How scary and fun it would it be to have a slumber party in a cemetery?
That is exactly what Jennifer told her four best friends (Cindy, Susan, Lena and Bobbie) they were going to do the weekend before Halloween.
Jennifer lived only three houses from the oldest cemetery in town that also backed up to the railway tracks; she knew everything there was to know about this place of eternal rest so what better place to have a little fun with friends she thought.
Jennifer moved things into position throughout the week, hiding blankets and candles and things in the trunk of a large oak tree, as not to cast any suspicion to her plans on Saturday.
Saturday arrived and so did the girls, laughing and giggling as they listened to music and played with make-up in Jennifer’s’ bedroom whispering about their planned mischief.
Once in the family room with their pajamas and night wear on, snacks and the movie ‘The Craft’ on the television, Jennifer was sure that her parents were not check in again.
“It’s time she told them.”
The five girls proceeded to the cemetery for the rest of the night which they had been anticipating all week.
Sisters Cindy and Susan held Jennifer’s hand as they walked cautiously towards the cemetery. They had been to the cemetery together many times as kids to play tag and do rubbings of head stones, but always in the daylight. Bobbie, who was wearing nothing but baby dolls was the rebel, although she lived in the same town she lived far enough away that going to the cemetery was not in her routine. Lena was the new girl and had moved into the old Stewards house 3 blocks away with her mother and sister. All the girls liked her even though they had only known her for a few months and figured this would be a good way to get to know her better. In her excitement to come to the party Lena had forgotten were pajamas, forcing her to wear one of Jennifer’s’ mothers nightgowns. She held Bobbies hand firmly in her grasp as they squeezed through a small opening in the corner of the cemetery, having to stop momentarily to unhook the over sized gown.
Jennifer darted for the tree where she had stuffed the necessities’ for the night, throwing things out for everyone to set up fast.
With blankets down and wrapped around them, the girls were comfortably set up between some headstones leaning on each other and giggling.
“This is really sweet,” Riley exclaimed, trying to act bold while pulling a blanket up over her chest a little higher.
The girls giggled to one another before Jennifer asked her if she was scared.
Lena quickly responded that she was only a little chilled.
“Me to,” replied Susan. “It always seems colder in a cemetery.”
“Must be all those dead bodies below us, wahahaha,” Bobbie laughed.
The others laughed under their breath however; the thought of them being the only living things did kind of freak them out!
Jennifer rummaged around in her bag and pulled out a green bottle, “this should probably warm us up,” she said.
The others watched as she pulled and popped the cork off the bottle of red wine, raising it to her lips and taking a swig.
“Oh yeah, that will warm us up,” she said as she passed it on to Bobbie!
They all took little sips as the bottle went around and the illusion of warmth and security loosened the girls up.
Over the next hour they asked Lena questions about her life and shared some of their own stories until the moon started to fall behind the trees creating a shadow of movement on the head stones.
Jennifer explained that this was the best time to tell ghost stories and started off with a story about the little boy that walks up and down their school hallways looking for his classroom full of friends. Occasionally turning the water up to squirt students in the face, otherwise he is pretty harmless.
Cindy grunted, “Only a boy would stay in school after he was dead. Now me I want to die in a mall so I can shop everyday forever.”
The girls laughed and agreed with Cindy who had the best fashion sense of them all, but the worst grades.
“Remember what we were watching when we left the house,” Bobbie asked?
They all loved “The Craft’ so it was a no brainer for any of them to answer.
“Yeah…dau ‘The Craft’, Susan replied. “Like, it’s the best girl witch movie ever.”
Bobbie smiled as she grabbed the bottle of wine from Jennifer, “I read that Voodoo priests would take young virgin girls to the grave of someone and perform a ritual to raise the dead.”
Grabbing their hands she pulled them off the blankets to the grave next to them.
“What are we doing,” Cindy chirped. “Where did you read this Voodoo stuff, she added?
Bobbie, did read a lot and she enjoyed fantasy and magic stories which did often include magic and rituals, but she had never really tried anything like this before or at least with the other girls’ involvement.
While Bobbie had her friends made the circle Lena asked, “let’s say we do raise the dead, did you read how to kill the zombie before it eats us?”
The girls giggled awkwardly at Lena’s frightened humor.
“Stab it in the head with this,” Jennifer replied showing them a long ornate stick fashioned into a wand.
“I remember then we made those a few years ago,” Cindy exclaimed. “Susan’s and mine broke when our little brothers used them as swords.”
Bobbie instructed Jennifer to put the wand away and for them to hold hands in a circle and spit on the ground in the middle. Then she instructed them to hum, explaining that the ambient noise would guide the spirit up towards them. They followed her directions as she started to chant some incantation… ‘Fare thee well, free to rise, fare thee well free to rise…’ Bobbie then sipped and spilt a little of the wine on the ground where the others had spit continuing with the incantation. They continued for what seemed forever, before they heard something, rustling towards them quickly, they continued until a loud crashing sound came from the middle of the circle. The girls let out a sharp scream as they looked down where a bewildered fat squirrel laid startled after falling out of the tree.
