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An Unlikely Vessel: The Haunted Storybook

Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.

A particular copy of a Dr. Seuss book serves as a reminder that nothing is ever as innocent as it seems.

A particular copy of a Dr. Seuss book serves as a reminder that nothing is ever as innocent as it seems.

A Very Special Find

Famed children's book author Dr. Seuss penned a little-known gem in 1968 called The Foot Book. This rhyming bit of prose is dedicated to, of all things, the human foot. The premise behind this odd choice of topics is that feet come in a variety of shapes and sizes but are all unique in their own way—just like people.

The same can be said of books. For instance, there exists a copy of this particular work that is said to stand out from the rest, not for its content, but for a tragic event that left it forever altered. The volume in question is believed to have been present during a horrific act of violence which resulted, if you will forgive me, in its becoming host to a ghost.

This story is of personal interest, having taken place in my former stomping grounds. The events unfolded after a family living in the Mid-Ohio Valley happened upon a used copy of The Foot Book at a yard sale. The mother, sensing that it was special, purchased the item for her young daughter who possessed an insatiable appetite for reading. It was special, all right. In ways no one could ever have imagined.


Fear, My Dear

Not long after bringing the book into their home, family members began complaining that they felt as if they were being closely observed by something they could not see. As unsettling as that was, it was only a taste of things to come.

For her part, the little girl was delighted with the new addition to her burgeoning library. It was only when she opened the volume and began to read that she realized, even at her tender age, that this was no ordinary storybook.

The youngster would eventually tell her parents that someone was speaking to her from the pages. She couldn't make out exactly what they were saying, but she could tell that the voices were those of children no older than herself. As soon as she closed the cover, the room would fall silent.

After hearing them on numerous occasions, the girl became convinced that the children who lived inside the book were scared of something. She said that, even though they seemed panicked, they never raised their voices above a whisper. She wasn't sure, but she got the impression that they were afraid that someone would hear them.

Her parents didn't know what to make of their daughter's bizarre revelations. She had read countless books in the past and had never once spoken of disembodied voices or anything else out of the ordinary. This, coupled with the other strange goings-on at the time, led them to believe that she was not making the story up for their benefit.

In the weeks that followed the acquisition of the book, the once-happy family found themselves suffering from a shared depression that they couldn't seem to shake. The sense of gloom that had enveloped them was suffocating in its intensity.

To add to their worries, they started noticing a dark figure moving freely about their home. Since they had never before experienced anything even remotely paranormal, they turned their attention to the item they believed to be behind the activity. They found it on their daughter's bookshelf.

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Read More From Exemplore

Rather than tossing the offending object out with the trash, the family decided to delve into its history. Their search led them back to the place where they first encountered the book, which was, as it happened, the yard sale.

When they showed up on the doorstep of the home where the sale had been held, they told the owner nothing of the haunting. They simply asked if she knew anything about the book's origins. As it turned out, she was a font of disturbing information.

The woman told them that the wares that were sold that day had been retrieved from a gruesome crime scene. She offered that the victims of the alleged murder/suicide, one of whom was a two-year-old child, had been terrorized prior to their deaths. She didn't go into the gory details, adding only that she had been tasked with selling off their possessions after the fact. Her relationship with the decedents, if one existed, is unknown.

Needless to say, the family was stunned by the news. They had suspected that something awful was behind the events they had been experiencing but never dreamed that it involved child murder.

It was only after learning the grisly fate of the book's previous owners that they were finally able to identify a mysterious dark stain that was clearly visible on the front cover. It was, they now knew, dried blood. Worse still was the knowledge that the horrible remnant had most likely come from a child.

Since there were no survivors, no one knows exactly what occurred on the night of the murders. Judging from the young girl's account of hearing the voices of terrified children emanating from the book, a couple of possible scenarios have arisen.

It has been speculated that the youngest victims hid in their bedroom as carnage erupted in the rest of the house. When the violence was turned on them, they were helpless to fight off their assailant, someone who, up till then, they had probably loved and trusted unconditionally.

As their lives ebbed away, it is believed that they sought refuge in the safest of places: the pages of a light-hearted book where nothing bad ever happens. It is there, in that unlikely haven, that they are thought to remain.

An alternate theory is that the book, spattered with the blood of the innocent, retained the energy of the unprecedented violence to which the victims had been subjected. It has been theorized that the voices the girl claimed to have heard were the pleas the children made to their killer in their final moments. Their cries, which fell upon deaf ears, are now replayed anytime the copy is opened.


Safe at Last

No longer wishing to have any part of the tainted book, the family donated it to the Archive of the Afterlife, a museum dedicated to the paranormal located in Moundsville, West Virginia. There, encased in glass, the volume is on display for all to admire, if only from a distance. Visitors are not permitted to touch the book or attempt to communicate with the spirits that many believe dwell within the pages.

Whatever secrets it holds, the book is widely accepted in the paranormal community as being an authentic haunted item. So, if you happen to be passing through the Mountain State and want to see it for yourself, The Foot Book can be found in its rightful place among the scores of other objects whose histories are steeped in the unexplained. If nothing else, it acts as a reminder that nothing is ever as innocent as it seems.


  • Peg Martin-Regional Historian
  • Mysterious
  • The Occult Museum
  • The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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