Ghosties, Headless Men, and Bloody Bones

Are you familiar with the phenomenon of parents scaring their children? Usually this tactic is employed to prevent children from doing something parents wish they would not.


When Papaw and his brothers were small they lived by a set of deep thick woods. Whenever it rained his parents told them, the man with no head walked in the woods. Papaw said they were so scared they would shut all the windows, lock the doors, and hide under the covers, even on hot summer days. I can see what was behind the scary story-four boys can drag in a lot of dirt from playing in the wet woods.

The only thing I can remember Pap and Granny telling Steve, Paul, and me was a generic “don’t do that or the boogie man will get you.” But it was said in such a kidding nature-I knew it wasn’t true.

Granny Gazzie

Granny Gazzie 

My Granny lived beside a 4-lane highway (her house was there long before the road). I can remember her warning us not to go behind the house or Bloody Bones would get us. I’m sure she was afraid we would wander into the busy highway. Since I couldn’t fathom how bones could hurt me I wasn’t scared and snuck behind the house as often as possible. I wish I had asked her what Bloody Bones was.  (I’m the baby in the picture-wasn’t my hat cute!)

The Deer Hunter does lots of scary teasing with the girls-jumping out at them as they go down the hallway or turning the lights off when they are in the shower. But we haven’t ever used the scare tactic on them-except where it’s totally true-beware of strangers.

Carving pumpkins in appalachia

Chitter and Chatter

One autumn day when the girls were small we were visiting Papaw. He lives near a paper mill and you can faintly hear the whistle blow through out the day. The girls were playing upstairs when the lunch whistle blew. They came running downstairs and Chatter said “We heard three ghosties one said whoo one said whooo and one said give me my shoes back.” We laughed at her story until we cried. Several days later I figured out the part about the shoes-we had recently watched The Wizard of Oz.


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  • Reply
    September 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    enjoyed all the posts

  • Reply
    Online poker
    February 1, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Oh, its great!

  • Reply
    'Cousin Dwayne'
    November 12, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Hey Cousin,
    Imagine my surprise when I ran across the picture of our Granny and You and Steve and Your Cousin JoAnn and ME (what a little porker I used to be)!
    I’ve looked at that and tried to determine where the picture was taken (probably somewhere in her yard). I remeber playing behind the house and on the hill that went down to the ‘main road’ as she used to call it. I’d probably be safe in saying that all of her grandchildren played on that hill in their childhoods. I remember playing ‘Simon Says’ and ‘Red Light Green Light’ with you and Steve and even Paul, as well as with other cousins that were ‘down to visit’. Races were held up and down that hill. Many grass stained clothes were the result of rolling down the hill and many people that drove down that road saw the children playing and waved and/or blew their horns as they passed.
    I don’t remember Granny talking about Bloody Bones but I do remember that she always worried that one of the ‘babies’ would run out in the road and get run over by a car. She was always checking on us to make sure that none of us got hurt and that we ‘stayed out of the road’ (even though I don’t think that she had that much to worry about). I had the opportunity to go into her house a while back, and it still seemed pretty much the same, just a bit smaller that I remember. I was comforting and sad at the same time because Granny wasn’t there. She passed in 1996 but my memories of her are as clear as if they had just happened yesterday.
    It sometimes seems so strange to realize how much time has passed, how everyone has grown up and now have families of their own, and how we rarely see each other, unless there is a funeral to attend.
    Strange how families seem to grow apart but come back together in times of grief. But that’s how life is.
    Okay, now, enough of that.
    I’m glad that you told me about this webpage. I visit it often and read your blogs and to see what pictures you have pulled out (wherever you get them from). I recognize most of the people and look forward to the next one’s that you pull from our family’s history.
    Gotta run for now.
    Your Cousin Dwayne.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2008 at 1:16 am

    There you are! Why do I always lose you! I have been looking all over for you! I am adding you right now to my blog roll!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    My Dad always wished that I did not suck my thumb. Mom made me thumb stalls as she called them and tied them tight on my wrist. A cople of hours later, Dad caught me sucking my thumb. Somehow I had managed to get one partically off a thumb.
    Dad was a house painter, he was cleaning brushes, so he took me outside and painted my thumbs, both of them, with turpentine.
    Mom said I was so mad I wouldn’t talk to him for several days. That must have been hard for me because I idolized my Dad. I was about 6 at the time.
    Today would have been his 95th Birthday.
    And I gave up thumb suck at about age 17.

