Readers, I’ve posted haunted doll tales before, but this one is a must-read. An excerpt from what appears to be an intriguing book, Haunted Objects: Stories of Ghosts on your Shelf by Christopher Balzano and Tim Weisberg, it’s one of the most vivid/aggressive possessed doll stories I’ve encountered. See what you think, a must read, from Antique Trader, here: Very Haunted Doll
Readers, please enjoy this original short ghost fiction, from my collection of the same title:
Carrie loved antique shops. Her favorite was called Golden Old, on Oak Street down in the village. She’d picked up many an item there; some for resale on eBay, some for herself.
Today she stopped by to browse. She found herself in front of the old sepia-toned photographs. She thought these so poignant. The people always peering straight into your eyes from the distant past, so formally dressed, posture rigid, and while not frowning, not smiling. Portraits were considered serious business then. She sometimes bought these just for the frames. But she enjoyed poring over them and thinking about their subjects.
She paused in front of one now. It was set in an unusually rococo frame. Gilded and even jeweled (of course those couldn’t be real stones, but they looked genuine), with scrolls and grapes and vines. This was quite a find, Carrie thought, picking it up to look at the back to see if there might be an inscription. There was, in ornate, tiny script. It said (wait, she needed her glasses) . . . “Monte Haides, Photographers Underwood Florida USA
The woman in the photo was clad in a formal Victorian dress with lots of bows, frills and a very full skirt. (How on earth did she get that corset so tight? Carrie wondered. Ah, but she probably had servants. The fabric was shiny and probably black although it looked dark brown in sepia. The hair was pulled back on top but full, rounded curls fell to each side. Her face was lovely, even in the no-makeup, no-fillers, no botox look of those days. Large black eyes fringed with thick lashes, no lines, a pretty mouth and straight nose. The woman looked straight into Carrie’s eyes. She was not smiling but then none of them did. Carrie couldn’t take her eyes off the photo.
Finally a saleswoman came by.
“May I help you?” she asked.
“Thanks so much,” said Carrie, coming out of a daze. “I’m intrigued by this piece,” she indicated the photo, although there was no need, as she gripped it tightly in her hands.
“That just came in, in fact, about half an hour before you did,” said the woman, whose nametag said Nancy. “It’s quite old and it’s interesting, because although Haides was considered a master photographer, not many of his pieces come up. I don’t honestly know whether collectors hoard them or if they were destroyed during the Civil War. But this is rather rare.” She paused a moment to look it over.
“The frame is quite nice, isn’t it. Again, it seems to be one of a kind,” added Nancy.
“Can you tell me who the subject might be,” asked Carrie.
“Not without some research. I can tell you that Haides specialized in society people, and with good reason: they could afford to hire him! So whomever it is likely came from an established important family not far from Underwood. Now, take a closer look. She’s wearing a necklace with a monogram: can you read it? Give me a moment.” Nancy went to a desk and picked up a magnifier.
“Now let’s see,” she muttered. “It looks like CL. Perhaps that’s a lead for you.”
“Why, yes, thanks,” said Carrie. “I’ll take it. It will be fun to see what I can discover.”
Nancy led Carrie to the cash register and rang up the item. Carrie paid cash, and Nancy wrapped her purchase in tissue and placed it in a pretty bag with handles.
“Your receipt’s here in the bag,” Nancy said, handing it to Carrie. “Thank you for shopping.” Carrie thanked her and took her find to the car, and drove off to continue her errands.
Once home, she put away her things and then sat down with her new purchase. What an amazing piece, she mused. I can’t take my eyes off it.
She gazed into the picture. The next thing she knew, the phone was ringing. She picked it up (she must have dozed off, my goodness, it was already nine thirty!) to hear only static and some breathy sounds on the other end. After asking who’s there and getting nothing, she hung up. Prank caller, college kids, must’ve been.
She placed her photo on her mantle. She looked at it once more before retiring for the night.
When Carrie got up the next day, she had coffee and again, went in to see her picture. She couldn’t get her mind off it. She looked closely. But wait. Something had changed. The woman had moved closer. Originally, she’d been seated almost in the background. Look at this: more detail of her gown could be seen. Her necklace was now clear to see, an elaborate CL indeed. And, could it be? Her lips seemed compressed in a way she’d not noticed before. And she seemed to be staring at Carrie most intently. Must be just a trick of the light, Carrie concluded. Maybe she was just staring at the photographer. Photos took much longer in those days. Still though, odd.
