Guest Article: Black Aggie ~ retold by S. E. Schlosser

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When Felix Agnus put up the life-sized shrouded bronze statue of a grieving angel, seated on a pedestal, in the Agnus family plot in the Druid Ridge Cemetery, he had no idea what he had started. The statue was a rather eerie figure by day, frozen in a moment of grief and terrible pain. At night, the figure was almost unbelievably creepy; the shroud over its head obscuring the face until you were up close to it. There was a living air about the grieving angel, as if its arms could really reach out and grab you if you weren’t careful.

It didn’t take long for rumors to sweep through the town and surrounding countryside. They said that the statue – nicknamed Black Aggie – was haunted by the spirit of a mistreated wife who lay beneath her feet. The statue’s eyes would glow red at the stroke of midnight, and any living person who returned the statues gaze would instantly be struck blind. Any pregnant woman who passed through her shadow would miscarry. If you sat on her lap at night, the statue would come to life and crush you to death in her dark embrace. If you spoke Black Aggie’s name three times at midnight in front of a dark mirror, the evil angel would appear and pull you down to hell. They also said that spirits of the dead would rise from their graves on dark nights to gather around the statue at night.

People began visiting the cemetery just to see the statue, and it was then that the local fraternity decided to make the statue of Grief part of their initiation rites. “Black Aggie” sitting, where candidates for membership had to spend the night crouched beneath the statue with their backs to the grave of General Agnus, became popular.

One dark night, two fraternity members accompanied new hopeful to the cemetery and watched while he took his place underneath the creepy statue. The clouds had obscured the moon that night, and the whole area surrounding the dark statue was filled with a sense of anger and malice. It felt as if a storm were brewing in that part of the cemetery, and to their chagrin, the two fraternity members noticed that gray shadows seemed to be clustering around the body of the frightened fraternity candidate crouching in front of the statue.

What had been a funny initiation rite suddenly took on an air of danger. One of the fraternity brothers stepped forward in alarm to call out to the initiate. As he did, the statue above the boy stirred ominously. The two fraternity brothers froze in shock as the shrouded head turned toward the new candidate. They saw the gleam of glowing red eyes beneath the concealing hood as the statue’s arms reached out toward the cowering boy.

With shouts of alarm, the fraternity brothers leapt forward to rescue the new initiate. But it was too late. The initiate gave one horrified yell, and then his body disappeared into the embrace of the dark angel. The fraternity brothers skidded to a halt as the statue thoughtfully rested its glowing eyes upon them. With gasps of terror, the boys fled from the cemetery before the statue could grab them too.

Hearing the screams, a night watchman hurried to the Agnus plot. To his chagrin, he discovered the body of a young man lying at the foot of the statue. The young man had apparently died of fright.

The disruption caused by the statue grew so acute that the Agnus family finally donated it to the Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C.. The grieving angel sat for many years in storage there, never again to plague the citizens visiting the Druid Hill Park Cemetery.

You can read more Maryland folktales and ghost stories in Spooky Maryland by S.E. Schlosser.

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Fun for Halloween week

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Starting on 26th October, I would like to open my blog up to you the readers.  If you have a poem or short story you wouldn’t mind sharing on the digital highways (it doesn’t matter whether you write full-time or just dabble), I would like to hear from you. I will feature five of them that week to add a little fun and something new to the blog.

To submit your hard work just email them to me at catesbooknuthut@gmail.com and I will get my Husband to read them through.  He will then pick the ones he enjoyed the most to feature on the site that week.

I think this will be fun, and also give an opportunity to those who may be a bit hesitant to reveal their talents a chance to shine.

I look forward to reading your submissions.

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To Pumpkins at Pumpkin Time~ Grace Cornell Tall

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To Pumpkins at Pumpkin Time

Back into your garden-beds!
Here come the holidays!
And woe to the golden pumpkin-heads
Attracting too much praise.

Hide behind the hoe, the plow,
Cling fast to the vine!
Those who come to praise you now
Will soon sit down to dine.

Keep your lovely heads, my dears,
If you know what I mean…
Unless you want to be in pie,
Stay hidden or stay green!!

