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This Party Tip submitted by BizGirl - Aug 25th, 2008

    • Short Campfire Ghost Stories 6

    • The Haunting of the Pipes A Scottish Ghost Story By Gerry Armstrong

      Go Back to Short Campfire Ghost Stories

      An unfriendly wind hissed around the tombstones of the graveyard and made thirteen-year-old Sandy shiver. It was Allhallows Eve. “Who ever would have thought that your love of bagpipes would lead to this?” he called to his cousin Norman, forcing a laugh.
      Norman turned. “Be quiet!” he whispered. “This is a funeral. Hold that end of the coffin higher. Let’s get it over with.”
      The continued through the eerie darkness toward the new-dug grave.
      It was not so much Norman’s love of bagpipes that had brought them here, but his love of a bargain. A few days ago, the boys had noticed the bagpipe in MacAlister’s pawnshop window, marked at a ridiculously low price. They had mentioned it to their grandfather, and he had chuckled.
      “Och, aye, that’ll be the haunted bagpipe. MacAlister’s hoping that the new generation won’t have heard the story about Willie Wee.”
      “Who’s Willy Wee?” both boys asked at once.
      “Well, now . . .” Their grandfather settled back with the satisfaction of one who has a good story to tell. “Willie White was a gamekeeper who lived in this town in the early 1900s. He was a big, scowling man with red hair, and no one liked him because of the eay he acted about his bagpipes. He’d never let another piper touch them. ‘They’re my own pipes,’ he would declare, ‘and only I shall play them - ever!’
      “Well, World War I broke out, and Wee Willie White enlisted as a piper. It’s a dangerous post, for it’s the piper who leads the troops when they charge out of the trenches. On one charge, Willie Wee was killed. His pipes, however, were unharmed, so they were sent home to his brother, but he only kept them a few weeks before he sold them.
      “I think every piper in town had Willie Wee’s pipes at one time or another - and strange were the tales they told of noises in the night and ghostly apparitions. Willie had declared that no one else would ever play his pipes, and evidently he was making sure they wouldn’t. The haunted pipes ended up in MacAlister’s pawnshop, and he put them away for a generation. Then, in the forties, I heard that a piper names Jack Robertson had bought them.
      “Jack was particularly proud of the trade he’d made that day for this fine set of pipes. ‘They need to be fixed up,’ he conceded, ‘but they’re good pipes.’ Jack mixed glycerine and honey and then rubbed it well into the inside of the bag. He brushed off the !potty mouth! of dust, wet the drones, and assembled the pipes again.
      “Then he tried for five long hours to get those pipes in tune. Finally his wife, Jeannie, with her hands over her ears, cried, ‘Will you stop before I lose my mind! You’ve been fooling with that thing for a time and a time!’
      “Jack threw the pipes down on the couch. ‘It’s beyond my ken! I can’t get them tuned to save my soul. Here it’s midnight already; let’s go to our bed.’
      “So they did, but Jeannie couldn’t sleep. All that tuning had given her a headache. ‘A nice cup of tea should put me right,’ she decided. She got up and started for the kitchen. As she passed the living room, she saw a man there, bending over the couch. She scurried back to the bedroom. ‘Jack! Jack!’ she gasped. “There’s a strange man in the house!’
      “Jack jumped out of bed, ran into the living room, and snapped on the light. Then he called, ‘Jeannie, you’re imagining things. There’s no one here.’
      “Jeannie returned, peering around suspiciously, but the room was empty. ‘But I saw him plain as plain,’ she protested. ‘Bending over the couch he was - a big scowling, red-headed man. He wore old-fashioned gamekeeper’s leggings, and his clothes were muddy or bloody.’
      “Now it was Jack’s turn to look frightened. ‘Jeannie, girl, you’re describing Willie Wee. It’s a ghost you’ve seen. No wonder the pipes were such a bargain; they’re haunted. Och! I’ll get rid of the unchancy things tomorrow.’
