Recap #306: Jude’s 5 Year Pointaversary: Goosebumps Newspaper Stories by E. Sargent, R. Schnable, and D. Stein

Title: Goosebumps Newspaper Stories, a.k.a. “THOUGHT YOU WERE GONNA SNEAK PAST ME DIDN’T YA?!”

Authors: Eric Sargent, Renee Schnable, Derek Stein

Summary: Write your own Goosebumps story for a chance to win tickets to Goosebumps Live On Stage!

In your own words, write a 2-3 paragraph Goosebumps Story. Mail it in by November 24 and you could win 4 VIP tickets to Goosebumps Live on Stage, attend a pre-show party to meet the characters, and an assorted collection of R.L. books!

It’s simple, just write a short story, and send in to the address below and you could be a winner.

Initial Thoughts




I signed up for a free trial on to do some more investigating into the Goosebumps Creepstakes contest. Not only did I realize the Creepstakes contest had multiple winners, meaning there definitely exists multiple versions of the Creepstakes story with different endings, I discovered YET ANOTHER contest for the very first time!

It seems newspapers in Ohio, R.L. Stine’s home state, ran a short story contest for children to win tickets to the Goosebumps Live on Stage show. You’ll remember I recapped the book adaption back in 2018. The contest ran through different papers, and at least three children won with their stories published.

The winning entries included, in order by which I found them, “The Haunted Refrigerator,” “The Dolls,” and “Game Over.”

I decided to utilize this post to mark my five years of writing at Devil’s Elbow. Five years I didn’t expect would happen, but it’s the longest I’ve ever stuck with a project. A lot’s changed in five years.

[Wing: I can’t believe it’s been five years! It feels like Devil’s Elbow hasn’t even been around that long. I am delighted that you joined the recappers here. Your recaps are a lot of fun, and your ability to track down Goosebumps history is without compare. I’m glad that you’ve shared your writing with us for so long. Here’s to many more recaps and Goosebumps discoveries.]


The Haunted Refrigerator by Eric Sargent (The Times Recorder – Zanesville, Ohio), a.k.a. “I AIN’T FRAID OF NO FRIDGE”

The Haunted Refrigerator by Eric Sargent

Alex, a slender young man, has engaged in a bet with his best friend Ed, another slender young man. They are both two slender young men.

Alex has been dared to go into a house. Not just any house, but THE OLD HOUSE.

Featuring not just any refrigerator, but THE REFRIGERATOR in the basement.

On the night of the full moon, [Wing: And yet this will need more werewolves.] Alex has to go into THE OLD HOUSE and he has to scream into THE REFRIGERATOR the following:

“I’m not afraid of you, you dumb old refrigerator!”

That’ll show that refrigerator who’s the boss, Wing. [Wing: I know I yell at my fridge a lot. Usually because I can’t find what I want. Ostrich is in charge of food in the house, and he has an interesting logic.]

But why is it everyone knew about the refrigerator in this particular old house? Well two years prior, tragedy struck. An old man accidentally trapped his pet dog inside the refrigerator. The dog then proceeded to eat all the food inside the fridge.

And then died.

[Wing: WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK. I did not see that coming. Damn you and your dog killing, story. Damn you.]

Two weeks later, the old man was eaten by the dog’s ghost living inside of the refrigerator. So now it was THE REFRIGERATOR.

Wing isn’t this what happened to Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters?

[Wing: … actually, yeah, pretty much. Minus the monster seduction that comes later.]

Anyway, Ed asked if Alex was going to chicken out but Alex marched on to the OLD HOUSE… and Ed shut the gate so Alex couldn’t leave! Ed announced the gate wouldn’t open until Alex came back out, he’s not leaving until he faces that fridge!

Alex made his way down to the basement and everything seemed normal.

TOO normal.

Alex wanted to run back to Ed and get the heck out of there so bad he could taste it.

I wonder what that tastes like. Maybe like starfruit, or parsnips.

So Alex turned on the light switch, marched straight over to that fridge…

And then got eaten by the ghost dog.

Oh and the dog made Ed forget he had a friend named Alex.

So yeah that’s it Alex is dead.

[Wing: Wait, can we back up to how the dog managed to make Ed forget? If the dog has that power, why don’t people forget about him all the time? He could lure people in to the fridge or the house much easier if they weren’t aware of the story, I’d think. Or maybe not. A ghost dog is pretty interesting.]

