FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Tell Me Your Spookiest Stories!

cover art by mantrapop

Happy Friday and welcome to the pre-Halloween edition of Friday Open Thread! How are you doing on the first day of the weekend before the gayest holiday of the year? What are you dressing up as this weekend? I know y’all love a good party – and yes I definitely want to see your costumes! [Ed note: If you want to be included in the official Autostraddle Halloween Costume Gallery, email 1-2 photos of yourself in costume to vanessa [at] autostraddle [dot] com. Include your name, age, and what you’re dressed up as and write Gay Halloween 2018 in the subject line!]

I do not go out, so I will not be attending parties this weekend (or any), but I will be at home thinking about ghosts and spirits and spooky things because that’s what you do around this time of year! Personally, I’m a baby, so the spookiest ghosts I like to think about are in the Disney Channel Original Movie Halloweentown. But my favorite ghost story is actually a Christmas story. Are you ready? It’s fucking wild.

So this woman moves into a bed and breakfast that she has to sell for some reason, but there’s a resident ghost, who makes it hard for her to sell. He turns into a solid ghost during the twelve days of Christmas, so she finally meets this troublemaker. Turns out though, she thinks this ghost is a babe! And she falls in love with him and decides to just live the rest of her life with a ghost who is only solid for twelve days a year. It’s a terrifying story of the dangers of heterosexuality and it scares me to the core every time I watch it.

So friends, what’s the spookiest story you know? Please share all the gory details in your comments, please think about even drawing a picture to accompany your story!

Also: how are your hearts? You can definitely talk to me about that too, because y’all it’s fucking hard out here. I very honestly feel like we’re all just walking on the ceiling and everyone’s pretending like it’s normal for the most part, so I get it if you need to talk about all of the shit happening in the world. If you need some tools for taking care of yourself and your communities right now, here are my five faves from this very website we all hold near and dear to our hearts:

I love each and every one of you so much and can’t wait to talk to you about your weeks!

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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 330 articles for us.


  1. The spookiest thing I can think about is how a fascist might win Brazilian’s election this weekend. Actually, I keep thinking about that article Heather wrote when Trump won the election and I didn’t know I could feel so similar, it’s draining the joy out of me. My own best friend (a gay man) will be voting for this awful guy for economics purpose and I’m not sure how to feel about it (I know, it’s breaking my heart). So after all this sad diary entry, I’ll say that yesterday I’ve treated myself with a bunch of Mexican food and Doctor Who and realized that it cheered me up quite a bit; so I’ll find some venmo and donate a bit to fellows that need a nice Friday.

  2. My heart is not good right now. I just had something happen at work that makes me want to smash everything and I can’t tell if I’m overreacting or being petulant or what. I’ve already ranted to my wife about it but sometimes feelings are bigger than one listener and I know Autostraddle is a safe place for these feelings so here you go!

    One of the company directors from a different department is expecting a baby with his wife. Some other folks pooled some money to get them a gift and as a thank you for the gift they bought little gifts for everyone in the company. Nice enough, right? I’m not going to turn down a free gift.

    But here’s the thing… I feel like these gifts belong in Straight People Watch. Or maybe this moves beyond a Watch and requires an Intervention. Maybe you can guess where this is going: THE THANK YOU GIFTS WERE GENDERED. Men got a little bag of candy. Women got nail filing boards.

    I smiled and said thank you because that’s how I was raised. It’s ingrained in me after years of birthdays and Christmases getting gifts that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with my family’s view of how I should be. It brought me right back to being that sad little butch feeling ignored and disregarded and disrespected.

    I just don’t understand what goes through straight people’s heads. And I’m mad about it. This is where I don’t know if I’m justified in feeling this way. I’m mad that they thought it was somehow okay to separate employees into boxes like this and then treat us differently depending on how they categorized us. It was a gift, they didn’t have to, I know all of that but I’m still pissed.

    I think I’m just gonna go listen to Ring of Keys and try not to grind my teeth too hard.

    tl;dr upper management bought gendered thank you gifts for employees and I’m mad about it.

    • This is so bizarre because candy isn’t gendered at all! Why wouldn’t they just get everyone candy? It makes no sense.

      I get why this rubs you the wrong way, and it’s totally valid! Still, as gendered presents go, nail filing boards sound very queer-friendly, maybe you can get some use out of them and keep your nails short and smooth for sexy purposes.

