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"The Haunted Guitar" was the first out of ten short stories featured in the book More & More Tales to Give You Goosebumps.


The notoriously lazy Jeffrey is walking home with his friend, Beth, after his mother asks him to pick up a package. Along the way, he spots the remnants of a music store, which seems to have just suffered a severe fire. The two enter and discover nearly every instrument has been destroyed by the flames. Beth urges him to leave, as the building is creepy and hard to breathe in. Jeffrey ignores her pleas, and spots in the corner of his eye a guitar, which appears to be the only instrument left intact. Jeffrey decides to take the instrument home, despite Beth's protests that he's stealing.

Later that night, Jeffrey wakes up to the soft sound of guitar music. Searching for the source, he is horrified to see the figure of a man playing it in his room. The man tells Jeffrey that he took his guitar, and introduces himself as Memphis Willy, a Blues musician, or rather, his ghost. He offers to teach Jeffrey how to play the Blues, and, as one known to always take shortcuts, Jeffrey accepts the ghost's mentorship. 

Jeffrey begins practicing, but soon finds he's unable to stop playing. He urges Willy to stop, but the ghost tells Jeffrey that he loves the music too much to stop. With Jeffrey as his partner, he can keep playing the Blues forever. As Jeffrey tries to stop the music, his father walks in. He tells Jeffrey that his music sounds great, and pleads him to keep playing.


  • Jeffrey finding the guitar in a burned down music store is similar to a scene in The Blob That Ate Everyone, where protagonist, Zackie, finds an old typewriter inside an antique shop that had also recently burned down.
  • This story was possibly inspired by the legend of Robert Johnson, a blues musician who supposedly sold his soul to the devil in order to master the blues.