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Local Characters:

Every small town has its share of local characters. One of these "characters" who is well-known in my family is Guy White, who lived next door to the Tumble Inn. He was the "nicest guy in the world" and would always sit in the same chair in the front room of his cottage, according to P.V and Bob. P.V. mentions that "his spirit hasn’t left that chair in the front room." This story has a motif of "Ghost haunts particular room in house" (E281.3) which is from England, Scotland, and New York. Another motif found in the Guy White stories is "Ghost reenacts scene from own lifetime" (E337), which is also from stories collected in the United States.

Another "local character" is Charlie Koon, or Charlie Stoover. Both stories tell how he hanged himself from an oak tree on Barbee Lane. P.V. mentions in his version of the story that Charlie told him if he ever saw "old Pottawotamie chiefs watering their horses in Barbee Lake, something was bound to happen." The night Charlie said this to P.V., Charlie committed suicide. The story goes that Charlie’s body can sometimes be seen "swaying from that old oak tree on Barbee Lane" on nights with a full moon. The motif in this story is "Ghost of suicide seen at death spot or nearby" (E334.4). This is a very common motif; it is in stories in Scotland, Wales, Selkirk, England, Oxford, Cornwall, Suffolk, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and California. The Irish myths of "Death prophesized" (M341) and "Prophecy: person foretells own death" (M341.6) also apply to this story.

Back Bedroom Stories:

Many claim that the Tumble Inn lake cottage is haunted. However, several of the stories center around one area in the house: the back bedroom. The stories are varied; however, most of them are about ghosts seen in the back bedroom, which is the motif "Ghost haunts particular room in house" (E281.3) from England, Scotland, and New York. One of these ghosts is Bob Walburn. He was killed in a car accident while he was in college. In one story about the back bedroom, Meng and Danny Sheridan claim that Bob was beheaded in the accident, and his ghost walks "around the bedroom looking for his head." The motifs in this story are "Headless revenant" (E422.1.1), "Spirits without heads" (E401.4), and "Dead person visits earth periodically" (E585), all Irish myths; and "Ghost without head stoops over bed" (E281.3c), from Hereford.

Another ghost that haunts the back bedroom is that of a strange man, possibly a boxer who slept in that room at one time and was killed in the ring later. Donnie and J.R. Kuzma claim that a strange man appeared when they were sleeping, and this woke them up. The strange man didn’t say anything; he just disappeared. This story has a motif of "Ghost disturbs sleeping person" (E279.2), which is also in stories collected in New York, and "Spirit fades into air" (F407.2), an Irish myth. Since the ghost was seen by more than one person, the story has a motif of "Ghost seen by two or more persons; they corroborate the experience" (E421.5) from stories collected in England. Bob Sheridan claims that the ghost in the back bedroom is that of the boxer: "Every once in a while, he comes to that bedroom and walks back and forth." The motif in this story is "Ghost paces room at night" (E218.3d) from Devon.

The back bedroom has inspired a couple of strange dreams. Mary remembers a dream in which she believes "Uncle Bob" was coming for her. "If the man ever got to me, I would have gone with him (died)" she said in her story. This story has several motifs, one of which is "Dead relative’s malevolent return" (E220) from the United States.

Ryan Sheridan has a story not directly about the back bedroom, but about the bedroom next door, the "middle bedroom." His friend claims that he couldn’t sleep there because the "door kept opening on its own." Motifs in this story are "Ghost moves furniture" (E599.6), "Ghost slams door" (E402.1.7), and "Wraith opens and closes door" (E723.7.2), all from stories collected in England and the United States.

Read Part 5: Ghosts and Pop Culture.

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