Thursday, 22 October 2015


Our lovely hosts Denise and Yolanda who work very hard hosting this bi-monthly challenge

This month is themed for Halloween.  This is not my genre and I struggle to do anything horror wise so my offering is rather tame compared to other entries.
Here are the guidelines:

For this challenge, share a childhood fright that might or did turn into an adult fear, real or imagined.

To start the fun you can:
1.    share a favourite frightening tale, movie, novel, photograph or painting that will leave us quaking in our boots
2.    in a short paragraph describe how it scared you, and why it did and or still does today
3.    then you can:
a.    submit your own scary piece, 1000 words or less, in any format or
b.    share a photograph or painting that captures the horror you've felt.
Open to all genres - Fiction works can be - Adult, YA, MG. All entries maximum 1,000 words.

1.   Sharing something that happened in my middle teens (15/16 years old).  I lived in a small village in the South East of England. 

I had two best friends and we spent time in each other’s houses, girly stuff, chatting about boys, playing records (yes it was that far back that they were on vinyl) or listening to pirate radio stations when we could pick them up on the transistor radios.  It was all very innocent and naive compared to the teenagers of today. 

Patsy and I lived in council houses, I was at one end of a long winding avenue and she was at the other end, down the hill and nearly out to the main road.  Mary lived in a house in the churchyard.  Her parents were quite bohemian for village tastes and they weren't born and bred villagers.  It was a huge house and the front door led on to the path up to the church.  The living room window faced out on to the graveyard.  Situated on a hill the house was divided over three or four floors.  The kitchen was in the basement, a large cold room with a walk-in pantry and a huge wooden table set in the middle of the flagstone floor.

Mary had a lot of freedom, Patsy and I thought, being allowed to invite friends over and go out and about all the time.  One evening we had been talking about spirits and ghosts and had seen something about an Ouija board.   We decided to try it.  Mary obtained an Ouija board, I think she found it in her parent’s book shelves and we decided on a night to try it out.

During this time there had been some scandal in the village (my memory of the actual events is rather hazy all these years later) concerning rumours about a certain chap in the village.

We prepared the table, candles, an upturned glass in the middle ready to use.  We placed our fingers on the glass and in the semi-dark room started asking questions.  ‘Is anybody there?’  The glass moved to the square marked ‘yes.’

We shivered in anticipation.  After several more questions, spelling out answers that were true we asked the burning question. ‘Did he do it?’  The glass moved to ‘yes.’
We were all cold by this time and broke the circle.  
We accused each other of moving the glass, all vehemently denying doing any such thing.  I know I didn't sleep very well that night and we never mentioned that evening to each other again. 

The white house you can see beside the church was divided in two and Mary lived on the side by the church, you entered through the lynch gate up the path and then turned in to her front door. 
© Copyright Stuart Logan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Here is my 1,000 word entry


Sean opened the back door and called out as he entered the house.


‘Hello darling,’ his grandmother replied.

His Nan was always pleased to see him, no matter when he dropped round.  He came round several times a week after school but could only stay for half an hour or so.  Now he was living with his dad and his dad’s new family and not his mum it was quite strange but his Nan never held it against him.
Sean took off his school blazer, hung it on the hook with his back sack, kicked his shoes off and sat on the kitchen stool watching his Nan prepare her evening meal. 

I'm going to do trick and treating on Saturday,’ he said swallowing a mouthful of crisps.

‘Don’t knock on my door then ‘cos I won’t be opening it on Saturday.’

‘Don’t you believe in Halloween, Nan, with witches and ghosts and zombies and all that stuff?’  Sean finished his drink as his Nan poured herself a cup of tea.

‘No my dear.  It is so commercialised and scary.’

Sean laughed.  His Nan was scared of all sorts of things, especially spiders and scary films.  She was a bit of a wimp really.

They moved in to the living room so that Nan could sit down and drink her tea.  Sean continued asking questions, whether she believed in ghosts, had she seen one ever, ‘cos she was quite old now.

After pretend swatting him with a cushion, Nan looked at him and said, ‘I could tell you a few things but they are nothing like you see on the telly.’

‘Have you seen a real-live ghost then?’

Nan said, ‘it can’t be a ghost if it was real and alive now could it?’

They both laughed.

‘A few years ago we were staying in a holiday home out in the countryside and I had this feeling that somebody was watching me.  All around were just fields and greenery, a few hills in the distance, there was a ruined church down a country lane which we were going to visit. Ghosts are not always seen, Sean, sometimes you just feel them or even hear them.’ 

