As y’all know already, our dear Aunt Ornery is a repository of gardening lore, traditional medicine lore—and she can tell a great spooky story too. She told me this one awhile back. She doesn’t rightly remember, she says, the exact time period of this odd occurrence, nor yet where it happened, but she first heard the tale as a very young girl.
A pair of young lovers decided to marry. After the ceremony and the honeymoon, they settled into a new home and began to raise a family. Over time they made improvements to their home, but their last purchase, the finishing touch, was one made both for utility and “just for pretty”: a tall grandfather clock. They set the clock running, and it ticked and chimed the years away as their sons grew up, married, and set up homes of their own.
And then the wife died. Nobody seemed to know the how or why; her husband, quite old by then, simply let it be known that she was dead, and she was buried. Strangely enough, the clock stopped the day he made the announcement, and though, many times over the years, the sons tried to have it repaired, no one succeeded in making it run–then.
As he aged, the husband and father seemed to develop an antipathy toward the clock, and yet he did not take the obvious step of getting rid of it. He kept it in the house. Eventually he went so far as to move it into the bedroom he had shared with his late wife, and there it sat silent, until the old man took his bed with what would prove his final illness.
His sons were at his side through those days, and they would recall later that, exactly a week before their father died, the clock, which had not run since their mother’s mysterious death, began to tick again.
Its sudden revival seemed to bother their father badly. It ticked, softly, ominously, for five days, and then, two days before he died, it began to chime the hours—as it had not done in many years. And the old man seemed even more agitated as it chimed each hour away.
On his last day he lapsed into a coma, and the family began to gather in to await the end. And the clock ticked and chimed—ticked and chimed.
They reported that, at the moment the old man breathed his last, the clock began to strike the hour:
And then it stopped again.
Some in the family would report that, as that thirteenth chime rang out and then died in echoes, there was a sudden flash of blood-red light behind the glass over the clock’s face.
The old man was buried, and the oldest son moved the clock to his home. It sat there, silent again, for five years, until the house burned down when one of his younger children accidentally set it afire. The whole house and contents, including the strange clock, were reduced to ashes.
Auntie wonders, to this day, if the clock witnessed what truly happened to the old man’s wife—and if, just perhaps, her spirit, angry and vengeful, stopped, then restarted, the clock—and haunted her husband to his death.
What do you think?