Title: Yak’s Corner Goosebumps Stories, a.k.a. “Yakbumps”
During my search to find a completed version of the Goosebumps Creepstakes story, I discovered by accident several other Goosebumps contests held in 1998. You all my read my recap for the stories submitted to the Ohio newspapers for my five year Pointaversary. One of the other contests was hosted by the Yak’s Corner, the kids section of the Detroit Free Press.
[Wing: Why DFP? Why Yak’s Corner? I’m almost certain there’s a story behind this.]
Now, I originally planned to do this for Halloween until I suddenly remembered Yaksmas, the Ren & Stimpy version of Christmas. HOWEVER, I want to point out I am well aware of John K.’s reputation and don’t wish to trigger anyone.
Yak’s Corner. Yaksmas. The pun was too good to pass up, so I saved this for December.
Rebecca Marshall, the grand prize winner, had an excerpt for her story published in the print edition of the Yak’s Corner and got to have lunch with R.L. Stine himself. The other contest winners had their tales posted directly on the Yak’s Corner website.
Unfortunately, while the entirety of Rebecca’s story hasn’t been archived, the other scary stories were successfully saved thanks to the Wayback Machine. However, I was able to find Rebecca (now Rebecca Riley) via linkedin. She’s offered to look for the rest of “The Haunting of Whisper Elm Lane,” and while she hasn’t found it (yet!) she was willing to say a few words about her lunch with R.L. Stine.
Winning the Detroit Free Press Yaks Corner scary story writing contest and lunch with author R.L. Stine is to this day one of the greatest experiences of my life.
I still clearly remember the moment I found out I had won; my mom, sister and I had just returned home from running errands when the phone rang. My mom picked up and after a moment or two she started shrieking with delight. Once she told me the news we all started screaming with joy and could not stop all afternoon.
Lunch itself was a dream come true. The Free Press hosted us at a restaurant downtown Detroit. I sat at the head of the table next to R.L Stine. I could not believe I was sitting next to my favorite author and, in my opinion, one of the greatest children’s authors of all time. For such an excellent teller of eerie tales, the only eerie part of the day was the cannister of chocolate eyeballs on the table between us.
R.L Stine was one of the kindest, most impressive people I have ever met and I will always treasure the memory.
[Wing: This is such a sweet story. Thank you for telling us, Rebecca! I’m delighted that you had such a good time with Stine.]
While I hope Rebecca’s able to find the rest of “The Haunting of Whisper Elm Lane,” for now please enjoy the rest of these long lost tales.
The Haunted House by Rebekah
Twas the night before Halloween. Joe was dared by his friends to enter the haunted house, with one of them offering him $50 if he did it. And since this is 1998, think of how much $50 was worth back then. That’s like, like… MORE than $50!
[Wing: Google gave me a few different answers, but somewhere around $90 in 2022 money. Pedantic!Wing, ruining jokes since 19*mumble*.]
Because Joe needed dem bills, he went inside the haunted house despite knowing it was a big mistake. Inside, Joe heard something crying out in agony and he ran!
Amazingly, his friend gave him the $50…
And then Joe was dared to go BACK into the haunted house. For another $50! Who is giving these kids that much money?
[Wing: Seriously! I certainly didn’t have that kind of money to blow on dares back then.]
Still scared but not passing up that much money, Joe went back into the house with his friends. Once again, Joe heard the horrible crying and he and his friends ran the fuck out of there.
And once again, Joe demanded his fiddy bones.
Come Halloween, Joe and his friends went into the house YET AGAIN. Only this time Joe wasn’t getting paid for it. Armed with flashlights, the kids braved the haunted house and discovered the source of the horrible crying.
It was a cat the whole time.
And it was because of that cat that Joe earned himself a hundred smackers, making this the best Halloween ever. [Wing: Hope Joe found that cat a good home.]
[Wing: Skipping the next story due to spiders.]
A Spooky Story by Sadie Sherman (TW: Spiders)
Sadie Sherman invites us along on the trip to her grandma’s house. She’s never been to Grandma’s, but she’s certain there’ll be a big surprise.
So Sadie, her brother, their twin sisters, and their parents (along with Eeyore the Cat) drove to Grandma’s house. It was big, and old, and dark. The inside was covered in cobwebs. Seems Grandma’s had a hard time keeping the place clean.
