I've never told this story because I don't entirely believe that it happened and have even rationalized most of it away as a child's overactive imagination, and the inherent faultiness of memory.
When we went anywhere for a vacation, we always drove. It was cheap, and as kids the three of us were pretty well-behaved in the car. Inevitably we'd be wide awake at night and insist that Dad tell us a ghost story (much to Mom's irritation.) Years later of course, I recognized the source materials for his stories as fragments from popular slasher flicks and common urban myths that we'd have been too young to hear.
One time, he told us a story about a local myth that creeped me the hell out because it sounded pretty plausible. Sometime just before the civil war, an escaped slave had managed to flee north to the copper country and managed to get a job working in one of the mines. He got on well with everybody there and soon got the nickname "Black Jack" on account of his given name and his heritage.
When rumors surfaced that he had violated someone's wife, a gang of four took it upon themselves to do something about him. Late on a full-moon night, he was ambushed on the road and beaten to within an inch of his life by the four men, wearing all white in a prototyical KKK outfit. He laid dying in the ditch, and swore revenge upon those who had attacked him, offering his soul to the devil in exchange for revenge.
Each month after for the next four months, one of the men who attacked him was found smashed into a nearly unidentifiable pulp by a massive hammer. Each time, a large, limping figure dragging a hammer behind him has been seen somewhere near the murder. Thing is, Jack was rather uneducated and never stopped killing after the first four, as he didn't know how many men attacked him. And so he rises each month to slay the first person he finds wearing all white...
So the story goes, anyway. Like all ghost stories, it was pretty much designed to scare us stupid kids, and we kept trying to make it worse by pointing out white clothing we each were wearing at the time. By the next day, we'd largely forgotten about it.
Several months later, we were on another trip and stopped at a motel for the night. I remember my Dad not getting along with the guy behind the desk; some argument about price or something. Anyhow, I just recall that he was a bigger guy, balding, with a thick black beard. Most of all, I remember that he was wearing a stained white wife-beater.
Late that night, my parents were sleeping as was my youngest sister. The older of my two siblings and I were quietly playing cards by the window when I heard the sound of metal dragging against concrete. I shushed my sister and asked if she heard anything and she said to stop trying to mess with her. Well, we wound up arguing and waking up Dad, who yelled at us to get back in our sleeping bags. We did, and everyone went back to sleep.
That morning while we were packing, Dad went to pay the bill and came back looking actually scared -- something I'd never seen before. He took Mom out of the room quietly and then she stayed in there with us while he went to a payphone out in the parking lot. I didn't know what happened at the time, but that when we left there were police cars and an ambulance in the parking lot, and Dad spent a lot of time talking to the police. Neither Mom or Dad would tell us anything, and still don't like to talk about it at all.