      • I don’t personally use them because I hate the scraping feeling, but I was thinking of giving them to my wife! And the humor of giving nail filing boards to a lesbian is probably the only redeeming thing about this.

    • oh wow that’s like such a weird thing to do! like, thank you gifts aren’t even neccessary, and then to be gendered! I’m sorry that happened to you it is really really weird!!! i hope ring of keys gave you the healing cry i know i’d need after that nonsense! ALSO maybe check out sad butch collective on instagram if you haven’t? they’d get those gendered feels for sure.

    • Maybe you ought to make sure to thank him profusely for the nail filing board as a lesbian and add a heavy wink.
      Seriously though, it’s bs.

      • He’d probably explode. Might be worth it!

        Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to thank him directly. He’s too busy and important to give out his own Thank You For the Gift gifts! He made our receptionist and engineering admin do it.

    • That is super weird and pointless?!?!

      I once had a coworker do a ‘gender reveal’ at work using candy bars, and I felt really weird about it. Like thanks for the candy and all but this is terrible.

    • Wow I’m sorry. Things like that are really alienating not because of the gift itself necessarily being offensive but because you sit here and wonder “why the hell did someone just men are from Mars women are from Venus a THANK YOU present???” Like the fuck kind of thanks is that?

      On a related note, I worked in an office where one of the long-time employees was expecting, so she had an IN-OFFICE GENDER REVEAL. They had a “betting pool” going on beforehand regarding the “”””gender”””” of the baby (a.k.a. what genitals will this thing have) and I didn’t want to vote because CISHETS??? But then she fucking hunted me and the only other trans people in the workspace (not out openly because…well…see above), who also didn’t bet, and forced us to put in a bet. So I do that shit and think it’s over with, right? WRONG. OH SO WRONG.

      This next part is truly the scariest part. Hold onto your rainbow cowboy hats: the ~~~~~~~~~gender reveal was all of us biting into a cupcake that had FROSTING INSIDE. The frosting was to either be blue or pink. COOL. I threw the cupcake away and my supervisor got mad at me for not wanting to eat it. EVEN COOLER.


    • That’s bloody ridiculous! Straight people, amiright?

      It made me think of something at work this week (sorry for hijacking the topic). This big international client of mine had a big ol’ conference to brainstorm slogans, and then published some of the BEST ones for the whole company. I kid you not, they included:

      – Happy wife, happy life
      – Not ‘Me too’, but ‘We do’

      What the fuck? They drill mountains and shit, and these are their slogans? (Not included: ones about coffee time and “Stay calm and …”) I guess toxic masculinity/heteronormativity with zero tact was to be expected in an industry made up of 99.9% men?

    • It reminds me of this everyone but cis men welcome coding class I went to where there were gift bags and they inexplicably contained lip balm and nail files. These were useful but it still made me feel weird.

  3. This week has been A Lot in so many overwhelming ways.

    But! On the upside, I just got another gig as a bouncer at a club for tonight, and it pays really well. So I’m glad for that.

    This will also be my first Halloween not going out in like 8 years, but I’m alright with it. My gym is having a party tonight though, so I’ll at least get to get out and be social for a bit.

    Happy Friday to you all!

  4. Okay, ghost story time. So I’m at my ex-girlfriend’s house, right, and we’re sitting on her couch watching tv together and it’s cute and relaxed and whatever. I don’t remember why, but we went into her (unfinished) basement for something, and we noticed a wooden door. She had never paid it much attention. It had two deadbolts holding it shut, and the area was covered in dust and rust and cobwebs. We decide to open it. (Mostly me. I have a curiosity problem.) the top deadbolt opens easily. The second is rusted shut. So, in my butchness, I find a hammer and pry it open. We open the door. It revealed a set of concrete steps going up to the old cellar door in her backyard! Nothing too out of the ordinary for an old house, but the space looked creepy as hell. As soon as we opened that door, we both felt a sort of presence. She started to get a headache. I just felt… off. She was scared, and that was around the time I was just getting into witchy things, so I ran home and got some things from my house, incense, crystals, a candle. We sit on the concrete basement floor, and I press my palms against the smooth, ice-cold surface. I draw sigils in pencil. I light the incense, make a crystal grid, and light the candle. I ask that if there is something with malicious intent, for it to leave. And that if there is something good, for it to communicate with us. Nothing happens. The room feels empty. My ex says her headache went away almost right then. We reflect for a moment. I decide that the presence is gone, and she agrees. I clean up, save for the sigils. As far as I know, those are still there. ☆

    • Well aren’t you a witchy butch in shining crystals saving the world one girlfriend’s basement at a time. Thank you for your service.

