Dark Stranger Waiting on a Lonely Road

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Dark Stranger Waiting on a Lonely Road

My family recently got together for the first time in a good while. It has been too long since we all sat around and reminisced. We got to talking about spooky tales as I brought up my weekly “Saturday Spooky Story” blog and my sister and her husband chimed in some great material for future tales.

Today, I am going to retell a story my dad related to us of a creepy event told to him by his father.

I will do my best to get the details right as it was told to me.

One needs to understand the era during which this story took place. The year was probably sometime in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s and my granddad lived in a rural area in Tennessee. Granddad had just gotten off from work and had walked about a mile to a local grocery store hangout where he spent some time chatting it up with his contemporaries and neighbors – as was his routine.

This evening visit was a form of entertainment and a way of winding down, my dad pointed out. In those days, no one really had a television and most radios were battery operated. Dad said you saved that radio for Saturday nights to listen to the Grand Ole Opry.

Granddad had worked a hard day, visited with his cronies, and was walking that mile or so home. Night had already fully fallen, but the cold luminescence of a full moon lit the landscape almost a bright as day. Granddad had already walked past the local graveyard and had come to a slight downhill dip in the road about halfway home.

There was a man standing in the road. Granddad said the man was tall and dressed in black and wore a wide-brimmed black hat. The brim of the hat was pulled down in front far enough so that it hid most of the man’s face.

Granddad had some neighbors that lived down the road – Pap and Miss Gladys. Miss Gladys had gone somewhere earlier in the evening with some lady friends and Granddad thought that the man in the road was about the right build to be Pap (Miss Gladys’ husband), but the face was hidden so well, he could not be sure. Granddad thought maybe Pap was waiting in the road for Miss Gladys so that he could walk her up in the hill to their home, and she would not have to navigate her way alone in the dark.

With the moonlight being so bright, Granddad said he could plainly see the man standing in the road ahead of him.

Granddad slowed down but kept approaching. He called out to the man as he approached, “Pap, is that you?”

The man just stood there perfectly still – his arms crossed — and made no indication that he had heard Granddad’s greeting.

Granddad kept approaching. The man never moved. He called out again, “Pap, is that you? You need to answer me, if that’s you.”

By now, Granddad was more than a little unnerved. Something was very wrong. He already knew this was not his friend and neighbor, but he clung to the possibility that it could be. Being as they were on a gravel road, Granddad reached down and picked up a rock and stopped a few yards from the man who appeared to be waiting for something – right there in the middle of this rural gravel road on a moonlit night.

Granddad called out a warning, “Pap if that’s you, you need to say so. I’m about to throw this rock and bounce it off your head if you don’t answer me …”

The man didn’t answer and didn’t change position. He just stood there.

Granddad, being a man of his word, raised his arm and drew it back to throw the rock, but suddenly his arm was paralyzed. He couldn’t move it and his hand opened and he dropped the rock.

My dad told me that not much scared Granddad, but that did. He started running. He ran ahead and ran past the dark stranger waiting on that lonely road. Once he had run a bit of distance, he glanced back and saw that the stranger was gone.

My granddad didn’t slow down until he made it home.

He never saw the dark stranger again and he never knew who – or what – it was.

(***Side note: After Dad told me this story, I just happened to look up a few things online later and it appears this is a common story. It’s just weird it happened to someone in my own family.)