Carrie went to her job at the insurance agency, where she worked as an administrative assistant to the manager. It was not exciting work, but the pay was good and the people easy to get on with. She had a quiet day and couldn’t wait to get home. While on her lunch break, she took out her tablet to look up prominent families in Underwood in the 1860’s. There was an Abernathy Williams on the town council and a doctor named Waverly. She looked on, and found a family, the Wendigues, posed on the front veranda of a large plantation home. It must have been opulent for the times. She thought she could make out the woman in her photo, there in the middle of the group. Again, the woman seemed to see her. It was unsettling, that. She closed the browser, but still she felt observed.
Her afternoon was uneventful, although she received another of those static-y phone calls with no voice. But wait: a faint whispering could be discerned between the snaps and pops. She listened hard, and turned up her volume. She thought she heard her name, followed by “two days.” But no, how could that be?
Carrie went home and got ready for her date. She’d been delayed on the boulevard, a traffic accident, so rather than taking time to look at her antique picture again, she rushed to get ready for her date that evening.
Marco was prompt, and she was just ready when the doorbell rang. She let him in with a hug and asked him to take a seat while she grabbed a sweater and changed bags. He sat down in the living room.
Her hair wouldn’t cooperate, and she fussed over it longer than she’d meant to. Quickly she stuffed the essentials from her day purse into a nicer evening one and saw Marco, still sitting by the fireplace. He seemed transfixed by her photo.
“Ready to go?” Carrie asked, and slowly, as if awakening from a deep sleep, Marco said “Uh, oh, yes. I must have nodded off.”
“You seemed fascinated by my new antique.”
“I remember seeing it, but nothing else, it’s like I tuned out. Funny. Oh, well, come on, let’s not be late for our reservation.” They left the house and turned on the hall light behind them. In the living room the photo seemed to radiate a faint glow of its own.
They had a dinner at DaVero’s, their favorite place. They shared the events of their week. Carrie told him about her photo and about what she’d learned so far.
“I think I’ve found her family,” Carrie said.
“You’re really into this, aren’t you,” observed Marco. “It’s sort of a creepy picture. She doesn’t smile, there doesn’t seem to be any warmth about her at all. You know, sometimes these old things can carry peculiar vibes,” he added.
“I don’t believe that,” said Carrie, but was that true? She was starting to wonder. Now that she was away from the picture, what was it that had pulled her to it? There were so many other old photos, many in equally pretty frames and all equally intriguing. But it was as if it had tapped her on the shoulder. Why had she even stopped by Golden Old yesterday? It was as if something told her to. She shook her head. This was nuts.
The couple had dessert and then left for a movie. Perhaps it would have been wiser not to have chosen such a scary one. The ghost was so realistic, and so angry. Marco took Carrie home, saw her to the door, and left, having an early appointment in the morning.
Carrie closed and locked the door behind her, and put away her sweater. She got a chamomile tea (really, the movie was just a bit too frightening) and took it in to the living room to watch some late night tv before retiring. There was an infomercial, and here was a talk show. She glanced up at her photo, and then stared: for again, it appeared the woman had moved closer to the front. Her face seemed larger, more intent, and yes, menacing. Carrie shivered, turned the photo so it faced the wall, and went to bed.
She had strange dreams that night. She was in the office when the woman in the picture came in to make an insurance claim. She said she wanted the money for her house, which had burned down in an unexplained fire of great intensity. Carrie said she would have to speak with the manager, and the woman stared at her in a steady, ice-cold way. Carrie felt, suddenly, overwhelmed by terror: for a moment it felt as if the woman was not human at all, but some kind of evil spirit.
Carrie woke up in a cold sweat. She couldn’t go on like this. She got coffee, popped open her laptop and looked up the Wendigue family.
They had been wealthy plantation owners in the ante bellum era, but more than that, they had been feared. It was thought that they were practitioners of the dark arts. Local children had gone missing. And people who crossed the Wendigues rued the day: misfortune hounded them. Finally, the locals had had enough. According to some, a group of people from town had gathered, along with their clergy, and together they had burned the house down. Most of the family was inside at the time. Afterwards, the ground was salted, blessed, and sprinkled with holy water to prevent the return of any evil. But no one would go there, and the land stood empty for decades, until finally it eroded into the neighboring Lethe River.