      “And he did. As before, the pipes eventually ended up in the pawnshop. And evidently, they’re still haunted, if MacAkister’s asking such a low price for them,” their grandfather concluded.
      The boys were silent for a while, pondering this strange tale.
      “I feel sorry for Willie Wee,” Sandy said. “It must be awful to be unable to play your real pipes. Too bad we can’t kill his bagpipe for him. Then the ghost of Willie Wee could play the ghost of his pipes and be content.”
      “If the bagpipes were declared dead officially,” Norman said thoughtfully, “if they were buried in the graveyard, then the ghost of Willie could take the ghost of the pipes - and the real pipes wouldn’t be haunted anymore. Let’s do it!”
      “What do you think, Granddad?” Sandy asked.
      Their grandfather looked troubled. “Well . . . I wouldn’t have anything to do with a ghost if I were you, boys. I’ve heard of people turning gray overnight or losing the power of speech or becoming gibbering idiots from fright of ghosts.”
      But Norman was sure his plan would work. They pooled their savings and bought the bargain bagpipe from MacAlister that afternoon of Halloween.
      So here they were now with Willie Wee’s bagpipe in a pine box tied up with black ribbons. They had dug the grave that afternoon, but Norman had insisted that they must bury the pipes at midnight to be sure the ghost would be around.
      Gosh, it was dark! Sandy’s hands felt clammy, and he wished the wind wouldn’t make that moaning sound.
      “Stop here,” ordered Norman as they reached the grave.
      Suddenly, a white form rose out of the open grave. With a scream, Sandy dropped the coffin.
      “Wheest! It’s only a cat,” Norman scolded. “Since when have you been afraid of cats?”
      “Well, I didn’t know what it was at first,” apologized Sandy, still shaking.
      “I hope we didn’t damage the bagpipe when we dropped it,” Norman said. He untied the black ribbons, opened up the coffin, and by the fitful light of the moon examined the bagpipe carefully.
      “It’s all right,” he said, relieved. He replaced it and tied up the box again. Then he jumped down into the grave. “Hand me the coffin, Sandy.” Norman set it down gently, climbed out again, and the boys pushed the dirt over the “dead” bagpipe.
      They stood motionless by the grave. It was very cold. “Let’s go,” Sandy whispered.
      I wonder if Willie’s ghost has got the bagpipe’s ghost yet,” mused Norman.
      Sandy gripped Norman’s arm. “Norman, please.”
      “Not yet. We have to dig up my bagpipe,” Norman reminded him.
      “Let’s just leave it. I’m afraid,” said Sandy.
      “You ninny,” scolded Norman. “I’m not going to bury my bagpipe and leave it to rot.”
      “It’s not your bagpipe, it’s Willie Wee’s,” insisted Sandy.
      “Stop talking and dig,” commanded Norman.
      Sandy was scared, but he was more afraid of going home alone, so he helped Norman dig. They dragged the coffin out of the hole, and Norman began to pull off the ribbons. Sandy got to his feet and stood, poised to go.
      “Hurry, Norman,” he pleaded. But his friend was kneeling as though turned to stone. The color was draining from his face, and his eyes were staring without understanding.
      “Norman?” whispered Sandy again. He felt a cold sweat break out on his upper lip. Then the hairs rose on the back of his neck as he heard an unearthly sound. Bagpipe music - shrilling and moaning at their feet!
      He couldn’t remember making the decision to run. He just knew he was running - away from that ghostly music - through the graveyard, down the hill, across town, toward home. He flung himself onto the porch and leaned against the door, panting. His cousin was close behind him, and he, too, collapsed on the porch floor.
      When he could speak, Sandy gasped, “Norman, what was it? What was in the box?”
      Norman looked at Sandy and whispered huskily, “Nothing! The coffin . . . was . . . was . . . empty!”
      And in the deserted graveyard, as the bloodless moon shone down on the empty coffin by the open grave, the thin trees danced to the haunting echo of pipe music.

      Go Back to Campfire Ghost Stories

    • Tags: halloween scary ghost stories short campfire
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