  • Reply
    Farm Chick Paula
    October 23, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    LOL about “gimme my shoes back”!! That is too cute.
    My Grandmother used to scare the crap out of us kids with her stories… she would tell ghost stories from when she was a little girl, and her house was always kinda dark anyway. You can imagine how we used to look over our shoulder while she was telling one… she could have probably laughed out loud!

  • Reply
    noble pig
    October 23, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    That is hysterical, the man with no head! Ha!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    No my parents never scared me, but I must admit I scare my girls. We live right by the Mississippi river..scarey in itself..I tell them there are sharks, alligators and huge hands called currents that hold you underwater in the river. So far they’ve never ventured further than the top of the leevee. If you stand on the bank rocks, waves from the ships can swamp you and drag you in as my husband almost found out…I really hope I’ve scared the bejeebers out of them..or at least taught them to respect the river.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I love your stories about Pawpaw and days of long ago. The photos are delightful and yes, your hat is very cute.
    Dad only scared us by telling us if we did something we would be sorry. LOL We believed him too. That was his way of telling us our butts would be sore from a spanking.
    When I was very little, Grandma would tell me not to go to the barn or the bull would get me. His name was Oscar and little did she know that he and I were friends. He was a rip snortin’ bull, but for some reason, he was very gentle with me. I used to sit under his feet. However, there was at one time another bull that I was terrified of. He was MEAN! I had nightmares about him when I was very young.
    Enjoyed my visit, as always and thanks for stopping by my Writing Nook.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    October 23, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Not really my parents, but I’m really jumpy. My husband and kids do their best to keep my on my toes 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 23, 2008 at 7:51 am

    No, I was never told scary stories.
    My mothers parents used stories to scare her. I don’t remember the exact story, just that someone named “false face” tried to get her.
    I think that it was such a fright to her that she never did that to me!

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    October 22, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Ol’ Raw Head and Bloody Bones? Goodness, that’s a traditional tale from the southlands.
    What about Tailypo? Did you ever hear that story? Maybe I need to post it on my blog.
    My parents didn’t tell too many scary tales, but I sure did to my sons, and to my sisters when we were young. Cautionary tales will certainly keep a child from doing things they ought not do!
    My grandchildren can now keep pace with any storyteller, because they’ve learned all the spooky stories I tell, and have added their own embellishments–passing down a wonderful tradition of ghost stories.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    October 22, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Love that hat! I remember all little girls had at least one, mostly pink.
    My parents used to try that with the other kids in my family, but I wasn’t afraid. My Dad used to tell the story of if your feet hung over the edge of the bed at night the ring goblins would put rings on your toes that you could never take off. I always hung my feet over and still do. No rings to this day! xxoo

  • Reply
    October 22, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Love the picture of the little girls and the story of the 3 ghosties. 🙂
    My parents didn’t really scare us … my mom used to tell us that eating raw cookie/donut dough would give us worms because of the raw eggs. We knew she was wrong because we learned it was good from watching her eat it! 😀

  • Reply
    Julie Curtis
    October 22, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Bloody Bones lived in our attic!!! We had pull-down attic access steps in
    the hall and my dad would tell us old Bloody Bones lived up there, I’m sure in part to keep us from trying to climb up there with him. When my daughter came along, he told her the same story. He had round air conditioner vents in his den ceiling and all he had to do was roll his eyes towards the ceiling and she would go ballistic! When she bought her house (she’s now 32) the first thing she had done was to have the ROUND CEILING VENTS replaced with rectangular [email protected]!! We still laugh about old Bloody Bones.

  • Reply
    Diane ( Crafty Passions)
    October 22, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Cute story!!
    Nope my folks didn’t scare us but Mom liked to play tricks on us all the time,she loved to have fun.
    One time she did scare me tho …. the day I found out her real age (I was in my 50’s), that scared me silly because in one second she was 10 years older than I thought she was.