Carrie discovered that the woman in her photo was probably Carlotta Wendigue, the daughter of the patriarch, the belle of a ball to which no one local would come: so young people from other counties and even other states had been invited. No harm befell them. They were the sons and daughters of the powerful and influential. They were catered to and treated with care. Those who attended claimed it was a lovely event. But no one had danced with Carlotta more than the obligatory once. And the young ladies spoke with her as little as they politely could. They felt something wasn’t right about her. Even in the light and gaiety of the party, it still came through. It was the day after the event that the family gathered for the group photo; and some individual Wendigues had portraits done, like the one that had fallen into Carrie’s hands.
Carrie went to the mantel to check on the photo. When she turned it to face her, she gasped. For Carlotta’s face now took up the entire picture. And her eyes were pure black. A kind of electrical shock seemed to pass from the picture onto Carrie.
When Carrie came to, she was very uncomfortable. It was hot and sticky out and she was wearing a heavy silk dress with layers of fabric and flounces. And tons of clothing underneath, including (she could hardly breathe!) a corset set on “asphyxiate.” She was surrounded by other people in equally antique dress, all standing round the front of a large plantation house. There was a photographer several feet in front with a huge, boxy kind of camera with a drape in back. He held up a bulb and told everyone not to move.
People at the office thought Carrie seemed under the weather that day. She was quieter than usual, and wore old style, very dark glasses (she said she had been for an eye exam). That night, out with Marco, she ate the fish (a first!). She seemed rather unwell, certainly didn’t have much to say. Marco found this unsettling. He told her he thought he should take her home and make her some hot tea and lemon, and she should lie down, clearly she was coming down with something. Carrie nodded (she’d quite lost her voice).
Back at the house, he sat her down in her favorite armchair and brought her the remote and the tv listings. He served her the tea and some English biscuits he knew she was fond of. When he returned, she had nodded off. She must be coming down with something, he thought. He took a look at her photo before leaving her. It looked the same. Except.
There was something about the eyes. Were they looking at him? He shook that idea out of his head and left, locking up behind himself. He wanted Carrie to be safe.
Readers, here’s my short ghost fiction, The Lawn Jockey, from my book Death Be Not Loud: Ghosts, Haunts and Tall Tales for Restless Nights. Enjoy this brief, unPC horror tale!
It was so perfect! The ideal color, and in such good condition! Clay had wanted one forever. Look at him, extending a hand for your horse’s reins. A bit of history, that. (Of course, Clay wanted a real antique, not a fiberglass copy from Sri Lanka). Not for Clay the pink flamingoes, the bathtub Virgins (he was not Catholic) or those silly garden gnomes.
He’d nearly caused a four-car pile-up on the boulevard, he’d braked so hard. There it was! The very lawn jockey of his dreams. He parked and crossed the street. Estate Sale, the sign said. Tables full of dishes and knickknacks, linens, even an ancient Electrolux vacuum cleaner, the hose coiled: an inert python. The house, set back from the street; shuttered and quiet in the shade as its former contents were handled, perused, and carried away in Piggly Wiggly bags. It squatted there, hulking, ready to pounce, thought Clay. But that was ridiculous, he lectured himself. (His sixth sense said otherwise, but Clay would have none of it).
The lawn jockey was white, dressed in riding attire, which had faded with the years. Once it had been crisp and brightly colored. Its left hand extended; it held an iron ring. Sure enough, this statue had been used as a hitching post, thought Clay. This was not the racially insensitive lawn jockey of the Uncle Tom-ish sort, but rather the “cavalier” style: a symbol of gracious living: mint juleps on the front verandah with the planters down the road, and the Methodist minister. It was taller than was usual: quite nearly life size. This made sense to Clay: a small one would look fine next to, say, a suburban tract home, but would be dwarfed by the mansions this one doubtless once graced. He was drawn like a moth to a fire sale. Clay found the man in charge.
“How much for the lawn jockey?” he inquired, as casually as he could. (No sense overpaying, he thought, trying his best not to look overly eager). The man, who wore a Hello My Name Is nametag with Derwin scrawled in black Sharpie, smiled and scratched his head.
“Oh, you mean Mr. Smith?” he replied. “That’s what we call him,” he added with a grin. “Let me just look him up in the inventory list,” he added, scanning a price sheet.
