The Witch and the Key Hole

I am going to try to tell this story as close to the way it was told to me as possible. I was told the tall tale when I was probably 8 or 9, maybe even a little younger. It was told to me by Carolyn Parsons who raised a large family on Mill Creek Road, just outside of Fort Gay, WV. She is now resting from her life’s work in a small cemetery on Mill Creek. I would like to dedicate this post to her memory as she was always a source of entertainment to my young soul with her stories.

Once there was a witch, but no one knew that she was a witch. She lived in West Virginia near the East Lynn Lake area, close to Huntington. She married a man and for whatever reason, she refused to share a bedroom with him for sleeping purposes. Her husband found this odd.

Their house was old and had the keyhole locks that required huge keys, the type that you could look through. One night her husband looked through the keyhole of the closed door and found that his wife was gone. He was none too happy, but decided not to confront her. He decided that since he did not hear the door open at night she must be sneaking out through the window. The next day, while his wife was outside, he nailed her window shut.

The next night the husband looked through the keyhole again, sure that he had fixed “the problem”. Surprised, he found that his wife was gone. Obviously she had left through the door very quietly. Still determined to “fix the problem” he decided that he would not mention the issue and “fix” it the next night.

The following night his wife went to bed and shut her door. He waited until she was under the covers and appeared to be asleep. When he thought all was safe and sound he locked the door from the outside. His wife did not have a key and so she was sure to be confined to her room. Sure enough, the middle of the night came and he decided to check on his wife, just in case. She was gone. It was impossible.

The next night the husband decided to watch to see how his wife exited her room. He hid in a doorway. As he stared he saw a mist form from the keyhole and turn into the shape of a human. In an instant, his wife was standing on the outside of the door and she left the home.

It had long been rumoured in the county that here was a witch who would go and ask a stranger for sugar or some other item and if you gave her anything then she would return at night and ride you like a horse over the hills and though the valleys. People would report waking up with scrapes and bruises that they couldn’t explain. They were also exhausted and sore. The husband, scared to death, realized that the “witch” was real and he was married to her.

The next night the husband waited for his wife to get into the room. Again he locked the door from the outside, but this time he placed his thumb over the hole. The witch had no escape and, in order to live, had to ride souls at night. She searched frantically for an exit, but there was none. She died, right there in the bedroom.

This story is told with the following warning: This witch might not have been the only one, so if someone you don’t know shows up at your house asking to borrow anything, do not give it to her/him. You might have a very rough night if you do.

2 thoughts on “The Witch and the Key Hole

  • September 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    that story combines two kinds of stories that I have heard. One is the boohag, about a woman who would take off her skin, become a cat and go out at night. There is a louisiana version of it that’s right scary. The other is the one about witches riding people, which seems to have been a fairly prevalent belief in our region. Good telling of your version!

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