Since the entire family was together, they decided to help Grandma clean up. But Dad warned Sadie and her siblings not to get into trouble. During lunchtime, Sadie noticed something was wrong. Her dad had taken her mom into the kitchen to discuss something, but Sadie couldn’t hear what they were saying. When her parents came out, they both looked worried.
Cleaning the rooms in Grandma’s house gave Sadie a chance to explore. Some rooms even had stuffed animals. Not plush toys, actual stuffed and mounted animals with eyes that looked almost real. Sadie was creeped out by them and wondered why her Grandpa made these things. That night as she was being tucked into bed, Sadie told her parents how scared she was of the stuffed animals. Mr. and Mrs. Sherman assured their daughter the animals won’t get her.
That’s when Sadie heard her brother screaming!
Everyone ran into Sadie’s brother’s room, where they saw a huge spider, furry and white, on her brother’s pillow! It was Grandma to the rescue, who told everyone to calm down as she swatted the spider away with her slipper. Sadie was the only one who noticed the spider crawl away into the heat register.
Breakfast the following morning turned out to be difficult. There were… things in Mom’s coffee, and grubs in Dad’s melon. When Sadie’s family went to have breakfast in town, other people gave them strange looks. Dad figured since they were out-of-towners of course they’d get strange looks, but Sadie wasn’t sure…
After breakfast, Sadie’s family returned to Grandma’s. While Grandma napped, Dad took her siblings to the park. Sadie stuck around to help her mom with the basement, wanting to explore the house more. The basement was dark, with windows so grimy no light shone through. Sadie and her mom spent forever looking through old boxes.
Until the Box.
That one Box.
Sadie and her mom ran as fast as they could from that Box.
By the next day, everyone except for Dad wanted to leave. Sadie figured her dad hadn’t spent as much time in the house so he didn’t know how spooky it was.
He didn’t know about the box FILLED with huge, white spiders in the basement.
Dad wouldn’t leave just yet because he had to help Grandma, but after Sadie was attacked by a swarm of bees that was enough for Mom. Everyone except for Dad left the house.
A couple of months later, Sadie heard that some workers who went into Grandma’s house never came out.
Chances are, the white spiders got them.
The Spooky Night by Becky
An old witch with a wrinkly, green face lived in a scary mansion all by herself.
One Halloween night, two kids went into the witch’s mansion.
They never came out.
The Mom and Dad looked all over trying to find their kids, until they finally reached the witch’s mansion.
Of course she saw them. They were inside waiting for their parents.
So the witch invited the parents in and served everyone refreshments.
And the spooky part is that you don’t go into a stranger’s house and scare your parents like that. [Wing: Or this is exactly what you should do, because terrifying parents is hilarious.]
AND YOU DON’T FUCKING INVITE KIDS INTO YOUR HOUSE LIKE THAT EITHER.
Visitor Joins Science Class by Alex
Do you know? Do you know? Have you heard the news?
There was an uninvited guest in the 6th grade science class today!
The school was divided on whether or not the story was true, so our protagonist asked one of the kids from the second hour science class if it happened. Apparently an iguana had gotten into the classroom and freaked everyone out.
Mr. P, the science teacher, says he and another student tried to get the iguana out. Apparently Mr. P had been hearing scratching noises within the walls of the science classroom for roughly a week. Somehow the iguana must’ve gotten into the walls and was stuck there before finding a way out. It took a while but Mr. P and Miss Annette the security guard were able to find the iguana. Seems the iguana belonged to the neighboring Jr. Academy.
[Wing: Why does Jr. Academy have an iguana in the first place?]
Here’s the weird part though. Jr. Academy did report a missing iguana…
But the iguana had only been missing for two days.
So what else could’ve been scratching around in the walls of the science class during the week?
[Wing: Alex, come back and tell us this story! What was scratching in the walls? How many students did it eat when it finally broke free?]
Halloween Surprise by Barbara
A little girl named Janet was playing in her room one dark and gloomy night when she heard a noise.
It was awful.
It was terrible.
It was coming from her brother’s room!
Her brother in his Halloween costume.
[Wing: Fair. Brothers are awful. Brothers are terrible. /s]
It Was Just A Dream by Jordan
Bobby and Janie went into a dark, haunted forest three days before Halloween. Being new to town, the two kids were told of a creepy house that disappeared and reappeared at random. [Wing: Love that kind of scary legend.]
