Spooky stories bring shivers
Perusing the Adventures of Frog and Toad the other night, I was drawn to a tale titled “Shivers.”
During a dark, cold night, Frog tells Toad about losing his way home and encountering the Old Dark Frog—an amphibian version of the bogeyman who wants to eat the young toad.
Throughout the telling of the story, Toad keeps asking: “Are you making this up?” “Maybe yes and maybe no,” Frog replies.
After finding a way to tie up the Old Dark Frog, Frog manages to escape as his would-be captor “roared and screamed.”
When the story ends, teacups shake in the trembling hands of Frog and Toad.
“They were having the shivers. It was a good, warm feeling.”
For me, it’s been eons since I’ve gotten goose bumps from a creepy story.
During childhood, one memorable shiver happened around a fire at Cedar Point Girl Scout Camp. Singing along to a guitar, under a star-strewn sky, was sometimes followed by a spooky story.
“Did you hear about the boy and girl parked on a lonely road?” the counselor asks.
“No,” we shriek as we lean closer to the fire.
One condensed version is that a police officer stops and tells the couple that a convict is on the loose. Soon, they hear a scraping noise on the roof of the car.
“Did this really happen?” a small voice squeaks.
“Maybe yes and maybe no,” the counselor answers.
We hear the boy tell his girlfriend to lock the doors while he leaves to investigate.
She begins to worry after he’s gone a long time. The scraping sound starts up again and she doesn’t know what to do.
By now, we are holding hands and barely breathing. Our eyes look as big as marshmallows.
The counselor tells us that the girl unlocks the door and slowly exits the car. What she sees is too horrible to comprehend.
“Tell us, tell us,” we scream, jumping to our feet.
The shoeless boyfriend swings from a rope tied to an overhead branch. His toenails scrape the roof of the car.
Perhaps we were too old to hear the monster-under-the-bed story Frog told Toad where the Old Dark Frog threatens to gobble Frog but never does.
Instead we experienced an adolescent kind of ghost story where we saw death, in a gruesome way, unfold through dancing spires of fire.