A traveling salesman came to Goshen Hill for a few days, selling his wares from door to door. He was a friendly man with a warm grin and a joke for everyone. He was accompanied by a large white dog that rode on the wagon beside him; companion, friend, and guardian of his wares.
The salesman and dog were making their way out of town when a murder was discovered in one of the places in which they had sported their wares. Suspicion blossomed at once against the stranger—certainly no one the townsfolk knew was capable of committing such a crime!—and a lynch mob chased the salesman out of town and strung him up on a tree beside the road.
The white dog howled and barked and roared as the mob carried his master away. More than one man was bitten as the salesman, still screaming out his innocence, was silenced forever. One fellow finally shot his gun at the white dog, wounding it enough to send it whimpering away. It soon became obvious to everyone in town that they’d hanged the wrong man. The corpse, dangling obscenely from the tree on Old Buncombe Road, was a grisly reminder of the community crime. They’d have cut down the salesman and given him a decent burial, but the white dog stood guard over his master’s corpse day after day, savagely threatening anyone who came near the hanging tree. So the salesman’s body withered and rotted underneath the tree beside the road, filling the air with a terrible stench as it desiccated in the summer heat. It was many weeks before body and dog disappeared from the Old Buncombe Road.
A few months later, a man who’d participated in the salesman’s lynching happened to be walking down Old Buncome Road at night. As he drew near the hanging tree, his nose wrinkled in disgust as a whiff of rotten flesh swept past his face amd his stomach roiled. He staggered backward, his arm over his nose, wondering what was causing the terrible stench. Then he spotted the hanging tree, and saw upon it a glowing, desiccated corpse dangling obscenely by the neck from one of its branches. And beneath the ghostly figure stood a huge, white dog with glowing red eyes.
The dog growled menacingly when he saw the man on the road, and the man stumbled backward over the rut in the center of the road and then started to run. With an ear-shattering series of barks, the white dog pursued the fleeing man with supernatural speed. The man whipped this way and that, spinning around, leaping into the woods to dodge around trees, trying to avoid the huge dog snapping at his heels. If he fell, the dog would be at his throat immediately.
The man crashed headlong into a tree and flung himself upward. Below him, the ghost dog leapt, and sharp teeth closed on the man’s hand. Pain ripped through him, and he climbed higher, trying to shake off the glowing beast. “Let go!” he screamed, kicking at it again. Suddenly, the white dog turned to mist before his eyes and swirled away. Realizing that the white dog might reappear at any moment, the man seized his chance. He slithered down the tree and ran all the way home. His wife sent a neighbor to fetch the doctor, who stitched up his hand as best he could. The white dog had nearly severed the palm, and the nerves were so badly damaged that he was crippled in that hand for the rest of his life.
The man later learned that every person who had participated in the lynching of the salesman was attacked by the ghost of the white dog. Many—like himself—were crippled in some way. As for the fellow who’d shot and injured the white dog—well, his four-year-old son disappeared and was never seen again.