The day before Halloween, Bobby and Janie went to look for the mysterious house and they found it. And it was… made of spaghetti and meatballs? Okay…
Anyway, Bobby and Janie went back into the woods on Halloween to see if anyone lived in the spaghetti and meatball house, only now the house seemed farther away. Still, the kids weren’t deterred from finding out who lived in the spaghetti house.
Inside the spaghetti house, the kids found a kitchen and a stove with three huge pots of spaghetti cooking. Naturally the kids decide to EAT the spaghetti, because what else are you supposed to do in a spaghetti house?
Except it turns out none of this happened and the kids simply imagined the spaghetti house.
Where’s David Lynch when you need him?
[Wing: … so what were they eating? (Each other. It was clearly each other. Specifically, guts.)]
Jump Rope Doom by Jonathan and Christian
Ooh a multi-chapter submission!
Alex Meyer just moved to Mishawaka, Indiana. It’s been three months and she’s only made two friends, Jennifer and Brandin. She’s not ungrateful but she wishes she had more.
An hour after playing with her friends, Alex returned home and went to bed without eating dinner. She had a weird dream of a creepy old man telling her not to go into “The shed.” The man looked familiar, but Alex didn’t know who he was. And she kept having the same dream over and over…
[Wing: Recurring dreams, even the nicest ones, can get creepy! One of mine was something living beneath the ground and popping up to eat the insides out of animals lying on their bellies.]
Alex told her friends about the dream of the old man and the shed. She still didn’t know who the old man was, but she thought the shed was the shed in her backyard.
Naturally Jennifer and Brandin wanted to check out the shed, [Wing: Of course they did. Dude in the dream knows his reverse psychology.] where they found a box marked TOYS. There was a baseball and toy cars and what’s this? A jump rope? Alex thought it looked like fun. The kids played with the toys for hours. When Jennifer and Brandin decided to get lunch, Alex stayed behind, alone with the jump rope…
And then it started choking her!
Jennifer and Brandin heard Alex scream and she exclaimed the jump rope tried to strangle her. But jump ropes aren’t alive, right?
The kids put the toys, including the jump rope, back in the shed. That night Alex had a similar dream, only this time it was a woman in a red dress screaming she had warned Alex.
Waking up from that dream, Alex fell back asleep and had a different kind of nightmare. Stranded on a rock, Alex was surrounded by hundreds of jump ropes with razor sharp teeth, hissing and gnashing at her. And then the dream ended with a CRUNCH!
Alex woke up and decided that jump rope was good as dead.
Alex went back to the shed to find the jump rope, only it wasn’t there. She looked in every box in the shed but no jump rope.
Checking outside, Alex found a trail of white paint leading to a hole in the ground. All it needed was a plate of bird seed and a giant arrow pointing HERE to complete the obvious trap. Alex stuck her hand in the hole and felt something wrap around her wrist, trying to yank her inside.
Alex finally broke free and ran back to the shed. Looking back, Alex saw the jump rope sticking out of the hole like a snake, staring at her despite not having eyes. Having had enough, Alex found a bucket labeled CEMENT, ran outside, and poured it into the hole.
That should be it for the jump rope.
Except when Jennifer and Brandin came by, they asked Alex why there was a hole in her backyard surrounded by cement. Uh-oh.
Alex checked the shed out and still no rope, when she felt the accursed jump rope wrap around her leg and begin to squeeze. It felt like Alex’s blood was about to burst out of her veins when she hit the rope hard enough to knock it out. Dragging it back to the hole, Alex dumped the jump rope in and poured more cement to seal the hole once more.
You have to read it for yourselves
After the jump rope was buried, weird things started to happen. Like her dolls were found outside in the mud. Then her mom’s best dress was found in muddy bathtub water. She ran outside and looked into the hole. Then something weird happened. She saw a mystic object come out of the hole and fly into the sky.
“That’s that!” she said to herself. She went inside to lay down on the couch and fell asleep. When she woke up, she was sitting on a rock with a million jump ropes around her.
“Well, I guess that’s it for me.”
[Wing: Holy shit, I love this kid.]
My Eerie Little Brother by Stephanie
There was something off about Stacie’s baby brother Collin. Something strange. She knew from the moment he was born something wasn’t right about Collin.
Like how his eyes would glow red and just stare at Stacie.
Like how he once pinned their dog to the ground and almost broke her neck despite being a baby.
Like how his head would turn 360 degrees around and around and around.
You know how babies are.
