Monday, October 30, 2023

A Very Scary Story

 A child lived on the third floor of an old house on a very busy street.  It wasn’t the top-most story of the house because there was still an old attic above.  When the wind howled, the ceiling above the little bed creaked and when the rain beat against the windowpane it sounded like soft groans or moans, or even worse, whimpering.  And so this child was often a bit circumspect at night if it rained before bedtime.  Hoping to delay the inevitable, the child would say “Nanna, might I stay up a bit longer?”  “Of course not, child!” Nanna would reply.  “But I hear frightful sounds when it rains!” the child said.  “Nonsense,” Nanna would answer “you only hear the wind and the rain, or the carriages outside or people on the sidewalks talking rather loudly.” And so this child had to go to bed just like any other night when the sky was clear and the moon shone brightly above.

It was an afternoon in October when a frightful storm descended on the old house and very busy street. The child peered through the window and saw people still out and about, dogs barking and carriages rolling by as usual.  It was as if NO ONE CARED ABOUT THE CRUEL RAIN that lashed the windowpanes!  And then: more lightning, thunder, surges of rain and wind.  “I truly do not want to go upstairs to bed this night with the storm so loud. My ceiling already creaks on very calm nights!” 

“Nanna, I shan’t go to bed. There is a creaker up there.”  

“There is no such  thing as a creaker,” Nanna replied.

“Then it’s a shrieker,” the child protested.

“Shriekers only live in the forest, not in the middle of a busy street!”

“Let me tell you about shriekers,” the old woman said.  “Then you will know the difference!”

And this is what her Nanna told her:

“In the district called Spreng a ghost or spirit resided, who made all kinds of shrieking noises, like the sounds of deer, fox, donkey, swine or other animals, even every type of bird. For this reason, the people called him the shrieker. He has led many astray and no one dares linger in this meadow, especially herders.” This is what the mayor recently encountered when he was walking at night in his meadow in Spreng. He had used up all the water for watering his herd when a pig squealed in the little woods on the Langenbrombach side. It screeched as if a knife were stuck in its throat. The ghost has been seen as far as the Holler Forest, where they used to burn charcoal seventeen years ago. The coal burners complained bitterly at the time that many had been frightened by this ghost because he appeared in the form of a donkey. The deceased Johann Peter Weber said the same thing. He had loaded coal there at night to take it to the Michelstadt Hammer. Heinrich Germann, the old mayor of the Zent stated that when he was once tending his oxen in the Spreng field, it was as if a fox ran at him, but when he beat him away with the whip, the fox immediately vanished."

Now that’s a scary night!