  5. This week has been A WILD RIDE. On Monday I found out my 14yo sister has an eating disorder. That threw me off and I thankfully got my friend circle to make sure I could process in a healthy way and make plans to spend more time with her. Then a short film I was involved in premiered and I got to see it in a big screen, that was weird in a lovely way. Last night I went to a Shakira concert because a friend got free tickets at work. It was amazing and I surprised myself with how many Shakira songs I knew. I have a second date with a cute girl today so we’ll see how that goes.

    As for spooky things, I sometimes get sleep paralysis and that shit ain’t cute.

    We’re doing a joint birthday/halloween celebration this saturday and I’m going as J Balvin, the rest of my friends are going as other latin trap and reggaeton artists. I had fun buying temporary tattoos and bandanas to get the look.

  6. One of my high school teachers told our class a ghost story during class.

    He was on the chaperone for a school trip overseas. He had brought his wife and 4 kids along as well. The night before the students showed, he was feeling apprehensive about leading the kiddos and things going smoothly. So, he went to bed kinda nervously. His wife was in the bed with him and two of his kids had an air mattress that was set up at the foot of their bed.

    Anyways, in the middle of the night, he woke up. He said his eyes were still closed, but he sensed a presence directly in front of his face and just had a feeling like… don’t open your eyes and kept them shut. Then, he had a really intense pain in his leg. Once the pain passed, he was able to fall back asleep.

    When he woke up the next morning he didn’t really think a lot of it, he was like… bad dream and a muscle cramp, right? Well later that night he was talking with his wife and she was like, “I think the our youngest son was having a bad dream last night. He asked me this morning why there was a wolf standing by daddy’s bed last night.” Their son was super young and my teacher said that for some reason he had started equating all scary thing with wolves. That story always made the hair on the back of my neck stand up a little.

  7. Hi friends. I’ll be honest: I’m stressed. I work a full-time (45 hours/week) job, PLUS I do theatre producing and writing (I don’t get paid for the latter). I have a mental health benefit coming up in 2 weeks, and ticket sales could use a boost, and I’m overworked and underpaid, like the rest of the world.

    BTW: If you’re in NYC and are free Thurs, Nov 8, you should come to this:

    I saw 3 musicals this week, and I’m TIRED because I got home at like 11 pm every night this week (except Tuesday). I saw Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, Mean Girls, and The Prom. The summary of my theatre week (and my life in general) is Jews & Lesbians.

    Good night. (Lol, I wish I could go to sleep. I *do* get out of work early today, but I have a meeting with a potential composer for a musical I’m writing after work.) zzzzzz

    • Jews & Lesbians sound like a great week, where do I sign up? Good luck with your meeting today, & I hope you get to sleep on time tonight.

  8. So I’m hesitant to share this bit of information, but I want to share my ghost story, so… I work for the police in the S.W of England. I used to live and work in Bristol, in a really old building. When I was working there, I would finish late – around 6/6.30pm after everyone else had gone home. More than once, I would hear doors opening – the lift or the ladies toilets were both very close to the office I sat in but I would be the only person working on that floor and there would be no-one in the lift and no-one going in or out of the toilets. A little creepy, because it was very close to the original police station, which was also believed to be haunted. Here’s a link to a short article with lots of photos, including one of the fifth floor where I worked.

    Also, I don’t know why so many police stations in the UK share the name “Bridewell”.

  9. This week I’ve been possessed by the return of my driving passion to find solutions and ask for the academic support I should be getting. I can never just let things be, especially once its affecting more than just me, it sends my problem-solving tendencies into hyperdrive. So now I’m trying to be all proactive and directly discuss some major problems. not like I don’t have a thesis to be writing or idk a personal life and mental health to take care of instead…
    In less frightening and frustrating news, I made some delicious gingerbread waffles and molasses/honey syrup for dinner on Monday. And I’m trying to make fun plans for tomorrow night so I can counter my worries/feelings about a not-fun-anniversary of some shitty stuff tomorrow.

