The Handshake is a true ghost story about a man who dumped his fiancee before the wedding. It is also known as “The Cold Hand” or “The Ice-cold Handshake”.
In an old forgotten cemetery, just north of Goldsboro, North Carolina, there is a headstone that is cracked in half and held together by a pair of rusty brackets. Engraved at the top, there is the strangely haunting image of a handshake. The name on the grave is George Deans and this is his story.
Back in 1856, there was a 17-year old girl named Rachael Vinson who thought she had found the man of her dreams. He was 8 years older than her and his name was George Deans.
Rachael dreamed about the beautiful wedding they would have. She was head over heels in love, but unfortunately George didn’t feel the same way about her. He had a wandering eye and soon he was cheating on her with a number of other girls.
When she found out that he was being unfaithful, Rachael was devastated. However, she didn’t want to lose him, so she told him how much she loved him and said that she would still marry him if he stopped seeing other girls. George wasn’t a very sensitive and he bluntly dumped her.
Rachael’s heart was broken and she felt like she could never love again. She fell into a deep, dark spiral of sadness and depression. Within weeks, her uncontrollable grief made her sick. She came down with a fever and her body grew weaker and weaker. She had lost the will to live.
One day, she called George to her bedside and asked him to lean in close. Then she whispered in his ear.
“I realize I can never have you in this world,” she said, “but I shall claim you in the next…”
The next day, Rachael died. She was buried in the little graveyard and George tried to put her out of his thoughts and go on about his life.
Almost a year later, George Deans was wandering home from a Christmas party, tipsy with drink. His route took him past the graveyard where Rachael was buried. As he walked, he saw a strange fog-like mist rising out of the cemetery. It came floating towards him over the headstones and gradually formed into the ghostly figure of a woman.
George started shaking and staggered backward as he recognized Rachael’s face.
He was so frightened that he was unable to run as the ghostly apparition came closer and closer. Suddenly, it reached out and grabbed his hand. Its touch was icy cold. Colder than death.
Then, in an instant, the apparition vanished. George was found wandering aimlessly down the road. He seemed to be in a daze and his right hand hung limp by his side. It was frozen solid.
From then on, he suffered from excruciating pain in the hand the ghost had touched. Within days, his hand began to wither and shrivel up. Eventually, it dangled uselessly at his side.
George Deans never married and spent the rest of his life alone. When he died, he was buried in the same cemetery as Rachael Vinson. In his will, he had left instructions for that ghostly image to be chiseled on the tombstone above his name. Two hands eternally clasped in an ice-cold handshake.