Halloween Memory: The Ghost in the Graveyard

By MATT HOFFMAN

So… Here we are.

October on the Internet has traveled a long and bumpy road towards this day. Admittedly, the Scary Pic Contest didn’t work out all that great, and there were  a few weeks during which posts were few and far between. But overall, this blog accomplished what I wanted it to accomplish: I got to write some fun articles, and, even better, I got to read some fun articles written by my talented friends. Many thanks to Adam Blomquist, Ryan Sartor, Sam Greenberg and Monica Castillo for their great contributions.

I was thinking of devoting this last October post to John Carpenter’s Halloween, but Monica beat me to the punch, which is kind of a relief; writing about movies you love can be a real pain in the ass. Instead, I’m going to share one of my own favorite Halloween memories: The time I got chased by a ghost.

Me and Chris just before leaving to go trick-or-treating. Stop laughing.

This encounter took place on Halloween night of 2003, during my sophomore year of high school. After spending the early evening helping operate the “haunted house” I had set up in a shed in my backyard, I headed out to go trick-or-treating with my friend Chris. During our trek through the neighborhood, Chris and I decided to take a detour into a local graveyard.

Darkness had fallen about an hour before, and Chris was shining a small electronic keychain light ahead of us as we walked. The cemetery was small but well-maintained, with uniformly trimmed grass and neat rows of minimalist headstones. It dipped into a little valley at its center, and as we started down a sloping path, I saw something: About a hundred feet ahead of us was a dark figure in a black hooded cloak, moving swiftly in our direction.

Chris told me later that he never saw the figure himself. When I turned and started running he assumed I was playing some kind of trick on him, but he followed after me anyway. I didn’t stop for breath until we reached the sidewalk at the cemetery’s edge. At that point I looked back and saw the figure again, coming up out of the graveyard and still moving towards us. I bolted. Once we were a few blocks away I finally stopped and explained to Chris what I had seen.

Artist's rendering

Of course, once my adrenaline stopped flowing, I realized fairly quickly what you have probably already figured out: That the thing in the graveyard obviously wasn’t a ghost. Most likely it was another trick-or-treater, or perhaps an adult trying to stop mischievous teenagers from vandalizing the graves.

Nevertheless, I never went trick-or-treating again–not because I was afraid to do so, but because I knew that I would never be able to equal the sublime fright I had experienced that moment in the cemetery.

I could dissect this anecdote further, but someone’s knocking at my door; I guess some of the local kids are getting a head start on their candy gathering. I don’t want to keep them waiting, so in conclusion: Thanks for reading, and go have some scary fun!

Editor’s note: Completing this blog post is the last act Matt Hoffman is known to have committed prior to his mysterious disappearance late last night. The police have informed us that the door to his apartment was found unlocked, and that there were signs of a struggle in the vestibule. The security cameras in the building captured a dark figure in a black cloak heading up the stairwell towards Matt’s apartment on the night in question, but the figure’s identity has yet to be determined.

The only other piece of evidence regarding Matt’s disappearance is a message scrawled on his wall calendar, discovered shortly after he went missing:


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