Haunting Songs

Blindpigandtheacorn.com spooky october

Music is huge part of my life-that’s no surprise to anyone who reads the Blind Pig on a regular basis. My Spooky October wouldn’t be complete without a post about scary songs. Halloween parties often play songs like Monster Mash, Ghostbusters, and Thriller but I’m talking about songs that are truly spooky.

I divided the haunting songs that came to mind into 3 different groups. I’m sure there are songs I didn’t think of-you can help me out by adding to the groups-or coming up with a new group.

Group 1

Appalachia is famous world wide for it’s murder ballads. A few of the oldest most horrific ballads originated in the British Isles and were brought here by the first settlers. I’ve wrote about the phenomenon before-how something so horrible could attract listeners year after year-generation after generation-including myself.

Here’s a list of murder ballads-each title is a link to a youtube video-be forewarned the songs are not for the faint at heart. (*Before you watch the video you need to stop the music player-the music controls are along the top of this page on the far left side-just above the Blind Pig logo. Click the center round button to stop the player)

Group 2

Other songs that came to mind-seemed to reach across several genres of music-bluegrass-county-and even rock.

Group 3

Growing up in a Southern Baptist atmosphere the Devil and his host of demons are wrapped up in most of my fears. Those fears were supported by more than one religious warning song. You know songs that tell a story of what will happen if you stray from the straight and narrow. To me-these are the scariest eeriest songs. An interesting combination of spirituality and fear being intertwined so tightly you can’t really tell them apart.

Hope you enjoyed my list of haunting songs-and Paul’s contribution. So what song do you think is spooky?


Post originally printed on October 28, 2009


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  • Reply
    February 15, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Thank you for the comment! YES thats the sort of song I was talking about : ) I had never heard it before so thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I really liked it!
    Have a great day,
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    February 12, 2015 at 4:07 am

    Rachel brook – the black bird
    Is that what you were looking for?

  • Reply
    October 30, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Barbara-Thank you for the comment! The only song I can think of about the blackbirds-is one the Nasheville Bluegrass Band does-its about a man killing his wife/girlfriend cause she wants to leave him and go back to Atlanta-the only ones who know what happened to her-is the blackbirds and the crows. Does that sound like the song?
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    barbara karr
    October 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    do you know the song, “What the Blackbird Saw”? I heard it once on the radio when they were playing music from the Appalachia region and I think it is a very haunting song. have never heard it again, but the music and lyrics haunt me still.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I am not a fan of Halloween movies, scary things, but I love all those songs you mentioned.
    The haunting sounds of the murder songs, the death songs, stay with you after you hear them.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Hey Tipper, lots of good spooky songs in this post. My favorite was Pretty Polly. Enjoyed the video of Paul singing too.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    October 27, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Some great songs. I always thought this one was particularly eerie.
    “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia”

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 26, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Being a Bette Davis fan…I loved all the sound tracks from her horror movies…”What Ever Happened to Baby Jane”..”Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte”…
    Also the haunting La la la la la la sound track from “Rosemarys Baby” very haunting and scary…I never ever will forget the horror suspense sound of the high pitched staccato notes of the violins in “Psycho”! I’ll never get used to that scene, it shakes me even today after seeing the movie many many times…
    One of the scariest songs for me when I was young and could not understand was “Rock a bye Baby” for the love of all that is good why would anyone write a song about the limb (bough) breaking so the baby would fall to its death or at the least hurt..LOL Because of it I really never sang it to my children…
    Oh, Death is still one the most haunting songs today…mainly due from the soundtrack of Oh, Brother where art Thou…
    I’ve never heard a happy holiday Halloween song anywhere near like…”Here Comes Santa Claus”, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane, etc. or Here comes Peter Cotton Tail, hopping down the bunny train, hippity, hoppity Easters on its way….No one can’t seem to get a good grip on an upbeat Pumpkinity, Whitchity, Ghostlely, Black Kittyly, Batty song….Someone should write one…LOL

