Do you know the legend of the Candyman? The story goes something like this. Gaze in the mirror and repeat his name a number of times and you will summon a malevolent entity, deadly and not easily removed. This is a common trope used in horror and campfire stories for centuries. While some of you may have become aware of these legends through films like Candyman and the subsequent remake; or even from the 1980s classic Beetlejuice, the plot actually initiated from the legend of Bloody Mary. Depending on where you live you may know this tale by another name – the Bell Witch in Tennessee or the Latin version La Llorana (which incidentally was also made into a movie).
The plot of Bloody Mary is as follows: A young woman repeats a phrase to her mirror. This triggers the summoning of a ghost, who in turn inflicts unlimited violence and horror upon that girl. The ghost’s motivations are different depending on where you live and who is narrating the tale. Sometimes she was horribly ill-treated in life. Sometimes her child was murdered, either way, you get the picture – she is angry and out for blood.
Over the years variations and spinoffs of the original concept are retold in summer camps and movie theaters worldwide. Still, I was heartily surprised to find a coffee related version being repeated around campfires. While I have seen the story in different forms, I will leave you with my interpretation of two favorites –the first following the tradition of a wronged spirit and the second adapting itself to the classic horror film theme of the embattled, terrified babysitter:
1st up – Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee – Don’t trust your siblings1
Two siblings a brother and sister who lived together despised each other. One morning unbeknownst to the sister the brother spiked her morning black coffee with poison. When she passed away from the poison the brother buried the body five miles from the house. When his parents inquired as to the sister’s whereabouts the brother feigned ignorance.
Shortly thereafter the boy heard his sisters voice eerily calling to him – “Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee – 5 miles away.”He climbed the stairs and the voice whispered, “Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee – 4 miles away.”He entered his bedroom and heard, “Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee – 3 miles away.” He hid under the covers, but the voice continued to torment him, “Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee – I’m 2 miles away.”He drifted into an uneasy sleep and in his dreams he heard,“Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee – 1 mile away.”He woke up screaming only to hear his sister whispering, “Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee – I’m on your street. The next day at breakfast he heard it again – “Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee I’m in your house” – He ran up the stairs into his room – “Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee – I’m coming up the stairs!”. He bolted into the closet – “Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee – I’m in your room.” He slammed the door – “Black coffee, black coffee, black coffee – I’m right behind you” – He turned to face the ghost of his sister who stabbed him maniacally until his death…
Black coffee – Be careful who you babysit for2
A couple deserving a night off called a local girl to babysit for their newborn. The girl wished them well telling them they had nothing to worry about. Turning into the house she checked on the baby. Finding nothing amiss, she headed into the living room, baby monitor in hand and settled herself in front of the TV. She was startled by a loud bang, followed by the baby monitor switching off. The phone began ringing.
Hurrying to the phone, she answered it – “Hello?”
A crackling raspy voice said, “Black coffee, black coffee” I’m in the bedroom
She ran to the bedroom – the baby was in the middle of the crib wrapped in a black shawl. She ripped the shawl off and ran down the stairs placing the baby in the kitchen while she splashed water on her face in the bathroom.
The phone rang -.
“Black coffee, black coffee – I’m in the kitchen I’ve got the baby.
She ran to the kitchen. She saw the baby wearing a bright red wig. Ripping the wig off the baby, she hastily pulled the phone from the wall and clutching the child dashed up to the attic to hide.
Her cell rang…
“Black coffee, black coffee, I’m in the attic I’ve got the baby,”
The girl screamed at the top of her lungs and ran out to the garden with the baby.
Ring –ring – Black coffee, black coffee, I’m in the garden, I’ve killed the baby.
She ran screaming from the garden and saw a tangled mass of flesh glistening under the street lamps… She began hearing cackling laughter coming from behind her.
She slowly turned only to see the laughing baby on a windowsill, wearing the shawl and the wig. A sharp pain hit the babysitter in her back, and blood began to ooze through her shirt. The baby jumped atop her and began tearing at her throat. All the babysitter could do was scream and scream and scream…
Upon returning home the parents found the baby eating the babysitter.
The dad turning pale said, “oh no, not again!”
If you are interested in more tales of horror be sure to check out our Spooky Sips sampler, available through the end of October.