Florida ghost story about a young girl who will do anything for a nice prom dress, including robbing the dead!

The White Dress – Audio Story

Listen to Richard and Judy Dockery Young narrate their story ‘The White Dress”

It was the night before the senior prom, and one girl didn’t have a dress to wear. She was poor and lived in a section of town where there were many immigrants from Haiti and other islands in the Caribbean Sea.

She had gone to the neighborhood funeral parlor that same day to pay her respects to the remains of an elderly neighbor. While she was in the funeral home, she had seen a young girl about her age and size lying in state in a casket in one of the many rooms, which she had entered by mistake. As she looked down at the casket, she noticed that the dress was very pretty and brand new. It had been bought just for the burial.

While she was in the room, the funeral director came in and said it was time to close the casket. He sealed it with a big key – kind of like a wrench – and said that the casket would remain closed from then on, and that the burial would take place the next morning.

After the director left, the girl went on down the hall to the room where her dead neighbor was laid out. While she was in the room paying her respects, she heard a lot of crying and wailing down the hall. Someone had collapsed with grief in one of the rooms, and everyone, including the funeral director, ran down the hall to help that family.

As the girl ran by the room with the sealed casket, she had an idea. She went into the room, opened the sealed casket with the huge curved wrench, and quickly slid the white dress off the girl. She put the key back in the socket and the casket lid and sealed the lid again. Stuffing the white dress into her school bag, she slipped out past the room where all the crying was coming from.

The next night, she put on the dead girl’s white dress and went to the dance.

As she danced with several different boys she knew, her joints began to get kind of stiff. As time went by, her muscles began to stiffen, and she began to walk and dance awkwardly. She thought maybe there was something wrong with the dress, so she went into the girl’s restroom and slipped into a stall. She took off the dress and searched all over it, but couldn’t find anything wrong with it. So she put it back on.

Girl wakes up in coffin.  From The White Dress, ghost story by Richard and Jody Dockery Young
Illustration by Madison Henline

As she danced, she became colder and stiffer until she was as stiff as a board. The ambulance was called, and she was rushed to a hospital. The doctors pronounced her dead – but she was alive! She could hear every word everyone said, and see everything that was happening. She just couldn’t move or speak.

Soon, she was lying in state in the same funeral parlor, with her family and friends coming by and crying. She tried to move or cry out, but she couldn’t.

The funeral director came in and closed the lid on her casket. And the next day, the casket was taken to the graveyard. And she could hear the gravediggers working: “Did you hear what happened at the funeral home this morning?” said one of them. “No, what?” said the other as they threw shovel fulls of dirt onto her casket. “A young mortician’s assistant heard a knocking sound in one of the caskets. Well, he opened it up, and a young girl in a slip climbed out. She said she’d been the victim of a voodoo ritual. Someone had given her a dress dusted with that zombie powder, so she seemed dead when she wasn’t.”

“Huh,” said the first gravedigger. “I wonder what happened to that dress.”

And then the girl couldn’t hear anything else….



Teachers can download instructional materials based on this story and others on our Lesson Plans page.

The White Dress – Story Credits

Written and Told by Richard and Judy Dockery Young

Additional Sound Design by Henry Howard

This story was taken from the recording “There’s No Such Thing As Ghosts” by Richard and Judy Dockery Young.

Special thanks to August House for allowing us to use this story.

Leave a Reply

This Post Has 112 Comments

  1. This is good but maybe as a re-write add more details so people can feel the tone and a certain mood as they read the story. Very good like I said and You all keep writing!
    Taya Kerklynist

  2. E

    Wow this is good!!!

  3. Whitney

    This story is very interesting but very creepy! I love scary stories!!

    6Th grader


  4. Kennedi


    1. Cecelia

      So I was just reading this and I thought;if the second girl stole the dress and was paralyzed,doesn’t that mean that maybe the first girl either could have stole it like the second girl?Oh,wait,never mind I finally remembered that the first girl was given the dress.Also doesn’t that mean that the first girl saw the second girl take off the dress,so she saw her face.And that also means that the first girl was saved by the second,right??I am just confused of how the first girl didn’t try to find the second,I mean like,couldn’t she have heard about the funeral and such?I mean,I just wanted to now these things lol.

