A supposedly haunted house once owned by Captain Edward Wyndam Schenley, pictured in 1945
Ed Clark—The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
October 31, 2014 7:00 AM EDT

The local-news business is often full of bizarre stories. TIME’s coverage of community goings-on deemed to be worthy of national note — a practice that was generally more common in the magazine’s earlier days — is no exception. The magazine has told the stories of babies born with full beards, women who made bathing suits out of ostrich plumes and gator-wrestling feats gone wrong.

When Halloween comes around, those stories can cross from the bizarre to the downright terrifying.

The following item appeared in the pages of the Sept. 30, 1957, issue of TIME — along with a completely inappropriately tongue-in-cheek headline. It is, in all seriousness, probably the spookiest Halloween story in the magazine’s history. Read at your own risk.

Good luck with your nightmares.

Read about the modern — and much safer — haunted house industry, here in TIME’s archives: You Can’t Scare America

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Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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