Tag Archives: murder

The Ghost of Mrs. Kissle

Background information :

The informant is a friend who is from Connecticut and has a second home in Vermont. 

Main Content: 

ME: So could you tell me about your murder-ghost story? 

LA: So there’s this family called the Kissels that used to own my ski-house in Vermont. They had a similar setup that we do, they had the grandparents, the kids, and all of their kids came as well. But there’s now a movie about this story called The Two Mr. Kissels with John Stamos. And um, they didn’t do any of this in our house, but there’s this crazy story from 2008. So they went crazy because they worked in finance, and one guy got killed by his wife in Hong Kong, because she gave a kid a poisoned smoothie to give to the dad, and he died. She rolled him up on a carpet and put him in a storage unit, and then the other dad killed him in his basement in Greenwich, because he wanted to be killed, not kill himself, for insurance purposes. And the Grandma died in my house, and she was fine, she never did anything bad, but my mom would always tell me that Mrs. Kistle was gonna get me when I would go to sleep. My mom and my aunt would terrorize me about it and always tell me that there would be a ghost in the house. 

ME: Was there anything specific about Mrs. Kissel, or were you just scared that she was going to “get you”

LA: They were just like, I don’t know, not something a mom would normally do, they honestly just wanted to freak me out before I went to bed. Then I would stare at the ceiling all night thinking about a bad ghost that was gonna come get me, but my grandma would always tell me that Mrs. Kissel was a good woman, and her kids were the ones who were fucked up. 

ME: Did you ever see a ghost in the house? 

LA: No, I think I almost was trying to convince myself that I would see ghosts there sometimes because of how much she was on my mind. My brother and I would sleep on bunk beds and I would always stare at the ceiling and look for her, but I never saw her. 

ME: Do you tell a lot of people about this experience? 

LA: I never talk about it in the house or in the state of Vermont because it scares me too much. I can only talk about it in other states. 

Context: 

We had this conversation in-person while eating lunch.

Thoughts: 
I think this is a really interesting legend because the legend stems from a real horrific murder, which I think holds a tight grip on the informant. Even though the informant, nor any of her family, have ever seen the ghost, it seems to be a large topic of conversation, and the informant is still scared to speak about it to this day. The fact that there was a real murder story gives the ghost story much more credibility and certainly adds to the fear factor. To learn more about the murders, read here: Fishman, Steve. “Kissels of Death .” New York Magazine, New York Magazine, 28 Apr. 2006, https://nymag.com/news/features/16861/.

Muscle White.

L is a 78-year-old Caucasian male originally from Meridian, Mississippi. L is a retired drill sergeant and veteran of the American war in Vietnam.

While visiting Phoenix, Arizona I met with L to discuss folklore, as he had previously helped me collect war stories for an oral history project. I met L at his Phoenix office where he provided me with two scary stories he remembered from his past. The following is the first of these two stories, which he first heard as a teenager in the 60s.

L: Ok so this is the story of Muscle White… and Muscle White.. was a really bad man, he was always in trouble and been to prison two or three times, and uh been in a bunch of fights and stuff and he got in a fight where he was hurt really bad one time.. and he lost his right arm. And uh, they fixed him up a hook in prison, so he had this hook on his, on his right arm… Well he was in prison, in Parchman Prison in Mississippi… and he broke out, he escaped. And there was this state wide manhunt for Muscle White because he, he was a bad man. They, everybody was looking for him because uh.. he’d been in fights he’d killed some people I mean, he, he robbed some banks this was a bad guy. So everybody was out looking for him.. So, around Meridian where I lived, there were several places where, uh, teenagers liked to go and uh, park and pad, and.. you know and, and uh.. So, one of ‘em was a place that we called Lover’s Lane. And it was a place out in the country. And so uh, this boy and, and girl went out there, they were I think sixteen years old or so, and they went out there and they’re talking. And.. and uh.. um. The girl said that uh, she thought she heard something. And, the boy said “no it’s just your imagination there’s nothing out here there’s nobody out here” and they look, there’s no other cars out here, so there’s nobody here. And she says “no I really thought I heard something, you know or somebody or something” and he goes “no no it’s ok there’s nothing, there’s nothing out here.” And uh, she says “well, see I’m scared.” She says “I really wanna go.” He says “well no, see it’s ok really no no no” she says she really really wants to go and she’s really scared. He says well ok. Uh.. I, I guess we’ll go. And, and then he heard some—a bump on the car. Just as he was cranking up, and that kinda spooked him, and he threw it in drive and he took off real quick. And went down the road, and he said well “the night is ruined so I might as well take you home.” So he took this girl over to her house.. he got out and walked around to the side of his car to open the door for her, and there was a right arm hanging on the door with a hook on the door handle. Muscle White had been there.

