The Magic City

The Magic City

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Ghost of a Chance

I love ghost stories, especially Southern ghost stories.  My elementary school librarian told my mother I used to check out Thirteen Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey by Kathryn Tucker Windham at least once a month.  To this day, when I go to Montgomery, I drive by Huntingdon College and remember the tale of the Red Lady, and you bet your sweet bippy every time I have court in Pickens County, I swing by the old courthouse to take a peek at the "face in the courthouse window."

What is your favorite ghost story?  Share it with me. One commenter will win a copy of SUMMER GOTHIC, a collection of summertime ghost stories from Alabama authors (I was fortunate enough to help with the editorial process - it is a great anthology if I say so myself).  The book includes stories from Suzanne Johnson, Margaret Fenton and loads of other great Alabama authors.  I will announce the winner  in the comment section on April 11. 


  1. My favorite ghost story dates back to when I was a cadet at West Point.

    As the nation's oldest active military base, West Point is loaded with spooky stories and, apparently, the spooks who go with them. I was assigned to a company in the oldest barracks on the post, and although I never saw it, there is supposed to be a ghost from the 1800s who haunts that building. I know several people who claim to have seen the apparition, and it is supposed to be wearing an old-style cadet full dress uniform (the one with all the buttons) with an exposed white collar.

    Late one night, one of the cadets who claimed to have seen the entity was studying in his room. He was unaware that another cadet, wearing a full dress uniform with a collared shirt underneath and white face paint, had decided to hide in his wardrobe. The idea was that he would spring out when the other cadet prepared to turn in for the night, but many minutes went by and it seemed the studying cadet would be up for quite some time.

    After knocking on the wardrobe door several times, the prankster realized his intended victim wasn't noticing him, so he opened the wardrobe, walked across the room, and placed his hand on the studying cadet's shoulder.

    Apparently the startled cadet shrieked out loud, jumped up, and proceeded to beat the prankster into the ground. I'm told the beating continued even after the comic had identified himself.

    So even though this is the story of a ghost-related prank, to this day the cadets in that barracks periodically encounter something that is believed to be that ghost.

  2. I spent a semester at Huntingdon when I was in high school. Loved that story about the ghost! We tried our best to see her. Never did.

  3. Hi, Heather!
    I adore ghost stories! Every city my husband and I visit, we search out the ghost tours they offer and fit one in.

    My favorite story is actually one I read when I was a younger, but it always stuck with me. I think the name of it was "The Girl with the Yellow Ribbon". It was about this girl who always wore--you got it!--a yellow ribbon. Always, since she was a kid. She had a young boy as a best friend who eventually became her boyfriend, then husband. Through the years he would ask her about the yellow ribbon but she always put him off, saying ask me later. Or what does it matter. Or, you've waited this long, you can wait a while longer. Well, when she was sick and on her deathbead, he asked her again. And she allowed him to untie it. Aaaand her head fell off.

    Just freaky. And I love it!

  4. Gary and I lived in a house built in 1906 when we first married. It had a walk-up attic. We began to notice that the attic door wouldn't stay closed, so we would firmly close it until it latched and felt secure. But we would come back later and find it open. Our bedroom was right across from the door to the attic, and one day I happened to be walking out the bedroom and saw the attic door come open. Then a few months later, our water faucet in the kitchen sink would come on full blast when no one was in the room. We never felt anything malevolent or saw anything, but we began to call it a ghost and named it Herman. And one day after our oldest daughter was born, we realized it had all stopped. End of story. End of Herman, I guess.

    For what it's worth. :-)

  5. I used to love Ghost Stories! I especially loved the 13 Alabama Ghost Stories. I still get chill bumps when I think about Katherine Wyndam trying to contact Jeffery with her Quija board and in the picture they developed later that night it shows a vague outline of a man standing beside her. Creepy!

  6. There are many up here in Huntsville. In the twickingham district there is a ghost walk and stories of one ghost that haunts a tomb.

    My favorite stories are the bittersweet ones, but alas, I can't remember them to tell you any for sure.

  7. I like "La Llorona." It is about a woman who roams the night crying, calling out for her lost children.

    Thanks for your support, Heather!!

  8. Thanks for all the great comments! The winner of a copy of SUMMER GOTHIC is Vincent. If you'll email me your mailing address (, I will drop your copy in the mail. Congrats!