Appalachia Ghosts - Haints - Spooky

Spooky October – Afraid In The Moonlight spooky october
Today’s Spooky October post is a story Pap used to tell me when I was little. It’s a true story. One time he took me down the road and up the little holler his family used to live in and showed me where it happened.


Afraid In The Moonlight


When Pap was about 9 years old (that’s him in the overalls), his family lived on the road just before the one we live on now. In those days, the road wasn’t paved, actually it wasn’t even graveled. Just a wagon/sled trail meandering through the countryside to the few houses that belonged to the area.

The house they lived in set off from the road about a 100 yards or so with a footpath leading from the road to the yard. Typical of most house sites there were various trails leading off in different directions depending on where you needed to go.

Pap was the oldest child in his family and by age 9 he had already found the need to sneak off to his own special place. In other words Pap had a hideout.

lean to

Pap built himself a lean-to up on the ridge that ran behind their house. Any chance Pap got he headed off to his hideout to build a fire, sit by himself, and if he was lucky cook a potato in the coals.

Full moon ghost stories
One fall moonlit night, Pap slipped off after supper. He didn’t tell anyone where he was going, he just snuck out and headed up the ridge to his lean-to. Since no one in the area had electricity in those days Pap was used to being in the dark and wasn’t scared to be out in it alone.

As Pap started up the dark trail, he was thinking of his lean-to and he was mighty pleased with himself for managing to sneak off alone.
The wind begin to blow as Pap made his way up the steepest portion of the trail. Just before a cloud blew across the moon, Pap saw a tall dark figure walking quickly down the other side of the fence line. The person wore a wide hat and a long dark flowing coat. The shadowy figure didn’t see Pap, but 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 mother and father. He never told anyone what he’d seen, he just sneaked back in as quietly as he had snuck out.

After the fear subsided, Pap realized the dark figure was probably someone he knew. Once Pap begin to think about who the figure might have been he soon came to the conclusion that it was probably a young man with the last name of Frankum, who was often seen wandering the countryside.

Frankum was kind of quare (strange) and went about wearing a big floppy hat and a long coat. He was in his late teens and would often show up at Pap’s house close to supper time, knowing he’d be offered something to eat.

WWII hadn’t been over long and most people were still suffering from the war and just hard times in general. Pap said it frustrated his father when Frankum would show up before supper because there was barely enough for them to eat. 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 he would often invite himself to spend the night, sleeping in the floor till it was time for breakfast.



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  • Reply
    October 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    I can only imagine how wide eyed Pap was when that figure came into view and how he watched over his shoulder until he made safely inside the house.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Our grandad often told us about one night when he stayed at a friend’s drinking and playing cards until very late. He had a bicycle that he’d ride back and forth, and it was very late when he headed home, so he figured he’d take a shortcut through the cemetery. All was going fine, but then he started thinking about what he was doing, and how late it was, and how dark it was – and he started getting scared, seeing things, hearing things, you know how it goes.
    Well about that time, he heard this clunk clunk sound right beside him, and he put the pedal to the metal on that bike speeding out of that cemetery thinking the hounds of hell were on his tail.
    Well, it wasn’t until he took the same route the next day that he figured out what had scared him so – he’d ran over a manhole cover with the bike, and it had made that noise. We laughed to hear of it when we were kids, cause we could just see it happening.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I can imagine a boy in the dark by himself seeing something like this. Very scary I am sure. Great story. I enjoyed it.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Here is a story I once heard about spooky moonlight nights and cemetaries. I’m sure it wasn’t true but who knows!
    It seems that one night the village drunk was going home and took a short cut through the cemetary. There was to be a funeral the next day there and the workman had already dug the grave so that it would be ready. The old drunk was singing as he walked and didn’t see the freshly dug grave. He fell in and try as he would he could not get out. He tried until he finally just sat down and gave up.
    Later this young man was also taking a short cut through the cemetary and he fell in the same grave. He became scared and tried to get get out. he tried and tried but to no avail. Graves were dug deeper back then.
    Well, he rested and started trying to jump out or claw his way out. He became exhausted and quit trying for a while.
    It seems that since the old drunk was crouched in the shadow side of the grave the young man never noticed that he had company. Finally the old drunk stood up behind the young man and put his hand on his shoulder and said in his slurred speech YOOUUU..CAANNN’T..GET OUUT! But he DID! Nothing like a little motivation.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks for the great read, Tipper! I love scary stories! The spookier they are the more I love them! I also adore horror movies – my favourite being “I know what you did last summer” But the moonlight evokes only romantic moments to me – such as candlelit dinners under the stars and the full moon or a great walk along the beach in the moonlight. Have you read “The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins? Such a fascinating tale!