Reflection: I have heard the Hook Man urban legend enough times over the course of my life to assume it offered me no more surprises. Yet, L managed to offer a version of the story that was both compelling in its execution and completely unfamiliar to me. I found it fascinating how fleshed out the Hook Man was in L’s telling of the narrative, as most versions of the story I know reduce the Hook Man to a faceless, nameless escaped convict. I believe the local geographical details that L imbues Muscle White’s backstory with provide excellent insight into Mississippi’s cultural history. Specifically, I believe L’s linkage of Muscle White to Parchman prison (a real prison in Mississippi) speaks to the prison’s historical notoriety in Mississippi. As Parchman prison is linked to a storied past of forced labor and terrible conditions for its inmates, it’s not hard to imagine how the story of the Hook Man and the prison eventually melded together through a shared association with evil in the Mississippian collective conscience.

 “For another version, see Brunvand, Jan Harold. 2014, Too Good to Be True: The Colossal Book of Urban Legends, Page #1659

Bunny Man Bridge.

K is a 63-year-old Caucasian male originally from Fairfax, Virginia. K is a retired highway patrolman and current polygraph examiner in Phoenix, Arizona.

K performed this folklore while I visited him at his workplace with the intent to collect folklore from police officers. In his office, I asked K if he had any folklore he would be willing to share with me.

K: Well I’m going to tell about you a.. Story that comes out of Fairfax county Virginia where I’m from. Where I actually patrolled as a patrolman. Uh, years ago. Funny thing is, I didn’t learn about this story until I came out to Arizona, uh, twenty five hundred miles from where the story originated from. And I heard about it because it showed up on a documentary on TV about haunted places that uh, would be pretty scary to visit. Uh, and this haunted place in Fairfax Country Virginia is called Bunny Man Bridge. And its actually a railroad bridge, uh, near uh, a place called Clifton Virginia, which is a little tiny sleepy town that is down in a.. quiet area of Fairfax county. And uh, this sleepy little town has this legend of Bunny Man Bridge which is this railroad bridge, and when you go under the bridge it’s cement on the sides but it’s barely wide enough for a car to fit through going one direction, and on the opposite side of the bridge is a dead end road so theres nowhere to go when you go underneath the Bunny Man Bridge but uh, its really quite dark there. There isn’t any street lights, theres uh, lots of trees around, I mean even in a full moon its pretty pretty dark down there around Bunny Man Bridge. I’m familiar with it because, as a patrolman, because its uh, apparently a haunted location a lot of uh, the younger high school uh groups like to go down there and party on the uh, side that there’s no escape from. Uh, in other words, side that’s on where the dead end is at. But, what I learned about Bunny Man Bridge is that this place called Clifton.. uh.. years ago like in the early, like very early 1900s, there was a uh, insane asylum in Clifton. And, I dont know exactly how many prisoners that this insane asylum had housed, but, uh. When.. Fairfax country began to grow up and get larger, they moved this insane asylum to another place called Lorton which is probably, I’m guessing, about, a twenty minute drive away from Clifton and Lorton is far more build up in fact there’s a uh, prison there now from the District of Columbia in Lorton, but uh, the decision was made to transport all the, uh, people in this insane Asylum from Clifton down to Lorton, so they loaded ‘em all on a bus, and started driving away to, uh, Lorton. Well, unfortunately as, uh, the legend has it, the bus ran off the side of the road and crashed and uh all the prisoners, the maniacs escaped and ran into the woods and, the uh, authorities came out and worked really hard trying to round up all these people and they ultimately, uh, were able to round em all up with the exception of two people. Um, and they kept searching the woods searching the woods and they kept finding all these bunny carcasses in the woods. Um, so they expected that these two escapees were actually uh surviving on bunny meat and this went on for a while and they never were able to actually track down these two. But the legend has it that after they searched the entire area for days and days they came to a time where uh they found one of these escapees, hanging from Bunny Man Bridge. And uh, the other one was nowhere to be found and the assumption was that.. uh, apparently they had a dispute or a fight over who was gonna get.. the, the, the bunny leg or the bunny breast or whatever. And uh.. the other one hung his companion from Bunny Man Bridge. And uh, now the legend is if you go to Bunny Man Bridge on uh.. like Halloween or something, uh you can see uh.. this uh, this deceased prisoner hanging from the bridge on Halloween. They never found uh the other escaped individual… Uh, but, periodically they say you can also see bunny carcasses hanging from, Bun-from Bunny Man Bridge. Uh, so they, they believe notwithstanding all of that, that even though this is a hundred and ten years later. Uh, he’s still out there. Uh, uh, eating bunnies and hanging em’ from the bridge on Halloween along with his deceased companion.

