This is a true story that happened to my mother and her friend Janie back in 1940. It was in the local papers at the time.
There was a high school dance coming up and my mother, whose name was Lupe, her friend Janie, and two other girls had planned to go. Lupe had called Janie to ask if she was going, and Janie said she had been arguing with her mother and wasn’t sure if she would be allowed to go. Janie’s mother was a very superstitious woman and believed in ghosts and devils. Janie told Lupe that because she had talked back to her mother, her mother warned her that she was going to meet a bad ghost that night if she went to the dance.
Lupe called their friend Linda and told her what Janie said. Linda laughed and said that they would just go without her. Saturday came and Lupe got a call from Janie saying she was going to the dance no matter what her mother said. Janie told Lupe to come on over at 7 p.m. with Linda to pick her up. That evening Lupe and Linda walked over to Janie’s house all dressed up for the dance, and knocked on her door. They could hear arguing coming from inside the house. Finally Janie emerged from the house saying, “Oh, my mom’s on the rampage again, rambling on about ghosts and devils who are out tonight.” Naturally, the girls laughed it off.
Suddenly Janie’s mother appeared at the doorway and said, “You girls beware tonight, the strut will be so right, you’ll be blinded by his smile, but he’ll only be here a while.” They were stunned and couldn’t quite make out this weird riddle. Janie’s mother then looked at Janie and almost seemed to be placing a curse on her. “Janie, you did not honor me, so you will see it tonight. The moon is full, beware.” Then she changed her tone and pleaded with her daughter, “Please don’t go out tonight.”
Janie laughed and said, “My mother is always threatening me that something is going to happen, and it never does. She’s so superstitious. Let’s just go on to the dance.” So they started walking, but Lupe – my mother – had a strange feeling that something bad was going to happen. Janie lived about two blocks away from the cemetery. It was across the street, but parallel. As the girls passed the cemetery, Lupe felt a cold chill down her back and felt as though someone was following them. She kept looking behind her, but each time she looked over her shoulder, nothing was there.
Linda noticed Lupe’s fear and asked her if she was worried about what Janie’s mother had said; Lupe just shook her head No. Janie was completely unafraid, and was not going to let it bother her. She was determined to have fun at the dance. However, both Lupe and Linda were walking faster now and saying that they just wanted to get to the dance.
They arrived at the dance and saw all their friends. Everything was glittering and pretty. Then before long the clock struck 12 o’clock midnight, and all of a sudden there was a cold breeze. Some of the guests looked toward the door, and in walked the handsomest young man they had ever seen! Lupe and Linda were talking with two guys from school and drinking punch, but they looked up when he came in. He had a beautiful smile. He was dressed differently from every other guy at the dance. He wore the best suit of any young man there! He could have been a model. He had the most beautiful ice blue eyes and shiny black hair anyone had ever seen.
Janie was alone by the refreshment tables, sort of swaying to the music. The young man seemed to know who he was looking for, and walked straight over to Janie. Almost as if rehearsed, he grabbed her hand and led her immediately to the dance floor. She looked at him almost hypnotized. She thought to herself, Who is this beautiful human being? Some of the guys were studying him and making cracks like, Who does he think he is, and Where did he come from, and most importantly, He struts like a rooster!
Janie and this mysterious guy were dancing and gazing into each other’s eyes. But the dance ended at 1:00 a.m., so Lupe and Linda walked over to Janie and told her it was time to go home. Janie introduced the young man to the girls; his name was Roger. The young man said nothing, just smiled, and Janie told the girls that he was going to walk her home. So the four of them left with the crowd and proceeded to walk home. Janie and Roger walked along holding hands, and the other two girls walked a few paces behind them, giving them a little privacy.
As they got nearer to Janie’s house, Lupe and Linda decided to give the two a little more breathing room, so they crossed over to the other side of the street. They smiled as they watched Roger walk Janie to her door, put his arms around her, and get close to her as if he was about to kiss her; and the girls turned away to give them more privacy.
Suddenly, they heard a blood-curdling scream. It was Janie, of course. Lights were coming on in neighbors’ homes nearby. They turned and looked to see Roger running across the street and down toward the cemetery. As they watched him go, they noticed he seemed to be running strangely, sort of strutting, like a rooster. They noticed he lost his shoes in the street as he went.
They immediately ran over to Janie, who was collapsed on her porch, talking incoherently and crying. Janie’s mother and father came out to the porch; her mother was saying, “I told you, I told you you’d see a ghost.” Lupe and Linda were trying to get Janie to tell them what happened. Janie was finally able to tell them that she had looked down at Roger’s feet and saw that they were like a bird’s feet, like claws. She then noticed that his hands were scratching her – they too had turned into birdlike claws. His nose was forming into a beak, and he ran away from her. The police arrived and took a report.
An investigation was done and it seems that there was a young man named Roger who was buried in the old cemetery nearly a hundred years before. It seems a curse had been placed on him because he had hurt many people and was a vain and selfish young man. The story was that he was to appear as a handsome young man only to young women who were bad or who betrayed their mothers. But he actually resembled more of a hideous half-rooster thing.