When I was a feature writer, we decided to do an article on regional ghost stories one Halloween, and one of those Central Louisiana tales has stayed with me. Seems worth recalling here since Halloween is approaching again.
I found a gentleman near Winfield, LA, I believe, and we talked on the phone and he recounted a gentile ghost story. No rattling chains or bloody hands, yet eerie in its way.
I'm not sure of the house that was supposed to be involved, but it was a Southern mansion and a young man came to stay. He was given a room on an upper floor. It had a window that overlooked an area beneath one of those majestic trees that stand on the lawns of Southern mansions.
A moonlight gathering
Sometime during the night, he woke up and looked out to see a gathering in the moonlight. Some sort of party was going on beneath the oak, a huge gathering of people.
I think I've always imagined them in 18th century finery, I don't know that that's really part of the story, but I always picture hoop skirts and parasols.
Apparently the visitor was not terribly disturbed by the scene. He rolled over and went back to sleep.
It was over breakfast the next morning that he brought it up to the host. "Why didn't you tell me there was a party last night?" he asked and described the scene.
"There wasn't," his host answered. "There were no people out there, but that's where they used to hold parties in this house's heyday."
Then, both I'm sure were suitably chilled.