It’s a chilly night. Your buddies are sitting around the warm campfire after a long hike to your destination, enjoying the warm food that’s filled your famished bellies. The sounds of crickets echo around you as the fire crackles. Even though you are around those you trusted to go on this adventure with you, the isolation starts to set in. There are miles between you and civilization, and soon your mind starts to make up things about the potential dangers in the woods, whether they’re human an animal, or a paranormal figure. It’s now time for an awesome ghost story.
At Near Zero, we love a good ghost story, and there’s something about the ambiance of the quiet outdoors that creates an ominous feeling, perfect for a good ghost story. And because we’ll be celebrating All Hallows Eve tomorrow, we wanted to share one of our favorite campfire stories with you!
A boy named Johnny was heading to a sock hop at the high school alone. His date had canceled on him last minute but that didn’t stop him from wanting to go and have a good time. On his way to the school, he noticed a girl in a pink dress walking alongside the road heading to the school. Assuming that’s where she was going, he pulled over.
“Want a ride?” Johnny asked.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“The sock hop at the school,” he replied. “Do you have a date?”
The brunette with bouncy curls shook her head.
“Get in,” he smiled. She accepted but waited for him to open the door. The smiley girl got in and sat by him, but not too close.
“I’m Johnny,” he introduced.
“Janet Dooley,” she smiled.
Johnny was surprised he had never seen her at school but figured maybe she was visiting from another school or they had opposite classes.
The two ended up chatting like best friends as they drove to the dance. She told him about her house, and how much she loved school.
When they entered the school gym, she didn’t notice anyone else. He tried many times to hold her hand but she would hide them behind her back. Was he being a little too forward? Johnny, being the gentleman he was, let her decide when she wanted to dance. She only came out on the dancefloor with him during the dances where they didn’t need to be close. Nonetheless, both were having a swell time!
“I need to go,” Janet finally spoke up after one of the swingy songs.
Johnny looked at the clock that read 10:45 PM. He nodded, and the two walked out of the dance.
The moon was full and the air was chilly. Janet was trying to use her hands to warm up her arms in her pink fluffy dress.
“Would you like my jacket?” Johnny asked.
“Yes, thank you,” she smiled, taking his jacket and putting it around her shoulders. “I had a great time tonight.”
“Me too,” he said.
As they drove home, they came up to the place where he had initially picked her up.
“You can drop me off here,” she said.
“You sure?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she said. Johnny shrugged it off as he pulled over.
“Thanks again, I had a great time,” she said.
“Me too. Can I see you again?”
As they waved goodbye, Johnny got distracted by car lights coming the opposite way. When he looked back at her, she was gone. It suddenly dawned on him that he never got his jacket back from her, but with a last name like Dooley in a town like this, she couldn’t be too hard to find.
The next day, Johnny pulled out the phonebook and looked under the name Dooley in their town, but only one name was listed.
Johnny drove to the address, hoping to talk to Janet again and get his jacket back. The home looked like it belonged to an old lady but it almost looked exactly the way Janet had described it in their conversation the night before. Maybe it was her grandma? He started to feel embarrassed as he knocked on the door. When it opened, an older woman answered.
“Hello?” she asked, confused.
Johnny cleared his throat, “Hello ma'am, um, my name is Johnny. I went to a dance last night with a girl named Janet Dooley. Do you know her?”
The woman looked surprised, “Janet? My daughter is named Janet.”
Johnny was relieved, “is she here?”
The woman wasn’t sure how to answer, “one second.” She went back into her house and came back out with a photo. “Was this her?”
It was her! A girl with brown bouncy curls in a pink dress, “Yeah, that’s her. Is she here?”
The woman was still confused, “My sweet Janet died 20 years ago. She was on her way to dance but when a boy was rude to her, she got out of the car and started to walk home. She was hit and killed. It happened on Route 67 around 11 o’clock.”
Johnny was surprised and skeptical about the story.
“If you don’t believe me, she’s buried at the cemetery.”
Johnny needed answers. He thanked the woman for her time and drove straight to the cemetery to find the gravestone of Janet Dooley. He searched the rows of graves, looking at the names. When he went to the grave, he didn’t need to read the name. On it hung his jacket, the same one he loaned Janet the night before. Janet’s name was inscribed on the grave and sure enough, the year of her death was 20 years ago.
Johnny looked around the quiet cemetery. He picked up his jacket, walked over to a garden full of roses, picked one, and placed it on her grave.