GOOD MORNING PRAGOBOTS! We hope you’re enjoying your weekend!
We conclude our series on African-American Ghost Stories with another haunting tale from South Carolina…
“A HERMIT’S GHOST”
Another narrative from the Federal Writers’ Project:
There once lived a man who stayed to himself as much as he could. Perhaps a hermit’s life he lived. Seldom did he speak to anyone, neither did he attend gatherings of any kind. He kept to himself in his little house on the side of the hill by which ran a road. There were not many people living in this community- few people were seen. The most people he saw was when passed to go to a running spring for water. So for many years he lived to himself in his own world which was his little house.
The hermit became ill and had to send for some of his relatives, who lived in another state, to care for him. he was confined for almost five years before death relieved him of his sufferings. The relative that came tried as hard as she could to persuade him to become a Christian. But, instead, he cursed and blasphemed that she became afraid to mention it to him again. He cursed God for putting such an affliction on him, and curse the devil for letting sucha ” will be done.” He did not believe in God, if there were one, neither did he believed in a direct hereafter, as most people do. He expressed the dying of an individual as to the dying of an animal. The last breath that is breathed, goes into space,” was his sincere belief.
When death with its firery sting put in its appearance and the hosts of hell , as he said surrounded him, he spared not a moment in which he lived for the horrible ones through which he was going at his fast approaching end. It was in the same state of mind that he died. His eyes remained opened, and were twice as large as they naturally were. His mouth spreaded so wide that a man’s fist could easily had gotten in without touching either of his lips. His body was in all kinds of knots- a horrible sight! T’he man was buried, but the memories of his isolated life and dying days lingered into the minds of the people in the community. Fear was the object of all who knew and heard of him. Most people who had to pass his house to go to the spring, would go early in the afternoons, for fear of being frightened by the “wandering spirit” as he was called.
One night two women seemed to have forgotten about the “wandering spirit”, took their pails and headed for the spring. Laughing and talking as they went; forgetting about the world around them; they were not conscious of anything, except the thing around which their conversation was built- not even the house in which lived the wandering spirit, until one of them saw from a tree without a hallow, came a milk white hen . Then all of a sudden a brood of white chickens, numbering thirty which came from nowhere. This time the women became panicky and began to scream to the tip of their voices. When help came they were found in different directions; a great distance from the place where the hen and brood were seen. They declared that they did not run a step for both of them were too frightened, and that their legs gave away to a chill before they were able to make another track. But one thing they remembered quite vividly, the besting that was given them from the hand of someone they could not see. To this day, the tree is said to be the hiding place of the “wandering spirit,” although it has been years since the hermit died.
(SOURCE: University of South Carolina. South Caroliniana Library)