  5. daniel

    wow that was a good story and she was buried alive omg thats creeeeepyy

  6. BOA3006

    Who read this in 2020 ? (me xD)

  7. Kelly

    Ok, I just read this to my class, and one student had a really good point. If the dress was bought for the funeral for the first girl, then she was already dead to begin with. So…. we are confused.

    1. Kelly, the “dead” girl she stole the dress from was actually alive but immobile because of a “zombie powder.” So when the second girl put on the dress it still had powder on it and she, too, was immobilized. In her case though she was buried alive.

  8. Makenzie

    This story was really good!

  9. C L C

    This story needs a sequel and if not a sequel a new ending because why does she get buried alive I mean that was kind of predictable I mean she is basically paralyzed and the doctors don’t have a clue what is wrong with her. They are not getting a pulse and the girl is not breathing, I mean she is doing all that stuff it’s just that they don’t know it. I think that the witch or voodoo curser or whatever should come into the story because she senses revenge on the girls list. I mean thats what I would think because the girl is a turd and she seems like the person that wants to get back at that girl that had the dress before she did. I know I get that the girl stole the dress from a supposed to be dead girl but doesn’t that girl that steals the dress doen’t she seem like that type of person to get revenge? Well anyways peace out.

  10. Lani

    So, this was a really good story. I think some things could be worked out more. Like the storyline to the other girl doesn’t make sense when you think about it. This a good story, very entertaining, but when you really think about the storyline to the other girl it really confuses me.

  11. deanna

    I mean of course this is a great story but it wasn’t that scary I hope we could come up with more about conspiracy theory story that would be really cool also I really agree with the comment that Pearl Steinberg posted and what kaitlin posted keep up the good work!

  12. C L C

    Also Kaitlin or whoever what you said does not really make sense. I mean that…..Ok so basically the dress was brand new and brought just for the funeral. So I don’t think that someone will actually put the girl in the casket when she is still alive then put her in the dress then keep her in the casket alive and wait until someone brings the zombie powder and dusts the dress up with it. I think that maybe the doctor wanted her dead or something and maybe told her to put a dress on that was cursed and then she went still so then he announced her dead and said that he already put her in a brand new dress for the burial. But you know someone might have put her in a casket then sprinkled zombie dust on the dress. Maybe we should all right what we think happened to the little girl that was the victim of the zombie dress.

  13. C L C

    This story was very interesting was not really scary but more creepy. I wished it was longer though and had a little bit more detail but otherwise I loved it! I loved the part when the little girl stiffens up and is basically paralyzed. She deserved it though.

  14. Kaitlin

    I have to agree with the comment that Pearl Steinberg posted. If the dress was just bought and brand new for the funeral than how would anyone have time to cover it with zombie powder?? Not trying to ruin the story I am just curious. It is really cool though and unique! Also I don’t know if it was meant to be scary but in MY opinion it really isn’t. i had fun reading it! Hope that you come up with more like this one!!

  15. deanna

    this story is NOT scary! cool story though

  16. Mary

    I don’t know what’s worse: the girl stealing the dress or what happened to her because of it!

  17. Aline

    I was not expecting that end. It’s very scary to put yourself in the girl’s shoes.

  18. William Vieira

    WOW! That story really scary me hahaha
    That is a real lesson for us to never steal someone’s dress (especially if the person is dead).
    I’m really afraid of being buried alive, that’s why i want to be cremated.

  19. BrunoSanches

    Wow! That’s quite a nice story. It makes us reflect upon greed. It is unfortunate that the girl end up dead-stiff, she just wanted a white dress.

  20. Julie

    The tip is: never steel a dress from a dead person!

  21. Guilherme Correia

    What an interesting story! The authors managed to keep it rather short, but still very catchy and with a great plot twist. I wish we had a continuation or maybe a flashback on the actual dress’s owner story.

  22. Henrique Paiva

    Great story with a nice plot twist right at the end!

  23. Leticia Beluco

    It’s creepy in a certain way, but fascinating. It was not supposed to be scary at all, but actually teach a moral lesson.

  24. Armin

    It was a simple fiction but I found it fascinating of course I always read it twice. the endding gave me a feeling that even I can’t explain it with my words. You must read it and enjoy it.

  25. funky breath

    It’s weird not even scary

  26. Don

    This story will be nice if any moral is given

  27. chrissia

    scary one ..

