30 October 2007

High Strangeness: Rambler's Skeleton (1913)

[Detail from "Danjuro V as a skeleton and Iwai Hanshiro IV as Princess Sakura in the Play 'Flower of Edo: an Ichikawa Saga,'" by Katsukawa Shunsho, 1783]

Just in time for All Hallows' Eve, and thanks to Rabbit, a spooky tale from our friend the Rambler [sic throughout]:
This story is used as an illustration of one on a most respected citizen of Pittsboro. This gentleman has a summer house not far from town and occasionally stays there at night. A few nights ago he became very interested in a story he was reading. He had pulled off his shoes and was enjoying himself hugely, when, without warning, came a voice from somewhere, saying: "Sam Jones! Are you going to die here or in Pittsboro?" Sam Jones looked up expecting to see someone but he did not. Again that same voice was heard, asking the same question. This time he saw the skeleton of a man standing at the window, the mouth at work, and the arms swinging to and fro. Who would have stayed around such a place? Not I. Neither did Sam Jones. When he reached town he was nearly out of breath, and a pale, deathly look was on his face. He had run the whole distance, a mile or more, in about three minutes.
Was there a Sam Jones, or someone to whom this pseudonym was applied? Was he the victim of a practical joke? It's not beyond the realm of possibility that ol' Rambler was somehow involved, high on "Life's Elixir." Pittsboro, after all, has always been a place that requires us to make our own fun. Tweaking one of Chatham's "elites" still has its pleasures. The piece from which this passage was extracted, dated 1 October 1913, contains other, more colloquial, ghost stories. This one is so unusual that it suggests either a real paranormal occurrence or, more likely, a rascally Rambler at work.

Attention: will the owner of the skeleton or a descendant of "Sam Jones" please contact the blog. Thank you. Oh, and please give generously this Halloween. One of those little skeletons at your door might be real.

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