  10. As @rheaklann said, the Presidential election in Brazil is really one of the scariest things happening right now.

    But if I want to be honest, the whole world looks frightening: President Cheeto in the US, Matteo Salvini almost running (and ruining) Italy by himself, the far-right growing all over Eastern Europe (Viktor Orbán is one crazy motherfucker) and poking their ugly head all over the place.

  11. Not really a spooky story, but kind of funny and certainly scared the crap out of me last night!

    So, about a month ago, my friend and I went to see The Nun for some reason. I don’t know why I would go see The Nun since I never saw any of the other Conjuring movies and I do believe in demons and malevolent spirits and whatnot, so I don’t usually like watching movies about them in case they take my interest as invitation. I’m very spiritually paranoid, ok?

    Anyway, we went to see The Nun and I haven’t been able to sleep ever since. Every time I lay down in the quiet darkness of my room, I see that face. Every creak of the floor (which is very creaky because our apartment complex is awful), every voice that travels through the thin, thin walls was clearly this demon coming to take me over.

    I started sleeping with the TV on with the volume low. Kind of like a white-noise machine that gives off light. The problem is my TV is pretty big and gives off a lot of flashing light, making it difficult to sleep for a different reason. I needed something else.

    I ended up ordering a Bluetooth lighted speaker/alarm clock from Amazon. It’s wireless, so I just charge it and it should last about a week (that’s important). The light on it changes colors (still a little bright, but not as bad as the TV) and it has a USB port so I can play my own music. It took me DAYS to figure out how to get the music to play because the instructions are written in English, but by someone who’s first language isn’t English so it’s a little tough for me to follow.

    I finally figured it out last night, put a rainy thunderstorm white noise track on a USB stick, set it up, and went to sleep.

    It was AMAZING. First time I’ve been able to sleep with the TV off in a month! Total life saver.

    Until about 3:00am. At which point, my speaker *screams* in a *human, non-robotic* voice, in *perfect English* “LOW BATTERY!” Then goes silent, with the color changing light still casting a now very eerie rainbow glow over my room, leaving me clutching my chest in horror because it really did sound like there was just some random lady in my room yelling at me that her battery was low.

    And that’s how the ghost in my speaker taught me to charge it daily.

    • Honestly, as someone whose first language *is* English, most instructions written in English are terribly hard to follow.?

      • I can normally follow instructions well enough, but there were some obvious mistranslations in these ones that just left me lost.

  12. I’ve never felt strongly one way or the other about the existence of ghosts – I think there are things that happen that we can’t explain with current science, but I don’t have a particular opinion about what they’re caused by. I have, however, experienced two very strange incidents with electronics at my parents’ house.

    The first time, I was suddenly woken up from a deep sleep at about 2 a.m. when the stereo in the living room apparently turned itself on, cranked the volume up to full and started playing the spooky intro notes of the CD I had left in it (this one, if anyone’s interested: ).

    The second time was more poignant than spooky. After my brother passed away and we had all gathered at my parents’ house, for the next week or so the microwave mounted above their stove started going bonkers, beeping rapidly at random intervals and changing the display screen on its own. This would sometimes increase in intensity when we were sitting together quietly talking about him. At one point I walked into the kitchen thinking I should reset the time and date on it, and as I walked towards it with my hand stretched out it beeped and changed to the screen I needed.

  13. I think the scariest story I know is the cis-het white guys of the world. Even scarier I pretended to be cis-het and white(well at white as a Slavic passing Persian can be), because cis-het America told me anything else makes me othered, a pervert and a freak, while also referring to my people as the axis of evil(though the government of Iran is a dumpster fire too). Not fun at all and fairly scary when you think about it.

    How is everyone’s week going? Mines has been fairly good. I went on a meh brunch date Sunday. Maybe my friends and all the people I have meet in the community has changed my standard for the better, because I didn’t have that initial feel; plus, it didn’t help her profile didn’t mention she’s polyam(open to it, but seriously just mention it in your profile not in the middle of the date). I then spent the rest of the day home watching the golden girls(on tv land), later youtube, while eating homemade hummus. I’m trying to figure out what to do for new years as the hotel my friend and I want to go is pricey as fuck for that night, and the bud. We may get a cheesy motel with an in room jacuzzi in town & then go to woman and nonbinary focused lgbtq event and just dance the night away drinking pomegranate gin(which is real pomegranate seeds infused with gin that right now is infusing at home in the freezer).