  28. mario

    i liked this one

  29. samar

    Realy great .
    thank you

  30. I’m going to prom tomorrow, what a perfect story to have read. LOL Glad I’m not that desperate though. Ha 🙂

  31. morgan

    WOW! that was soooooooo creepy

  32. mel mel p

    thats crazy!!!

  33. She probably wasn’t thinking with all those nargels in her head….

  34. Nancy Cobb

    i love this story i wish there was more or it was a chapter book would love to read it back in tennessee

  35. Nancy Cobb

    i wish this was a chapter book i would love to read more back in tennessee

  36. chomps

    “She could hear every word everyone said, and see everything that was happening. She just couldn’t move or speak.”

    If the dress let you see, wouldn’t the first girl be able to rescue the second, since she would know what she looked like? She would know that the thief had probably fallen under the same spell too. Also, the autopsy would have killed both girls anyway.

  37. this story is cool just that it should have been longer it would have been better but etueir way it was cool…………;)

  38. luv

    i luv it, but i wanna cry now!

  39. tinny

    i love this story so much!

    even i’m poor i will not do like her.. i’m scary lol..

    but i love this story so much.. <3 100%

  40. Virginia

    That poor girl (the main character). Stealing from a dead people (while their friends and relatives are still grieving) is awfully disrespectful, but I think her punishment of being buried alive is a bit too harsh. To me, she sounded more immature and reckless than greedy. Oh well, things do happen…

    Imagine the havoc that could be wrecked if that zombie dust was real and made readily available to mischievous and/or malicous people!

  41. micheal the first

    creepy O_O

  42. Cassandra

    OMG!!!!! LOVE IT.

  43. austinpetty

    zombie powder for sail come and get it at my GRAVE

  44. Holly

    My teacher played this and my friend (that’s a boy) was crying when they said she didn’t have a dress. I think he’s gay though.

  45. Peaches

    That was great! You could tell what was going to happen when she started dancing and walking awkwardly, very suspensful!!
    Hey Garret!

  46. Anonymous

    … Surprises me that the first girl who was trapped in the dress didn’t even bother to search for who might be stuck in the dress now. Way to repay someone for saving her, hm?

    Excellently done story, none the less. Loved reading it, and I’ll definitely never try to take anything from anyone in the future!

  47. Sienna

    That was amazing i wonder what will happen to the girl the is alive but thought to be dead.

  48. This story was great. I would love to become a zombie. I mean why not!? Its the top chizz

  49. sassy

    tht dress is really pretty and i want it but not with all that zombie powder on it lol……good but sad story

  50. Izzy

    this story is REALLY cool! was it the girl who stole that climbed out, or was it the dead girl??? i found out about this website at school at the library. again it was REALLY cool!

  51. Alayna

    Wow i thought something else would have happend but WOW it must have been voodoo

  52. lacey

    this story creeped me out i wont be able to sleep for weeks now aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    i dont want to read stories like this EVER EVER EVER EVER

  53. lacey

    yuck and scary
    So scary and how is it funny?! It is so sad. I asked my best friend to read this one time during class and his eyes were wide the whole time he read it. When he finished he looked at me and said don’t ever wear a dress that a corpse wore. I just laughed and said right back at ya.

    “Some story… what kind of person would steal a dress from off a corpse? Yuck! Definite moral to this story–don’t steal.”

    Especially from a DEAD person!

  54. ErzulieRedEyes

    I LOVE the stories here!

    Keep them coming!

  55. Why did the girl not hear anything at the end? i dont get it. Please write back explaining why she couldnt hear at the end!!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. niki

    omg this is a wonderful story

  57. Toby

    Awesome story!

  58. Ronell

    This was a Great story

  59. Anna

    This is definitly a Oldie-But-Goodie!! Great job!! (:

  60. Kathleen

    I’ve heard a similar “urban legend,” but this story was much better, and waaaaay scarier!

  61. savannh

    i read one like this in a book but she did not move and was diered

  62. lucy

    WOW! but why would she steal? just for a dance

  63. Ranii Pichu Kun

    why is this so awesome?!

  64. rizwana

    awsome story

  65. diva dollae

    lmaooo i laughed when she begin to stiffen

  66. 5 star

    wow yes it was crerpy but it was kind of stupid too lol just kidding

  67. rosa

    Wow. it’s little creepy

  68. jeffb1

    The punishment hardly fits the crime. I find this story makes good use of a little irony. Besides, I’ve always found stories about burials a little disturbing/creepy!