Reflection: Despite never visiting Bunny Man Bridge himself, K was extremely knowledgeable about the subject, as evidenced by the length and detail of his performance of the urban legend. The vague version of the Bunny man I am familiar with is of an axe-wielding lunatic wearing a bunny suit, so I was surprised to hear that neither of these two appearance traits were mentioned in K’s telling. The popularity of both the “Bunny Man” and the “Hook Man” urban legends in the American South suggests that the region has a preference for escaped convict stories. Considering the American South has the largest collective prison population in the U.S., it is not hard to make a prediction why this may be the case.

Murder: The Game

Main Piece:

How do you play Murder?

“High school kids all over play murder, I think. It’s the one where you wink to kill people. We did this on speech and debate trips. There would be 30 of us stuck in a hotel room, and we would have a deck of cards and whoever got the jacks or something, they would be the murderer, and the way you would kill people is by winking at them, which would lead to some very dramatic death scenes. And you have to figure out who the murderer was, and the key was you had to wink at people without being caught. It gets easier towards the end.”

Context:

The informant is my father. He attended public school for his entire life. This information was collected during a family zoom call where we were checking in with each other.

Analysis:

This kind of game is always a big hit amongst kids who like to act and investigate. I have encountered many variations of this game.  Some involve shaking hands instead of winking, some involve voting people out, and some involve multiple set rounds with different rules. The one thing that is constant is that there is a murderer, and every person who dies must act out a very dramatic death. There is something enjoyable about playing a game that is based on taboo topics like murder and death. This game allows people to act out things that they would never do in real life, but enjoy doing in a fantasy setting.

The Elevator Story

Main Piece/Story:

A young woman is returning home after a busy day of work at night. She managed to avoid the worst of the rain but she had to run a bit to get to her apartment. Slightly exhausted, and with even slighter foot pain, she pressed the button to call the elevator and waited around. The elevator doors opened, she stepped in, but before she could press her floor, she heard some fast-paced steps. “Hold the door!” rang out a young man’s voice and she pressed the button to allow the boy into the elevator. “Thank you so much”, he said, grateful.

“What floor are you on? I’ll get the button for you” said the man panting for breath.

“Oh, it’s the 10th, how kind of you” replied the girl.

“No way! I live on the 9th!” said the man, in a surprised tone.

The two engaged in short casual conversation, how work was killing her feet, etc. The girl noticed that the boy had some pretty looks to him and was teetering on the edge of asking if he was free anytime soon. She was puzzled at how she never met him before especially when they lived a floor apart. The elevator reached the 9th floor and the man stepped out.

“Goodbye!” said the man. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again…”

“…really soon”

As soon as he muttered those words, the man turned around. The pleasant and reserved visage now was grinning ear to ear with a wide, eerie smile, his eyes bloodshot. In his hands was a bloodied kitchen knife and he dashed up the stairs as the elevator doors closed.

Background:

My informant is my brother who told me this story when we lived in South Korea which was around 18 years ago and clearly it was effective in its fright factor if it stuck with me for this long despite my entire family not being particularly good with horror stories. He states that he read it online and was particularly spooked and began spreading the story around by himself.

Context:

My brother retold me the story for good measure during the time I asked him to share folk stories with me when I brought up how I remembered this one in particular because of how it frightened me when I was younger.

My Thoughts:

While not a memorate, the paranoia instilled by this story can affect any regular person who frequents the use of an elevator, as it has spread from my brother, to me, and hopefully to anyone reading. The greatest way to experience this story is through Korean message boards and blogs where people have drawn comics to illustrate this story and the final panels become animated to properly convey the shock factor. Unfortunately most of my access to these sort of sites are through my brother and I haven’t been able to find them. In this way, it would be difficult to assign any one person as the author to this story as someone who makes the scariest comic could become its sole owner just by being the one who owns the version of the comic that is most shared across the variations. Among other types of real life horror stories about dying in an steel cage of death called an elevator, I was convinced pretty early in my life that I was just way better off taking the stairs and get some exercise while doing so. It’s effective in the Asian apartment context as it is an incredibly common sight in South Korea so it works off its mundane set-up for something horrifying. The point of the story is to lull the readers into a false sense of security with superfluous little additions to the setting detail when really, the most important part is the end. I think there was a string of elevator murders in Japan around the early-mid 2000s, which is where the story might have originated.