The squirrel ran in one direction and the girls jumped onto their blankets laughing and punching Bobbie for scaring the hell out of them.
“Wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it did scare you all the same,” Bobbie laughed.
It was well after midnight now and the girls were playing spin the bottle with the empty wine bottle when Lena asked Jennifer what was the scariest tale about this cemetery.
The bottle turned in Lena’s direction. Jennifer said “Before I tell you what I feel the scariest story is, ‘Truth or Dare’?”
“Dare,” Lena replied.
“The scariest story I have heard is that of the railway foreman who was buried alive,” Jennifer continued while pointing, “His grave is up there near the railroad tracks.”
Bewildered, Lena asked “how do they know he was buried alive”?
“The man’s wife was having an affair with the local doctor, rumor has it they poisoned him. The doctor was also the coroner and pronounced him dead and doctors’ brother was the caretaker for the cemetery. Three days later when the night train went by the cemetery the engineer said that he thought he saw a man’s hand punching through the dirt. The next day the locals checked in on the engineers’ story and there was no displaced dirt or anything unusual.”
They had all heard the story before, several times, but that didn’t make it less creepy or scary.
“So why do they keep the story going,” Lena asked.
Cindy replied, “One of the locals found the man’s railway watch just under some fresh dirt near the surface. Everyone that attended the funeral swears he never took it off, ever. Some people say if you get close enough, you can still hear him scratching at the lid of his coffin,” she added.
Lena was upset by the story; the idea of this poor guy being cheated on, poisoned, buried alive and then almost surviving was terrifying.
“Maybe you can hear him scratching if you get close enough,” Jennifer told Lena.
“We have all listened for it ourselves but have never heard anything.”
Lena looked at her friends and knew that wasn’t really what she had in mind for this party, but it was only a cemetery and there were four other girls there that would help her if anything did happen.
“I don’t know about all that, I am not sure really where I am going and I may get lost,” Lena explained knowing that was pretty lame but it was worth a try.
The girls explained all she had to do was follow the path and it was the second grave in on the left before you get to the railroad tracks.
“It won’t even take you fifteen minutes,” Jennifer explained. “If you are too scared though, we will understand, however you are on a dare and I could make you do something else.”
Lena agreed to the dare.
“Wait, how will we know if she really does it,” Susan asked.
Thinking for a minute Jennifer pulled out the long wand that she showed them earlier.
“I want you to pierce the ground with this and we will come back tomorrow to check,” Jennifer explained handing the long wand to Lena.
The girls stood up with Lena and hugged her as they pointed her in the direction of the grave site. Lena smiled reassuring them that she would see them soon. She started up the slight hill slowly until the darkness of the night shrouded her.
“Jennifer you lied! We have never listened for the scratching on the coffin before,” Cindy cried. “We need to go get her now, who knows what is out there.”
Jennifer replied, “I didn’t really think she was going to take the dare, hell I wouldn’t have and I didn’t lie, we have all been up there before just haven’t been up there at night or at Halloween.”
Lena made it to the train track row of head stones; she remembered they told her it was the second stone in from left of the path. She walked over to the head stone, prepared to just stick the wand into the ground and run back when curiosity got the best of her, she had to know who this poor guy was. She strained to read the engraved name with the poor light so she got a little closer, the name was Henry P. Steward, she gasped and fell backwards dropping the wand after recognizing the name as the man whose house she had just moved into. The night train startled her as she felt around for the wand, struggling to stand and get out of there as quickly as possible. She found the wand and plunged it in the ground near her feet. She couldn’t stand something was holding her down, she screamed!
“This has gone on way to long,” Bobbie yelled at Jennifer. “It has to be 3:30am by now because the night train passed a while ago. We need to make sure she is alright!”
But no one was going to go up there to see where she was until day light.
“She probably chickened out and wants us to get all worked up, she probably slipped out of the fence and went home last night,” Jennifer replied. ‘You know what, this has been fun, but I think we should head home now and get a few hours of sleep.”
They all agreed, picking up their stuff and heading back to Jennifer’s’ house.
The next morning they woke to the sound of sirens blasting. Jennifer’s mother came in to check on them.
“They found a dead girl in the cemetery this morning, I am going over to see if it is someone we knew,” she explained!
The girls slipped through the back of the house and through the short cut. Their they saw Lena kneeling on the ground in front of the old man’s grave.
“Oh my God,” Cindy cried!
A young officer held them back as they cried.
“What happened to her,” Susan asked the officer.
“We are not certain at this point of our investigation,” he replied. “Any information you have would be helpful. Do you know her?”
They looked at one another, Jennifer replied, “Yes, she was at my house last night for a slumber party, her name is Lena and she had just moved into old Steward house.”
“I don’t know if this is a coincidence or not, but this is old man Stewards grave,” the office replied.
The girls watched as tried to move Lena’s body.
“She appears to be stuck on something,” the officer explained.
As they pulled a little harder it revealed that she had plunged the wand through the oversized night gown pinning herself to the ground.
Dying from fright!
Every night if you listen closely you can hear the scream of a young woman buried in sound of the night train as it passes the cemetery.
Through the Mind