    I think that years ago I may have read a little too much of Edgar Allan Poe’s work. And the “Victorian” era was also a lot creepy, you know, photos of the dead posing, sometimes also with the living. And don’t forget the little bell with the string that went into the coffin…, just in case the corpse was still alive.

    Scary subject matter as far as I am concerned. Very creepy.

  69. 7^d!@

    Whooo…this story is good

  70. Hannah

    So scary and how is it funny?! It is so sad. I asked my best friend to read this one time during class and his eyes were wide the whole time he read it. When he finished he looked at me and said don’t ever wear a dress that a corpse wore. I just laughed and said right back at ya.

  71. Kristopher McAllister

    Wow, had alot of twists and the ending kept me on the edge of my seat! I am reading this story to my class for are ” Scary Story ” and I think they will love it!

  72. LLaaaVVonn""

    that was so sscccccary!!!
    oh my i love it ..im going to tell my boyfrieng to read it
    cause he loves stories like that!!!!!

  73. That was a great story and kind of of scary!

  74. That was a awesome story it’s real too. It’s so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  75. Alexis

    OMG good story that dress is so beautiful but is it a true story?????<3

  76. that was so cool!i have heard a story like this before though,but in that one the girl took a blue dress and it was poisoned.

  77. Eli Esparza

    Theres another version were the girl dies and they find out that it was used for a dead girl who died…

  78. susan

    I think that this text is very interesting
    > cambiar

  79. Amanda

    i heard a different version-the dress was red and the girl survived. but this was even better

  80. SS

    Yes Michelle, you’re correct. A dead person is a corpse.

  81. Pearl, Rach, and Abi. You guys are missing the mesage. Don’t still no matter what. plus she didn’t die . She was druged. I forgot what that stuff is call, that they use. It puts you out like as if you were dead. and when they put you in the grave. They come back and dig you up. thats how to make a zombie. bad news for the girl that stold the dress……NO ONE IS COMING FOR HER.

  82. Abiiii

    Loved the story but what actually killed the young girl?

  83. Rachaeeel.

    That story was weird in a way. I wanna know more…..

  84. Pearl Steinberg

    I am sorry to be a stickler for detail but I could not help but notice that the white dress had been bought new for the burial. So what actually killed the young girl?

  85. Xxmiss murderxX

    good it was great!but what happens to the girl?

  86. I don’t know how many ways you can say the same thing , so I’ll just let that one rest with “di-do”. beasty little diddy from out of the arcives.

  87. Isabelle

    The ‘stealing-a-dress-from-a-corpse’ thing kind of disgusted me, but this story was awesome! Good moral to it also – never steal, or it may come back to haunt you in the future.

  88. kiki

    It was an awsome story to read for fun,but all in all we can learn a lesson to never steal.

  89. Michelle

    This was a very good story, but how about some more Florida based ones?

  90. Michelle

    “Some story… what kind of person would steal a dress from off a corpse? Yuck! Definite moral to this story–don’t steal.”- SS

    Especially from a DEAD person!

  91. Kaitlyn

    This story is cool!

  92. Blades of the Moon

    This is a really creepy and scary story, and I love how it has a moral to it. We need more stories like this that teach a lesson and are entertaining. I just found this site but I wish I would have found it sooner.

  93. SS

    Some story… what kind of person would steal a dress from off a corpse? Yuck! Definite moral to this story–don’t steal.

  94. 8261

    Very cool!
    Kinda Scary!

  95. Lemuel

    Very funny but scary. Hehehe!!!!

  96. drei

    very(infinity) creepy..!!!i love reading it again and again..

  97. Oliver Santos

    it’s just simple but concise & creepy…

    there’s only one lesson that we can acquire w/ this story… – never ever touch the thing of others, it may put u in danger.

  98. go go girl

    That was so creepy

  99. Alex B.(girl)

    i was crying at the end .good story very beiliveable

  100. NiceGuyJoey

    Wow! Still a great creepy little story after all these years.

  101. Callie

    lol that was a fun one.

  102. Sukanya

    I love this story so much! It has a heart,it has a soul!!!!!!!!!!!

  103. Melody

    After all those years since 2001, and i still love this one!
    definately a favourite of mine…

  104. Tammy

    I like it. Its a different a version .