by Samuel Zane Farrell
Listen up, ghouls and girls: Janette Zang, author of The Big Book of Supernatural Americana and Thirteen Most Haunted Houses of America, will be in town next week to promote her latest book, Possession and Witchcraft in New England.
Keep sending us your weirdest, most bizarre ghost stories. The Innsmouth local with the scariest tale of them all gets a signed copy of the book and dinner with Janette at one of Innsmouth’s most exclusive restaurants, all courtesy of Innsmouth Free Press!
So, keep writing those stories. Meanwhile, here’s another spine-tingling tale that made it into our mailroom:
The door to the Siren swung open, as if it was inviting me in. It was uncommonly dark outside and uncommonly cold as well, and I was seeking a brief refuge from the elements; the cold was exacerbating the symptoms of my multiple sclerosis.
I try to avoid inclement weather as often as I can. And, I must admit, the Siren particularly interested me because of its past. I am a bit of a poet, and the pub is the poet’s home.
I was wearing a long gray coat, but that meant nothing to the wind outside. My short, dark hair was messy and my clothing was in a similar state of disarray.
The symptoms of my multiple sclerosis were in a most powerful way that night. My tremor was affecting me deeply, and my entire body was incessantly, uncontrollably atremble.
I walked in, creating a deep thud with every step on the wooden floor. I heard singing: some old drinking song of an unfamiliar origin. I looked around; all of the chairs were overturned and mounted on the table-tops, as if the place were closed. Still, I heard singing.
I walked further into the bar, toward the counter. I could sit and rest for a moment there. I sat on a barstool and turned my head to the right, trying to see down a hallway where I thought the voices were originating from. I saw no one at all.
In disbelief, I turned my head back to the left. There sat a fresh pint of beer. I started laughing nervously. After all, no one was even in there!
I knew that I was not tired enough to be seeing things and I decided to leave, lest I become familiar with even more strangeness. I turned around as I stood and saw a mirror. My reflection was fine, but the image of a woman stood behind me!
The woman started to open her mouth, as if to scream. I turned around quickly, but saw nothing. I turned back and looked into the mirror once again; there was only my own reflection.
I wiped several beads of a nervous sweat from my forehead with my still-shaking right hand, then looked back up at the mirror.
All of the tables, once topped by the chairs, were now set, ready for customers. I quite nearly fainted right then, but I figured it’d be best to at least run outside before doing so.
So, I left that instant, no matter the jolly singing which continued to echo through the pub. When I stumbled outside, I realized that I was shaking even more than when I went in! Fear is a great motivator, isn’t it?