A few ghost stories show up in version after version among kids, a great many of which start with:
A couple went to a hotel, and the man said “there’s only one room left, and it’s the HAUNTED room….
A succession of renters then get scared by a ghost and run out screaming (or jump out of the window and die) before a joke comes in for the ending. A few variations:
– The guests are accosted a by a ghost with a bloody finger who says ‘bloody finger, bloody finger…” until a guitar player shouts ‘cool it, man! get yourself a band-aid!.
(note: this appeared in Alvin Schwartz’s immortal “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” (one of the most frequently banned books in the country). I was wondered if this ghost was actually of a person who died of a bloody finger – a freak digital accident!)
– A family is accosted by a ghost who says “I am the ghost with the white eyes….” This scares the mother, father, and son away, but the little girl of the family says “if you don’t shut up, you’ll be the ghost with the BLACK eyes!”
(note: both of the above two were already common enough in the early 1970s to appear in Knapp’s book at the right)
–Guests are scared out of the room by a ghost that says “it floats!” Finally, one woman asks “WHAT floats?” to which the ghost replies “Ivory soap floats!”
(note: this was very common around the time that “ivory soap floats” was a marketing slogan, but I imagine it’s long since fallen out of favor.)
– The guests are accosted by a ghost who says “I’m going to get you….” until one sticks around to hear the end of the sentence, which is something like “I’m going to get you a new bike.”
(note: my friend Courtney, possibly to keep things light when these stories were getting spooky, told some variation of this that she might have made up. In it, the voice turned out to be coming from the protagonist’s brother, Alfred, who was sitting on the toilet, then proceeded to follow the protagonist wherever he went as he tried to run away. I particularly remember the line “and then he went to Disneyland – and guess who was playing Snow White!” I THINK she made this up (the folk process at work!), but I’m not sure I remember it correctly).
– The guests are scared out of the room by a voice saying “if the log rolls over, we’ll all die.” They look and look around the room, find no one there, and get so scared they leave (or jump out the window to their doom). Finally, one woman looks in the toilet and finds the source of the voice: ants on a piece of poop.
(note; a version of this was collected by Iona Opie in 1978, so it’s at least that old).
– A guest gets a series of phone calls saying “i am the viper. I am coming soon.” She gets more and more frightened until finally a window washer arrives and says “I am the viper. I’m here to vipe your vindows.” (I think this was also in Schwartz’s book – he was kind enough to put plenty of jokes in with the stories that scared the crap out of me!)
Hearing any variations from kids lately? The comment form is right down below…