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United States Folklore

Resurrection Mary

There was a dance that night at the Oh Henry Ballroom, so he slicked back his hair, jumped into his red convertible and cruised down Archer Street, hoping he’d meet a pretty girl. He was a shy fellow who found it hard to talk to girls. Bolder men always danced away with the prettiest girls before he got up enough nerve to say hello. But tonight, would be different. Tonight, he would sweep one of… Read More »Resurrection Mary

The House Accursed

The House Accursed

The house was called the Isle of Pines, after a buccaneers’ rendezvous in the West Indies, and the owner made no attempt to conceal the strange plunder and curious weapons that he had brought home with him.

Kayuta and Waneta

Kayuta and Waneta

Waneta, daughter of a chief, had plighted her troth to Kayuta, a hunter of a neighboring tribe with which her people were at war. Their trysts were held at twilight on the farther shore of the lake from her village….

Old Woman Who Never Dies

Old-Woman-Who-Never-Dies

In the sun lives the Lord of Life. In the moon lives Old-Woman-Who-Never-Dies. She has six children, three sons and three daughters. These live in the sky. The eldest son is the Day; another is the Sun; another is Night.

Ghost Land

The Ghost Land

The young wife of a chief’s son died, and the young man was so sorrowful he could not sleep. Early one morning he put on his fine clothes and started off. He walked all day and all night. He went through the woods a long distance, and then to a valley. The trees were very thick, but he could hear voices far away. At last, he saw light through the trees and then came to… Read More »The Ghost Land

Storm ship of the Hudson

Storm Ship of the Hudson

It was noised about New Amsterdam, two hundred years ago, that a round and bulky ghost ship flying Dutch colors from her lofty quarter was careering up the harbor in the teeth of a north wind, through the swift waters of an ebbing tide, and making for the Hudson.

The Thunderers

Three men set out on a hunting expedition, but when one breaks his leg, the others abandon him in a pit rather than risk their lives carrying him home. The wounded hunter is rescued instead by a mysterious hermit who is not what he seems…

Origin of the Wind

Origin of the Wind

Napioa, the Old Man who made the earth, is determined to have the bags that hold the summer and winter, so he asks prairie chicken to take them from the lodge where they are kept by man and woman.

The Salt Witch

The Salt Witch

A pillar of snowy salt once stood on the Nebraska plain, about forty miles above the point where the Saline flows into the Platte, and people used to call it the Salt Witch.

The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen

Little Red Hen found a Wheat Seed that, if planted, would grow up and when ripe it could be made into flour and then into bread. But what should she do with it?

Brer Bear’s House

Well now, out of all the animals that live in the woods, Brer Bear had the biggest house. The house was warm and cozy on the inside, but it was also very crowded on account of Brer Bear having him a plump wife and two plump young ‘uns named Simon and Susannah.

Prison Break

Callahan was huddled in a cavern near the Pacific Ocean when the Feds closed in. There were still shreds of human flesh under his fingernails when the serial killer surrendered to the inevitable capture. They could put him behind bars, he vowed as they dragged him down the narrow path toward the waiting cars, but he would escape. And then they’d be sorry

The Bloody Mary Ritual

We were having a sleepover at my house that Saturday night. Me and my four best friends; Alex, Bianca, Sabrina, and Lacey. We made cookies and watched movies and did our hair and makeup. By midnight, we’d run out of planned activities. It was time to improvise. “Let’s try that Bloody Mary thing,” Lacey suggested.

Frogs of Windham

Lawyer Elderkin stood on the porch looking up at the night sky. Clouds were rolling in, obscuring the stars, but for a few moments the moon still shone on the sleepy town of Windham. Elderkin fervently hoped that the clouds meant rain. There was a severe drought in the county, and if it didn’t rain soon, the farmers would be in trouble…

Yancey’s Ghost

Yancey was a quirky old-time pioneer, gold prospector and Civil War veteran —perhaps the last of that breed—who came to Yellowstone in the 1870s and built a hotel in “Yancey’s Hole”; current day Pleasant Valley near Roosevelt Lodge.

