Afraid In The Moonlight

pap remembers snow in may

Pap wearing overalls with his family.

When Pap was about 9 years old, he had a favorite hideout. Up the ridge from his house he built a lean-to. He would spend his free time there building fires and sometimes baking potatoes in the coals.

One fall moonlit night, without telling anyone, Pap slipped off after supper, headed to his lean-to. Not having electricity at home, Pap was use to the dark and not scared to be out in it.

As he started up the dark moonlit trail, Pap was thinking about his lean-to and was pleased he had managed to sneak off by himself.

As the wind begin to pick up, he saw a tall dark figure walking quickly down the other side of the fence line. It wore a wide hat and a long dark flowing coat. Although the figure didn’t seem to see Pap-it scared the beejeebies out of him.

Pap made a hasty retreat back home to the light of the oil lamp and the safety of his parents. He didn’t tell anyone what he’d seen-for fear he’d be punished for slipping off.

A few days later, after the fear subsided, Pap realized the dark figure was probably someone he knew. There was a young man who lived in the area, with the last name of Frankum, who was often seen wandering the countryside.

Frankum was kinda strange and would often show up at Pap’s house close to supper time, knowing he’d be offered something to eat. This was in the days of most families having little food due to rationing and just general hard times. Pap said it frustrated his father-because there was barely enough for them. But like most mountain folks-Pap’s parents shared what they had even though it was very little. Frankum seemed to take advantage of their generosity-as often he would invite himself to spend the night, sleeping in the floor until breakfast time.

Not long after this incident Frankum joined the Merchant Marines-where he remained until his retirement.

Ever seen a dark figure in the woods? Glad to say I have not!!


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  • Reply
    October 19, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Great story. I liked the photo illustrations!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    I have never seen a dark figure in the woods but my brother and I were horrible little trolls and WERE the dark figures in the woods many times frightening the poor boy scouts at a camp across the road from my parents place.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    That would have scared the beejeebies out of me, too!

  • Reply
    October 14, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Certainly a creepy tale! Thanks for submitting it to the Carnival of Genealogy!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    No sir, no dark figures in the woods at night for me. I was afraid to go out in the night. I was an adult before I got over my fear of the night.
    Now that I’ve confessed that fear let me tell you another. I was always terrified of lightening and thunder! When the Deerhunter was born I came to understand that if I didn’t do something about this fear of storms he was likley to grow up with the same fear. It was important to me that he not have this fear of storms so I got over it for him. I did for him what I could not do for myself.
    I am happy to report that I am not afraid to be out alone in the dark and I am not afraid of storms. Now I actually enjoy the power of storms!

  • Reply
    October 10, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Hey Tipper!
    I came by to thank you for your sweet comments and also to let you know that I just posted another installment of the story. Boy, I am hooked on that thing. I like Helen. She’s just spiffy.

  • Reply
    October 10, 2008 at 9:25 am

    What a great story, Tipper! I was too much of a coward to go out by myself at night~I’d see something even if it wasn’t there!
    I love to hear the old stories about the generosity of mountain/country folks. My grandma said that a lot of times, strangers would stop by and eat with them. There were a few stories she told that were a little scary, but my gr grandpa always invited the strangers inside and made them welcome, even after the ‘odd’ person or two had shown up.

  • Reply
    October 9, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Great Story!
    I’ll never forget the screams from a bunch of city girls at a church youth retreat. It was pitch black and the windows were open in the un-airconditioned dorm cabin…We heard the most awful screeching….All of us were in one bunk in a matter of seconds. Later we found out the horrid screeching was a screech owl. We had never heard that before.

  • Reply
    The Tile Lady-Marie
    October 9, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    Oh, Tipper, I loved this story about Pap as a child! It was perfect to share in October when we start to become “spooked” and I love the accompanying song! Wow, I could almost see it happening, as if I was there myself!

  • Reply
    Farm Chick Paulaf
    October 9, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    This reminded me of all the wonderful ghost stories my grandmother used to tell us… things that happened to her when she was a little girl… she always had us glued to our seats!! (and to each other!!)

  • Reply
    October 9, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    ohh dark figures , i’ve seen a few. sounds like a good spooky story for halloween brewing!

  • Reply
    October 9, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I’ve always liked to sneak off by myself & wander around. Luckily I’ve never seen a dark figure, but once we were riding the horses back home in the pitch dark. I was so scared, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face! The horses brought us back safely.

  • Reply
    October 9, 2008 at 10:43 am

    I love how you told this story and the corresponding pictures!
    I grew up on a farm where we had to do morning chores before the school bus picked us up, so we were out in the dark at 5:30 each morning. I never saw a mysterious figure in the woods but instead imagined them lurking behind each and every tree!

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    October 9, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Tipper: I actually made a post on being in the mountains and how the dark moves in and covers you like a blinding blanket. The Moon must have been out for Pap to see anything. The fear of being in the dark is accented when in the woods. What is just around the next tree has to be a question that goes through your mind. What was that noise? It can be so spooky.

