The Church is a funny scary story for kids. It is based on a folk tale called “The Haunted Church House” from Sticks in the Knapsack by Vance Randolph. A version of this story appeared in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz.
There was a fellow named Lemley who wasn’t afraid of any living thing in the world, but he was scared of pretty much anything that was dead. The only reason he didn’t whistle as he passed a graveyard at night was that he never went past a graveyard at night. He always stayed well away from places like that, even if took him miles out of his way.
People who knew him used to tell stories about the time Lemley got lost up on Devil’s Fork. It was a dark and stormy night and he was cycling home on his bike. It was pitch black and the rain was just starting to come down. There was a big flash of lightning and Lemley caught a glimpse of the old Harden place. It was just an old log cabin that had been deserted for as long as anyone could remember. They said a woman had been murdered there years ago and there were rumors that it was haunted.
Lemley started cycling for all he was worth and tore off down the road. The next place he came to was an old, dilapidated church. The front door was hanging off its hinges and the windows were all broken. By this time, the rain was coming down in sheets, the thunder was rumbling and the lightning was streaking across the sky, so Lemley knew he had to find shelter somewhere. He thought the church should be pretty safe. After all, it was the house of God and it still had a good roof on it.
Lemley left his bicycle under a tree and stumbled into the old church. It was very dark inside, but he felt his way down the aisle and sat down in the pews. It was nice and dry and warm inside and he began to feel better. But pretty soon, there came another big flash of lightning and Lemley saw something that chilled him to the bone.
He wasn’t alone in the old church. Not by a long shot. It looked like there were people sitting all over the place. They were dressed all in white and just sitting there with their heads bowed. It slowly dawned on Lemley that the church was filled with dead people, all wearing the white funeral shrouds they had been buried in!
For a moment, he just sat there in the darkness, rooted to the spot. He was frozen by fear. Then, he let out a terrified screech and took off running down the aisle. Just as he came to the front door, Lemley ran smack into one of the ghosts. He fell down and the ghost went BAAAAAAAAA!
All of a sudden, there came another flash of lightning and Lemley saw that they weren’t ghosts at all. They were sheep!