Welcome to SC Ghosts!

Here at the Springfield's Casa, we love to entertain company and the best way to entertain guests is to tell stories! Ghost stories! Real, honest, no joke ghost stories!

So, come in, kick back and allow your unbelief to be left at the door, for when you enter here you enter for your own enjoyment.

Oh. If the phone rings .. take a message. It may be really long distance.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Train

There is a legend, whispered about in the mountains of South Carolina.  A story of a Ghost Train.  It goes that in the late eighteen hundreds a steam locomotive derailed while crossing a trussel.  The wreckage was spread across the river gorge that the bridge spanned. Some of the victims were swept away by the raging mountain stream below.  Many were never found.
The story goes that one passenger was pulled from the water, where she had been clinging to a twisted limb along the bank of the river.  In her left hand was a ragged piece of cotton, brightly colored and soft.  She refused to release the cloth as if it were the most important thing in the world to her, this piece of cloth.
The next few days saw the wreckage explored as bodies and a few survivors were pulled from the bent and broken pieces of steel.  The dead were taken to the local mortuary where friends or loved ones came to claim them.  The others were bandaged and treated as well as possible on site and then transported the forty miles to the nearest hospital.  Even then, some eventually died.
The woman with the cotton cloth languished, silent and alone, in this hospital for weeks.  The doctors treated her wounds and set her broken leg, but were unsuccessful in reaching her mind.  She was listed as Jane Doe, since she could not, or would not respond to any conversation they tried to engage her in.  After the staff had done all they could for her physically, she was released to the nearest mental facility where she spent the rest of her days. 
Jane Doe never spoke to anyone, but you could hear her make strange cooing sounds directed at the piece of cloth that slowly disintegrated through her constant handling over the years.  Now and then, the nurses would report sobbing coming from her room in the middle of the night and once in a while a scream would resound and echo down the hallways as if she were caught in the throes of a nightmare.
Jane died at the age of about seventy years.  She was buried in a local cemetery where they placed a small stone on her grave.  It can still be seen there, and though the lettering is worn and faded now,  you can still make out "Jane Doe, Unknown, Rest In Peace".
This story in itself would be quite a legend, however it does not end there.  You see, the strip of cotton cloth that Jane held onto for all those years once belonged to a baby boy.  Jane's baby boy. 
Jane, whose real name was Margaret Mason was traveling to meet her husband in North Carolina, where he had recently gotten a new job and found them a house to rent.  He had sent for Margie (as he called her) and their new baby boy, Benjamin as soon as the papers were signed and he had enough money for the train ticket.
Margie had no relatives in the little community of Salem, South Carolina and was overjoyed at the prospect of joining her husband and reuniting their little family.  Her dreams of the future were all joy and light.
She and her son boarded the train and made their way to the passenger car she had been assigned to.  The train pulled out of the station and expected to arrive at their destination on time.  The day was clear, the air fresh with springtime and the flower she had picked along the edge of the sidewalk was perfect like the baby she held, swaddled in his new, brightly colored, cotton blanket.
The trip was exciting, this being her first time on a train.  She sat with her nose almost glued to the glass as she watched the landscape whipping by while they make their way through the hills and valleys.  At times it seemed she could see forever when they topped a ridge and then, at other moments, she could almost imagine they were in some strange and distant land as they traversed tunnels cut straight through the mountains!
The excitement gave way to drowsiness, however with the monotonous clacking of the steel wheels on the track.  Even the rare whistle as the train passed through an even more rare settlement or community could not keep Margie from dozing off with little Ben tucked up happily against her breast. 
The crash of thunder was her first warning.  She blinked the sleep from her eyes to find a much changed scene.  The sky had grown dark and menacing with storm clouds engulfing the train.  She had never imagined herself travelling into a cloud.  The lightning flashed so brightly and so close that it almost seared her eyes, and the clap of thunder followed on the heels of the lightning so quickly there was no time to cover little Ben's ears.  He was justly terrified, which did nothing for Margie.
She attempted to comfort him and sooth his terror, all the while the fear was building in her own heart.
As the passenger train rounded a curve in the tracks where it hugged the side of this rugged mountain, and began traversing the trussel that spanned the river gorge, a bolt of lightning blasted into one of the main supporting beams underneath, about midway of the bridge. There was no time to stop, though the engineer did his best.  He was pulled from the wreckage with his hand still on the brake lever.
The scream that escaped Margie's lips, accompanied by the wail of little Ben, were lost in time along with all the rest from the other passengers as the train seemed to leap from the rails and begin its disintegration in its plunge of two hundred feet to the river below.
The trussel is gone now, the wreckage long since carried away.  The train no longer rolls through this mountain terrain.  The rails are still there, though they are rusted and hidden by the encroachment of nature after so many years.  Hunters and fishermen still walk along them at times, the level bed of the forgotten tracks makes their adventures a little less exhausting.
They tell of camping next to the old bridge on a springtime night, when a seasonal thunderstorm comes rolling in across the peaks and valleys.  They say that now and then you can hear the sound of a steam locomotive traversing the mountains and the screech of the wheels as the brakes lock down on the steel rails.  Then the mournful sound of a baby crying, off in the brush near the stream below.
If you are lucky, they say, you might catch a glimpse of the child's mother searching for her little one.  And, don't worry if you catch a glimpse of color in one of the trees, it is just a piece of soft, brightly colored cotton cloth that was once part of a baby's blanket, wrapped around a child named Ben.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Sequined Shoe