The Dolls by Renee Schnabel (Telegraph-Forum – Bucryus, Ohio) a.k.a. “The Possession of Polly Pocket”

The Dolls by Renee Schnabel

Susan’s got such an amazing collection of porcelain dolls you guys, like holy shit they are amazing. [Wing: Oh no, do not want.] Her best friend Terry’s always over admiring Susan’s beautiful porcelain dolls. They’ve been best friends since they were born. And Susan’s been collecting dolls forever.

It’s nice to have hobbies, right? Heh heh


Because there came a day when Terry came over, and both girls noticed one Susan’s dolls was missing. Even though Susan had just seen it that morning.

Which is when they heard the scream!

Susan found her missing doll sitting at the top of the stairs. Oh and there were two more over by the bannister, supposedly minding their own business.

And there was Susan’s little sister, huddled in the corner and fearing for her life.

That’s when Susan’s older brother appeared and informed Susan of a little issue with her dolls that he discovered that morning.

Oh mainly that all of Susan’s dolls are possessed and evil, as you do. [Wing: I’m not sure there are any unpossessed porcelain dolls left in the world.]

So what did Susan’s family do? They sold her entire collection so now a bunch of innocent people have in their possessions dolls that are most definitely going to try and burn down their homes.

It’s not all bad! Susan’s taken up a collection of cute little bunny figures. See how cute and little and innocent and harmless they are?

For now. [Wing: I hope the bunnies eat all your faces, Susan’s family! Sending those dolls out into the world with no warning is real fucked up.]

Game Over by Derek Stein (The Newark Advocate – Newark, Ohio) a.k.a. “Dog Pound.exe”

Game Over by Derek Stein

Man, I can’t believe uh, um, “Derek,” managed to lose the last level of his new video game. It’s a super cool platformer called “Dog Pound” where you play as a lost dog and have to get back to your dog family. You just have to fight other dogs and avoid the dog catcher or you get sent to the [INSERT TITLE HERE].

[Wing: Okay, I’d play it.]

And the best part is that Derek didn’t even have to pay for it!

Why he got it for free!

From a stranger who jumped in front of Derek’s bike!

[Wing: That’s how I get all my games.]

And then ran away laughing about how Derek would regret this for the rest of his life!


I mean, besides the fact that when Derek goes to sleep he wakes up in an alleyway in the body of a dog.

Thankfully from all those hours of playing “Dog Pound,” Derek knew to avoid the main street or he’d get caught by the dog catcher. Trouble is, he has to fight a talking Bull Mastif. So Derek’s all, okay, he’s gotta fight to get out. No problem. He trounces that freaking Bull Mastif and heads onward.

[Wing: I was going to say that perhaps he should be a little more worried about the fact the bull mastiff talks, but then I remembered he’s now been turned into a dog, so … who cares if a different dog talks. Maybe that dog was once a boy, too.]

Derek made it through every level and was almost home free when he got snatched by that dog catcher and thrown in the back of a truck! Oh no!

Oh but now Derek’s waking up safe and sound, it was all a dream…

No wait it wasn’t, Derek’s still a dog and he’s in the dog pound.

[Wing: That’s a very Stine ending.]

Final Thoughts

I really don’t know what I must be doing to find all this stuff, but I hope it keeps up until I’ve found everything that needs finding for the Goosebumps fandom.

Y’know, it’s always one thing when you find out about people stumbling upon lost artwork and fiction, unreleased movies, designs, etc. It’s another thing when you are the person who finds the lost work. The difference between these discoveries and “Dead Dogs Still Fetch” is in the case of the latter, I knew what I was looking for. Whereas these newspaper stories were something I never considered existed at all.

All three of these are pretty adorable. I will say Susan’s family probably would’ve made more money if they tapped into the “haunted doll” market on eBay. Or maybe they could’ve jumpstarted it before it became a fad.

So here’s the agenda for my investigations right now:

  • Goosebumps Creepstakes
  • Goosebumps/Lunchables short story prize
  • Goosebumps Live On Stage Story Starter Contest
  • Bone Chillers: Open Wide
  • Fright Club
  • Ghosts of Fear Street: The Funhouse of Dr. Freek
  • Fear Street Sagas: The Raven Woman

Wish me luck!