Mystery Monday: Scary Campfire Story

This story and 15 others appear in the eGuide “Campfire Stories: From the Chill to the Giggle” Volume 2 available now at Shop and coming soon to’s Kindle.

The Death Watch

A long time ago, in Arizona, a copper miner was killed in a cave in. His body was dug out, but his prize pocket watch, which he had hung up somewhere while he worked, was never found.

Weeks later, the pocket watch suddenly appeared, ticking loudly, near a miner named Williams. The following day, a prop gave way just was Williams was passing and he was killed by falling rock.

This was just the first appearance of the watch. Many times after that, it would appear, ticking loudly, in different parts of the mine. And every time the watch appeared, the miner working closest to it would be dead by the next sundown. Soon, the miners knew that the watch was a herald of death.

Many times miners tried to grab the watch, to smash it and stop its ticking. Each time, the watch would disappear but by the evening of the next day, another miner would be dead. The watch might be silent for months at a time, until the miners would think they were safe, but sooner or later, it would reappear, marking another death to come.

Pocket Watch

One day, the shift foreman was making his rounds after the men had left for the day when he heard the watch ticking. Following the sound, he saw the ghostly watch ticking near the work spot of a young miner named John. Even when he left the mine, the foreman could hear the watch’s eerie tick following him out of the mine.

The next day, as the miners were lining up to enter the mine, the foreman stopped Jim. “Don’t work today, Jim,” he said. “Go home to your wife.”

“Why should I do that?” Jim demanded. “I have a family at home to feed.”

The foreman took Jim by the arm and turned him away from the mine. “Jim, I didn’t want to tell you this, but last night I heard the watch ticking at your work space.”

A that, Jim turned pale. “The death watch!” he gasped and hurried away from the mine.

But Jim’s wife had just had another baby, their fourth, and Jim was worried about missing a day of pay. So Jim hurried along, looking to catch a ride down from the mountain to the town below. Maybe he could work in the smelter instead and bring home his pay to feed his wife and children.

As Jim walked into the smelter to see if there was work, a huge smelting kettle suddenly fell from its rack and smashed him dead in an instant.

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