The Avenging Ghost: A Legend of Murder and Haunting in Kentucky from Cat Cavendish

Today, I welcome my good friend back to the site. She just happens to be an amazing author and I really love her books. She gives a reader good, old-fashioned haunting chills. I certainly love her guest articles too almost as much. This one will creep you out…it did me…enjoy!!

The Avenging Ghost

by Catherine Cavendish, Author of The Dark Avenging Angel

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My latest novella – Dark Avenging Angel – is, as its title suggests, concerned with revenge. In this case, revenge of the most demonic kind. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for…” Jane learns the truth of this in graphic ways.

Avenging angels and demons abound in the traditions and folklore of people all over the world. So are avenging ghosts. Take the curious case of Carl Pruitt. In this allegedly true story, the ghost has never been seen, but his effect has most assuredly been felt.

In eastern Kentucky, in June 1938, a man named Carl Pruitt arrived home from work to find his wife in bed with another man. Enraged, he took a small length of chain and strangled her but failed to capture her lover, who escaped through a window. Almost immediately struck with remorse, Pruitt committed suicide. Understandably, he was buried in a separate cemetery from his wife.

Soon afterwards, visitors to the cemetery where the murderer was buried began to notice a curious discolouration of the stone on his grave. It was forming a pattern which bore close resemblance to a linked chain, like the one Pruitt had used to kill his wife. The chain kept growing in such a way that it formed a cross, at which point, it stopped. Rumours began to spread that the site of Pruitt’s grave was tainted with evil. Haunted. Local residents wanted the gravestone cleared of its eerie pattern. They complained to the authorities who said nothing could be done. It would have to stay that way.

A group of teenage boys decided to take matters into their own hands and began to hurl stones and rocks at it, hoping to deface the strange pattern. Only one of the boys actually did any damage. His name was James Collins. And he only managed to chip a little off the stone. Then the boys went home on their bicycles.

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But James Collins never did get home. In a bizarre accident, he was killed. His bicycle chain flew off and wrapped itself around his neck, strangling him.

Even though James had managed to cause a small amount of damage to the gravestone, the next time anyone checked, it showed no sign of being chipped.

James’s mother was heartbroken at losing her son and took a small hand axe to Pruitt’s gravestone, until it lay in dozens of pieces on the ground. The following day, as she was hanging out the washing, her line broke. Strangely, it was made of chainlink, not the usual rope and she became entangled in it. The more she struggled, the more it strangled her, until she was killed. The legend has it that after her death, Pruitt’s gravestone once again managed to put itself back together, so that no trace of its destruction remained.

Then, one day, a farmer drove his wagon and horses through the cemetery and decided to take pot shots at the gravestone with his revolver. Stone chippings flew up and spooked the horses, who bolted. Family members travelling with the farmer managed to leap to safety, but the farmer hung on, trying to calm the horses. As the wagon hit a bump in the road, he was thrown off and became entangled in the trace chain. It strangled him. Yet again the damaged gravestone healed itself.

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By now, word had spread about the haunted and seemingly indestructible gravestone. Things got so bad that two police officers were sent to investigate. One night, they took photographs of the stone and then went back to their car, with the aim of talking to witnesses about the strange events that had been happening. As they drove off, the driver, who was the more sceptical of the two of them, looked in the car’s rear view mirror and saw a light coming from the direction of the gravestone. At first he thought it was a reflection, but then it came closer. The officer put his foot down and drove faster. The light kept coming closer. His partner pleaded with him to slow down, but then the car swerved, came off the road, crashed between two posts, and rolled several times before coming to a stop. The officer on the passenger side had been thrown clear, but when he went to his partner’s aid, he found he was dead. Not by the accident though. He had been killed before that. As the car swerved between the posts, a chain hanging between them had smashed through the windscreen and wrapped itself around the driver’s neck, strangling him.

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By now, people avoided coming to the cemetery. The last reported death involving Carl Pruitt’s gravestone concerned a rather foolhardy man called Arthur Lewis, who went there one night with a hammer and chisel, determined to destroy it once and for all. All residents nearby heard the hammering as he set about destroying the gravestone. They also heard the bloodcurdling scream that followed. When would-be rescuers found him, he was dead – strangled by the chain used to close the cemetery gates at night. It appeared that something had frightened him and he had taken off for the exit, forgetting about this chain.

Enough was enough and all the other bodies were moved to another cemetery. With no family left, Pruitt’s grave remained untouched, uncared for and undisturbed until a strip mining operation in 1958 destroyed it forever.

None of the deaths has ever been satisfactorily explained.

As for the whereabouts of Pruitt’s body – no one knows that either.

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Now, to give you a taste of Dark Avenging Angel, here’s the blurb:

Don’t hurt Jane. You may live to regret it.

Bullied by her abusive father, Jane always felt different. Then the lonely child found a friend in a mysterious dark lady who offers her protection—a lady she calls her “angel”. But that protection carries a terrible price, one to be paid with the souls of those Jane chooses to suffer a hideous and eternal fate.

When Jane refuses to name another victim, the angel reveals her most terrifying side. Payment must be made in full—one way or the other.

And here’s a brief extract:

Something had woken me from a deep sleep troubled by my recurring nightmare in which I was in a wood, being chased by some unimaginable horror. I never saw its face, assuming it even had one. But I knew if I didn’t find sanctuary, it would kill me. I had just made it into the strange little house that always appeared in the clearing, when my eyes opened and I gasped at the white, smiling face looking down at me.

That night, my angel seemed different somehow.

Oh, she looked the same. Same black cloak, but this time it shimmered and I wanted to touch it. I was sure it would feel soft as velvet under my fingers.

She put her finger to her lips and stroked my hair. Her touch was like a gentle breeze in summertime. My eyes wanted to close, but I forced them to stay open.

I knew I mustn’t speak out loud, but I could still whisper. “I wish I knew your name. Who are you? Please will you tell me?”

She continued to smile. Her lips moved, but the answering voice I heard was again in my head. Do not be afraid, child. It is not yet time, but soon you will have the power to avenge yourself on those who have done you harm. Look for me in the shadows and I will be there, taking account.

I understood nothing of what she said. But, from somewhere, a calm I had never felt before emerged and wrapped itself around me.

I blinked in the darkness as she faded from sight.

Then I closed my eyes and slept. I never had that nightmare again after that night. But what if I’d known what was ahead for me?

Some things are better off left in the dark.

You can find Dark Avenging Angel at~

Samhain Publishing

Barnes and Noble 


Catherine Cavendish, Biography~

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Following a varied career in sales, advertising, and career guidance, Cat is now the full time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly, and Gothic horror novels, novellas, and short stories. She is the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which features in the anthology What Waits In The Shadows.  Her novels, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine are also published by Samhain. Her next – The Devil’s Serenade – will be released by them in April 2016

You can connect with Cat here~

Catherine Cavendish






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3 responses to “The Avenging Ghost: A Legend of Murder and Haunting in Kentucky from Cat Cavendish

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Erin!


  2. Wow, that is some story Cat. I hesitate to say I loved it BUT I did xxxxx


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