The Missing Letters


Last week I included part one of “The Missing Letters,” a chapter from Ghosts of the Iowa Great Lakes, written by Bruce Carlson. The book contains a collection of ghost stories from around the area, with fictitious names used to protect the privacy of those still residing in the surrounding communities.

The full book is available for purchase through Quixote Press. Visit them online at or by calling 800-571-2665.

What follows is the conclusion to the story.

Chapter VII

The Missing Letters (Part 2)

The hog-buying business wasn't too bad, and Hermann was doing fairly well so he kept going for several years. But about five years after he started the business, Mrs. Yoeman took sick. The records don't reveal to us the nature of her problem, but it proved to be terminal. She died in the summer of 1924.

Hermann came home from the funeral at about four in the afternoon. He recalled later that he had looked at that sign in his drive and thought ruefully of how that "Mrs." was now obsolete. He recalled thinking, then, of how his now dead wife had so hated that on there.

Hermann changed his clothes and set about to do his chores. No matter what the circumstances, chores have to be done. Farm animals need daily feeding and watering regardless. One neighbor had offered to chore for Hermann for a couple of days, but Hermann turned him down. He wanted to do something to occupy his thoughts anyway. Besides that, all those hogs had to be tended to in different ways, and Hermann figured it would take longer to explain to the man what to do than it would for him to do it himself.

It was about five o'clock when Hermann walked across the lawn toward the barn to chore. Again his eyes chanced upon that sign. For a second, it didn't really register to him that the sign was different.

But different, it was. Those crisp black letters that had once read:



were gone. But the sign was there alright, just as it had been an hour before.

No matter how much Hermann rubbed his eyes and looked again and again, the sign was totally free of any lettering on it. Those letters had been there just an hour earlier, and now they were gone.

It took Hermann several minutes before he walked over to the sign to put his finger on that blank space. There he fully expected to find wet paint as a result of someone painting over the letters for some reason. However, the paint was, bone dry.

It was then that Hermann realized it wasn't a mortal hand that had removed those words. It was then that Hermann knew it was the work of his wife's ghost.


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