Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Number 2317: Two ghost stories

For a guy who doesn’t believe in ghosts, I sure enjoy ghost stories. (I also enjoy vampires, werewolves, walking dead...and I don’t consider them real, either.) I also love folklore, and both today’s ghost stories are versions of famous tales from folklore that I encountered when I picked up The Illustrated Story of Ghosts from the comic book rack in 1960.

“The Vanishing Hitchhiker,” illustrated by George Evans and Reed Crandall, and “Room For the Night,” drawn by Gray Morrow, are from a Classics Illustrated Special, The World Around Us. I showed “The Vanishing Hitchhiker” in the early days of this blog, and I have made new scans of it and its companion.


Brian Barnes said...

The art is incredible. I think Evans/Crandall just edges out Morrow's job, but boy are they beautiful.

I never get tired of versions of these stories, it's the same general A->B plot: A happens, and then B verifies it (hitchhiker, then meet her parents, or meet old lady, then find the money.) I assume it's why these legends never die.

If I was the doctor in the first story, I'd drive by that cemetery every rainy Sunday night trying to get it to happen again. Investigate? Sure. Ask the ghost for a date? Maybe!

I took a ghost tour of Chicago once, we went to the Resurrection Mary spot, probably the most famous of the ghostly hitchhiking ladies. She wasn't there, not surprisingly!

Pappy said...

Brian, something that hurt the Gray Morrow art job was copious use of Zip-a-tone. It made the coloring look muddy, and the shading sheets were unnecessary.

After I posted the hitchhiker story I went back to one of my favorite books, The Vanishing Hitchhiker by Jan Harold Brunvand. He says that story goes back even to China, so it is a well worn legend. What is interesting about it is it adapts itself to technology. In the dim past the ghostly girl was picked up by someone riding a horse, or driving a horse-drawn coach.

About the only way to kill it might be when self-driving cars are really common, and there would be no driver to pick up the ghost.

Back in my high school days I too went to a cemetery to see if I could spot a legendary ghost. Not only did I not find the ghost, I could not find the grave. Everyone to whom I told the story told me what part of the cemetery it was in, and they were all different places. Years later I read about the legend in my local newspaper, and found out there was no such grave under that person's name. So it was a wild-ghost chase all along for everyone involved.

rnigma said...

I've heard a couple of versions of the vanishing hitchhiker story before encountering the Brunvand book, including the detail of the driver finding his coat on the hitchhiker's grave.
Dickey Lee's "Laurie" told the story in song. "Strange things happen in this world..."

Darci said...

When Volvo was testing its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, they had a lot of trouble with Resurrection Mary flagging them down and going for unauthorized rides. It scared the bejesus out of the testers riding along in case something went wrong. [You read it here first. ;-) ]

Pappy said...

Say, Darci, my son and his family live in the Pittsburgh area! You're scaring me. Strange things happen in Pennsylvania.

But, now that I re-read your note I can feel your tug as you pull my leg.

Pappy said...

rnigma, the best part of the vanishing ghost story is it's in public domain. The songwriters didn't have to share their royalties with anyone, living or dead.