“Seems like they have him down for… naw, this can’t be right. It says here if the buyer covers the moving cost, this item’s free of charge. Thing is, you can’t return him: we’re closing the house up, so sold is sold.” He added, “‘Course, if you decide you don’t like him you can always pass him along. People just love these things. I’ve never understood why. They kinda give me the willies.”
Clay was ‘way too delighted either to consider those words or to contemplate gift horses. He was also totally (and if I may say so, quite unwisely) deaf to his sixth sense, which screamed “No! Bad!” Thus it was that Clay immediately took the deal. Later he came back with a pickup truck from Home Depot. He drove to his small cottage in Jacksonville, and after careful consideration, placed Mr. Smith up front, right there, by the mailbox. This way everyone who drove by would see it. Clay knew his neighbors would be positively green with envy.
He was exhausted, though. What a lot Mr. Smith weighed. Clay had needed his hand truck to move it (he’d almost thought “him!”) out of the truck and into the right spot. Clay went back to the house for a sweet tea. Thirsty work, this moving. Later he returned to sit on his porch swing and admire his acquisition. What a stroke of luck!
Ouch! Damn, er dadgummit, he’d got a splinter from the porch railing. He’d kept meaning to sand it down. He bled a little, and a drop or two fell onto the old wood. Heck. He went in to see to his wound and ended up before the tv, binging on Unsolved Mysteries.
The following day, Clay slept in. This was unusual for him but then so was acquiring a statue. He wrote it off to the excitement of his purchase and poured himself his morning mug of Nescafe and French Vanilla Coffee-Mate. He brought some letters to the mailbox and took a moment to admire his new acquisition. But wait. Could it be? Mr. Smith looked as if he’d been polished! Somehow, less faded. His mouth, which had been expressionless, formed the beginnings of…could it be a smile? Clay liked to think so.
Clay went off to do his weekend errands. It felt good to see Mr. Smith in his yard.
When Clay returned, he thought he’d been pranked. Some folks couldn’t resist, could they? Mr. Smith had been moved. He now stood, helpfully reaching for the reins, halfway between the house and the street, about ten feet from his former placement beside the mailbox. But after a quick perusal, Clay saw that no harm had been done.
Clay took his groceries inside. He went to the stove heat up some weenies and beans for lunch when, quite unaccountably, the gas flame shot out from under the burner. It licked the edge of his sleeve, which, being polyester, caught fire. Clay ran to the sink and turned the faucet with his other hand. Ssssssst, ouch! Looked like he’d got a bit of a burn on his wrist. This was odd though. It felt as if the flame had somehow been . . . reaching for him. Ah, he shook his head. His imagination. His mom always told him it’d get the best of him if he didn’t stick to business.
Clay went outside to water the petunias and phlox in his window boxes. He took a damp rag to go over Mr. Smith when he noticed the lawn jockey appeared to be wearing a brand new coat. The old one had faded to a pale dusty rose. Now it was a brilliant vermilion. His riding pants were crisp and white, no longer yellowed and scuffed. His boots, polished ebony. His face looked … fuller. Rosier? Hard to say but the entire effect was one of overall … satisfaction. Maybe someone had taken to Mr. Smith and was touching him up while Clay was otherwise occupied. He smiled to himself. Maybe it was that nice Mrs. Hummel from down the road. She was such a dear. Often bringing pound cakes round to the neighbors, and extra zucchini and tomatoes when her garden ripened to overload. And so kind to those kids, Hans and Grethe from ’round the block: always had cookies for them. Yes, it must have been Mrs. Hummel. (Clay’s sixth sense had shouted itself quite hoarse by this time. But Clay tuned out and had clicked his mental remote to something pleasant, as was his habit).
Clay took his latest library haul out to the porch swing; time to read. This trove included a collection of ghost stories. He adored these but never read them at night: that would be far too creepy and he’d surely have trouble sleeping! No. Sunny days only. He grinned and got comfortable. He had just finished F. G. Cottam’s Dark Echo and had been quite terrified: it was so realistic, and eerie. And Andrew Taylor’s The Four Last Things: that Canon Youlgreave, brrrr. Clay loved a good shiver but tended to worry long after the book had been placed back on the shelf.
Today, let’s see. M. R. James? Yes, perhaps “O Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad.” Boy, that was a dark one, all right. Shows what happens when you dig around where you shouldn’t. Some things should stay buried. Count Magnus, for instance, why on earth did that silly professor go and tempt fate by hanging round that tomb? He’d asked for it, hadn’t he, said Clay to himself. Hmmm. People just didn’t heed the warnings. He reflected: maybe today, no horror tales. He chose a cowboy book instead.
