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Sniff



Estimated reading time — 4 minutes

Let me tell you all a story. It’s one which I think is interesting, but at the same time frustrating for me. You see, it’s not mine. And for that reason I can’t develop it myself or adapt it into a complete tale. It’s supposedly an experience someone actually had, but the account seems so well rounded that I’m suspicious of it. I have a niggling feeling that it might come from something already published. I detest plagiarism in any form, and for that reason I’d hate to take the account, build upon it, then later discover I had taken something from another writer. There’s also the possibility that it is an urban myth or legend that I’m unaware of. But the truth is the story bothers me. I really would like to know if anyone here has actually heard of it. I’ll do my best to relate it to you now. Is it just a published story, or based on a genuine experience?

***

Many years ago my dad had a drinking buddy who was also a school teacher. They knew each other well and would often catch up over a few pints, discussing everything from work, to politics, to almost anything you could think of – the usual pub banter.

One night, one specific conversation they had together, always stuck in my dad’s mind. It was a quiet midweek evening, and their local was quite empty with just a few of the regulars propping up the bar. As they sat there, the conversation ebbed and flowed between the drinkers and the staff, eventually landing on the topic of ghosts. More specifically,‘Did they exist?’ and ‘Had anyone there ever seen one?’.

Of course, as these things go, they all took turns describing strange supernatural occurrences – things that go bump in the night. All of the stories were the same in that they were secondhand in nature. The accounts were of friends, family, and acquaintances who had encountered the paranormal, but no one there could claim to have seen a ghost themselves – no one but for the school teacher.

The story he told my dad and the others there that day, was that he had been privy to something quite frightening a few years earlier. In a suburb of Glasgow called Govanhill, he had an aunt. The man was caught between moves and needed somewhere to sleep for a few nights, and so she happily took him in.

It was a small flat with only one bedroom, but there was a sofa bed in the lounge which was not entirely uncomfortable, and would at least provide him with somewhere to rest before sorting out his living arrangements. After a nice meal and some polite conversation, the school teacher’s aunt went to her room for an early night. He was tired and hoped to get to sleep soon enough as well and, after pulling out the sofa bed, switched off the lights and closed his eyes. Quickly, he fell asleep.

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He awoke to darkness. It was still the middle of the night, and he wondered why he had stirred considering he was usually a heavy sleeper and rarely woke before the morning. Then he heard it. A noise. There was definitely something in the room with him. The sound was unusual, but not unidentifiable. It was not unlike someone breathing, quickly followed by a sharp inhalation which the school teacher could only describe as a sniffing sound.

Readying himself to get out of bed, turn on the light, and see what was causing the unusual noise, his eyes now adapted to the pitch black. While no details could be seen, the breathing and sniffing noises began to edge closer to him. He was now convinced that there was something unwelcome in the room with him, and by the shuffling noise which now accompanied it, he was certain it was substantial.

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Of course he was panicked. Part of him wanted to rush into his aunt’s room and barricade the door, another part preferred to stay still and not disturb whoever was there. Perhaps they had a knife. The thought of some burglar stumbling around in the dark with a blade only made him more apprehensive. He decided that he would lay there quietly and bide his time. Maybe the housebreaker would just take something and leave without altercation. But then what of his aunt? Had she been hurt?

Then, a warm moist breath blew across his face as someone leaned over him. Trembling, he reached out his hand instinctively, touching something cold and damp hovering only inches away. Leaping out of bed in horror, he knocked over a table as he made his way to the door, tripping clumsily and landing on the floor with a painful thud.

The school teacher’s aunt found him in the hallway, dazed, yelling for her to get out of the flat. She seemed strangely unafraid and after switching on all the lights showed him that the place was quite empty, including where he had slept. Calming his nerves with a drink and a snack, she sat him down and explained what she believed had happened.

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The story goes – and this part I know to be true – that underneath Govanhill, and therefore his aunt’s flat, there once lay a large network of prosperous and important mines in the 19th and early 20th centuries. While they had been the site of many unfortunate cave-ins, gas leaks, and accidents, the aunt was convinced that she had often heard in that room the noises of those who had lost their lives down there.

While she had never experienced anything quite as potent as the school teacher, who was visibly shaken, she was more concerned about the poor apparition of an old pit mule trapped in darkness, trying to sniff its way out from that suffocating place, with only its cold, damp nose to guide it.


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33 thoughts on “Sniff”

  1. Real talk this made me shudder: “Then, a warm moist breath blew across his face as someone leaned over him. Trembling, he reached out his hand instinctively, touching something cold and damp hovering only inches away.”

