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Sun October 27, 2013

Song For Childhood Ghosts 'Carries On' The Sorrow

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 1:10 pm

Weekend Edition has been asking you to share your scary stories, the ones that have become family lore. This week, we're sharing those stories and delving into how and why they affect us.

Singer-songwriter Rita Hosking grew up in a house that was haunted. It was known as the Old Erickson Place on Hatchet Mountain in California. In her 2009 album Come Sunrise, she tells the tragic story of the woman and her little boy who lived there years before.

"She was lonely before the Lord took her son," Hosking sings. "She couldn't take any more, so she took out her gun. It's there that she died with her hand on her hip, and it's there that she cried, this song on her lips."

Hosking grew up with the story, her father telling the tale on stormy nights.

One day, in the corner of a room in the house, she saw a little blond-haired boy.

"I immediately knew that this was this woman's son. He was looking at me, and I took off flying out the door ... because I was so frightened," she says.

When she looked back up toward the house, the curtain in her parents' bedroom on the top floor was being held back — then dropped. Hosking says she knew immediately it was the mother.

"Tragedies bring sorrow so deep and so strong that I feel like sometimes it just doesn't end with one generation. It carries on," she says. "And maybe that's what ghosts are, maybe they're just carrying on this sorrow."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE'S WAITING")

RITA HOSKING: (Singing) On Hatchet Mountain, the old Erickson place, There's a soul...

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Today we're sharing a few ghost stories, your ghost stories, those footsteps and cries and apparitions you can't explain, but you can't dismiss, either.

Singer-songwriter Rita Hosking grew up in a haunted house, known as the Old Erickson Place, on Hatchet Mountain in California. On her album "Come Sunrise," she tells the story of the woman and her little boy who lived there years before, a tragic tale.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE'S WAITING")

HOSKING: (Singing) She was lonely before the Lord took her son. She couldn't take anymore so she took out her gun. It's there that she died with her hand on her hip. And it's there that she cried this song on her lips. Singing, ooh-who-ooh...

This is a story I grew up with knowing pretty intimately because my father never wasted a good stormy night to tell me. And one day I was waiting by the door looking out the window for the bus, and I looked towards the corner of the room. And in the corner, sort of coexisting with the plant...

(LAUGHTER)

HOSKING: ...was a little blond-haired boy. And I immediately knew that this was this woman's son. He was looking right at me. And I took off flying out the door, ran down the hill and held onto my favorite tree, hugging it as hard as I could because I was so frightened. And then I looked up toward the house and on the top floor in my parents' bedroom the curtain, which should have been hanging straight down, was being held back, and then it was let go and dropped. I immediately took that to be the mother.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE'S WAITING")

HOSKING: (Singing) Wind in her hair, you can see her there, facing the sky.

Tragedies bring sorrow so deep and so strong that I feel like sometimes it just doesn't end with one generation, it carries on. And maybe that's what ghosts are; maybe they're just carrying on this sorrow. So in the chorus, you'll hear me just kind of do that little howling thing. To me that's just sort of a sound of she's calling out...

(LAUGHTER)

HOSKING: ...a little bit, which she did in her own way.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE'S WAITING")

HOSKING: (Singing) Singing, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-who-ooh-ooh. Out on the rooftop...

MARTIN: Rita Hosking. Her song - her family's ghost story - is called, "She's Waiting."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE'S WAITING")

HOSKING: (Singing) Arm 'round her son, he's the only one, you'll hear him crying. Wind in her hair...

MARTIN: You're listening to NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.