Photo credit: 
Sean looked in amazement at his Nan; she was being really weird now.  She went on to explain. 

‘You can get a ‘feel’ for spirit, some people have seen images, shadows, wisps of something, sometimes people can hear a voice in their head and sometimes they just get a picture of something in their mind.’

Sean said, ‘I don't understand what you are saying, Nan.’

Nan carried on.  ‘OK let me think how to say it.  This cottage was attached to the grounds of a big manor house which the estate let it out to holiday makers and tourists.  As soon as I walked in the door I felt the air change.  I was breathing cold air, very cold air as if you’d just turned on the air conditioning in the car, that sort of coldness.  It was a late summer’s day; I just thought it was cooler inside because of the thicker brick walls.  It was only in one place in the living room if I moved elsewhere the air seemed normal.

Then as I looked out of the window I caught a glimpse of something across the field, a shadowy figure flitting across the stubble.  Now this was in the daytime so it was quite unusual.’ 

‘Did you see a ghost then?  I thought they only came out at night.’  Sean was quite astounded at what his grandmother was saying.

‘Ah now that is the myth surrounding the other world.’ Nan sat and thought for a bit and then looked at Sean.  ‘Would you like a piece of cake?’

A slice of Victoria sponge each, in between mouthfuls Sean asked about the ruined church.

‘Oh yes, the ruined church,’ Nan swallowed her last mouthful of cake and finished her cup of tea.

‘If you go there in the day time you can have a look around, careful not to step on the tombstones. If you go there during at night, especially if the moon shines down through the clouds as they flit across pushed by a gentle breeze, if you stand still and listen you can hear an owl hooting, a fox baying and a whisper among the trees that ripples along the lake beside the grounds of the church.’

Sean’s eyes became rounder; he sat forward in the chair hanging on his grandmother’s every word. 

‘Not much remains of the church but the rumour is that Richard Plantagenet was the illegitimate son of Richard III, he lived at Eastwell Manor and a memorial or tombstone is possibly in the grounds of the church.  Perhaps that is who I saw that day.’

‘Did you really, Nan?’ Sean isn't quite sure whether to believe his grandmother or not.  ‘So are there zombies then?  If there are ghosts there must be zombies.’

His Nan laughs. ‘I don’t think so.  They are just stories and horror films.’

‘But what if they were real and came out on Halloween, what would we do then?’

‘Lock your doors and don’t go out at night.’ His Nan winked at him.  Sean really didn't know what to believe.

‘How do you know if you've seen a ghost?  Do witches exist?’

So many questions unanswered. 

‘People used to think that witches were evil crones, casting spells on people they didn't like, turning people in to frogs and toads and mice and rats.’


‘In the olden days that is what people believed whereas maybe they were just people who knew the old folklore and what to pick in the woods to make medicines.  Don’t forget, Sean, they didn’t have Google back in those days to find out things.’

‘Nan, you are so silly sometimes.’

Sean jumped across to the sofa and gave his grandmother a great big squeeze. 

Now it was time for him to get ready to go home.

 If you want to know more here are two links:


  1. I liked the recount of your teenage years and the Ouija board experience Sally. Used to hear lots of stories like that, but not so much these days. I can just imagine your terror at the time and as you thought about it later. Obviously you haven't forgotten it.

    And I loved your story of Sean and his grandmother and the way you interspersed it with local colour...and images. It was heartwarming. I love hearing stories of the Nan's of the world imparting knowledge to their grand kids. And the differing takes on the supernatural from Sean and his grandmother was a lovely way to show the generation 'gap'. She gave Sean something to think about. (Lovely the way he calls in on his Nan on his way home from school.)

    As always Sally, thanks so much for participating in the WEP challenge. Love your support.

    Denise :-)

  2. Hi, Sally:
    You were braver than I was. We actually got an Ouija board for Christmas one year and my brothers and sisters took it out of the box once. I didn't touch it. I have this inbuilt fear of the supernatural, have for as long as I can remember, I don't go near such things – don't tempt the unknown! 

    Your story of Sean and Nan was heartwarming and reminded me of some of the discussions I used to have with my own grandmother. I loved hearing about her life before cars were typical forms of transportation. Especially stories of her life on the farm that'd been in the family for generations, and yes her house that was haunted.

    I love the exchange about ghosts, as I believe family members who've passed on, never in a haunting way, but just as a reminder, a gentle hello, have visited me a few times. "You can get a ‘feel’ for spirit, some people have seen images, shadows, wisps of something, sometimes people can hear a voice in their head and sometimes they just get a picture of something in their mind." I do believe this and yet I find it more difficult to believe in the more malevolent form of ghosts, or I simply don't want to admit to the possibility.

