The Green Rat
This story was first told to me and my older brother by my uncle when we were still relatively young children (about 4 and 8 years old). We were riding in the car and he was telling the story to entertain and scare us. At the time he was in his mid-30s and living in Olney, MD, as were we. He called the story “The Green Rat,” and after I talked to him about the story, he said that it was a scary tale that he first heard on a camping trip with the Boy Scouts in California when he was in 7th grade (approximately 1966 when he was about 12 years old).
Four kids stayed overnight in a supposedly haunted house. [Here the teller made his description of the house match one of the older houses in my neighborhood (the house was historical, the neighborhood was relatively new)]. On a dare. In one of the rooms, there was a creepy painting of the green rat with a ball and chain on one of its legs. The boys thought they were really tough and chose to stay in separate bedrooms--one may have stayed in the room with the painting. Part way through the night, the boys heard a chain being drug along the floor. [Teller makes a chain noise and later remarks that one time when he recorded the story for one of our cousin’s he used an actual chain to make the sound.] There was a scream [Teller screams] along with the sound of someone being attacked. [Quietly] When the noise subsided, the boys came out of their rooms to find one of them missing--[pause] it was the boy who was in the room with painting. They went to check in the room and noticed that the eyes of the green rat in the painting were now glowing and there seemed to be a little blood around its mouth. There was now a skull in the corner of the picture of the green rat. The surviving boys, figuring it was probably a prank being pulled by the missing one, went back to sleep--[crescendo] then there was the rattle of a chain, the sounds of a struggle and [louder] another scream. This time, only two boys were left, and they went and immediately checked the painting. Now there was even more blood around the mouth of the green rat and a second skull in the corner of the painting. The two remaining boys (they must have been real dumb) went back to sleep. [Crescendo] Then there was the sound of a chain again, and the sounds of a struggle and yet [Screams] another scream. Boy #4 finds that Boy #3 is now missing, there are now three skulls in the corner of the painting…and the green rat is now missing from the painting, [pause] except the ball and chain remain and there is now small pool of blood in the painting below where the mouth was. Boy #4’s hair turns white and he leaves the house running to get help. The authorities never found anything except the picture and pool of blood, and the green rat still missing--and you never know when (or where) he'll "pop up" again.
While my investigations could not turn up a story that was a close parallel to this particular one, there are...