    This caught my eye on my way to Cuties on Sunday. Just really vibrant nicely done.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

      • Then come over my parents made enough hummus for a small party, though I don’t think we have shirini nokhodchi. We even have siracha to add if you want to spice up the hummus and lavash bread too!

  14. I’ve told this story here before, but I saw Death.

    I’d fallen asleep on my sofa, when I saw myself in an empty black space. My father was in front of me, his back turned towards me, and Death, herself, in person, floated past me to extend her skeletal hand for his shoulder. I started screaming and picked up a rock from nowhere and threw it towards her. She recoiled, turned around, and I saw part of her half-rotte face. I woke up terrified, because you’re not supposed to look Death in the face, right?

    Well, a few days pass, I finish my university exams and get ready to fly home to my parents, when my mum lets me know that they won’t pick me up because actually my father is in the hospital and he had a quintuple bypass, and there were complications and he almost died from bleeding out and lack of oxygen to the brain during emergency surgery THE NIGHT OF MY DREAM.

    My family has a few of these stories (though I’ve not shared this one with them). Like, my cousin was really sick and her brother prayed that God would take him instead. She recovered, he died soon afterwards in a freak accident that made national news because it shouldn’t be able to happen.

  15. My Halloween costume this year is my “adult-sona” aka just me but in business casual and maybe lipstick because I’m helping run a moot court competition at my law school and all the elimination rounds are this weekend/next week and I am already so tired.

    I don’t know what planet is in retrograde but the last few weeks have been a total disaster – I went to New York for a law conference and first my flight was delayed, then HomeAway dicked me over and kept moving me between apartments and then on Friday night the glass door of the shower shattered all over my naked freshly-showered body and I spent all night in the ER getting stitched up.

    And then I had to miss the rest of the conference cause I had stitches in my foot and literally couldn’t walk more than a few steps without wanting to pass out, and my flight back to St Louis was delayed, and I’ve been slowly getting back into the swing of things…and today, the one day when I could run errands this week, my period blindsided me so now everything hurts and I am emotionally unstable again.

    Also my friend back home sent me a selfie of him with Laverne Cox at a #YesOn3 event in Boston and I’m jealous and kinda want to transfer to a law school in Boston (but not badly enough to like…actually do anything).

    The spookiest story I have, aside from like…everything going on in politics right now (VOTE VOTE VOTE), is from when my dad and I went to France after my freshman year of high school. We were meeting up with some of his high school friends, who live in Germany, and spending part of our trip in a rented house in the absolute middle of nowhere. Like, so middle of nowhere that even in 2011, in the age of GPS and Google Maps, the owner had to send us a video of how to get from the center of the nearest town to the house.
    14 year old me was an anxious socially awkward poorly-adjusted weirdo, and from the moment we set foot in that house I was 100% convinced it was haunted. First there was just…a Vibe about the place. Then we started making the bed in one of the rooms – the one I would be sleeping in – and there was just a HUGE brownish-reddish stain on the mattress. Could’ve been rusty water, but it REALLY looked like blood (especially to already-anxious 14-year-old me). My dad, being a very rational software engineer with a background in mathematics and no patience for superstition or ghosts or any of that stuff, told me to chill out.
    (This is generally how my parents dealt with any manifestation of my anxiety when I was young.)
    Anyway, I made my peace with being stuck there for at least 3 days (“hey, if we die in this house, I told you so.”) and the first night I woke up in the dead of night and I could just barely make out a shadowy figure at the foot of my bed. It was just standing there, not moving, silhouetted in the light from the door, and when I blinked it vanished. The same experience repeated every single night we were there and I still have no rational not-ghosts explanation for it.
    Also somehow when we did our laundry in the washing machine there it turned all our white t-shirts/underwear bubblegum-pink. Again, no rational explanation.

  16. (Honestly, I’m losing sleep and in terror mostly at the state of the world right now, but you know what – escapism through recounting stories can be useful.)

    A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, my siblings and I were preparing for the arrival of a few other family members. I don’t remember the holiday. I do remember the drama. At the last second, one of my aunts had offended half of the family, so the folks that were visiting had canceled plans to stay with her and made plans to stay with my branch of the family instead.

    Obviously, this meant that we needed to spend some time cleaning. Lots of time. My mother wanted the house cleaned until it was spotless, so, I rounded up my siblings and set things into motion.