Swept Over: Ghosts of the Lower Falls

Today the water drums of the Lower Falls in Yellowstone beat strongly, just as they did back in 1870 when the story which became a legend first took place. In those days, a group of five militia men and their Crow guide who decided to explore the little known Canyon of the Yellowstone. The explorers penetrate deep into the canyon region, keeping an eye out for signs of gold while they explored…

Drowned Man

My supervisor radioed me just after sunrise on a warm summer morning in 1929 to report another incident aboard the shipwrecked E.C. Waters out on Stevenson Island.
“A bunch of drunks were boozing and brawling on the boat last night,” he said in a grumpy tone that clearly indicated his lack of morning coffee.
I sighed. Again! I had no idea why so many summer visitors flocked to the wreck of the old steamboat on Stevenson Island, which lay partially submerged beside a sandy beach…

Why is a Black Cat bad luck?

Black Cats weren’t always considered bad luck. In early Egyptian times, dating back as far as 3000 BC, the domesticated cat became a symbol of grace and poise and was praised for its ability to kill cobras and other vermin.

Jean Sot Goes Fishing

Jean Sot was sitting gloomily on the dock of the marina casting a fishing line into the Bayou when his friend Boudreaux (Boo-dro) walked by. “Why are you so gloomy, mon ami?” Boudreaux asked his friend.
“Oh Boudreaux, I had a terrible dream,” Jean Sot said, waving the tip of his fishing pole for emphasis…

I Know Moonrise

Mama told me I should never to walk along the marsh shortcut that led from our plantation to the town of Brunswick. She said it was dangerous and I’d get myself killed if I didn’t listen to her. That didn’t make any sense. The march shortcut was a wide, sandy path that my buddies used all the time when they went to the store in town. None of them ever got hurt. And at the age of thirteen, I was perfectly capable of taking care of myself.

The Face

The medical student toppled into love as soon as he set eyes on Sheila, the beautiful new transfer student. She had masses of long black hair and eyelashes so long they got tangled in her curls when she leaned over her desk. The medical student had a withdrawn nature, though not by inclination. He’d learned the hard way that people avoided him when they heard about his insane father; locked away in an asylum.

Hatchet Man

There were warnings all over campus about a Hatchet Man who was supposedly abused and killed a woman in Bloomington. All the girls were warned to walk in pairs and to stay in brightly lit areas if they had to go out at night.

The Phantom Bellman

I gasped a bit as I wheeled my heavy bag toward the white-trimmed double doors leading to the hotel lobby. I was having some trouble adjusting to the altitude in Yellowstone after living my whole life at sea level. My husband Frank, on the other hand, took to the elevation as one mountain-born, much to my annoyance. He’d already dragged the rest of our luggage inside the hotel and was checking in at the front desk as I doddered my way into the lobby and collapsed in a chair near the fireplace.

How the Rainbow Was Made

One day when the earth was new, Nanabozho looked out the window of his house beside the wide waterfall and realized that all of the flowers in his meadow were exactly the same off-white color. How boring! He decided to make a change, so he gathered up his paints and his paintbrushes and went out to the meadow.

The Headless Bride

Once there was a lovely young woman growing up in a wealthy shipping family in New York. In those days, wealthy young women were expected to make their debut in society and to marry a wealthy young man from a good family. But our young lady was a bit of a rebel. When she grew old enough to marry, she scorned the wealthy young society men in favor of an older man who was working as a servant in her house.

White Riders

They were not even close to the main camp when the sandstorm storm hit, blasting hot sand into their eyes, hair, and skin. The wind whirled above, around, and under the hasty shelter the two cowboys had set up, offering no protection at all. They took small sips of water every hour or so to relieve the dryness of their throats and to shift about to keep from being buried completely under the sand.