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Good story Tipper! Got a chuckle from Brian’s story—what a fun way to let your kid know you’d go to battle for him. Liked Bill’s story of the tree root, too.
    Can tell this is going to be a great month of stories–as usual!

  • Reply
    B f
    October 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    we didnt have much in the way of entertainment back in the day so we learned to make our own thrills by telling ghost stories or anything scary as the mind can come up with and in the dark everything takes on a eerie figure or shape whatever
    i was sent somewhere once with a family and we got back after dark so i had to find my way home thru the woods and a big pine thicket down a dusty dark road almost a mile with no kind of light and just as i was almost to the corner of the road something blowed right into my face ,this is nojoke , i never heard it leave or anything and i cant remember if i run or what but to this day i think about that night and folks this is not a ghost story ,its as real as i am setting here
    we,ll never know what it was but i stomped my foot and said something and that was all i heard

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I really enjoyed the way you told
    the story of Pap and the Stranger
    in the woods. Matter of fact everyone’s story was entertaining,
    especially Bill Burnett getting all worked up over a root. There’s
    just something eerie that seems to
    happen after darkness falls.
    My grandma told me stories of the
    days of the depression era. She
    had 16 youngin’s of her own, but
    managed to always feed the hobos
    traveling thru the Nantahala Gorge
    in search of work…Ken

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    October 6, 2011 at 10:44 am

    One night around Halloween thirty years ago, when my son was three and Mom had tucked him into bed, I heard him cry, “Daddy! There’s a monster in my room!”
    I rushed upstairs, stomping and raging, to find Brian in the night-light with a pillow over his head. “What! A monster? No monsters in this house!” I roared. Big Dad threw back the curtains, opened the closet, and dove under the bed. “Here he is! Aargh! He’s got me!”
    The struggle was titanic. Brian knelt on the edge of the bed, enthralled, as the monster and I rolled on the floor, biting and scratching. “Take that!” I cried. “Biff! Bam! Wham!”
    “Got him by the tail!” I staggered up, clawing at my throat, swung the monster around my head and flung it out the window. “By golly, that was close,” I panted, chest heaving. “But don’t worry, he won’t be back here again soon!”
    Brian’s mom was cowering in our bedroom, convinced I was committing mayhem on our child. But his monster phase was past. Now, at age 31, he still invites me out for lunch.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 10:33 am

    That’s a great story, I can see in my mind the road and yard the way you described them – Nice eerie photos too!
    Lucky Pap, to grow up when he did. Nowadays if you let your child roam the woods, build a little shelter and a fire and cook his own potatoes, you’d probably be charged with child endangerment.
    Isn’t it something the way we follow our ‘code’ no matter if we’d rather not. I could never turn anyone away at meal time either.
    I can’t wait to read more ghost stories!

  • Reply
    Rick Kratzke
    October 6, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I have been spooked so many times and I like to think that I don’t spook easily that I tend to block them out I’m not ashamed to say.
    I did love your story though as the hair stood on the back of my neck.
    Thanks for the wakeup.

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    October 6, 2011 at 10:24 am

    That’s a good story Tipper. At nine years old that would be scary!I’m glad it is now written down and preserved for Chitter and Chatter’s grandchildren!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 6, 2011 at 9:09 am

    That’s a good story from Pap. I think that would have scared the daylights out of me too!
    A full moon, a shadowy figure and a fertile imagination can create all kinds of frightening things.
    I can’t help but comment on Pap’s dad feeding a hungry man even though they hardly had enough food for themselves. That was the way of the country people in those times. Now days few of us have ever been hungry or experienced such dire times yet your grandfather shared what he had. That one incident is a snapshot of the Appalachia we love!

  • Reply
    Mary Berrong
    October 6, 2011 at 9:09 am

    When I was about 4 or 5, my sister and I spent a few days with my mother’s parents, Paw and Maw. We had an older cousin who lived close by. The woods behind Maw and Paw’s house went all the way up the ridge and one day, we decided to go up on the ridge exploring. Kenny took a hammer of Paws and we made our way up a little trail that led almost to the top. As kids do, we were fooling around and Kenny told us about a black panther that lived in the woods. Of course we didn’t believe him, at least not much. My sister, Carol, climbed a tree to get some holly to take home. About the time she reached high enough to break off the holly limbs, we heard a high pitched scream, kinda like a woman would make. Carol hollared down to Kenny to stop making that sound. Kenny took to running down the trail, looking back over his shoulder and hollaring that he didn’t make the sound, it was the panther. Now I took to running after Kenny, leaving Carol in the tree. She scampered down mighty quick and we didn’t beat her to the house by much. We were all pretty shook up telling Paw all about the “panther”. His response, “Where’s my hammer?” We wouldn’t go back alone, so Paw went with us to retrieve the hammer. I don’t know if we were more scared when we heard the panther scream or when we had to go back into those woods.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 6, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Did you ever go where Pap had his hideout? I guess it’s growed up with ivy and tangle weeds by this time..Scary but funny at the same time..It kinda makes me want to know more about Frankum as well..was he homeless and what caused his quareness..
    When we moved here nearly 40 years ago…we had a wanderer that would walk thru the woods…used to scare me to death, but that’s another tale…
    I love these mountain spooky stories..some you can rationalize some cannot be solved!
    Great post!
    Thanks Tipper and Pap

