My sister was over awhile ago and set my mouth watering talking about having some pie apples. She has never made an apple pie before, but being far more adventurous a cook than me, she said she thought she’d go home and try to make one.
I’ve been reading Ruth Ann Musick’s THE TELLTALE LILAC BUSH AND OTHER WEST VIRGINIA GHOST TALES (1965) this afternoon, and shortly after Sis left I ran across this story. It involves pie of some sort–
(Actually, the first thought I had when I came across Musick’s story was of Uncle Dave Macon’s song “Chicken Pie”:
Oh bake that chicken pie
Oh put on lots of spice
Oh Lordy how I’d like to have
Just a piece of that chicken pie.)
For purposes of my blog, though, I’ll stick with apple pie.
In the old days pies were kept in a cabinet called a “pie safe.” Dating back to colonial times (and perhaps farther), the pie safe was made of wood and punched tin. The tin pieces had holes punched into them to allow air to circulate through the whole cabinet and keep pies fresh–not that any pie, especially in large families, was likely to sit long enough to get stale.
In Dr. Musick’s story, a family living in a house in Archie Fork, a community in the mountains of West Virginia, were getting ready to move. The house they had been living in frankly gave them the willies. The father in particular claimed that when he walked around the house after dark, he had the feeling he was being followed.
Just how accurate that feeling was he didn’t find out until the night before the scheduled move to another house.
The whole family had worked all day, finishing the packing of clothes, furniture and general paraphernalia that goes with moving. Just before bedtime, the husband mentioned to his wife that he was feeling hungry and would like something to eat before they went to bed. She reminded him that there was a pie downstairs in the kitchen. He thought that would do–a decision a hillbilly would render as “he ‘lowed as how that sounded awful good” –and went downstairs to cut himself a piece.
He had just set the pie out and picked up the knife when without warning a skeletal hand reached out and took the knife from him, cut a piece of pie, laid down the knife, picked up the piece of pie, and left with it.
Instead of cutting his pie, the man rounded up the family, got everything into the moving vehicles, and left the house that night.
Well, we really didn’t expect him to phlegmatically cut his own piece of pie, take it upstairs, and tell his wife, “I just seen somethin’ funny downstairs,” did we?
But I do wonder if he took the pie with them when they left, or if he left it for the obviously hungry ghost who had bothered him into moving.