The Dare is a scary tale about a young girl whose bravery is put to the test when she accepts the challenge of sticking a knife in the grave of an old woman who is rumored to have been a witch. This story is also known as “The Girl Who Stood On The Grave”, “The Graveyard Dare” and “She’s Got Me”. Versions of the legend appeared in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Favorite Scary Stories of American Children and Short Scary Stories.
One night, in a small American town, a young girl threw a party and invited all her friends from school. There was a large group of boys and girls and, as the night went on, they began telling scary stories.
One boy said he had heard an urban legend about an old graveyard that was located near the girl’s house. According to the story, an old woman had been buried in the middle of the cemetery and there were rumors that she was a witch. They said that if someone stood on her grave at midnight, she would grab them and drag them down to hell.
“I would never go near that graveyard after dark”, another boy said.
“You’re all a bunch of morons,” laughed the girl who owned the house. “It’s just a silly superstition. I can’t believe you’d take it seriously.”
The boy who had told the story turned to her and sneered, “It’s all very well to be brave when you’re safe and warm in your own home. I think you’d have a different attitude if you actually went to that graveyard.”
“It wouldn’t make a difference,” replied the girl haughtily.
“OK, then prove it!” said the boy. “We’ll all go down to the cemetery and wait outside while you go in and stand on the old witch’s grave.”
“A grave doesn’t scare me,” said the girl. “I’ll do it right now.”
“You’ll have to prove you really did it,” said the boy. “Otherwise you might chicken out.”
He took a knife from the kitchen drawer and handed it to her.
“Stick this knife in the grave,” he said. “Then we’ll know you were there for sure.”
The group of kids set out for the graveyard and when they reached the old iron gates, they gathered in a circle. All of them stared at the girl. She tried to pretend she wasn’t scared and she hoped they didn’t see her shivering in fear.
With the knife clutched tightly in her hand, the girl walked through the old iron gateway and made her way through the darkened graveyard. In the moonlight, the tombstones and the trees cast strange and unnerving shadows. Eventually, she came to the old woman’s grave.
“There is nothing to be scared of,” the girl told herself. “It’s just a stupid story.”
Crouching in front of the headstone, she whispered, “I’m not afraid of you.”
Then she raised the knife above her head and thrust it into the earth.
“Take that, you old witch,” she chuckled.
The girl was about to turn and leave, when she felt something holding her back. She couldn’t move. Something was tugging on the hem of her dress and dragging her down.
She was filled with terror and flew into a panic. “Help!” she cried. “She’s got me! She’s got me!”
When she didn’t come back, her friends began to get worried. After a while, they cautiously entered the graveyard to look for her. They found her sprawled across the old woman’s grave. She was dead and her face was frozen in a silent scream.
Without realizing it, she had plunged the knife through her skirt and had pinned it to the ground. That was what had been holding her.
The poor girl had been so terrified that her heart gave in and she died of fright.