University of Detroit Mercy Libraries / Instructional Design Studio
James Callow Folklore Archive

Collection Home

About Dr. James T. Callow

Dr. James T. Callow publications


Browse by

Subject heading



Questions or comments on this site? Please email

The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

search for

Content filter is on

On February 16, 1970 a baby girl was born,
bringing tremendous joy to her parents, Charlie
and Rosemary. They named her Stephanie. The
Millers typified the perfect family. They lived
in a small ranch house in Dearborn, close to the
Allen Park and Melvindale borders. This home was
the picture of gaiety and happiness, abundant with
plenty of flowers in the garden, and the sound of
a baby's laughter. "It was a family right out of
a storybook, all they needed was a white picket
fence...," reminisced Rosemary's sister Claire.
Every story must have an ending, though, and
this one happened to be tragic instead of happy.
On September 3, 1972, Rosemary died, and Charlie's
life was shattered. "If it had not been for
Stephanie, he would have fell off the deep end
right then," commented Claire. It was a horrible
tragedy for everyone concerned.
Charles dedicated all his energy and love on
Stephanie after Rosemary's death, really spoiled
her, and never let her out of his sight. He
even called her Rosie sometimes. In this way,
Stephanie became her father's entire world.
Nearly three years had passed after Rosemary's
death, when yet another tragedy took place as told
by Claire:
It was a real foggy and rainy day, just like
in those late night movies, and Charles and
Stephanie were playing inside. Well, as far
as I figured it, something happened that made
him (Charles) mad at Stephanie. Anyhow, he
yelled at her, which he rarely did, and she
ran outside, right into the street. There
was this big truck coming, one of those
dump trucks. Anyhow, Stephanie ran right
in front of it. It weren't his (the truck
driver's) fault. He slammed on his brakes,
but the road being wet and all... well she
was hit and killed right away.
Stephanie's death not only altered Charles' life,
but Charles himself. According to Claire, he ceased to
speak of anything coherently, and just sat around
rambling on and on about his lost daughter. "Then
one day, he got up, got dressed, and announced he
was going shopping," related Claire.
When he returned from his excursion, he had
purchased a plastic life-sized doll, which from then
on became his daughter Stephanie. Charles set the doll
in front of the picture window to show everyone that
she was still alive. "He was insane with guilt; he
just reverted to a fantasy world, because he could
not deal with the reality," explained Claire.
Charles formed a daily ritual of dressing, feeding
and playing with his substitute for Stephanie, and
has kept this up religiously for over nine years.
But, there is yet another twist to this sad story:
He (Charles) claims that every rainy day at 5 p.m.,
the time of Stephanie's death, you can actually hear
the tires of the truck screeching and squealing.
He runs to the window with the doll to make sure she
stays inside. But what gets me, is that others that
are in the area at that time have claimed that
they heard sounds also...
The flower gardens are now barren, and the house
seems dead in itself. The only visible sign of life
is a motionless child in the window, and the faint
sounds of tires screeching in the distance, believe
it or not.

Submitter comment: I was able to speak with "Charles" himself, but his
sister-in-law who has lived with him since his wife's
death, helped fill me in on the details of this
story. I was also asked to leave out the actual
names of the people involved for discretion's sake.


Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 02-00-1984

University of Detroit Mercy
4001 W. McNichols Detroit , MI , 48221-3038
This site is endorsed by the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) and supports the views, values, and mission of UDM. The University of Detroit Mercy web site provides links to other web sites, both public and private, for informational purposes. The inclusion of these links on UDM's site does not imply endorsement by the University. Please contact the Instructional Design Studio for any questions regarding this web site.