  • Reply
    trisha too
    October 22, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    no, thank goodness!!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    You know, I sat here thinking and thinking — I don’t think my parents ever told me stories to scare me.
    It wouldn’t have taken much effort. I had a wild imagination and would have fallen for it.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    When I was about Chitter and Chatter’s age, there was a road named “Gordon’s Lick” that connected to our road. My mom and her best friend was driving us kids to art class (7-9 p.m. in Oct. so it was dark on the way home). We asked them what the road name meant.
    Well, they must’ve been in a Halloween mood, because they commenced to telling us how there had been this guy named Gordon who had been caught stealing horses and they had hung him in a tree on that road and that now he still haunts the road, riding a horse and he’s missing his head because they left him hanging so long that it fell off…
    Right at that moment, we saw a white ghost, without a head, riding a horse in our headlights! We kids screamed and the grown-ups screamed and mom slammed on her brakes! Turned out to be the neighbor riding his horse…he was drunk and wearing a white undershirt without a jacket. Boy, we all had a good laugh about it, but I’ve never got the real story about “Gordon’s Lick.”

  • Reply
    Matthew Burns
    October 22, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Yes, as a child, we got scared regularly by the grown-ups. We’d get threatened with the booger man, Old Fon the goat man, the wampus cat, the snollygaster, and with the demon next door (when we were bad, Mom would throw open the door between our house and the spook house next door that was home of the demon, and she’d holler “Come and get ’em, demon, come and get ’em”).
    Grandmaw Mary would often tell us to behave or the banshee down in the old stone cowbarn would get us.
    I remember my granddaddy even threatening to sell me to the gypsies! I think that was probably wishful thinking on his part, I doubt that the gypsies would have had me.
    Very interesting childhood though. Even now, I still wonder if some of these things exist, so they must have done a good job scaring us kids straight.

  • Reply
    Valarie Lea
    October 22, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Oh that last story was so cute! I really don’t remember my daddy or mama scaring me, but I do like to scare my children, well at least the girls 🙂

  • Reply
    October 22, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    The hat is adorable and so is baby you!
    My Dad liked to tell stories. Then he introduced me to Masterpiece Theatre on the radio. Used to scare the pants off me.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Oooh, yes, my Sweet Pea used to scare us when she’d talk about the “hainted” house in town. She told me and my cousins that the house was “hainted” (haunted) by the White Screamer and that if we went in there and heard it screaming, we’d turn crazy.
    Once, 2 of my cousins and I decided to find out. We went to the house and walked up on the old, dilapidated porch. We heard what must have been a hoot owl. I’ve never run so fast in my life, getting away from that house!
    Sweet Pea also had us scared of the Boogerman, who she said lived up in the attic. I’m sure it was her way of just keeping us out of there. It worked! Anytime I’d hear any sort of creak that sounded like it was coming from the upstairs area, Sweet Pea would say, “that’s the ol’ Boogerman watching you!”

  • Reply
    City Mouse/Country House
    October 22, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    We got plenty of scare on boy scout camping trips – the leaders always pulled some scary prank. Once they told this long story about some “fire thing” in the woods, and had rigged up a little tin can of gasoline in the campfire, so they could flare it up at the end of the story. (It really WAS scary.) Gasoline – sheesh. I hope they had an extinguisher hidden behind a tree!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Oh, the 3 ghosties story made me laugh! That is priceless.
    I wasn’t afraid of anything. My little brother on the other hand… we lived in an a-frame house with stairs to the basement between the kitchen and living room. Down those stairs was the rec room with all the toys. I would wait until my poor brother was occupied in his own little play world and I would run up the stairs and turn the light off (the one on the stairs not the one in the rec room – I’m not that mean). Here’s the really mean part… my dad would hear me running up the stars and he’d start going “booooooooo booooga boogaa booooo”.
    Even now at 37 years old and 6′ 5″, he won’t go in the basement with us around.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    No, I don’t remember my parents ever saying anything like that. LOL Now, my mother’s family believed in odd things and would tell us about it. My grandmother had to hire someone to paint the house fence, all at once, because every time she painted the fence and stopped, someone in her family died. Things like that. Didn’t know it until later that the family dabbled in witchcraft. Ug…

  • Reply
    October 22, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing!

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