Lurking in the Tree

Let’s just start out by saying that I don’t scare easily. For those of you that know me and are laughing right now, startled is different than being scared. I do startle easily. Sudden noises? I’ll jump higher than a kangaroo.

Every Good Friday at the Tenebrae service, I was startled when my Dad would slam the Bible shut. Pastors nowadays just can’t slam a Bible like my dad. It would go like this:

The largest Bible of the church is on the altar, open to Isaiah. The church is completely dark. Congregation members sit quietly in their pews, know that any second, Pastor will slam the Bible shut, signifying that the Prophesy has been fulfilled. I brace myself, waiting for the slam.

I know Dad is up there. I can barely see his shadowy figure up by the altar.

When is he going to do it? I’m ready. Wow. Everyone is being so quiet. It’s coming. I know it is.

I should be praying right now. Yup. That’s a good idea. What should I pray about? Repentance? Yeah, it’s Good Friday after all. Repentance would be good.

I can’t concentrate on repentance! When is he going to slam that Bible anyway? Come on, Dad, slam the Bible shut! DO IT!

Oh, shoot. I have tickle in my throat. Please don’t cough. Every one else is so quiet and they’re probably all praying. They’ll know it’s me who’s coughing. The pastor’s daughter is coughing. PLEASE DON’T COUGH!


I jump.

You can hear the pews creaking as everyone is a bit startled, and then an almost audible sigh of relief as the congregation members settle in their seats to listen to the soloist.

The past few Tenebrae services I’ve attended have been more like this: Lights go out. Pastor barely waits a few seconds, closes the Bible, the service continues. No one can slam that sucker shut like my dad.

So yes, I am easily startled. But NOT easily scared. I used to babysit by myself in creaky, old houses. Wasn’t scared a bit. I lived by myself for ten years in various apartments, and am used to being alone. Not scary. I even lived out in a farmhouse in the middle of a corn field all by myself. Not scary. When I taught at a summer camp in the Wisconsin Northwoods, I would walk by myself at night, in the woods, with no flashlight. Not scary.

But there was this one time…

On a Saturday morning in March, I decided to go out for a walk. The weather was mild, and I needed to train for the 2-day Avon Breast Cancer Walk in June. I planned on walking four miles that morning, so I got an early start. I was on the last stretch, heading for home. Trees branches, their limbs devoid of leaves, stretched over the sidewalk as a stark canopy above me. I was huffing along, looking down at the sidewalk, tired and sweaty, ready to get home. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a figure up in the tree ahead of me. A large, body-shaped figure.

A large, crouching figure wearing black clothes fluttering in the breeze, looking like he was about to pounce down on me.

My heart pounded. My thoughts raced. I started freaking out. I started getting kinda scared.

Who could it be? My rational mind thought maybe it was a teenager climbing a tree just for fun. Surely it was too early for a teen to be up on a Saturday. Should I look up? Say hi? WHO IS IN THE TREE?

My irrational mind thought FOR SURE that it was a serial killer, ready to pounce and slit my throat wide open.

I looked up.



A skeleton’s empty eye sockets looked down at me. It was tied with chains up in the tree, left over from Halloween. Relieved and feeling just a little bit silly about the whole serial killer theory, I walked home and told the girls about my scary encounter minus the murdering killer part. So of course, they wanted to go see the skeleton in the tree. We had plenty of time…that skeleton is probably still there, ready for another Halloween.

Second Blooming

16 Replies to “Lurking in the Tree”

  1. I love, LOVE the story of your dad and the bible! I bet he secretly loved doing that and watching everybody jump! And I agree, I'm much more scared by the pop-n-fresh thingy popping open or a champagne cork than of a werewolf.

    You are linked!!
    My recent post Spooky

  2. Like Gretchen said, I bet your dad loved doing the whole Bible slamming thing – if anything else, it made sure *everyone* was awake! 🙂 I'm like you – I don't scare easily, I do startle easily, though. But that skeleton in the tree would have freaked me out, too. 🙂
    My recent post The Haunted Clock Revisited

  3. Now I'm having flashbacks to the Criminal Minds episode I watched last night. I get freaked out easily…and startle easily! BTW, are you still reading Daring Greatly? I just got the book and am devouring it!
    My recent post Our Kiddo…

  4. My boys both love being startled so we tend to do that on occasion around our house. Truely scaring though? not so much–our imaginations can do that quite well on their own.

  5. I once had a guy staring into my home, which freaked me out no end. I phoned the police, but they didn't see or find anybody. They did however suggest it might be wise to get a fence made, so people wouldn't be able to get into my yard so easily.
    The next night (fence was not there yet) I heard a noise and I immediately got up to see what scary things were happening. And then I had to shake myself to common sense: scaring that easily of every little sound was going to ruin my life. So I stopped being scared that easily. And even now I am not a scared person. After all I have to cycle to and from work in the middle of the night sometimes: a little wooded area, an industrial estate. Mind you, there are places I will not go on my own in the middle of the night. I would rather pay for a taxi in that case. I do have common sense!

  6. The crescent roll tube? SCARIEST THING EVER! I've never done the lights out and bible slamming Good Friday thing. It sounds like a great illustration. Very cool! I used to watch all kinds of scary movies and they couldn't be scary enough. Now? I'm an old fart and if I even watch a ghost hunting show, I'll be seeing/hearing things in my house for days. Totally messes with my baby brain. Although there have been some experiences that cannot be explained… =)
    My recent post Seriously, Ann Coulter? Seriously?

  7. Ginny…I can totally relate to this post. Things that most people find scary, I don't find scary. But it's those little unexpected noises that can rattle me to the core! That skeleton in the tree, though….that just might have me sleeping with one eye open! : )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.