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    October 26, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Bobby Bare’s “Marie Laveau” is a witch song, a novelty song, but always fun this time of the year.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Always liked “Ghost Riders In The Sky”. Guess the others are ok once in awhile to listen to. Just my favorite thing.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I did the murder ballad Banks of the Ohio a couple of years ago on a program we called “Into Temptation”. Scary song, that one. I love spooky music, and played my old Disney haunted mansion LP to death as a kid.
    There are some really good Irish and English ballads that are spooky too: The Cork Leg (it dances it’s owner to death), and even She Moved Through the Fair, which most people think is a love song, actually turns into a ghost story by the end, when her ghost appears to the spurned narrator. Another spooky song is Gordon Lightfoot’s Ghosts of Cape Horn. That whistling gets me every time!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 26, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Tipper, all those songs do haunt me every time I hear them! I did not know that those murder ballads were brought here from the British Isles, but I have to tell you the truth….I don’t like any of them. They hurt my heart!

  • Reply
    October 26, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I like all those spooky songs.
    Although some I haven’t heard and I must come back to click on the link.
    How about the song “Big John”? That is spooky in a twisted sort of way because he gave his life to save the others. It’s a sad song, but always been spooky to me.

  • Reply
    Heritage Farm Village
    October 25, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    hi there! new to your blog and really liking your header and the fact that you are blogging about your app heritage. we have turned our farm into a village which has now become a tourist destination in wv. would love for you to stop by our new blog. looking forward in following your through email. jill

  • Reply
    Brian P.T. Blake
    October 25, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Dear Tipper, What a great song collection! My favorite is Johnny Cash’s “Ghost Riders” – spooky as they come, with a message. I’ve got the arresting image of “chasing a devil’s herd of red-eyed steers through the ragged sky” as the theme of Great-grandfather’s epitaph in my biography – he grew up “roping, riding, and twirling a pistol on the Old Chisholm Trail. And you have the Kingston Trio classics from my fondly remembered college days! “Jigger of gin” indeed! They’ll last as long as the Appalachian hills. Great stuff! Thanks, and happy All Hallows Eve!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    October 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Tipper–Another song which comes to mind, and to me it is a modern classic, is Josh Turner’s Long Black Train. It has a haunting melody.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    October 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    I have always loved the song, “Pretty Polly”, and really don’t know why. It is creepy. Nice link of Gillian Welch and The Cheiftans. Two of my favorites.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    October 25, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Some great songs there! I love O Death too — and Long Black Veil and Willow Garden and lots of others that you mention. I also think of I WONDER AS I WANDER which I first heard when I was at Camp Junaluska back in the mid-fifties. Our music counselor Dolores Dollar taught it to us — the minor key was what made it hauunting.

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    October 25, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    tipper: i guess with some of us older folk, “ohh death” by ralphy boy would be the most haunting.but all those you listed would put a fella in a dour mood. i sure listen to um though. happy holloween, from us way out west. k.o.h

  • Reply
    Bob Dalsemer
    October 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    oops – that should be Bringing Mary Home!

  • Reply
    Bob Dalsemer
    October 25, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Long Black Veil is the only song I know narrated by a dead person – now that’s spooky. Another great ghost song that comes to mind is Bring Mary Home which was a big hit for the Country Gentlemen

  • Reply
    October 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I just finished listening to all the songs you wrote about and its
    a toss-up between Paul’s “I cast a
    lonely shadow” and Johnny Cash’s
    Ghost Riders in the Sky.” However,
    all those eerie young lovers killing the girl is hard to under-
    stand, hense…Knoxville Girl. But
    its almost Halloween, huh? Ken

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    October 25, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Tipper–Grand stuff. If there’s a song scarier than Ralph Stanley’s “O Death” I haven’t heard it. That song is eeriness writ large. One song I would have added, at least in part because it is such an enduring literary theme, is Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The idea of selling one’s soul traces through the Faust legend, Goethe’s “Dr. Faustus” from the early era of Romantic literature, Stephen Vincent Benet’s wonderfully lyrical poem, “The Mountain Whipoorwill,” and on down to Daniels.
    One other thing. I associate “Miller’s Cave” with Hank Snow, although no doubt Bobby Bare recorded it, as he did so many other songs. Or maybe my memory is at fault, a circumstance which is, to say the least, a distinct possibility.
    Jim Casada
    Jim Casada

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