The last installment in this Transylvania ghost story series is about funny stories that feature ghosts. These knee-slapping stories probably didn’t really happen, but they make a good tale. These are all adaptations of Vernie Owens’ stories.
“Race with a ghost”
An old fellow was coming along a back road and saw a dark figure that appeared to be following right beside him in the woods next to the road. The man took off running just as hard as he could until he gave out and sat down on a log to catch his breath. Shortly, another fellow came and sat down beside him and the old man mistook him for a friend. The old fellow turned to his companion and said, “I’m near run to death.” The other fellow said, “That was quite a race.” They both chuckled. Then the other fellow turned to the old man and said, “Yeah, but it’s not like the one we’re fixing to have!” It was the ghost sitting next to him!
“Lean or fat?”
People kept hearing something in the graveyard and seeing lights and things. There was an old crippled man and he said, “Everybody’s scared of it and afraid to go out in the graveyard.” Then he said to a young man, “If you’ll carry me, I’m not afraid of it. Carry me and I’ll find out what’s going on.”
The young fellow loaded him up on his back – the old fellow hadn’t walked in over 20 years. When the two men got to the graveyard, they got up close and then heard something, so stopped to listen. Some men had stolen corn and sheep and were dividing up the spoils in the graveyard. The two witnesses could hear but not see the robbers. They overheard one say, “Is that one lean or fat?”
Thinking that they were devils arguing over which one to roast, the young man got scared, threw down the old man, saying “Lean or fat? Take him!” as he broke into a run. The crippled man jumped up and ran back to the house, beating the young man there.
“Hand in marriage”
A young man and woman were courting for a long time. One evening the young man walked a good distance to make a surprise visit to his sweetheart and arrived at her family’s farm to find her waiting on the porch, as though she was expecting him. He wasted no time and got on one knee. “Will you give me your hand in marriage?” he said. She simply handed her hand to him and then stepped away, leaving him holding nothing but her hand, no longer attached to her arm. She had gotten killed that evening and her family was at the funeral. She was already a spirit by the time her sweetheart came to call.
A note on photos: the Local History department at the Library does not own photos of ghosts or alleged ghosts so have provided photos in the archives that match the themes of the stories. These photos represent elements similar to those in the stories only. Inclusion does not indicate that these people or places are ghosts and/or haunted.
Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. This article was written by Local History Librarian Laura Sperry. Sources available upon request. For more information, comments, or suggestions, contact NC Room staff at [email protected] or 828-884-1820.