  • Reply
    October 9, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Isn’t that crazy…him walking in the dark like that…because you know back then there were no big lights or anything so when it got dark it got DARK!

  • Reply
    October 9, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Oh, that gives me the chills! I walk in the early a.m. because I am a teacher, and I never stop to worry who might be out there. The dark has become familiar to me. But it’s interesting how different people are in the dark than they are in daylight. We just don’t know…

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    October 9, 2008 at 2:25 am

    I remember figures in the woods, during the day being scary as a little girl! I cannot imagine if it had been night!

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    It’s cool enough here to sleep with the windows open. Last night just before I turned off the lights I heard an animal wandering around outside and for a while after I was in bed I could catch a whiff of his scent – musky and wild. Probably a raccoon but I sure wasn’t going to look out there to see! blessings, marlene

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    You did a great job telling this story. The pictures turned out nice too. I think Pap once took me to the place where the mysterious figure passed him in the woods. It’s not far from where we live now–up near the Cook home-place. This post makes me think of the Del McCoury Song “It’s Just the Night.” Maybe you can find it online and link it to your playlist to set the mood for this post/month. 🙂
    As a kid, I was never scared to be out in the woods at night either, mostly because I knew them so well at the time. I could find my way even without a light. My only concern was the possibility of stepping on a snake. Of course, that was back before we had bears here! Yikes! I think I’d much rather run into a mysterious stranger than a 500 lbs. carnivorous critter with massive claws and teeth.

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    My brother,sister and I played outside in the dark all the time. We had so much fun trying to scare each other. I don’t recall seeing anything or anybody traipsing around tho. Good thing cause I would’nt have gone ouside in the dark ever again,LOL

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Can’t remember if I have or not. We walk a lot in the early evening hours and I hate it when the bats come out and start darting about. I’m always afraid one is going to land on my head.

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    October 8, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    I try to avoid the dark and any figures that might be lurking in it.

  • Reply
    Valarie Lea
    October 8, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    This reminds me of the stories my Daddy tells about living up in the mountains.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    October 8, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Never saw anyone in the dark woods like Pap saw. I probably would have walked towards it to see what it was. I know, I’m weird like that. xxoo

  • Reply
    The Texican
    October 8, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    The woods are full of awful looking creatures at night. Tree limbs, stumps, vines, and deadfalls all change into frightful creatures in the colorless world of the night. Pappy

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Growing up, we ran around all the time in the dark in the neighborhood and the woods nearby. Being the times they were and out in the country a bit, we had nothing to fear. These days, living in town, I’m not as brave as I used to be.

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I have never actually seen a figure in the dark like that but I used to pretend it with my sister in our fort when we camped out. We’d imagine that scary people and monsters were hiding in the shadows and ready to pounce on us.
    We scared ourselves have to death!

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    A dark figure in the woods? Even now, if I was to run up on such a thing, I think I’d break a world record running!
    I bet your Pap had nightmares. I sure would have!

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    We lived in the country and I was terrified of the dark. We always had electricity, at least I can’t remember not having it. But I didn’t like the night sounds and stayed close to the house at night.

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Hmmmmm, don’t think I have either. Good story for October! Isn’t it interesting that those with the least to give always end up giving the most? Why is it that the most generous are always those with the least to give? I never have been able to figure that one out …

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    No, I didn’t go out after dark, by myself. Too chicken. But I’ve seen the faces of others who have and it was hilarious!
    I can just see the wide-eyed look of Pap’s young boy face, there in the dark. Makes me giggle. Sorry Pap!

  • Reply
    noble pig
    October 8, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I love these stories and the moon.

  • Reply
    Queen of planet Hotflash
    October 8, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    What a great haint story. This time of year the boogers are every where lol :o)

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Awesome! Thank you fro sharing… 🙂

  • Reply
    October 8, 2008 at 11:25 am

    You’re so fortunate to have had so many of your Pap’s stories related to you (even the scary ones), and to now be passing them on, yourself. Storytelling in families is not the common denominator it used to be.

  • Reply
    Matthew Burns
    October 8, 2008 at 11:23 am

    I remember walking in the dark from my granddad’s house to our house many time when I was growing up. To do this I had to walk down the holler and across the crick. I know i saw stuff many times that can’t be explained, it is well known that the holler is haunted by a headless horseman (not of the Sleepy Holler variety), a black ghost dog and the wampus cat. I remember one time hearing the unmistakable sound of horseshoe’s clanging off the rocks and clomping up the holler road toward me one night, and I about pee’d my pants. I ran as hard as I could across the crick and toward home. I was just sure the headless horseman was right behind me. After that, I remember carrying a flashlight with me, I guess that way I could get a good look at what was scaring me to death. I know what i heard that night though, and there were no horses within miles of our holler. I have never been able to come up with an explanation for that one.

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