Peacock’s Ghost United States-Louisiana. From a Terrifying Taste of Short and Shivery Retold by Robert D. San Souci. Not long ago, a young man named John Peacock lived in New Orleans. One day he learned that he had inherited a farm from a distant cousin of his. The farm
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From a Terrifying Taste of Short and Shivery
Retold by Robert D. San Souci
lived in New Orleans. One day he learned that he had
inherited a farm from a distant cousin of his. The farm
was in the Louisiana backcountry. This came as a
surprise, since his cousin had lived all his life in Europe
and had never spoken of such a thing. In any case,
John was eager to drive up and see what the farm
looked like. But the place, called Peacock’s Farm, was
miles away, where roads were poorly marked, if at all.
John soon became hopelessly lost trying to find the
farm. At a crossroads, he saw an old woman, sitting in
a rocker on the sagging porch of a crumbling house.
shed, choked with brambles and vines. The woman
was wearing an old white shift, and her uncombed
white hair gave her a wild look.
Since there was no one else around, the young
man parked his car and strolled to the porch.
“Can you tell me how to find Peacock’s Farm?” he
“I kin tell you,” the woman said. “But you don’
want ter go thar.”
“Why not?” John asked. “The place belong to me
story ter tell you. If you lissen an’ you still want ter go
thar, I’ll show you the way.”
John Peacock agreed; then he fanned himself with
his hat as she began:
“Years ago, ole man Peacock died an’ lef a heap o’
property ter his chillun. An’ he give ev’ry one a farm.
There was one mo’ farm lef’ over. ‘Twas a good
farm an’ the house all furnished up, but no one did
keer to live that, fer they all said the house was haanted.
no way a-feared. Said he could lay that ghost if they’d
give him the farm. Th’ others tole him the place was
his if he could lay the ghost so’ster live thar.
“Well, Micah went at night ter the house, takin’ his
Bible along. He sat thar a-readin’ it backward and
forward: He didn’ mind it none whether the ghost come
a-nigh or not. Sho’ nuff, the ghost come along while he
was a-readin’. It went all about thro’ the house, so’s
Micah could hear it goin’ inter the diffunt rooms an a-
movin’ things thisaway an’ thataway. But he didn’ let on
ter hear the ghost- no indeed, he kep a-readin’ away in
he jes lighted it an’ read on. Then he went inter the
bedroom an’ lay down. That sort o’ made the ghost
mad, so’s it come inter the bedroom an’ Micah seed
it, like as if it was real person.
“Anyhow, then he seed the ghost reach out an arm
long an’ skinny-like, under the bed, an’ jes’ turn it over
with him on it. But he only crep’ out from under it an’
went back inter the kitchen an’ begun ter read away in
his Bible. An’ thar he stayed all night. Afore day, the
ghost come once mo’ an’ said, ‘If you come back yere
again, yore a dead man.’
again, yes indeed: an’ he’d got two preachers ter
come along an’ try to lay that ghost. One was a
Methodis’ an’ the other was a Catholic. They both
brought their Bibles, an’ all of ‘emkep’ a-readin’
forward an’ backward. ‘Twan’t no time at all till that
ghost come again, an’ then it just went on mos’
“The Methodis’, he didn’t stay ter hear much o’
the racket. Out he run an’ never come back. The
Catholic, he held out a good bit, but afore long he run
an’ lef’ Peacock ter stay it out by himself.
mo’; but sho’ nuff, in the mornin’, thar was Peacock
a-lyin’ dead with his head cut clean off- yes indeed,
sir!-an tharain’ no one ever try ter lay that ghost
“Well, I’ve been warned,” said John Peacock
impatiently. “Now give me the directions you
promised. Let me tell you, any ghost that crosses me
will find he’s-”
“Who tole you it were a he?” the old woman said.
She stood up from the rocker and began to grow longer
and thinner. Her bony hand locked on to young
Peacock’s wrist; her grip was as painful as a metal vise.
like balsa wood.
“Yep,” she said, suddenly letting go of him. “You
been warned. This yere is Peacock’s Farm. Still want
But John was halfway to his car. When he looked
back, he saw only the old rocker bobbing on the porch.
John drove as quick as he could back to New Orleans.
There he burned the deed to Peacock’s Farm. But for
the rest of his life, there was a bruise, like the imprint of
long thin fingers, around his wrist.