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October 22, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Classic Hallow tweens

1910 William Scott mansion. Casa Mare, Seabrook, TX razed in 1992

1910 William Scott mansion on Toddville Road. Casa Mare, Seabrook, TX. Razed in 1992

Their repertoire consists of darkness, spooky winds, and these: Lady of the Lake, Don’t Turn Around, and Bony Fingers.

Hauntings told – maybe different names and places – but of the same horror. Weirdly universal classics as they went viral before the internet or social media existed.

The local Lady of the Lake story happens near Lake Travis and Austin area. You know the basic person driving home late – in the rain – sees a pale young woman standing by the road looking distressed.

She’s soaked – of course, it’s raining. Driver stops and girl slips into the back seat and indicates she wants to go home and points the way down the road. Assuming she has had a hard time, the driver thinks nothing of her silence as he drives. He stops in front of a house as directed, but getting no answer when he says “Here you are”, he turns to see one there.

Unsettled he goes and knocks at the door.

The couple who answers tells him that their daughter was drowned one night years after getting trapped in underwater vines. “We are so sorry she bothered you,” the man said as he closes the door.

The poor driver spooked runs to the car, jerks open the back door and sees only a puddle of water on the seat – or sometimes, the story may say, a soggy strand of lake weed drapes across the seat.

Woman with long flowing hair. 1914. Dorothy Davenport, actress:USPD. pub.date./Commons.wikimedai.org)

Keep telling yourself it was only the rain…(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

IDon’t Turn Around, I guess you could say plants string you along there, too.

 A young couple is is closing out date night in a dark, isolated area. On cue the winds blow up and for some reason that makes the girl uneasy. Teasing her, the boyfriend laughs and tells her a deranged killer once stalked the area, found couples, disabled their cars, then terrorized them by walking around scratching the car before murdering them. She cuddles closer to feel safe. After a bit, the night feeling darker as the clouds cover the moon, she wants to leave and he tries to start the car.

But it won’t. Nothing makes it start.

She’s getting mad as she’s going to get in trouble for being late. And she thinks he’s doing it on purpose to scare her. He decided to walk to a house down the road to get help. She gets scared and wants to go along, but it’s getting stormy. He says, “Lock the doors and you’ll be fine. I’ll be back quickly.”

She quickly slams the door lock as she watches him disappear into the dark. Greatly annoyed at how long it is taking, she gets sleepy and dozes even though the wind keeps blowing branches back and forth across the roof of the car.

All of a sudden a flash light appears in the window and a uniformed police officer asks if she’s all right. She yawns and nods “yes”. Then he tells her to unlock  the car, get out, and walk straight to one of the waiting police cars.

She’s very confused, but gets out, starts to say something about her boyfriend, then realizes she doesn’t have her purse. The officer grabs her shoulders and screams at her “Don’t turn around!” – but not before she sees her bloody boy friend hanging upside down by his feet from a tree limb with his fingernails scraping back and forth across the roof of the car.

Couple dressed for a date 1921. Nagel and Dorothy Dalton, Photoplay/USPD. pub.date/commons.wikimedia.org)

Timelessly scary.”How can you possibly think I ran out of gas on purpose?(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Actually memories about Boney Fingers is pretty slimexcept that you had to repeat that phrase over and over in a very quivery, spooky voice.

One of that tales’ best presentations was done mid October at Casa Mare, a Girl Scout camp on Galveston Bay which at that time only allowed high school girls who were interesting in sailing – and they stayed at the big old once elegant mansion. That Casa Mare house had its’ own ghosts and stories.

But with a really savvy troop leader, a younger troop might be lucky enough to grab once of the last weekend overnight spots before the camp was closed for the winter. Only the ancient, weathered wood group cabins were available then, and you brought your own sleeping bags. (YEA! Your parents had to buy you one! And a pocket knife, too!). There were screens across the large side windows with heavy wooden panels on the outside hinged from the top so these could be propped open at an angle by using a couple of big 2×4 side braces. On an October night, these hung closed…not only for warmth.

A perfect setting: rural darkness, campfire doused, the camp’s resident peacocks screaming in the night, owls calling, dark things flying past at high rate of speed, strong prevailing winds off the bay, and a couple of little kids not afraid of the dark, but knew who was.

All I really remember is sneaking up to a neighboring cabin. Two girls quietly lifting up one of the wooden shutter panels, as another – the one with the longest, boniest fingers – shoved her  hands up by the screens while another girl horror show illuminated the fingers with a flashlight. We whispered ghostly, “Boooohneeey Fingersssss”. Then as squeals erupted inside, the shutter slammed shut and we raced towards our cabin and sleeping bags.

Seriously. Who goes to a campout to sleep?

Whooooo?