Grace Cornell Tall

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Literal Literary Halloween Costumes ~Jessica Woodbury

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It’s that time of the year again, people are throwing Halloween parties, and you’re expected to dress up. But what if you’re OK with dressing up, just not with the ghoulies, ghosties and long-legged beasties costumes. Jessica Woodbury has some suggestions that you may find helpful:

“Literature loves metaphors. But a great costume takes the metaphorical and interprets it without much thought for subtlety. Here are some suggestions for literary costumes from not-so-symbolic novel title interpretations.

The Grapes of Wrath
Supplies: clothes of your choice, but preferably green. 10 or more balloons; either all green or all purple. A marker.
Directions: Blow up the balloons. Draw angry faces on them. Secure them to your clothes.

Lord of the Flies
Supplies: fly costume (you can DIY it with black clothes, wings, and a couple extra stuffed legs), crown.
Directions: Wear fly costume. Put on crown.

The Catcher in the Rye
Supplies: baseball mitt, stalks of wheat or corn.
Directions: Put on mitt. Fasten grain to clothes.

Catch-22
Supplies: baseball mitt, paper, scissors
Directions: Cut out two numeral 2’s from the paper. Fasten to the inside of the baseball mitt.

A Clockwork Orange
Supplies: Orange shirt, marker.
Directions: Draw a clock on the shirt. Put on shirt. Bonus points for drawing in gears and clockworks.

The Portrait of a Lady
Supplies: Picture Frame or just cut a frame shape out of a cardboard box and decorate it to look like a picture frame.
Directions: Arrange frame so it goes around face and secure.
Note: Must be a lady to pull this off.

Fahrenheit 451
Supplies: White shirt, black marker, red marker.
Directions: Draw a thermometer on the shirt that goes from 0 degrees to 500 degrees with the black marker. Color it up to 451 with the red marker. Bonus points for making one side in Fahrenheit and the other in Celsius.”

Jessica Woodbury

Jessica Woodbury is a lapsed lawyer who now works in digital media. She chronically overshares at dontmindthemess.com. Follow her on Twitter:@jessicaesquire. This article first appeared on Bookriot.com

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In our house it’s called chocolate season…

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With Halloween fast approaching, for many this marks the beginning of the Holiday season so I thought I would take the time to let everyone know of the posting schedule between now and the New Year.

The real changes are aimed more at November and December as there are no Family commitments that need to be fulfilled in October; with that said here are the posting schedules for those two months.

November:
There will be no, or at the very least only one posting during the week of 24th to the 30th of this month, as it is Thanksgiving and I know you would all rather be preparing for the feast, and out tackling Black Friday than sat reading a blog.

December:
Between the 22nd of this month and the 1st of January there will be only two posts made; one on Christmas Eve and the other on New Year’s Eve.  Again this is to enable us all to enjoy our Holidays with our Families if they are near, or just relaxing and doing our own thing if, as in my case, they are thousands of miles away.

I ask one thing of you all over the Holidays, and all it requires is a few moments; as you are enjoying your festivities please spare a thought for those who are not as blessed as we all are and who, for whatever reason, cannot participate in things we tend to take for granted.

Thank you all for your continued support and, as usual if you have any constructive criticism or suggestions for the blog, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Don’t Turn on the Light ~ S.E. Schlosser

MD Spooky TalesShe commandeered the room in the basement of her dorm as soon as she realized she would have to pull an all-nighter in order to prepare for tomorrow’s final exam. Her roommate, Jenna, liked to get to bed early, so she packed up everything she thought she would need and went downstairs to study . . . and study . . . and study some more.

It was two o’clock, when she realized that she’d left one of the textbooks upstairs on her bed. With a dramatic sigh, she rose, and climbed the stairs slowly to her third-floor dorm room.

The lights were dim in the long hallway, and the old boards creaked under her weary tread. She reached her room and turned the handle as softly as she could, pushing the door open just enough to slip inside, so that the hall lights wouldn’t wake her roommate.

The room was filled with a strange, metallic smell. She frowned a bit, her arms breaking out into chills. There was a strange feeling of malice in the room, as if a malevolent gaze were fixed upon her.  It was a mind trick; the all-nighter was catching up with her.

