The Hairy Ghost

CHICAGO, IL. 1895.

A gentleman of the old school, who In his youth traveled widely in the south and west, tells of the following remarkable experience. There were neither steamboats, railways, nor telegraph, nor express companies in those days, so the traveler who had business carried money and pistols belted about his waist. This particular traveler, with a companion, was Journeying to a land sale, and the pair had between them some five thousand dollars. Settlers were few and far between; it was difficult often to find a house of call for themselves and their horses. One night they were forced to stop at a roadside tavern whose keeper was not thought to be above suspicion. So the two friends insisted upon sleeping in the same room and after they were in it took precautions against being robbed and murdered.

It was an upper room, with log walls, no fireplaces, a single door and two tiny windows nailed tight in their frames. Investigation satisfied them that there was no trap door in the bare floor, nor any concealed way of ingress, so, after barring the door securely, they went to sleep, each with his money under his pillow and a cocked pistol handy. Along toward two o’clock the relator awoke to find big, sinewy hands with a strangling grip on his throat, and what seemed like a heavy figure kneeling upon his chest.

He could not cry out, but, being an exceptionally strong man, rose upright in bed, struggled fiercely with his assailant, who felt as though he were unclothed and covered with long hair. After a minute he managed to cast the thing violently from him. It fell upon the floor with a hard, dull, jarring sound. His companion, who had by this time awakened, called: “What’s that?”

“Thieves. Stranglers!” panted the other. “Strike a light or we shall be murdered.”

But when the light was struck it showed nothing whatever, There was no one in the room besides their two solves. The door was fast, the window had not been touched, there was no crack or crevice in the log will through which anything bigger than a mouse could have come and gone. The two men sat up the rest of the night, each with a finger on the hammer of his pistol, but they saw nor heard anything more until they left at daylight.

But some weeks after they hard a gruesome tale of another traveler who had been found dead in the room they had occupied, with cruel black marks about his throat, though the door had to be broken in and the landlord proved beyond peradventure that he was innocent of any complicity in the sudden taking off.


Newspaper Citation: “A Hairy Ghost. Grewsome Tale of a Traveler Who Had Been Strangled in Bed.” Knoxville, TN: Knoxville Journal, X, 334(6), Jan 25, 1895. This article is in the public domain and is part of the cited work.

S.E. Schlosser
S.E. Schlosserhttps://Worldfolklore.net
S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series by Globe Pequot Press. She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of "let's pretend" quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children's Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author.