Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: The Salt and Pepper Lady

old woman windowPreviously: Cow Head.

Type: CC (Corporeally Challenged)

Period/location of origin: Early to mid-1980s, Devine, Texas.

Appearance: Subject appears to be an old woman once known by the name Ramona Osterburg, or, more commonly, “Mona.” At one point, subject was a resident of a low-income apartment complex in Devine; however, subject expired at subject’s own hands circa 1984. Subject may be seen either as she appeared in life — elderly, with stringy, grey hair, blue eyes, and an unsettling grin — or as she appeared upon discovery of her death — wrists slit, waterlogged, and with no eyes at all. Subject is known colloquially as “The Salt and Pepper Lady.”

Modus operandi: Subject may be active in myriad ways, typically at night or in the early morning hours prior to sunrise. Targets may witness subject doing any or all of the following:

  • Target may awaken in the night to hear a loud and persistent knocking at their door; should target approach the door, subject may be heard on the other side asking for salt and pepper. Upon opening the door, target will find subject absent. NOTE: Answering the door is not recommended.
  • Target may witness subject wandering around the complex lacking clothing. It is not recommended that target approach subject.
  • Target may witness subject walking around the apartment subject occupied in death — or, in rare occurrences, around target’s own apartment. In these instances, subject may appear in a state of decay and with empty eye sockets. It is not recommended that target approach subject, even should subject appear in target’s home.
  • Target may witness subject in target’s own dreams. These appearances may only occur in the event that target has misbehaved in some way, shape, or form — whether a minor infraction, such as being rude to someone else, or a major infraction, such as committing a crime punishable under the justice system. One appearance may be considered a warning. A second appearance… is not recommended.

Containment: Attempts to cleanse and bless area occupied by subject have been unsuccessful; any further attempts may only serve to anger subject and are therefore not recommended.

Recommended responses to subject’s activities are as follows:

  • Should target awaken to hear subject knocking at the door, target should not open the door.
  • Should target witness subject wandering around outside, target should remain as far away from subject as possible. Seeking refuge elsewhere is recommended.
  • Should target witness subject wandering around subject’s former home, target should remain as far away from subject as possible. Seeking refuge elsewhere is recommended.
  • Should target witness subject wandering around target’s own home, target should remain as far away from subject as possible. Target should remain out of sight and vacate the premises as soon as possible. Seeking refuge elsewhere is imperative.
  • Should target witness subject wandering around target’s own dreams… it may already be too late.

Additional notes: In life, subject was reportedly not what may be considered a “people person.” She has variously been described by those who knew her as “bitter,” “nasty,” “mentally unstable,” and “disturbed”; some have also described her as “lonely,” but given subject’s apparent aversion to other humans, it is unknown whether further contact with subject may have alleviated this loneliness.

Subject would regularly yell at children who played too close to her apartment, running them off and occasionally shouting that they and their parents were “sinners” and would “burn in hell.” Subject would also regularly stroll around outside sans clothing; if any young men were nearby during these strolls, subject would proposition them (it is unknown whether any ever took her up on the offer, although it is suspected than none did). However, subject’s most unsettling behavior involved knocking on neighbor’s doors at odd hours, asking to borrow some salt and pepper. If the neighbors did not answer the door, subject may have continued knocking for 10 minutes or more; if the neighbors did answer the door, subject would only leave after she had received the salt and pepper for which she had asked.

It is unknown why subject so frequently required these two seasonings.

Subject was discovered to be deceased by her landlord after she missed a rent payment. In an attempt to collect the missing payment, the landlord approached subject’s apartment, letting himself in with his key when she did not answer the door. Subject was found in her bath tub with her wrists slashed and her eyes missing. A note left on the bathroom counter read as follows:

“I am sick of this world and all of the filth, lies, deceit, and sinners in it. This place needs to be punished. All I ever wanted here was a friend. You were all just too good to talk to me. You should all burn for it. I’m leaving this world to join my Son Hank and Husband Jim in the afterlife. First, there are some things I need to tend to beforehand. You’re all scum and not fit to eat my shit. I’ll be seeing you all soon. Ramona Osterburg.”

Subject was not missed or mourned by any of the complex’s other residents.

Subject began appearing in non-corporeal form around the complex shortly thereafter.

Recommendation: Do not approach. Do not open the door. And do not misbehave.


The Salt and Pepper Lady.

The City of Devine, Texas.

Devine, Texas Ghost Sightings.

[Photo: Spyros Papaspyropoulos/Flickr]



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