    Thanks for providing the links to the place and mystery of the illegitimate son of Richard III, and great combination of background, lore, and family!

    This is a wonderful addition to the WEP Halloween Challenge, thank you for participating. I think you'll find the December Challenge, Holiday Celebrations that are out of the world a delightful challenge!
    Happy Halloween!

  3. three Ghosts I've seen
    if you don't know
    I was given a message
    then told to go
    the message I passed on
    the person showed woe
    I said no more messages I'll give
    no more ghosts did show

  4. Funnily enough, I was sitting here talking to my 17 year old son as I clicked on this Sally. We were talking about the differences between my generation (I'm 53) and his, and expectations of the future, and belief systems. Providence? That we were two separate generations talking about life?

    Young kids do not understand us - my 17 year old is like having a grandkid that lives with me - and I know we don't always understand them. Such different worlds, and experiences. Hard to believe, but I guess WE were as skeptical of myths and the supernatural as today's kids are.

    This was an interesting generational exploration. I liked the story. Your Ouija experience was interesting. Who knows who influenced the answers; everyone always thinks they did not.

  5. I adore those old stories about churchyard ghosts and spirits on the move :)

    Intriguing experience with the Ouija board, reminded me of an Agatha Christie mystery where it is used to prop up an alibi...Enjoyed your flash - great insight into the differences in perception between current and previous generations.

    ".. maybe they were just people who knew the old folklore and what to pick in the woods to make medicines." Liked that interpretation much. No witches, just healers and loners and people seeing things differently from the rest.

  6. We have an Ouija board we bought at an estate sale. Haven't messed around with it yet, but I don't believe in that sorta thing anyway.

    Nice generation differences flash!

  7. The Ouija board story? Yes, I had the exact same experience. I still suspect my friend moved the piece of wood. Maybe. Never touched it after that. Your story of the Nan's tale is so sweet. I could clearly picture the child's mind drawn into her tale. Lovely.

  8. Nice ghost story and I liked the atmosphere of the cottage with the ruined church nearby. It is similar to a setting from a film I really liked called Watcher in the Woods. The watcher turns out to be aliens.

  9. Very interesting perspective from Sean's grandmother concerning the fact that ghosts are not always seen, but sometimes just felt or maybe heard. If a person had to choose just one sense, I wonder which one would be the creepiest experience?
    Imagine a multi-sensory ghostly encounter... to see, hear and feel it *uncontrollable shudder*
    I think I'd die from shock!

  10. I loved this. I am Nanless (if that is a word) and have always yearned to have one just like Sean's.
    I do believe that we can feel things/hear things/ and sometimes see things for which we have (at present) no explanation. And I am certain that some spots retain an energy (good or evil) from things which have happened there.
    Your ouija story was very familiar too. Thank you.

  11. I've used a Ouija board too, long ago. I didn't like using it on a regular basis. My mom would have nothing to do with it. I like your story and hearing the tales about ghosts and how we perceive them. Well done! Sounds like an interesting grandmother.

  12. I don't think I'd ever dare use a Ouija board after all the stories I've heard about them. Too scary! Thanks for sharing :)

  13. Ouija boards seem to have gone out of favor. We used to have great times with them. I still get the shivers thinking about those candlelit evenings, evoking the spirits. I liked your piece and enjoyed reading it. Thanks.

  14. I remember my older brother talking about using an Ouija board when he was a teenager...I never wanted anything to do with the stuff! Of course, they're not quite as mystical as they were once considered to be, but they do make for some great spine-chilling tales!

    Loved your fiction piece as well. Nan certainly built up a nicely spooky atmosphere, interspersed with local history and legends.

  15. Ooo, I loved your story and your remembrance from your teen years. I had friends who used Ouija boards, but I never wanted to mess with them. They would recount stuff that happened and it frightened me so much.

    Your story is wonderful. You have Sean's character down and the grandmother too. I am super jealous. Great job. Love the local past history you chose to bring in to the story. Fabulous job!

  16. I never thought Ouija boards anything but dangerous in that it was knocking on a door to something you didn't know on the Other Side. Knock on a strange door, and it might open!

    Love your memories of your teen friends. You painted a story with rich culture and living characters. Bravo.

  17. Beautiful story, very warmhearted.

  18. Oh, that's a creepy Ouija story! "Sometimes you just feel them" - I love that line! Great pictures with this.