girl in White

A Mexican Ghost Story retold by S. E. Schlosser

He was sulking a little, standing at the sidelines while all the other men danced with their pretty partners. His girl had not come to the dance that night. Her mother was ill, and so his girl had remained at her side. A fine pious act, he thought sourly, but it left him at loose ends.

His friend, Ernesto, came up to him between sets with a cold drink and some words of encouragement. “After all, Anita is not the only girl in the world,” Ernesto said. “There are many pretty girls here tonight. Dance with one of them.”

Bolstered by his friend’s words, he started looking around the dance hall. His eye fell upon a beautiful young girl standing wistfully at the edge of the floor beside the door to the terrace. She was dressed in an old-fashioned white gown and her skin was pale as the moon. Her dark eyes watched the dance hungrily from her position behind a tall fern, and he felt his heart beat faster. Such a lovely woman should be dancing!

He made his way through the bustling crowd and bowed to the girl in white. She looked startled by his addresses, as if she had not expected anyone to notice her that night. But she readily assented to dance with him, and he proudly led her out onto the floor for the next set, all thoughts of Anita gone from his mind.

Ernesto and some of his other friends gave him odd looks as he danced with the girl in white. A few times, the man opposite them bumped right into them as if he had not seen his partner at all. He was furious and wanted to stop the dance and make the man apologize to the girl in white, but she just laughed and hushed him.

When the dance was over, he hurried to get his fair partner a drink. Ernesto approached him at the refreshment table. “When I told you to dance, I meant with a partner,” his friend teased him.

“I was dancing with a partner,” he replied, irritated by his friends remark. “The loveliest girl in all of Mexico!”

“You’ve had too much to drink, my friend,” Ernesto replied. “You were dancing by yourself out there!”

He glared at his friend and turned away without answering him. Making his way back to the girl in white, he handed her a glass and asked her to stroll with him along the terrace. The night was beautiful, the sky full of stars, and he stared at the girl in white with his heart in his eyes as they stood looking out over the beautiful scene.

The girl in white turned to him with a sigh and said: “Thank you for the dance, Senor. It has been a very long time since I had such pleasure.”

“Let us dance again, then,” he said infatuatedly. But she shook her head.

“I must leave now,” she said, catching up her skirts with one hand and drifting toward the stairs at the side of the terrace.

“Please don’t go,” he pleaded, following her.

“I must,” she said, turning to look at him. Her eyes softened when she saw the look on his face. “Come with me?” she invited, holding out a pale hand.

His heart pounded rapidly at the thought. More than anything in the world, he wanted to go with this lovely girl. And then his mind registered the fact that he could see the stone wall of the terrace through the girl’s hand. His desire melted away before the shock of that realization. He looked into her face again, and realized that she was fading away before his eyes.

At the look of horror on his face, the girl gave a sad laugh and dropped her hand, which was nearly transparent now.

“Goodbye,” she said, her body becoming thin and misty. “Goodbye.”

Then she was gone.

He gave a shout of terror when he realized he had been dancing with a ghost. He bolted from the premises, leaving his horse behind, and ran all the way home.

When Ernesto came the next day to bring him his horse, he told his friend the whole story. Ernesto whistled in awe. “You saw the spirit of Consuela, my friend,” he said. “She was the daughter of one of the local aristocracy who lived in this region more than a hundred years ago. She died of consumption the night before her first ball and they say her spirit sometimes attends the local dances, hoping to claim one of the dances that she missed.”

He shuddered at the thought of his dance with the ghost. “I will not be visiting that dance hall again,” he told Ernesto. “From now on, all my dances will be with Anita!”

And he kept his word.

Looking for more resources for ghost stories from around the world? Check out our blog Ghosts, Ghouls, Goblins and More! By clicking HERE.

Have a frightfully good night!

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