Tag Archives: ribbon

“The Yellow Ribbon”

Genre: Folk Narrative – Ghost Story


A man named Johnny was going out for coffee one day when he saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He introduced himself to the woman, whose name was Jane, and the two of them began to fall in love. Everything about Jane was perfect, but there was one thing that confused Johnny: every single day, Jane wore a yellow ribbon around her neck.

“Do you ever take it off?” Johnny finally asked her after a month of dating. Jane told him that she never takes it off, even to sleep, and that he should never untie it. But even though Johnny pushed and pushed, she would never tell him why.

“One day, I’ll tell you,” Jane would always say whenever he asked.

The years went by and Johnny and Jane fell deeper in love and eventually, Johnny proposed to her. Yet every day, Jane still wore the same yellow ribbon around her neck.

The night before their wedding, Johnny finally had enough. He decided he absolutely needed to see what was under that ribbon, that he couldn’t wait a single day longer.

That night, Johnny waited for Jane to fall asleep. When he was certain she was sound asleep, he reached over to her neck and gently tugged on the end of the ribbon to untie it…

But when Johnny pulled the ribbon undone, he realized why exactly Jane had worn it every single day: because without the ribbon to hold it in place, her head rolled right off her neck and onto the floor, where Jane’s eyes slowly opened.

“Oh Johnny,” she said, even though her severed head was now a few feet away from her body. “I told you not to untie the ribbon.”


“I first heard this story from my older brother when I was growing up, but I heard it a few times throughout my childhood at places like childcare centers and in elementary school. I think it’s a pretty common ghost story among kids. I always thought it was creepy to think about a woman’s head being held onto her body by only a ribbon, and for a while, I was scared of anyone I saw wearing a ribbon or a thick choker around their neck.”


The theme of this story seems to be trust within a relationship: Jane withheld a secret from Johnny – the only apparent “fault” about her. But Johnny could not trust her enough to live without knowing what the secret was, and it was his scheming/distrustful nature that led to him trying to discover the answer on his own and accidentally revealing that Jane’s neck was severed. The implication of this happening the night before their wedding suggests that a lack of trust within a couple is potentially ruinous to a marriage. However, another possible interpretation is to take the opposite stance: that it is withholding secrets from one’s partner that destroys a marriage, and that the skeletons of one’s past will always end up being revealed.