Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Have You Seen The Ghost of Tom?

A song for hallowe'en
Traditional American? No author listed in Rise Up Singing
Rise Up Singing chapter: Rounds, p.189

1.Have you seen the ghost of Tom?
2. Long white bones and the rest all gone
3. Ooo oo-oo-oooo
4. Wouldn't it be chilly with no skin on?

Alternate lyrics: Have you seen the ghost of John? Long white bones and the flesh all gone. Ooo oo-oo-oooo, wouldn't it be chilly with no skin on?


  1. I learned the version where "John" rhymes with "gone" and "on." Never heard it with "Tom" before.

  2. I have been trying to find this song for a while now, and I've never pulled up anything on google until today whenI found your video. Thank you so much! I've had the one line "Have you seen the ghost of Tom" play over and over in my head for years, and I could never remember the rest. Thank you so much! And I learned it with Tom also in my Grade 5 music class. Thanks again!

  3. I used to sing this song in grammar school (3rd grade). Our homeroom teacher would play flute while the class sang from a hardcover song book. This song was contained within those pages. Here is the verse that I remember.

    1. Have you seen the ghost of Tom

    2. Eyes bulged out and a nose so long.......

    3. (Hold the word "long" out just like the Ooooo's)

    4. Only one cheek to keep his tongue in.

    I always thought the last line was odd. I think that's why I haven't forgotten it. I learned of this song back in the mid-seventies. There were more verses.

  4. We used "flesh all gone" growing up, I think. Also we used "Tom." I've been wanting to work out the melody to this because I couldn't remember it all, and didn't realize to look in my Rise up Singing book. Uh, duh. :)

  5. have you seen the ghost of tom
    eyes bugged out and nose to long
    with big ugly teeth and a shinny white chin
    only one cheek to keep his tongue in

    and there was a story about how tom was working in the fields and heard a scream going back to his wife to find her gone the house ransacked he hear's her screaming in the woods. and chases her.. getting his cheek ripped off on a tree branch.. and they found elizebeths body the following spring in the snow and the only thing they found of him was his cheek on a tree my old music teacher told that story every year saying it happened near edgar nebraska.. then we sang the song...

  6. My sixth grade band class played this song (October 2003) for a ceremony at the elementary school in the north part of town which was near a cemetery. I vaguely remembered the lyrics from when he was trying to teach us the tune.