Marjorie Daw, 1919 Exhibitors Herald/USPD.pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Classic response: “But it’s not a campout without ghost stories. Besides, they are lucky we didn’t send them on a snipe hunt…” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Tuning up for Holler-Ring

(Anyone out there actually remember the Boney Fingers scary story?)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

More hauntings and about Casa Mare:

“Camp Casa Mare was formerly a privately owned mansion, and is now Girl Scout Camp Casa Mare. A young woman who lived in the home with her father near the shore is said to be very distraught over the loss of a lover. She waited, watching for him to return from the sea from her balcony every night until she met her untimely death and collided with the ground below. The mansion has since been torn down, and a mess hall built where it once stood. Some say if you stand in a circle around the spot where she died (it remains uncovered by buildings, but now lies under a tile mural of a star), she will pull at you from the center of the circle, so that everyone leans inward. Two campers supposedly died after falling in a well and being trapped. It has since been covered, but many report they still hear them screaming and clawing to get cut. Also, the dorm nearest to the shore is supposedly haunted (the dorm for those campers taking sailing). There are three showers, and when the first two are turned on, the third mysteriously turns on. Lights turn on and off and campers report hearing things.”(Martha Lee)

“One of the scout leaders, that I knew who taught sailing there said that she stayed in the carriage house when she was there and could hear sounds like someone going up and down the stairs. One night she got up to check and felt someone behind her, when she turned to look she felt someone push her down the stairs. She always stayed in the dorms with the girls after that.Let me tell you with the peacocks screaming the winds whipping around the buildings and the sounds of crashing waves, It could be a wonderfully spooky place to visit. But the charm is gone with the old house.” (Eleanor Densford)

Once it leaked out the Girls Scout council planned to tear down the old house, people scrambled to save it. A court order designating it a protected historic building came hours after the bulldozer started into the walls.

The camp has been reconfigured as the horseback riding camp – covered riding ring, stables, helmets – no wild riding and rodeos as we did western style at Peach Creek camp. I think they still have sailing, but also have computers and teach fencing…the sword kind, not the barbed wire one. They offer the grounds for leadership conferences…you do not have to bring your own sleeping bags. (There’s even a horse treadmill – I’m trying to get a picture of that in use. Quite funny.). Local deer travel Pine Gully and find sanctuary within the camp’s grounds.

The camp song:

Casa Mare is waiting
to welcome tired seamen
as we come home sailing
across the bay
we’ll remember forever
our days here together
with our shipmates at Casa Mare

Man and 2 Women in vintage bathing suits. 1920 Paramount Pictures (USPD. pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

The high school campers were always in love with the sailing instructors. (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

11 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. easyweimaraner / Oct 22 2018 6:54 am

    oh that lady of the lake was in our car too, the passenger seat was soaking wet.. and it wasn’t my dad who forgot to close da window…. we wear a garlic necklace before we enter the car…

    Like

  2. shoreacres / Oct 22 2018 6:56 am

    Of course I remember Boney Fingers. I remember Bloody Mary, too, and a whole assortment of “Whoooo goes there?” stories from around the campfire. And I loved learning more about Casa Mare. Every time I head down to Maas nursery I look, and wonder what it would have been like to camp there. Of course, I think about another famous Todville Road house, too, but that’s a different kind of story.

    Like

  3. Ally Bean / Oct 22 2018 8:05 am

    That building has a doozy of a creepy history associated with it. What a perfect place for today’s Girl Scouts to hang. I don’t know this “boney fingers” of which you speak.

    Like

  4. Kate Crimmins / Oct 22 2018 10:53 am

    Reminds me of when my high school bestie has a ouija board party. Yikes!

    Like

  5. the dune mouse (CybeleMoon) / Oct 22 2018 12:59 pm

    love a spooky camp out- never did find Fred! Great post Phil!

    Like

  6. Spinster / Oct 22 2018 1:03 pm

    I love history. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  7. Xena and Lucy / Oct 22 2018 3:02 pm

    Good scary stories. Ghosts are timeless.

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  8. Pied Type / Oct 22 2018 10:55 pm

    I only remember one “ghost story,” but not all the details, It ended with a couple in a car getting home and finding a prosthetic hook/hand hanging on the car door.

    Like

  9. roughwighting / Oct 23 2018 4:35 am

    The mansion is a perfect Girl Scout campout spooky place. Just don’t ever ask me to go there. I am unfamiliar with the three spooky tales you relate here. I grew up in NJ, so all of the tween camping nights consisted of midnight stories of the JERSEY DEVIL. Horror and delight ensued.

    Like

  10. LordBeariOfBow / Oct 26 2018 4:00 am

    I’m so happy we don’t have halloween here, much as the money hungry stores, and super markets,try to shove it upon us.
    I wouldn’t mind the Thanksgiving though!
    Love the way you Yankees do the Turkey, best tucker ever love it,

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 26 2018 9:05 am

      Halloween was a lot more fun when. it was just kids – we roamed 4-5 blocks each year and gathered mounds of candy which lasted us 6 months or so…mom didn’t buy candy, so the treats were really appreciated and rationed by us.
      Then came the evil adults – a man poisoned candy and killed his son/ sickened his friends – and next came the copycats with razor blades in the apples and tainted candy. So I guess the parties were a solution…only the “kids” grew up and were determined to hold onto the parties. Now the whole holiday is so much for adults. Stealing fun from kids – a little sad.
      You are right about Thanksgiving – pretty nice having a country Thanksgiving dinner with all the relatives gathering later on the back porch or enjoying the chilly wind during brisk fall walks in the woods and pastures. Miss all that here in the city and with everyone spread across the country.
      Thanks for enjoying the haunted memories

      Liked by 1 person

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