    It’s just… Nothing seemed to work as intended.

    The clothes washing machine broke. I mean it REALLY broke. When it was in the middle of a spin cycle, the drum came loose and smashed around inside the machine making a terrifying noise. A few glass dishes exploded. This happens, right? Except there was absolutely no one around at the time that they exploded.

    I was trying to get everything clean by the time our folks would arrive, but as the day went on, things kept breaking. That night, we still had quite a few things to clean due to the delays. I was exhausted and frustrated. I figured that it had to be one of my siblings, so I called them all together and had my own impromptu meeting.

    In my mind, I figured that I’d get to the bottom of this one way or another. We were all sitting in the living room arguing about who was sabotaging our progress when the lights flickered off, throwing us into darkness. A ridiculously loud crashing sound thundered upstairs and then the lights flickered back on again.

    The silence that followed was oppressive, eerie. I was so scared that it was hard to move, but I grabbed a baseball bat and the middle brother (basically, another baseball bat) and crept upstairs. The sound had come from grandma’s room, so we crept down the hall.

    I have no idea what I was expecting. A raccoon? Maybe a leopard? One of our neighbors had been busted for trading in exotic animals, so my imagination was running wild.

    What I was not expecting was what I saw. Grandmother’s favorite painting – a giant, muscular angel that was inexplicably cloaked in shadows – had fallen off the wall. It was sitting right there in the center of the room, facing the door. I got goosebumps on my goosebumps but tried to take in the scene.

    The glass in the frame was entirely gone. It was on the floor, crushed to a fine powder in some places, neatly shattered in others. The painting itself wasn’t even scratched. The angel, perfectly poised with an expressionless face, stared right back at us as we gawked at it. Something didn’t seem right. A few things didn’t seem right.

    The painting had somehow managed to slide several feet from where it had actually been hanging on the wall. It wasn’t where it should have been if it had just fallen right down like it should have. It was like someone had tilted the house, slid the painting off the wall, and THEN smashed it in. Besides that, the hooks that had held it up were still firmly in place. I mean, nothing had broken. Why did it fall?

    My brother was pretty handy. He had installed the painting himself and couldn’t believe the mess that we were looking at. We hung it up on the wall again and tried fifteen different ways to try to replicate the fall. Nothing made any sense. I felt weird. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing right up.

    I grabbed a notebook and a pen. With some help from my siblings, I made a list of every single thing that had exploded, fallen, or otherwise given us trouble. Well, it turned out that they all had something in common. They were “gifts” from our aunt, the one that was currently being shunned by most of the family.

    Welp. This was before my horror phase, but I had enough genre awareness to know what we needed to do. We rounded up every single thing that the aunt had ever given us, bagged it all, and dragged it outside. There, we burned the things that could be burned and smashed up everything else with a sledgehammer.

    Problem solved. The rest of the night’s cleaning went smoothly, and that was that.

    Sorta. But, eh, that’s a story for another day.

  17. Global rise of fascism is hard to out spook because last time fascism arose it killed so many people so horribly. When I was a kid I had dreams of mass executions and mass graves, a voice on an old tape telling a story about a nude woman who pointed to her self and told him her age in broken English before she was shot and dumped in with the rest. I think he was a prisoner too. I have ex who believes I’m a reincarnated victim of a witch hunt craze, but I think that says more about them than me. My hyper mobility is a genetic predisposition not a sign I was put to the question of the rack or something in another life.

    But a one on one spooky story of the maybe supernatural kind? I’ve never lived any where but Louisiana my whole so of course I got some, one I told before. It’s one that gives me chills still took place in the outskirts Lafayette, a fairly recent suburbian incursion on what’s been sugarcane fields for over a hundred years where the roads to get there in 2005 were still lined with sugarcane fields.

    There’s some historical detail this story needs to start with. In Louisiana the cane season is shorter because cold ruins the cane. Harvest time is generally October(can be earlier)and referred to as the grinding season or grinding time because there’s big rush to harvest and process cane before the weather can fuck anything up.
    It’s when the field owners can lose and lose big so slaves and hired hands would sometimes take a gamble to try leverage for stuff by refusing to work. Sometimes it worked out they’d get what they bargained for, some times it ended in massacre or a variety of brutal actions.

