Name That Trauma:: Reader Liz on a Ghostly Book Featuring a Black Dog of Death

There is a book that I read almost 20 years ago…I think I was 8 or 9, so it was 17 or 18 years ago to be more specific. Though, I don’t think the time-frame matters much because I’m pretty sure the book was not a new release and had been out for some years before I read it.

It was a collection of ghost stories and superstition, I think… I am hoping that someone can help me here.

These are the stories that I remember…

One story had a woman buying a house and one of the bedrooms was haunted by the ghost of a little girl who had died because her bed was underneath a window and she caught a draft and died of pneumonia or something like that.

Another story had someone, a family, maybe, but it might have been just an individual, staying in a hotel, and they were being disturbed at night by a child and kept complaining about it to management, but the management kept saying that there were no other kids staying in the hotel. It turns out the child was a ghost who was haunting the hotel and had died in the room the family was staying in, or something to that effect…I think I remember that they might have found a skeleton in the closet or in the wall or something at the conclusion.

Another story detailed the Black Dog of Death, the superstition that some people see a big black dog as a harbinger of death to come. This one terrified me and gave me an irrational fear of dying every time I saw a black dog around, which I would see, or imagine I was seeing, quite often, hahahah.

This might have been from a different book, but I THINK it also contained the old legend of the newlywed couple who were driving to a town and getting lost because it was dark, so they had to stop for the night and they asked an elderly couple if they could sleep in their home. The elderly couple invited them in and fed them and gave them good company. In the morning, the couple left an envelope of money on the table to thank them for their hospitality and continued on their way to the town. They mentioned the old couple to someone and the person said that the old couple was long-dead and had died in a fire, I think, and the house wasn’t even standing anymore so it was impossible that they had spent the night there. The couple went back to investigate and found that there was indeed just a pile of rubble where the house had been, but among the remains of the house was the envelope they had left that morning, just sitting there among the rubble.

As far as I can tell, it was a collection of ‘true’ ghost stories and legends and superstitions and things like that, and I would REALLY love to read it again if someone could help me identify it!

Thanks for the help!

– Liz

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planetrock (@planetrock)
8 years ago

Yes! Found it! I love this book.

Thanks for reminding me!

michael (@michael)
8 years ago

Man that book looks familiar. Probably from when I was a kid and all I checked out from the library were ghost and U.F.O. books.

The stories described reminded me of a book I liked a lot called Haunted Heartland:

That book I actually bought. If I’d only waited 25 years I could have gotten it for a penny.

Dustin (@dustin)
8 years ago

The Grandma Jensen story took place about 10 miles from where I grew up. In fact, my dad was actually in a band with one of the members of that family.

I haven’t read the story, but I’ve heard of the house. And from what I understand, most of the members of that family don’t like to talk about the house.

Dustin (@dustin)
8 years ago

Let me clarify: The Grandma Jensen story is in the Haunted Heartland book, and took place in Clarks Grove, Minnesota.

Chuckles72 (@chuckles72)
8 years ago

Hey hey – I had a Traumafession about this one a while back. Thanks for the link planetrock – it looks like they have the whole thing reproduced in that blog post.

I still don’t know why I found it so frightening when I was a kid.

Wednesday's Child
Wednesday's Child (@msinitforthekills)
8 years ago

Adding another thank you for the link to the article on Two Headed Thingies. Sometimes I think about all those true ghost story books I would check out from the school library as a 6-8 year old and marvel that they were even available there on the shelf for us, because they were so scary.

Katyaaaah (@katyaaaah)
8 years ago

In case someone is going back and reading all the Name That Traumas like me – the last one about the house that burned down is a story called The Guests from the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The illustrations in those books terrified me as a kid.