This was told to me by my uncle. It happened in Puerto Rico around the mid to late 1940, during this time Puerto Rico was rural and to get from one place to another you either went during the day or carried a lantern or braved the dark. Well ghostly stories started circulating around the small town about a ghostly figure which was seen on one of the roads standing near a tree by one of the town residents. The resident claimed that this entity had chased him all the way home. Well of course, stories are embellished and added to just to make them seem a bit more terrifying and soon the ghost took on the appearance of Satan himself.
Well my uncle had heard the story and being the coward that he was, and still is, he had made it a point to leave the home of the young woman he was courting early so that he would not have to risk the darkness and the ghost.
One evening while visiting his girlfriend there was a rainstorm so the girl’s father insisted that my uncle stay there till after the storm was over. My Uncle didn't want to stay but was to embarrassed to tell the father that he wanted to go because he was afraid to walk home in the dark. Well as fate would have it, it rained on and on and by the time it had stopped it was around 9pm. My uncle was anxious to get home so saying goodbye to his girlfriend and taking off his shoes so as not to ruin them in the mud, he began walk towards home.
When he was far enough from the home where he could not be watched he picked up a large fallen tree limb and a few stones and flinging his shoes over his shoulder continued to walk. Whistling to himself in order to keep the rising fear from overtaking him.
Well a few miles down the deserted dark road he heard a noise and feeling nervous and scared he quickened his steps to a slow run. Suddenly out of nowhere he heard a scraping sound and looking forward towards a tree that was in front of the path he stopped dead in his tracks.
There in the darkness was a dark figure leaning against the tree.
Well, my uncle racking his brains on how to best handle the situation stopped and began calling out “Quien Vive” or "Who Lives" 3 times (legend has it that when confronted with a ghost or spirit you call out "who lives" 3 times and if they don't answer its a ghost. There was no answer. He though of turning around and taking a longer route but being that it was already late and knowing his father would be angry and beat him for being late he decided he could not turn back.
So in a moment of bravery, my uncle took a running leap towards the figure and began pounding it with the stones and the tree limb he had been carrying. After successfully knocking the Ghost over and beating it to a pulp he jumped up and ran for home. Arriving at the door he found his father waiting and proceeded to tell him what had happened. His father thinking that he was just trying to get out of punishment said “Boy your such a coward it was probably only your imagination besides how can you possibly beat up a spirit, and your past your curfew and will be punished in the morning!."
Well that next morning when his father was preparing to whip my uncle for having broken curfew they where interrupted by the sound of a cart coming down the road. In the cart were my uncle's girlfriend's father and her brother who was all bruised and looked as if he had been severely beaten. The father jump off the wagon approaching my uncle and asked him "on the way home last night did you see anything? Because my son was walking down the road when someone jumped him and beat him with stones and a rod? I've told the boy never to walk that road where the devil appears". My uncle suddenly realized to his horror that he was the attacker, and began sweating at the though of a worse beating. When his father walked up and said “no my son did not travel that road he took the long way home and is being punished” his father was so amused that he let my uncle off the hook. And what's even funnier is that the Ghost was never seen again.
Years later my uncle ran into the young man from so long ago, and they exchanged stories about that night. Evidently, this young man was having fun scaring the locals by hiding in the bushes, when he saw my uncle leave for home he went and took his usual hiding place to scare him. Knowing that my uncle had beaten him and knowing that his punishment would be more severe if his father found out the he was the ghost he never told the true story and chose to say that he did not see his attacker. Happily they were able to laugh about it but goes to show you scaring others is definitely not good.