She couldn't believe that John had dumped her out!  I mean, here she was, way out in the country, in the dark, on a lonely, dark, scary road, all by herself!  And just because she wasn't 'loose' like some of the girls he dated.  Sure she had let him kiss and hug her, and maybe they danced a bit too close at the prom, and she had agreed to take a ride with him.  Of course, drinking half of the beer he had hid in his car may have given the wrong impression, plus they had fooled around some in the front seat, but she had definitely not been ready for it to go any farther than a little amateurish playing around!  What kind of girl did he think she was, anyway?
Lindsay was lost deep in her thoughts as she neared the old bridge.  She paid no attention to the set of headlights as they approached around a curve up the far hill.  Her mind was filled with what should have been the greatest night of her life.  It was the Senior Prom, when all young ladies bought wonderful dresses and their beaus showed up with a corsage that the girl's mother had to pin on.  Lindsay had been accompanied by the best looking boy in school.  He was also the coolest.  All the girls had envied her when they found out that John had asked her to the prom.  He was so rad.  Jet black hair, sideburns like Elvis and the deepest, darkest brown eyes she had ever seen.  His dark hair and eyes were a perfect offset for her blond and blue.
She started across the bridge and could hear the staccato sound of her three inch heels echoing back from the unseen creek below.  As she neared the middle of the bridge, the sound changed.  Of a sudden, she realized that the headlights that she had glimpsed were bearing down on the other end.  She began turning to run back the way she had come when one of the beautiful heels that her mother had bought for her, became stuck between two of the planks.   She felt the bridge begin to rumble as she tried to pry her heel out.  She was caught like a deer in the  beam of the headlights of the onrushing Pontiac.  There was no time to scream, no time to run or even jump from the bridge.