Then Stacie was given the task of watching Collin when their parents went out. They didn’t believe Stacie’s stories about his obvious demonic possession. No matter what excuse she gave, Stacie was stuck watching Collin.
Scared of being alone, Stacie invited her friend Suzy over. Problem is, Suzy had to leave at 9 and the ‘rents wouldn’t be back until 10. After Suzy left, Stacie feared Collin was growing restless and eager for a chance to kill her.
What stopped her creepy baby brother in his tracks?
That’s right, Stacie knew Collin loved his Barney videos and managed to put one on in the nick of time. Slowly, Collin’s creepiness faded and he seemed like a regular baby brother.
Now Collin seems like any other baby.
But it always helps to have a Barney video on hand just in case.
(If I can speak freely, I really don’t understand the apparent hatedom Barney has. He’s meant for preschoolers and toddlers. He’s supposed to be cute. You’re not edgy for hating a fictional dinosaur that teaches kids to be nice to each other. Go back to reading Watchmen and thinking Rorschach’s a role model)
[Wing: Well, I find Barney creepy as hell, and creepy in a way a lot of other things meant for preschoolers and toddlers aren’t, so. I think I’d rather let baby brother kill me than have to listen to Barney all the time.]
The Scariest Thing Ever by April
Once there was a little boy named Calvin, who never did anything wrong to nobody. But Calvin didn’t suspect what was going to happen this dark, rainy Sunday night at 9 PM.
Calvin was all alone in his room with his sleeping cat, Sparky. This was Calvin’s first night home alone. His parents figured eight was old enough for him to be home alone. And to smoke! Except no, not really. You gotta be at least 9 to smoke. 10 to drink. 11 to snort. And 12 to shoot up.
When Calvin left his room to get something to eat, an evil spirit appeared in the room. Calvin came back and discovered the TV had been shut off. That’s weird. It was on when he left. And now it wouldn’t turn back on.
This was the worst thing ever! The most terrifying thing ever! No TV?! Calvin would rather die! He was so scared the poor boy fainted!
After Calvin came to, he ran down to the living room and turned on that TV. He didn’t care if it was Jeopardy, Calvin was happy to back in TV’s warm, glowing, warming glow.
And from that day on Calvin never left the TV for anything.
The Haunting Of Whisper Elm Lane Prologue by Rebecca Riley
Surprise, Rebecca! If you’re reading this I decided it was only fair to recap what was shown of your story thus far.
Our protagonist was in a jam. Only two days to Halloween and she still couldn’t figure out to wear to go trick-or-treating with her friends! More importantly, there was the big Halloween dare coming up.
[Wing: Everyone in stories has these great Halloween traditions. I really missed out as a kid, growing up in a church cult without Halloween.]
Next to the Whisper Elm school there was a big, old, brown house that everyone believed was haunted. Our protagonist’s friends dared her to go into the house on Halloween night. She was beginning to have second thoughts because the house was really creepy. Like SO creepy.
When the protagonist left the playground at the end of recess, there was a horrible sound. It freaked out everyone in the school.
-when we heard the noise everyone was silent as dead zombies and as pale as a polar bear that had just taken a bath in the snow.
That’s when they realized it was the bell from the house on Whisper Elm Lane. The bell rang every day but today, there was something off about the ringing. Something mysterious and sinister.
The following day was Thursday, our protagonist’s favorite day of the week. On her way to school, she passed the haunted house on Whisper Elm Lane. She continued to regret accepting the dare as she felt the house staring at her. Suddenly there was a flash, and she saw what looked like a white sheet appear in one of the windows.
Oh I just love a classic bedsheet ghost in a haunted house.
The protagonist ran to school, and by the time she got to class, she realized she was so scared she started screaming.
No matter how scared she was, the protagonist decided she would find out what she saw in that window when she went into the haunted house on Halloween.
[Wing: I love her! Terrified and determined, A+ characterization.]
To Be Continued…?
And here we have the end of the Yak’s Corner Goosebumps stories. A collection of weird and bizarre scary stories perfect for a traditional Yaksmas. Because kids can be weird and odd and tell weird and odd stories.
I think my favorite of the runner ups would have to be Jump Rope Doom, though My Eerie Little Brother makes me think of how easily Strained Peas could’ve ended if the main character had a Barney tape on him.
Thank you again Rebecca Riley for your input on this piece. Here’s hoping by some miracle the rest of The Haunting of Whisper Elm Lane might one day see the light of day. If not, here’s to a happy Yaksmas for all.