She could hear Jenna breathing on the far side of the room—a heavy sound, almost as if she had been running. Jenna must have picked up a cold during the last tense week before finals.

She crept along the wall until she reached her bed, groping among the covers for the stray history textbook. In the silence, she could hear a steady drip-drip-drip sound. She sighed silently. Facilities would have to come to fix the sink in the bathroom…again.

Her fingers closed on the textbook. She picked it up softly and withdrew from the room as silently as she could.

Relieved to be out of the room, she hurried back downstairs, collapsed into an overstuffed chair and studied until six o’clock.  She finally decided that enough was enough. If she slipped upstairs now, she could get a couple hours’ sleep before her nine o’clock exam.

The first of the sun’s rays were beaming through the windows as she slowly slid the door open, hoping not to awaken Jenna. Her nose was met by an earthy, metallic smell a second before her eyes registered the scene in her dorm room. Jenna was spread-eagled on top of her bed against the far wall, her throat cut from ear to ear and her nightdress stained with blood. Two drops of blood fell from the saturated blanket with a drip-drip noise that sounded like a leaky faucet.

Scream after scream poured from her mouth, but she couldn’t stop herself any more than she could cease wringing her hands. All along the hallway, doors slammed and footsteps came running down the passage.

Within moments other students had gathered in her doorway, and one of her friends gripped her arm with a shaking hand and pointed a trembling finger toward the wall. Her eyes widened in shock at what she saw. Then she fainted into her friend’s arms.

On the wall above her bed, written in her roommate’s blood, were the words: “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?”

Spooky Maryland: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Other Local Lore, retold by S.E. Schlosser

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Axe Murder Hollow ~ S.E.Schlosser

PA Spooky talesSusan and Ned were driving through a wooded empty section of highway. Lightning flashed, thunder roared, the sky went dark in the torrential downpour.

“We’d better stop,” said Susan.

Ned nodded his head in agreement. He stepped on the brake, and suddenly the car started to slide on the slick pavement. They plunged off the road and slid to a halt at the bottom of an incline.

Pale and shaking, Ned quickly turned to check if Susan was all right.  When she nodded, Ned relaxed and looked through the rain soaked windows.

“I’m going to see how bad it is,” he told Susan, and when out into the storm. She saw his blurry figure in the headlight, walking around the front of the car. A moment later, he jumped in beside her, soaking wet.

“The car’s not badly damaged, but we’re wheel-deep in mud,” he said. “I’m going to have to go for help.”

Susan swallowed nervously. There would be no quick rescue here. He told her to turn off the headlights and lock the doors until he returned.

Axe Murder Hollow. Although Ned hadn’t said the name aloud, they both knew what he had been thinking when he told her to lock the car.  This was the place where a man had once taken an axe and hacked his wife to death in a jealous rage over an alleged affair. Supposedly, the axe-wielding spirit of the husband continued to haunt this section of the road.

Outside the car, Susan heard a shriek, a loud thump, and a strange gurgling noise. But she couldn’t see anything in the darkness.

Frightened, she shrank down into her seat. She sat in silence for a while, and then she noticed another sound.  Bump. Bump. Bump.  It was a soft sound, like something being blown by the wind.

Suddenly, the car was illuminated by a bright light.  An official sounding voice told her to get out of the car. Ned must have found a police officer.  Susan unlocked the door and stepped out of the car.  As her eyes adjusted to the bright light, she saw it.

Hanging by his feet from the tree next to the car was the dead body of Ned.  His bloody throat had been cut so deeply that he was nearly decapitated. The wind swung his corpse back and forth so that it thumped against the tree. Bump. Bump. Bump.

Susan screamed and ran toward the voice and the light. As she drew close, she realized the light was not coming from a flashlight. Standing there was the glowing figure of a man with a smile on his face and a large, solid, and definitely real axe in his hands. She backed away from the glowing figure until she bumped into the car.

“Playing around when my back was turned,” the ghost whispered, stroking the sharp blade of the axe with his fingers. “You’ve been very naughty.”

The last thing she saw was the glint of the axe blade in the eerie, incandescent light.

Spooky Pennsylvania: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Other Local Lore, retold by S.E. Schlosser

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