Sunday, February 7, 2010
From my gathering Memoirs. ©2010. Robert J. Kuntz
Gary Gygax was not only a great story teller, but he had some real scary stories that would keep you at the edge of your seat. And he insisted that they were real. He had convinced his daughters and son, Ernest, of these, and when I was about 14 years of age he related them to me. Without going into extravagant detail, these all transpired at his mother's house on Dodge Street in Lake Geneva, just a block away from where I lived on Madison Street.
They included a friend (Tom Keogh, c.f., OD&D credits list) sleeping over and feeling a horned hand pressing down upon his back as he slept, which he later accused Gary of doing, and which Gary denied any part in. The hand kept his friend pinned down. The way EGG told this really effected me and I would not sleep on my stomach for months thereafter.
Another involves him being at home alone at night with his cat. He is reading at the front living room table by dim light. The door to the kitchen opens of its own accord and creaking noises, as made by approaching footsteps, come from that direction and proceed across the room towards him. At mid point they reach a position parallel with the chair on which the cat is sleeping. The cat immediately wakes up and stands, arching its body upwards in a hair-raising scene. The footsteps stop right before the table he is siting at, stunned. The cat lays back down.
And the last is the sound of something very heavy falling in the attic with a great booming noise and then proceeding to make this same dreadful sound as if something were walking across the attic floor from one side of the house to the other. Upon investigation by himself and Don Kaye, they found nothing moved or unordinary.
To say the least, I was never too thrilled being in that house at night when we visited his mom, or later, when Ernie Gygax was the soul occupant after her death. It had a very spooky quality to it.
At Milwaukee Gamefest 2004 EGG and I met to co-DM again and BS over old times, him just having suffered a stroke and myself a broken left leg. While gathered afterwards at his Hilton Hotel room I reminded him of those stories he used to tell. A twinkle grew in his eyes as he regarded the others present, and through no more encouragement on my part, out they came again, for the "amusement" of all. I often wondered how many who heard these told in that same serious tone, in that same air of truth that cannot be confounded by doubt, actually slept on their stomachs that night...