One again, we turn to that ancient tome of childhood horrors, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, for a tale to reawaken your darkest childhood nightmares.
This story is perhaps the highlight of the book, especially with its iconic image providing its face in more ways than one.
In this story, a preacher enters a haunted house to perform an exorcism, only to discover a haunting rooted in an unrequited crime:
One time, a preacher went to see if he could put a haunt to rest at a house in his settlement. The house had been haunted for about a decade. Several people had tried to spend the night there, but the haunt would always frighten them away.Click Here to read the rest of the story, if you dare!
So this preacher took his Bible and went to the house—without any hesitation, he went on in, built himself a good fire, and lit a lamp. He sat there reading the Bible. Then just before midnight, he heard some noise starting up in the cellar; walking back and forth, back and forth, over and over again.
Then it sounded like someone was trying to scream, but the sound got choked off. Then, he could hear a lot of thrashing and struggling, and finally, all was quiet.
The old preacher took up his Bible once again, but before he could start reading, he heard footsteps coming up the cellar stairs. He sat watching the door to the cellar, and the footsteps drew nearer and nearer. He saw the doorknob turn, and when the door slowly began to creak open, he leapt up and shouted authoritatively, “What do you want?!”
The door closed again soundlessly, as if whoever had opened it was meek and frightened away by the shout. The preacher was also shaken by this, trembling a little, but he finally got around to opening his Bible and reading again. He got up and set the book in his chair and focused on tending the fire.
Then the haunt started walking again and step!—step!—step!—up the cellar stairs. The old preacher sat watching the door, seeing the doorknob turn, and the door came open. The figure that stepped out looked like a young woman. He backed up and said, “Who are you? What do you want?”
The haunt swayed, as if she didn’t know what to do—then she just faded away. The old preacher waited and waited, and when he didn’t hear any more noises, he went over and shut the door. He was sweating and trembling all over, but he was a brave man and he was confident that he would be able to see it through. So he turned his chair to where he could watch and he sat down, waiting.
It wasn’t long before he heard the haunt start up again, slowly—step!—step!—step!—step!—closer, and closer—step!—step!—and it was right at the cellar door as it had been earlier.
The preacher stood up and held his Bible out before him. The knob slowly turned and the door opened wide. This time the preacher spoke more quietly. He said, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost—who are you and what do you want?”