But Bobby's wife screamed as they took the curve too fast and she saw the beautiful young girl in the middle of the bridge.  There was no time to miss her and the horrid sound of metal on flesh pummeled into her memory.  The car careened out of control and then came to a sudden, solid stop when it impaled its grill and motor on the guard rail at the far end.  That was all she remembered.
The police and the fire department finished their work of cleaning up the debris and the ambulance had already taken the driver of the car and his passenger to the hospital.  Sgt. Jack Murphy was doing one last check of the area when his light fell on the shoe, its heel stuck in the bridge floor.  The shoe was rather small, with a single, sequined, broken strap.  He followed his light to the far edge of the bridge and beyond to the creek below.  Then down-stream to where some bushes were moving with the current and something out of place was trapped in the branches.  A hand.  A small, slim fingered hand, seemingly grasping the lower branch.  As his light traveled further, he could just make out blond curls floating on the current.   Jack made his way down the creek bank and crashed through the underbrush.   He was unable to reach from the bank so he removed his holster and wallet in preparation of wading, waist deep to the girl.  "Please let her still be alive" was his entire prayer as he moved through the swiftly moving stream.   He grabbed the hand and slowly drew her to the top of the water, knowing from the first touch that this was one prayer that would not be answered.    
A terrible thing.  It seemed that the girl had been walking on the bridge, though why at this time of the night, Sgt. McMurphy had no idea.  Well, actually he had an idea.  Probably got separated from her fellow up on lover's lane and decided to walk home.  It happened once in a while.  The guy was ready to go farther than the girl, things got heated and when the girl called it to a halt, she was left to fend for herself.
He knew the girls parents, the Jacobs.  They were going to be devastated.  He was on his way to their home on Willow St. to break the news.
Jess had just gotten off from work, late again, and was hurrying home to pick up his slightly upset wife for their anniversary date.  He had finally finished the Borden file that had been plaguing him for a month.  People thought that lawyers had it easy; just settle cases, do divorces, chase ambulances and make lots of money.  They never considered the long hours and late nights you had to put in to settle those cases.  They never knew about the broken families and broken hearts they had to try their best to help heal when they did the divorces or accidents.
His mind was still attempting to file away the days events as he took the turn onto Drury Lane.  It was a seldom used road, except for farm machinery, with a rickety old, one lane bridge.  He knew the road was full of potholes and sharp curves, but his new Mercedes could handle it just fine.  And it would cut a few miles off his trip home.  That would make him a little less late and his wife a little less upset.
He slowed as he approached each curve and then 'powered out' as the NASCAR officials called it.  And there was plenty of power to use, too.  The Mercedes was just a week off the showroom floor and Jess had already had it detailed.  He wanted to keep it like new as long as he could.  After all, it was his anniversary present to himself.  Tonight, he would surprise his wife with the stunning diamond that was part of his present to her.  The real surprise would be when she found the two tickets to Jamaica inside the ring box.  He had been promising this trip for the past five years, ever since he had joined the firm.  Now he had finally been named as a full partner and the money got much better.
He had just roared out of the curve and onto the bridge when his headlights fell onto the figure of a woman, or girl.  He slammed the brakes but it was too late.  He knew he was going to hit her even as he tore the steering wheel to the right in a last desperate attempt not to.  His wife's face was the last thing in his mind's eye as the new Mercedes ripped, with the despairing sound of rending metal, through the rails on the side of the bridge and the rear-end swung forward, broadsiding the young woman.
Sheriff McMurphy pulled the tape across the road leading to the old bridge.  He doubted that the it would be re-opened, it was in terrible dis-repair.  Just as well.  He had just waved the coroner's truck out as they transported the body from the Mercedes back to town.  Forty years and four deaths on this one, lonely bridge.
He remembered the first one he worked.  It was in 1960 and he had been a sergeant for less than a month.  He was heading back to the Sheriff's Office after a fairly uneventful shift.  The night was warm, the stars were out and the local high school was having their senior prom.  He had pulled a couple of teens over for open container and under-age drinking, but had turned them loose with a warning.  After all, he wasn't that far out of high school himself, and could remember how special prom night was. The memories of that night still haunted him. 

Tonight he was, again taking Drury Ln. back towards town.  It was a little quicker and he didn't expect to see any traffic that would need his attention or cause him to work any overtime.  Then he rounded the curve.  The scene burned into his mind.  He saw black marks on the tar and gravel road leading onto the bridge and continuing to the right where they ended at the torn rails on the side.  He could see lights shining at an odd angle from the creek-bed, up into the bushes on the far side.  His first thought was a drunk driver going too fast for conditions.  If the guy was lucky, he would just be banged up a bit and have a large insurance bill.  He was only partially right.
The guy in the car was travelling a little too fast for this road and he'd probably had a couple of beers,  but the car was totaled and he was pretty messed up.  He kept talking about the girl on the bridge. 
He remembered the first and this would be the last.  He would see to it that the county either fixed this road and widened the bridge or just tore the bridge down.  He had heard all the stories that were passed around about the bridge; about the figure of the girl and how she would suddenly appear in the middle of this same bridge on prom night each year.  He had never seen her, but he believed.  Each Halloween this bridge became a gathering place for anyone wanting to hear a good story or get a good scare.  Whether the stories were true or not, he did know that there would never be a repeat of tonight.  He was a few weeks from retirement and had seen too much to walk away with this bridge still intact.  It was now, officially, closed.
As he turned away from the railing and moved back towards his squad car he saw it, the single strap, three inch heeled shoe stuck between the boards of the bridge.  He might have missed it if the little sequins on the strap had not caught the beam of his flashlight.  It was very dainty, just the kind a girl might wear to her first dance.

He pried it out and gently laid it in the front of his patrol car.  Later he would add it to the others that he had collected over the years.