The story of the Granny Witch in the snowy woods
The Granny Witch walked over the snowy hillside at the back of the shack and started into the woods below.
The last time she had ventured into the woods was when the moon was full and had seemed to spring from the top of the mountain. That was just last month. As she scampered down the hillside, the mist was starting to settle in the valley. Granny knew daylight was fading. She needed to move quickly or she would once again be drenched in the coat of darkness, just like last time.
As she headed down the path, she glanced quickly to each side hoping she wouldn’t be seen. It would mean possible trouble if a townie came across her as she did her work. She found what she was looking for next to the old sycamore. Walking a short distance off the dirt path, she knelt down at the grave. Her gnarled fingers scraped away a dusting of snow, moss, scattered twigs and matted leaves. She sat down abruptly, folded her arms across her chest and closed her eyes. The memories came flooding back and as they did, tears started to flow.
Many years ago, when the large oaks in the woods were still saplings, the old Granny Witch was young and full of life. She lived near the Big Woods with two small twin children. The children were not of her blood as they had been left wrapped in tattered blankets on the back porch of her shack. She took them in and named them, as she would have her own children. Tragedy struck in the second winter and the life was taken from the both children as a mysterious disease ravaged their small bodies. The Granny Witch tried various poultices, herbs and tinctures but none would cure their ailment.
One grave was dug over the hillside and on the edge of the Big Woods. Two small bodies were placed in the single grave, each wrapped with tattered remains of the baby blankets they were found swaddled in on her porch. The townies whispered about the Granny Witch even more than they usually did and believed the deaths of the twins caused her to go mad. Granny made the trek to the little gravesite every month when the moon was full. She sat in the dirt and thought of the twins and how happy she had been in her youth. As she remembered them, she began her chant. It was a low mumble that was as rhythmic as it was ancient. As the incantation continued, she reached inside her cape pocket for the silken bag. She spread the contents from the bag over the grave and made a gesture towards the sky.
This night was different. The air seemed colder, the sky darker and the Granny Witch thought the moon had a strange hue to its winter glow. The Granny Witch heard the sound at that very moment. The very moment her hair stood on end, she had heard it, she was sure. It wasn’t her imagination at all. Muffled footsteps down the pathway caused her to lean forward and as she peered into the shadowsshe saw them. The children had not grown or changed at all. They appeared to be two years old and toddled toward her with their arms outstretched. Granny’s tears stopped flowing as suddenly as they had begun. She got onto her knees and wrapped her arms around her children. The wind quieted. The moon hid behind the night clouds and the evening sounds ceased. The two children held the old woman’s hands and led her into the woods as the snowy mist began to swirl around them. The trio disappeared, as the woods seemed to nearly swallow them up.
Last week, in these very woods, two teenage hikers took a moonlight stroll. As they walked past the old grave, one teen noticed the wooden headstone and they decided to investigate. At that moment, the woods seemed to quiet their night sounds, the moon hid behind the clouds and a mist began to spill down across the hillside behind them. A slight movement out of the corner of their eye caught their attention. On the very path where they had just walked, an old woman was walking slightly hunched over. At each side of the old woman, there was a small child with their hand intertwined with the woman’s. The trio walked past the hikers who stood with mouths wide open. They had heard stories about the ghosts in the Big Woods but had never thought they would ever encounter them. As the hikers watched, the trio walked the path and disappeared into thin air, just as the local ghost story had said they would.
As this December’s full moon rises, and if you feel a desire to walk the path in the Big Woods, be careful. Do not disturb the spectral trio as they continue to walk in the shadows on their eternal pathway.
Sherri Brake is a paranormal researcher, author and Haunted Heartland Tour owner. You may email her at SherriBrake@gmail.com or visit her website at www.HauntedHistory.net