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 8:36 am

    great story, and i would have thought it was the headless horseman without his head. since i am very much scared of the dark and have been since birth, i would never ever go up on that ridge alone in the dark. great story.

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    October 6, 2011 at 8:33 am

    When I was little we all went down to Papas ( my granddaddy). He had a ancient old three story tall griss mill on the Eurhalee River and across the road was his two story spread-out house. My uncle was going to have a camp out with my brother and cousin down by the river. My mama and I decided we would ride on down there too. By the time we got there, it was raining so the camping out deal was over, everyone was inside and we watched “The Phantom of the Opera” on tv and then went to bed. In the middle of the night I woke up and my mama was not in the bed with me.. I looked across the room and my brother and cousin were not in that bed either. I lay there thinking about what I should do.. the house was as silent as a tomb. I decided that in the movies when someone got up to go look for someone.. they usually got got by whatever was roaming around. But I finally could not take lying in the bed alone, so I got on up and went to the next bedroom where I knew my uncle was.. the bed was empty. Now I went on into the big living room which was lit by only one small lamp and on into my Papas bedroom.. also empty. I slowly went to the kitchen, empty.. and slowly I made it through the entire 10 room house only to find I was the only one in it! I went back to the living room and just sat there, I had decided that if whatever got everyone came back, it could just get me too, as I had nowhere else to go. After what seemed like an eternity, the front door opened and my mama walked in! I was never more happy to see her! It seemed that about 3, it stopped raining, my uncle woke the boys and they went on back out across the road to their tent.. mama and papa had gone to, and everyone left me! It wasn’t anything, but still to me, almost 40 years later.. it was the scariest time of my life!

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 8:19 am

    That’s a scarry story. Can’t imagine anyone going out in the woods after dark. Not me! Am glad he figured out who the man was.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 8:05 am

    No spooky tales from me, though yours is a good one. I do have some plum granny seeds I would like to share with you, if you would like them. If you are interested just e-mail me your address. I had it and now can’t find it!
    [email protected]

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    October 6, 2011 at 8:02 am

    That surely would have spooked me too. I recall when my cousins and I all used to stay at my Mama’s house, we’d walk to town which was about 2-3 miles and go to the Ellis theater. (for a quarter you could see a movie and get popcorn and a coke) One particular night on the way home, all our daddy’s decided to scare us. You see on the way home was a grave yard with big old and tall grave stones. They hid behind them and jumped out in sheets and blankets hollerin. I’m pretty sure there was a burnt streak on the ground the rest of the way to mama’s house from us running so fast. They had a great laugh at our expense that evening.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    October 6, 2011 at 8:01 am

    When a freshman in High School we would finish football practice around 6:30 pm and I would set out on my way home by way of the thumb or many times I would do the entire twelve and a half miles on “shank’s mare”. This would mean I got home between 9:30 and 10:00 pm. There was a shortcut where I could cut off NC 28 down a trail through the woods to Lower Needmore Rd. and cut off approx. a mile. The major problem was ths trail went through the edge of a cemetary. I usually traversed this section at a run. One night about halfway through the cemetary something grabbed my foot causing me to turn a flip which skinned me up fairly well, however I landed on my feet and I discovered another gear and covered the remaining half mile home quickly. The following weekend I went back to the cemetary in daylight to try to ascertain if there was any sign of who had grabbed my foot and discovered a large root which grew accross the trail from the base of a large Oak which had the bark skinned where my toe had hooked it. It’s amazing what a young persons mind can conjure up on dark nights in cemetaries. I was still leary of my shortcut for some time even though I knew the root had tripped me but I still just played it safe and walked the extra mile. I look back now and still get a chuckle out of this occurance. Just one of the joys of growing up “country”.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 6, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Thanks Tipper, I enjoyed this one. I can remember scaring myself to death when I was that age too. The shadows in my room turned into the boogy man out to get me.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 7:09 am

    I can only imagine how he felt running back home with all that adrenaline running through his body.
    Safe in the comforts of home is where I like to be 🙂
    Good story, thank you Tipper.

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