Ghost Journal

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
The salty old Skipper told the truth. We should have heeded his grim warning....

Submitted: January 19, 2019

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Submitted: January 19, 2019



A time when I saw a supernatural entity that made me believe in the paranormal is when I was alone in a funeral parlor after hours. How and why I was there is another story all together, but one of the corpses raised the lid on a casket, crawled ghoulishly out, and beckoned me to follow her, so I did.

She led me down the hall to the office of the funeral director. With a bony disgusting crooked finger she pointed to an old faded photograph on the wall behind the desk, then the corpse-lady vanished in a sudden puff of creepy chartreuse smoke right before my very eyes.

I moved the old framed photograph aside and found a shadowy niche, a hole in the wall. Inside was a yellowed newspaper clipping about strange disappearances and unusual deaths. With trembling fingers, I pulled the ancient article out of the dusty hidden alcove and read the eerie reports, but then I heard someone walking out in the hallway. The footsteps drew nearer and nearer. I quickly shoved the old newspaper clipping back into its hiding place, cautiously replaced the faded photograph in its gilded frame back over that ominous hole, and raced out the back door of the funeral home.

The next day, the local news was loudly bellowing in frenzied round-the-clock broadcasts that the owner of the funeral home had been found floating face down without a breath of life remaining in his body - a stiff gray-blue cold cadaver in a slimy green pond at the edge of the swamp that had been mentioned numerous warning times in the old newspaper article.

The article, as best I can remember, went something as follows -

“I sure as Neptune ain’t goin’ out in them spooky woods lookin’ for whatever might be lyin’ in wait out there in that god-awful place.”

Skipper gave his last statement time to sink in, then added, “I have no idea what it was that Beecher saw. I’m convinced he saw something, but exactly what it was, I honestly admit that I have no way of knowing for certain, but I’ll tell you something that worries me. I’ve heard some old and very unnerving legends that tell of a swamp woman who the Tribal Elders call Skagatemuck. They say she’s placed a curse on this island and that she’s the reason the old inn is haunted. She’s what they call a ghost-witch, and she’s nothin’ to be tamperin’ with. Her ways are old ways. The craft she practices is not of this world. None of the tribes have ever set foot on this island and none ever will. They say this is unhallowed ground. Before he went missin’, Beecher said there was something malignant on this island. Said he could feel it in his bones. Now, to delve deeper into the fear of the ghost-witch, beware! This legendary harbinger of the Apocalypse lives in the deepest, darkest sink of the island woods at the heart of a great cranberry bog. It’s a dangerous place full of quagmires and bottomless pits and poisonous thorns that stab out at the flesh of trespassers. There’s a stand of huge, gray granite boulders at the center of that bog, and the legends say that the witch’s lair - an aged, decrepit, rotting-down hovel, foul smelling and rank as death - lies hidden somewhere among them ancient boulders. She has familiars, too, that stand guard around her malevolent abode. The Runes warn of the swamp woman. All the old shamans know the names of her ghost-witch familiars. They pass these names along from generation to generation in sacred ceremonies, but they warn that for any uninitiated to speak the names of the witch’s familiars drops a hex down on the head of the speaker. Such unfortunate tongue-waggery will lead to certain, terrorizing, untimely demise.

“The shamans pay tribute to the witch for the safety and well-being of their tribes. They carve totem poles to ward off hexes and at harvest time, they always leave an offering for the witch on an age-old stone altar at a secret location in the forest. I’ve never seen it myself, but the legends say it’s a low stone table in the center of a circle of smooth white rocks.”

Connie and Broome shared a quick, wary look.

“The Tribal Elders,” the garrulous Skipper continued, “can’t remember a time when Skagatemuck didn’t dominate this land and rule over these waters with her inscrutable sorcery. She’s a thaumaturge, Mr. Broome, a sorceress as old and as powerful as nature herself. She controls the fate of all who tread here. It is known by the initiated that the witch’s spells and incantations are so potent as to reach far beyond this island and the wilderness that surrounds it. Thus, she directs the future and holds in her slimy, wrinkled, green claw the fate of this world. Why am I telling you all this? Because I want to warn you not to make the mistake that Beecher made. Don’t go wandering off down that weedy trail that leads from behind that haunted inn into them gloomy woods. As I understand the history of this place, no one who follows that dangerous trail ever returns. They meet a fate such as no human can imagine, a fate cloaked in darkest necromancy. That’s some more of Beecher’s fancy language.”

At that moment, with the night wind rushing in from the sea and the wildly flickering candles sparkling in his clear watery eyes, an eerie transformation suddenly crept over the skipper of the Scallywag. His voice deepened and he seemed to be speaking the adept language of Dallas Beecher word for word as though possessed by the missing constable’s harrowed spirit.

“You’re at another Bermuda Triangle here, Mr. Broome. This is a place where many different worlds converge. This island is at the confluence of an infinity of alternate realities. That old inn is a focal point of something diabolical. Captain von Ripper didn’t choose this location at random and he wasn’t the only one involved in building the grim mansion that has become Avgrunnen Arms. There are shadowy forces at work here, forces that don’t bode well for those who attempt to pry into the secrets of this place. You’re walking on the lethal edge of something sadistic here, Mr. Broome. Sometimes the veil thins, portals open. Be careful where you step. Some things aren’t meant for humans to understand. Don’t disturb that which is none of your affair. Leave well enough alone. Beecher made a choice, an unwise decision for which he has paid the ultimate price. Those who foolishly attempt to uncover the dreadful secrets of the swamp woman are not seen or heard from, alive or dead, ever again.”

Silence ensued. Connie and Broome were spellbound, and more than a little frightened. It was then that the faerie harmony of the strange chords deftly stroked upon the exotic stringed instrument began rising up like swamp miasma from below decks.

~~ To this very day I cannot explain what this macabre twist of fate means, but it is definitely a time when I saw a supernatural entity that made me believe in the paranormal.

This grim omen set in motion an uncanny series of truly bizarre encounters. The haunting experiences struck me so profoundly that I put them on paper in a ghost journal entitled Bloodstone and Broomcorn: Curse of the W.I.T.C.H.

In case you might like to delve further into the gloomy heart of the eerie mystery, here’s a helpful hyperlink for your convenience.

© Copyright 2019 Sean Terrence Best. All rights reserved.

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