Spooky Halloween Tales of the Past

Submitted by Art & Barb Straub

If you are an adult, you are invited to reach deep into your ‘gray matter’ and summon Halloween tales of an earlier time. Let’s begin by reminiscing the Great Halloween Blizzard of 1991, thirty years ago or there-abouts. Youngsters in the area began ‘trick or treating,’ but it wasn’t long before most everyone connected with the out-of-doors experienced a MAJOR trick. Before the three-day storm ended, an estimated three feet and more of white stuff brought life as we knew it to a stunning halt. After Henderson/LeSueur/Belle Plaine area reached three feet of white stuff, shoveling became a real chore, with snow piled above small peoples’ heads. Halloween treating was called off.

Herein lies another storm story. One of Barbara’s favorite uncles passed away immediately before that infamous Halloween storm; his “wake” or reviewal was the night of the blizzard. Most mourners were unable to access the mortuary, yet the reviewal was held. A few persons able to reach the sacred spot stood solemnly about the coffin when suddenly the door was thrust open; a trio of costumed youngsters entered and said, “Trick or treat!” Everyone burst into laughter, as the uncle would have enjoyed having children at his ‘wake.’ Treats were quickly secured for the pranksters, who assumed the mortuary was simply a home.

Another Halloween was spent dispelling ghosts and rumors in a century old house in the country. For years, legend had it that there were two bodies buried in the earthen floor of the creepy spirit-filled two-story building located in Tyrone Township. A cousin decided that it was ‘now or never;’ thus a party was held at midnight, full moon shining through the cracks in the ancient basement, candles used for light. After digging for over an hour in the basement floor, the story ended. No bones, no body, no further rumors. Yet, to this day, the remains of the Old House is avoided days before and nights after Halloween.

Another tale. For years, a young male haunted a cemetery near an old oxcart trail on a valley sidehill near LeSueur. Although the cemetery was off-limits at night, it was a tempting ‘lover’s lane,’ and used as such for nefarious purposes. On dank nights, while trekking home through the countryside, the mischievous lad often spotted trespassing vehicles; an invitation to silently shut the cemetery’s ancient gate, and then spew chunks of dirt to land atop vehicles. This caused wild scrambling within the autos. Halloween, of course, was particularly tempting for this young rascal. Upon one such dark and dreary occasion, he planted candles near graves in the cemetery at dusk, then waited for victims. It wasn’t long before a car pulled in and the mischievous lad began lighting candles. Word is that as he bent over the final candle, deep in the cemetery, a giant shadow loomed across the tombstones, and by his grunts, one could tell the gargantuan party was bent on revenge. As he retells the story, the miscreant lad says he still has no idea how many fences he leaped over, and perhaps set personal speed records after that feat. Within a few minutes, gun shots were fired in his direction. The story is that it was a very long walk through pitch-black woods filled with blackberry bushes and prickly ash to reach the safety of the perpetrator’s abode! Do you have any hi-jinx tales you’re willing to share regarding your Halloweens of the past? Names will not be divulged.

We are told that Henderson was not free of
‘tricks’ and hijinks. Seems that a sinister scheme was played upon an elderly gentleman at the North end of town. The target was an outdoor privy which was still in use…so common in former years. A group of young upstarts slipped into the yard of their intended victim, flipped the building over onto its side. Soon thereafter, angry shouts rent the night sky, a shotgun blast ripped the air, but the mischievous lads had already departed. On a side-note, imagine the pressing need to utilize that small building on an October morning with an outside temperature of 28 degrees!

We leave on a sad note. Monday morning, October 17th, found a hen (pen) Trumpeter swan lying on the highway shoulder near the Highway #169 and #93 intersection. A swan needs a long length of air space in order to gain altitude. Evidently this winged wonder mis-judged the speed of an oncoming vehicle. Poof! Feathers! Not enough remaining to have the beautiful creature mounted. P.S. The invitation to share your spooky anonymous Halloween tale is open.