One of the first ghost stories I ever heard was told to me by an older cousin. She was watching over some of us younger kids as we spent the night in a tent. We begged her to tell us a ghost story, and she told us one that I have remembered ever since. It is a well-known American folktale, and here is one version for those who are brave enough to read on...best told in the dark with a flashlight or campfire...
A teenage girl was listening to the radio as she got ready for her date with her boyfriend. A report came on warning listeners that an insane killer had escaped the nearby asylum. The man could be recognized by the hook that was in place of his hand. The girl didn't pay much attention--she was focused on the fun she was going to have that evening.
The girl's boyfriend came to pick her up and they went with another couple to a dance. They had a great time, and when they left they dropped the other couple off before parking in a secluded spot to kiss.
The radio was on in the car, and another report came over to warn people that the man with the hook was still at large. The girl was suddenly aware of how lonely the road was--there was no one else around. She shivered and asked her boyfriend to take her home, "That hook man sounds dangerous, and we're all alone out here."
Her boyfriend tried to get in another kiss, "Come on, it's nothing to worry about."
The couple argued, but they were interrupted when the car shook. It felt as if something...or someone...had touched it. The girl screamed, "Get us out of here now!"
The boyfriend rolled his eyes but tore out of his parking spot with a screech of the tires. The couple drove home in angry silence, and when they got to the girl's house, she kicked the car door open and went to slam it.
Instead of closing the door, the girl let out a horrible shriek. There, hanging from the door handle, was a bloody hook.
(This is the first in what will be a series of ghost stories. If you'd like to contribute one, please e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.)