    So it’s October 2005 I’m an AFAB teenager sharing a small room with my brother who hates me(really does mmkay), because Katrina pushed us out of our home and Lafayette was where we had relations. The house would make me feel trapped a lot so I’d occasionally go out for walks at night when I was feeling ready to pop. The night has always called to me and had a calming affect on me.

    This was one of those nights, there was no moon and it was one of those Octobers with a bit of a chill and a breeze. I’m walking, I don’t know how far, can’t remember if I had my walkman,it was always quiet out there. The breeze stops, then I feel it this hot, burning all consuming wrath that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my eyes to tear.
    I’ve survived off rage at some points in my life, been hated, had my brother’s hands around my neck trying to strangle me his face gone red with rage screaming “I’m going to fucking kill you!” because I dared mouth off at him.
    But NEVER have I felt such wrath before or ever again as I did outside near that night by the cane field road, it was this pure un-distilled malevolent rage crushing me like the diving end of a pool. I choked and dry sobbed while willing my body with ever thing I had to just move, fucking move and ran.
    Every night after that until we left for the 504 I felt a pressure outside the house at night and in the dark hours of the morning as we rode past the cane fields tendrils of that same malevolence. It got weaker after the post harvest burn of the fields. But it was still there and I wasn’t going to test it out. Not one of those horror movie white people, I don’t have “an” accent but my caution of the supernatural is a def marker of Southerness to me.

    All the South is haunted, there’s too many layers of misery and injustice for it not to be. Anyone who grew up here, has blood ties here knows, and feels. May not admit, but respects it in some way.

    None of the spooky stories I ever read in tale collections ever really stuck to my brain in a re-tellable format. Just analytical or amusing details.

    So uh this sci-fi series my brain has decided to create is going better than anything else my brain has cooked up in the past cause I got names for everything. One stumbling block I’m having is the main character grew up a “normal” girl, I don’t know what that’s like or how to infer it in gentle brush strokes. So I kinda maybe have over-fleshed out a secondary character because I know what to do with fucked up childhood really well.

    So uh anybody willing to answer: What’s it like to grow up “normal” and as adulthood continues realise how far you’re getting from that and want sometimes very badly to be normal again? Like normal can/could protect you, return things to that safe childhood cocoon of before?

  18. I don’t have a spooky story to tell right now, but I just watched an instagram story of Emily Hampshire watching Teddy Geiger get her makeup done and telling Teddy that she was pretty and soft and I started crying????

    It’s been a rough week, y’all!

  19. I’ve been reading AS for years but rarely comment (anxiety about social situations? Neverrrrr). That said, knowing there’s a Friday Open Thread has always given me the warm fuzzies and I’d like to join the fun…several days late. Maybe next week I’ll be on time.

    Short scary story time!

    I’m a bartender. I work weekends. This was the big Halloween party weekend. I cracked so many cans of beer last night that my nail beds are separating from my nails.

    • Your poor finger tips ?

      Tab openers are a thing that exist. Management should provide y’all with some jeeze.

      • They do! I had one in my pocket. I’ve done it by hand for so long that I’m very slow with the blade, and I just don’t think of it until it’s too late. Definitely a case of “the monster was you,” haha.

  20. I know I’m a bit late, but I actually had a…spooky? comforting? experience on Friday night/Saturday morning and want to share.

    As I was cleaning my apartment at around 7:30 on Friday night because I do not go out, I lit the candles in my bedroom because that’s just, like, something I do. I lit maybe four, and when I got to a votive of St. Jude, I couldn’t get the sucker lit. I tried for a while, and the wick didn’t look covered in wax or anything, but after five or six sparks I gave up. I already had maybe four lit after all.
    I finish my cleaning and my whatever and at around 11:30pm I blew out the candles and went to sleep. At 4:15am I woke up because my room was glowing because THE ST JUDE VOTIVE WAS LIT. The one candle I couldn’t light. Just burning all cute. The wax level was fresh looking, not even all the way melted–it looked as if this candle had JUST been lit. I broke off the wooden piece of an incense stick, singed the end and left it in the candle as a reminder for the morning before blowing it out. After taking a while to fall back asleep, I woke up again at 8:00am or so and the wooden piece was still singed in the candle and I can’t explain it. A cat that my ex and I adopted together passed away last week, in my ex’s care, and my mind keeps going to that. My religious Noni says I am being actively blessed. I wasn’t scared but I feel so weird.

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