Here’s a scary one for you, kids. Once there was a young woman named Jenny who lived in a small house in New Haven. The year was 1976. Jenny was very beautiful, but everywhere she went she wore a dark green ribbon around her neck. One day, she met a dashing boy named Barley Thruftler. Barley was a strong boy with big muscles, and they quickly fell in love. Within a year she and Barley were wed, with a white picket fence, a beautiful son, and a dog that misbehaved.

Even after the first year of their marriage, Barley had never seen his wife without the green ribbon. “Dear,” he said one night, “Would you mind taking off that ribbon?” Jenny refused. “No, Barley. Go punish the dog.” A week later, he asked again. “Honey, I really would love to see you without that ribbon.” Again she refused. “No, Barley. Go punish the dog.” Soon, Barley was obsessed. He longed to see his lover’s neck untarnished by that foul flash of green. He dreamed of kissing that naked, necky neck-flesh with his big strong lips as they did the devil’s deed.

One night, when Jenny was asleep, Barley snapped. He decided to take the cursed ribbon off himself. He opened the door… creeeeeaaaaak… then tiptoed in the room… clip clop clip clop.  Then he quietly pulled the blanket back… sfffffff. Then, finally, he untied the knot… sflip sflup sflip sflup. And just like that, the ribbon was off. What he saw was so horrible I shudder to repeat it. Her dreadful secret was finally laid out to bear. When Barley pulled that ribbon off his beloved’s neck, he hardly noticed her beautiful, completely intact neck, for her arms came tumbling off her body! Barley leapt back with a shriek, and in that moment their no-good dog lunged forward, grabbed an arm in his jaws, and ran out the door. 

To this day, the ghost of poor armless Jenny wanders armless through the New Haven Green. If you chance upon her, keep your distance. Her rascal of a hound is not far behind. And if you see Barley around town, say hello because he’s still alive and he’s really friendly, just a guy’s guy.


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