Cruel Skull and Bloody Bones


6 min

Ghost story from Missouri, USA.

In the deep woods around the Ozark Mountains, there once lived an old woman who was said to be the best witch in the area. Old Betty was no beauty with her crooked nose, streaky hair and different colored eyes (one green and one yellow) but there wasn't an ailment she couldn't cure. So you went to Betty when no medication helped, regardless of whether you thought she was creepy or not.

For a very long time Betty lived alone in her dilapidated cabin, but then she was suddenly visited by a giant boar who started rummaging through her garbage. Betty was happy for the company and let the pig stay. She named him "Grimskalle" because he was so hideously ugly. Grymskalle followed Betty everywhere she went, even into town where she went shopping once a week. Some people could also swear they saw Grimskull walking around on his hind legs sometimes. Who knows what Betty could make the pig do with her magic.

But one day Betty came to town alone. People whispered and wondered where Grymskalle had gone. The grocer, who always bought Betty's homemade medicines, wondered too.
"Where is Grymskalle today?" he asked.
"I haven't seen him today," muttered Betty. “I'm getting worried. If anyone in town sees him, tell him to go home at once!”
"I will," promised the grocer.

When old Betty got home to her dingy cottage, she mixed up a strange concoction and poured it out on a plate.
"Where has the old pig gone?" she asked the mourner. In the mysterious liquid, a series of images began to form and Betty watched closely. First she got to see a sloth for hunters who lived around the next mountain bend. She probably knew that he used to round up pigs that weren't his and take them home to his own cabin. But this time she could see that Grimskull was one of them. All the pigs were taken to Svinskållar-svackan, a small valley where pigs used to be slaughtered. And that now became Grymskalle's fate. He was hanged and turned into chops along with all the other pigs.
Then Betty could see how the hunter threw the bloody bones into a big pile in the woods and headed home with the pieces of meat.

Old Betty seethed with rage when she now learned Grimskalle's fate. Everyone in the area knew that Grymskalle was her pig and of course the hunter knew that too. But that hadn't exactly bothered him in his bloody deed. And it would now cost him dearly. Old Betty mostly practiced white magic for people's benefit and protection. But she could probably conjure black magic just as well. Now she picked out an old moldy book she gets from her grandmother once upon a time and flipped to the very last page. She lit several candles and placed them around the plate of mourning that showed Grymskalle's remains in the pile of bones. Then she began to read: “Cruel Skull and Bloody Legs. Cruel Skull and Bloody Legs!” So she went on until suddenly a bolt of lightning came rushing up from the plate, out the window and straight through the hill to the slaughterhouse. There the lightning struck Grymskalle's head, which was at the top of a pile of other pig heads.

Immediately the head opened its eyes and shouted, "Bloody-legs, get up and dance with you!" All of Grimskull's bones grew back together and stood up. The head jumped up onto its cervical vertebrae and began to look around for suitable weapons to use against the hunter. In the forest, he borrowed the teeth of a dying cougar, the claws of a dead bear, and the tail of a rotting raccoon. He stuck his teeth into his skull, put his claws on his hooves and put his tail on his head (because he thought it looked cool). So Grimskull and Bloody-Ben trotted off towards the hunter's cabin. When he got there, the hunter wasn't home, but he went into the barn and jumped into the loft to wait.

When it got dark the hunter came home and went into the barn to put the horse in. Hearing a strange grunt from the loft, he looked up, but could only make out something faintly in the foam.
All he could see were two large eyes staring at him. The hunter thought it was some kids playing a joke on him so he joked back.
"Cross in all my days, such big eyes you have! What do you have them for?” he asked.
"To see your grave with!" grunted Grimskull.
"Lol! Very funny!" laughed the hunter, moving closer to get a better look. Now he saw both the eyes and the claws.
"Cross my fingers, what big claws you have! What do you have them for?” asked the hunter.
"To dig your grave with!" grunted Grimskull.
Then the hunter got to see the raccoon's tail.
"Cross my fingers, what a tail! What do you have it for?” he wondered.
"To brush over your grave with!" growled Grimskull and jumped out of the loft.

The hunter had never seen anything so terrifying in his entire life and he threw himself out of the barn in terror. He had intended to rush into his cabin and lock himself in, but before he reached the stairs Grimskull was upon him. He stared at the monster's yellow eyes, bloody stinking legs, raccoon tail, claws and sharp teeth in the ugly pig head.
"Cross all my teeth, such sharp teeth you have! What do you have them for?” peep the hunter.
"To eat you with, as you wanted to eat me!" laughed Grymskalle so that it echoed far above the mountains. Then the people of the Ozarks heard such a bloodcurdling scream that no one has ever heard anything worse before or since!

It was several days before anyone ventured up to the hunter's cabin to see what had happened. But no trace of him was found at all - he had completely disappeared. However, people started talking about another gruesome thing they had seen. Grimskull had returned to old Betty, but now he was just a skeleton smeared with dried blood. Just like before, he rummaged through her garbage, but now he no longer followed Betty into town, and all the townspeople were grateful for that. But once a month, at full moon, Grimskull could be seen riding the hunter's horse through town with his hideous head held high in one clawed paw!

Mark as read: