John Jacobs “The King of the Cats” A ghost story

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by Tim Burdick on 24 October, 2013

This book review is dedicated to my elementary school librarian, Mrs. Miller, and her annual ghost story reading done by candle light every Halloween.

At the library doors, Mrs. Miller greeted our class holding the candle under her chin. In the dark, the flame threw shadows on her face which made her quite spooky. (True, anyone can be scary in candle light.) In that windowless room, she read to us. An expert performer, she used her voice to mount the tense terror of each scene until the ending when the scary truth sunk in. The dead had risen and ghosts were just outside the door. She would blow the flame out, and send the room into pitch blackness. Our class would scream in fright.

My favorite was by John Jacobs “The King of the Cats” A ghost story, which was about an elderly grave digger who came home to ask his wife and pet cat, “Who's Tommy Tildrum?” He proceeded to tell his wife about a strange funeral he had witnessed. As he told his tale, the suspense built with each interruption.

This story within a story is great for pet owners and young children. Even after all these years, the ending still doesn’t disappoint.

On October 31st or the day of the dead, (based on your country), when it gets dark, and the wind blows through the trees and the spirits rise to cause mischief. I hope someone reads you a good ghost story to keep you awake at night like Mrs. Miller did for her students all those years ago.


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