That night Clay was hand-wrapping his custom fishing rod. He had spools of colorful thread in orderly rows on the kitchen table. He was focused on this work when he felt a sudden, scalpel-sharp stab of pain in his hand. Yikes, what had happened?
He looked up and saw a large fishing hook embedded in his palm! How on earth had it got there? He was so cautious with his fishing tackle. “A place for everything and everything in its place” was his motto. But no time to wonder, this was bleeding like a sonofabi … gun. Clay’s mom had taught him never to swear. That the devil would get him if he did. For luck he’d always cross his fingers and thank Jesus for reminding him, any time he caught himself starting to say a bad word. Yes. Clay was nothing if not careful.
Which was why this injury was so unsettling. Clay just couldn’t work out how it happened. He went to the bathroom and after carefully extracting the hook, he disinfected the cut with some antiseptic spray and then bandaged it well with gauze and adhesive tape (the cut was too deep for a bandage from the Walgreen’s box). He briefly thought about popping over to the urgent care clinic but decided to pass. The doctors, while nice, were always from someplace foreign: he had a hard time deciphering their thick accents and frankly, the one in the sari quite put him off. Why didn’t she just blend in, Clay wondered. Ah. Well. It wasn’t for him to say, maybe she was just homesick.
As Clay was getting ready for bed that night, another strange thing occurred. His electric toothbrush gave him quite a shock. Yes indeed. He felt a huge jolt. Afterward, he fell and was unable to move. He felt sore but not unhappy. His mind was frozen in place, stuck in a single groove like a phonograph needle on a scratched LP: permanently contemplating which ice cream he would buy tomorrow and whether to get the store brand Neapolitan or use his Starbuck’s coupon for Chocolate Chip Cappuccino.
Had Clay had the capacity as well as the motivation to take a peek out his front window just then, he would have noticed something quite curious. Mr. Smith was now at the front door. His hand was held out as if, instead of visitors’ horses’ reins, he was reaching for the doorknob. The lawn jockey was now most definitely smiling, and his red lips were slightly parted, to show a row of even, razor-sharp little snow-white teeth. The tip of his pink tongue could be barely discerned by the close observer.
Readers, here are some scary accounts of haunted objects! We all love those, right? Brought to you by Thought Co via Haunted Possessions!
Readers, thanks to intrepid blogger GP Cox of the excellent Pacific Paratrooper blog for bringing this wonderful ghost story to my attention – and thus, to yours! A good one! Enjoy! Courtesy blogger John Knifton via Strange Photograph!
Readers, this is a fascinating account by Keith Linder, from Supernatural Magazine. Keith was interviewed about his experience with his very haunted home. Yikes! Have a look! From Supernatural Magazine via Living With A Poltergeist!
Readers, here’s a scary, true tale of a woman terrorized by haunted objects: in this case, dolls. Read on for more! Courtesy Ghost and Ghoul via Evil Dolls!
Readers, this is not our first post about a ‘spirited’ swimming pool. At least one theorist about the paranormal, T. C. Lethbridge, speculates that water or dampness can accelerate ghostly phenomena. Who am I to argue, especially after reading this strange tale? Follow the link to read a detailed story about this haunted pool in an ordinary suburban neighborhood in California, via Castle of Spirits, at A Very Haunted Pool
To learn more about real ghosts, please see About Ghosts: A Useful Handbook. For some great ghost stories, please see Death Be Not Loud, Rest In Fleece, and Sepia Seepage. To learn about ghosts in some fine modern fiction, please see Infectious Ghosts. And so much more, at my amazon page: Jan’s Amazon Page
Readers, here is a spine-chilling collection of scary ghost ships and sea haunts. Brought to you by a favourite, Graveyard Shift at Ranker, here: Creepiest Ghost Stories from the Sea!
copyright 2019 Bookemjano
For more about real ghosts, please see About Ghosts: A Useful Handbook. For ghost stories, please see Rest In Fleece, Death Be Not Loud, and Sepia Seepage – and so much more, at https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Olandese/e/B071FK9L75
Readers, here’s a startling haunt from a shop in London. Four people experienced this so it’s not someone’s nightmare, although it must have felt like one! I wondered whether the place was haunted, or whether it had to do with all the old objects inside. See what you think! From Quora, here: A Haunted Shop