Friday, October 14, 2016

The Scream on the Hill : A True Tale of Fright from Eastern Kentucky

Appalroot Farm is back!  Thanks so much for being patient with me while I took a little late summer break from blogging.  ...and just like that, fall has arrived!  The leaves are slowly starting to take on that tell-tale hue of cooler days to come, there's a nip to the mornings, and Halloween is right around the corner.

While all those little ghosts and goblins are beginning to plot and plan for trick or's a bit of a "haint" tale to get you in the mood.

This here story comes from my daddy, who was born and raised a country boy in the hills and hollers of Eastern Kentucky.

My daddy, raised a country boy in Eastern Kentucky.
Now before the tale is told...there's a thing or two you need to know about my dad.  First off, the man is dead set against the idea of "haints" of any sort.  He just doesn't believe they exist.  And furthermore, growing up, my dad was no stranger to the hills and mountains of Appalachia at night.  As a teenager, he would often be out long after dark visiting relatives and folks...with nothing but his own two feet to get himself back home.

Many a time he found himself out on such dark and moonless nights that he'd have to have one foot on the road and one foot in the roadside grass and weeds to stay on track walking back home.  I've even heard him comment that about the only thing that ever worried him when he was out at night was passing people's houses where they kept dogs.  He said some folks' dogs were mean, so he'd often be leary enough that he'd hit the hills and woods to avoid a run in with a dog if he was passing a place where he knew they kept an unfriendly one.

But despite how accustomed and unafraid of the dark hills my daddy was...there was still one night all of that changed...  I''ll let my daddy tell you about this one in his own words...

"I got scared one time. I was comin' home one night. I don't know exactly where I was at. I'd walked a long ways. I guess I was probably down at my brother-in-law's. He run a store.  And they would gather up there, a bunch of people, and they'd play Rook you know, or somethin' like that of a night..."

Rook cards
"And I was walkin' home one dark night. And I got down there to just a holler below the house where we lived, and I heard this scream up on the hill. Screamin' like a woman screamin'.  And it kept gettin' closer. I stood and listened...tried to figure out what it was. It got close, and this road was cut down and they was a high place to get up to the hill you know. And it got right up to there to where that was. Why, I said, 'Hey!' It was on me! It screamed and it made the hair raise on my head. You believe that I had hair back then?!"

Daddy, young and with hair, growing up in Eastern Kentucky!
"And buddy, my feet, I don't know. I's probably jumpin' ten feet high as I went up that road. When I got up there just before I got to the house, the road went up into the creek. But we had a path that went around the hill and you had to go up this hill to get up to the top of that path. Buddy, I jumped it! I bet I didn't make over two jumps if I made one! And I's a knockin' on the door. And they didn't know what in the world was goin' on. They thought I's crazy, I guess. I told 'em what happened when I got in."

The house my daddy and his family lived in when he heard the scream on the hill.
"Never did know what it was. But it was scary. It was actin' like it was comin' to get me! I been out of a night all over them hills down there in Kentucky." 

To this day, Daddy never has figured out what screamed and chased him from the hill that pitch dark Eastern Kentucky night.  Some might pass it off as a prank, others might say it was a remnant mountain lion despite the authorities that be saying those were long wiped out...or a few might claim it was something far more ominous and sinister that screamed at him from the hilltop that night.  Perhaps we'll never know...but the story of the one and only night that Daddy got scared in the hills has become a legendary tale in our family.  I sure hope you've enjoyed hearing it as much as I have over the years.  

Happy fall and Happy Halloween!  Until next time, blessings to you and yours!  


  1. Great story. My daddy grew up in eastern Ky also. He was an orphan along with seven other siblings. He never had any scary stories like the one your daddy told. The house looks like the ones my mother and her family grew up in. Tricia

  2. I really enjoyed this one! Nothing like a spooky tale this time of year.

  3. After reading about your dad's story at eastern Kentucky I really got scared,your father was such a brave man indeed.Happy Halloween and fall to you too.

  4. Probably a coyote or hyena.