Friday, December 11, 2009

Real Ghost Stories of the 30's

Yesterday, we looked at a WPA report of a story recorded by Margaret Beane. Here is another.

The Haunted Hunter (#166)

"People nowadays don't believe in haunts {a term for ghosts, not a place], ghosts, or what have you. I was just a young man ... gone hunting [in the deep wood], night was coming, but I wasn't worried; I new the country.

"... I suddenly heard a noise sounding like the patter of soft paws on the leaves. I stopped ... the pattering stopped .. I turned in the dirction of the noise and ran toward it. As I burst through the tangled leaves and branches, there pattering ahead ... in the moonlight ... culy hair flying in the wind, was a little girl ... supposedly lost and died in the woods. Witha shout, I grabbed at her, only to grasp thin air and dead leaves..."

The intention of the narrator's story was to berate those who no longer believed in ghost stories. The dramatic portion, I believe was enhanced by the writer. What drew my attention was the use of "paws" in virtually the same context as Lovecraft's use in "Beast in the Cave" one of my sentimental favorites. I don't necessarily believe that "paws" which usually intends animals' paws, is a subterfuge but a quaint way of saying "feet".

This was recorded on 6 November 1936

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