Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Cruel End

I’ve encountered many stories about ghost children over the years, each one sadder than the last.

Child abuse is often the reason for this type of haunting. These stories sometimes involve manifestations that include heart-wrenching cries and pleas. When heard, these calls are to gain the attention of the living.

One story that occurred in the late 1940s includes all the elements above.

In September of 1948, Thelma Cockrell, recently widowed, moved into a smaller house near her daughter in the town of Princeton, Kentucky.

This home had been abandoned for years. Mrs. Cockrell’s discovered the last owner had left town quickly after his wife died. No one at the time thought to ask him what
happened to his stepdaughter.

Since the house was in such poor shape, the widow had to have the whole place renovated before she moved in. She was content in her new home for three months, but this quickly changed.

One cold December night at 11:00 p.m. as Mrs. Cockrell dozed in her favorite rocker she was suddenly awakened by a distressed child’s voice.

She heard the weak voice calling, Help me, help me.”

She turned toward the fire where the voice appeared to be coming from, only to see the flames shoot up in an unusual manner. She was shocked to see an emaciated face floating above the fire.

As she sat frozen to her seat, this face disappeared, but the pleas for help continued. Finally, the flames settled down, and the disturbing voice faded.

Terrified, the widow called her daughter. This woman immediately came and stayed with her mother for the rest of the night. In the morning, the two women called the police.

However, the officers after a thorough search of the fireplace and chimney assured the widow nothing was there.

Mrs. Cockrell, afraid to be alone, convinced her daughter to stay the next night. Both women, this time, heard the cries and pleas and saw the agonized face in the fire. Again the flames shot up.

The daughter then called in several female friends and told them what she and her mother had seen. These women agreed to stay for the next few nights. They were curious to see the strange events for themselves.

The group was not disappointed. Each night at 11:00 p.m. for the next three days, the fire became agitated, the pitiful cries were heard, and the face was seen.

At the end of the week, Mrs. Cockrell hired several men to dig behind the fireplace. When the dirt was removed, a small skeleton was found behind the hearthstone.

The bones were piled in a manner that left little doubt the body had been shoved in the space, as opposed to being buried there.

The widow arranged for the child to have a decent burial. After this, the pleas for help and the face were never seen again.

Sometime later, when the former owner was dying he made a deathbed confession. He stated he had starved his stepdaughter after his wife had died--on the fifth day no longer patient, he had finished the job himself.

Five days was the exact number of days Mrs. Cockrell, and the other women had seen the girl's ghost. It was also discovered that the dates of the five nights she had appeared matched the dates of when she had been starved.

More Kentucky Ghost Stories by Michael Paul Henson

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