Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Tales: Our Haunted Farmhouse, Mom's Strange Brews, a Monster Buck, and Jack-o-Lantern Mushrooms

Road to the farm
My husband reminded me this morning that today is the 23rd anniversary of our buying our 89-acre farmland in Osage County.

It's not that we deliberately bought the property on Halloween; it's just that was the day we signed the paperwork. Some might say that was an omen, or it might be a coincidence that the old farmhouse, which burned down several years ago, was haunted.

One year, after my husband and several relatives went deer hunting, they returned with stories of strange happenings. They swore the old farmhouse was haunted by a ghost they named Gary because Casper was already taken.

The old barn is still standing
I attributed their stories to drinking too much beer around the campfire and over-active imaginations. I'd been to the farmhouse many times, but I'd never  seen  anything to make me believe the farmhouse was haunted -- until one Saturday afternoon. Let's just say after that experience I changed my mind.

Just the other day one of my sisters and I were talking about our mom's cautionary tales and home remedies, some of which might be considered old wives' tales.

Mom warned us not to go outside after washing our hair, tried to get us to eat fish because it was "brain food," and fed us chicken soup when we had colds. But that wasn't all she did to cure what ailed one of her brood.

While she didn't stir up ingredients as weird as a witch's brew like "the eye of a newt or toe of a frog," she did create some strange brews. She made onion poultices to cure croup or bad colds. She sliced an onion and sprinkled sugar over it then put the concoction in a small pan with a small bit of water then made a poultice. For warts, she sliced a raw potato in half, rubbed half on the wart then had someone, other than the one with the wart, bury the second half of the potato but not tell where it was buried. By the time the potato grew, the wart would be gone. Then there was iodine for swollen tonsils.

Oh, yeah, Mom was definitely old school.

On the topic of old school: Last weekend my nephew Paul downed a monster 15-point buck in St. Charles County using an atlatl. A what? That's what I asked.

An atlatl is an ancient weapon, basically a spear, a stick with a handle on one end and a hook on the other. You can see a photo of Paul, the monster buck, and his atlatl on the Missouri Conservation Department Facebook page, where you can also see a photo of Jack-o-Lantern mushrooms.

How about you? Any Halloween tales or spooky stories to share?


  1. Donna--That weapon looks small. AND it looks like it's made of wood.

    Your nephew THREW it and killed the buck? I have no stories about ghosts, but I do have lots of questions about atlatls...

    1. Hi Sioux,
      I had never heard of atlatls, but I'm going to learn more. Earlier today sister told me he had practiced till his arm was sore.

  2. That is an impressive feat for a man with a stick!

    I have shared most of my spooky stories, and am in no hurry to have new ones to tell. Although last night, as I was going through the DVR shows, I saw "The Exorcist" that I had recorded for my son last Saturday. He recently read the book, and then watched the movie. I've read the book, but I refuse to watch the movie. Not back in the days when it came out in theaters. Not on a DVD. Never.

    So I said to him, sitting there on the couch in our basement, "Do you ever plan to watch this again? Good. Because I'm deleting it. I don't want it on our DVR." Just as I hit "Delete," there was a noise of something falling in the corner past where my son lay with his head on the armrest. I accused him of knocking something off, or hitting something to make a noise. He vehemently denied it, though he heard the same thing. Then I heard a knocking sound, and accused him again. He didn't hear it, but still denied.

    Too spooky for me!

    1. Now that's spooky! Something similar happened to me when I said I didn't believe in ghosts. It was scary.

  3. I've always loved Halloween and I liked this blog entry!

  4. I've never even heard of an atlatl before. What an amazing achievement for your nephew!

    Critter Alley

  5. I don't have any spooky ghost stories, Donna, but I've enjoyed yours. I think this entry could surely be part of an anthology somewhere :) And I learned something new here, as I often do from your blog: now I know about atlatls.

  6. I want to hear YOUR story about your ghost experience! My daughter has seen one here in our house, but I haven't come across him/her yet, unless you count the time I thought the cat was on my leg, but then I looked and there was nothing.


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