    I would shit my pants if something breathed over my face after all that sniffling around, so that genuinely creeped me out, and then I got a super sad over the mule. Benevolent (or neutral) ghosts are pretty rare in stories, and animal ghosts even more so, so this was a nice change, despite the sad. Poor mule.

  2. Well, an equine’s nose isn’t cold or damp, but it might be if the animal had been in a cold, damp place and was… dead…
    Forgive me, but I don’t care to think of that for too long.

    If it had been me in the situation, I’d see if I couldn’t get the mule to come back.
    Maybe pet it, dry it off, and try to comfort the poor darling.

  3. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I adore Michael’s writing. I don’t understand why this has the rating it does, it’s fantastic!
    And people keep mentioning how funny the story is, but it just kinda makes me sad. The idea that the mule is still trying to get out, and no one is there to help it. Had I been in that situation, I would have petted it. c:

  4. 8/10
    I thought this was quite good! The account of the apparition appearing and the characters reaction to it was very well done, I found myself feeling as though I was in their shoes and I felt a chilling fear from such an unnerving description of the unnatural.
    The meat of the pasta was really fulfilling, but the rest of the story fell short, such as the rising action. I didn’t feel very hooked at the beginning and the end was not as satisfying.

  5. This was too cute! I thought it was a puppy! I was already awwwing lol I liked this story because even though it wasn’t creepy or gory, it was still a nice read. Great job retelling lol apparently. Bring back more Ghost Mule! Poor baby just trying to get out :(

  6. I didn’t care for the intro myself, starting off with uncertainty doesn’t grip me as a reader, even if it is truthful.

    I loved the originality of this though. More often than not ghostly entities will have humanoid characteristics. To come across a poor lost animal spirit is both sad and unexpected. Thank you for sharing.

  7. A good second-hand read, but lacked sufficient creepy sauce. (But that’s understandable, considering the author’s opening paragraph and their refusal to embellish another person’s tale – I wish more writers felt that way; maybe we’d have less X the Killer abominations on Crappypasta). I’ve never read a story about a ghost mule before, so that was a pleasant surprise.

    1. Mr. Whitehouse is one of the best authors to creepypasta, read “Bed Time” and “On a Hill” for example. Sorry just had to point this out!

  8. Awww, that’s adorable. Cute little ghostly mule just trying to sniff its way out of the mines. Totally gave this a 9/10, did not expect a mule there, lol.

    1. Since I suspected this would come up, ‘niggling’ comes from the Old Norse word nigla = “to fuss about small matters”

      It does not share etymology or meaning with the racial slur you’re probably thinking of (and seem to find funny, for some reason).

  9. Story was okay. Ghost of a pitbull isn’t scary. It’s not like it bites you or anything.

    I’m more curious if intro is actually a note from the author or if it’s a part of the story.

    1. Hi Tariq,

      The beginning of this story is true, my dad told me it when I was a kid. It’s always stayed with me. He’s pretty sure the story is not published, but I wanted to explain why it is not fleshed out. I wish you could all hear my dad tell it, he’s a far better storyteller than I’ll ever be.

      ~ Mike

      1. I’m not sure about your father Michael but if he was as good as you say, he passed the gift of storytelling onto you.Your stories have always been one of my favorites. Whenever I see your name on something I make sure to read it. You never disappoint. You are a marvelous storyteller.

        1. Completely agree with Faith Mike, your my favorite author on Creepypasta and have helped to inspire me to try to become a better writer

        2. I feel the same, whenever I see your stuff I make sure to read it! I have never been let down. I love your stories! I wish you would write a book!

        3. I think he did. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe I read comments from Mike that he put his short stories together (Such as Bed Time and The Hill) to create a short story book or two. If I am wrong I am sorry, but if this is true and I spot one on the shelves, I am definitely buying at least 4 of them to support Mike. Then Ill order more online so my friends can discover this amazing writer.

  10. Mules do not have cold wet noses, they have dry, velvety noses and they don’t sniff like dogs to find their way around. They are prey animals not predators and as such they rely on eye sight and hearing much more than smell. The only time a mule (or any other equine) would sniff would be if there were hay or other food directly in front of it since they have a blind spot directly in front and behind them.

    1. Hi Lolla.

      That’s very interesting, I did not know that. As I said in the story, I was told this a long time ago. One thing I would say is that I did a quick search and it seems that all equine do appear to have a good sense of smell, although they do rely more upon sight and sound, so sniffing is not out of the question. When I was a kid I used to visit two white ponies a lot and the youngest one used to sniff my hand all of the time. Also, the wetness of the nose is easily explained by a collapsed mine slowly filling up with water.

      I should come clean about the story though, there is one thing I changed, it was a pit pony, not a pit mule, but pony seemed a little too light for the ending.

      Thanks for commenting.

      ~ Mike

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