Have You Seen the Ghost of John?

Song Video

Information About Have You Seen the Ghost of John?

A classic American folk song, "Have You Seen the Ghost of John" (or simply "Ghost of John") remains a popular Halloween selection in music classrooms across the country. While the bone-chilling children's tune has been performed with multiple verses. most people are familiar with the opening four lines, those which describe the infamous John's "long, white bones".

It has been noted that, despite the haunting melody and somewhat creepy lyrics, the song stands for sympathy as much as for fright. No sooner do the lyrics portray a startling figure of nothing-but-bones than they pose the question-what would it be like to walk a mile in his (proverbial, of course) shoes?

While most listeners are alike in having encountered "Have You Seen the Ghost of John" as children gearing up for one of the nation's most fun, and candy-filled, holidays, all listeners did not hear the same version. In some variations, the "Ghost of John" is actually the 'Ghost of Tom'. Other differences are more minor: some adaptations modify the description of John's long, white bones via the words "with the skin all gone" while others say "and the rest all gone. ' Depending on which version a given Halloween-song devotee originally heard, there may have been an empathetic cry for "Pooooor old Tom" or a simple, ghostly "Ooooo".

Alternative Lyrics & Related Songs

Have you seen the ghost of John?
Long white bones with the skin all go-o-one
Oooh, ooh ooh oooh
Wouldn't it be scary with no skin on?

Listen to this song's music


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Armin Arlert, United States

25 January 2015 at 8:02pm

I remember this. My school turned off all the lights and the teachers sang it in a whispering voice. Haha. Good times.

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Samantha, United States

29 October 2014 at 12:15am


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Nicole cummins, United Kingdom

23 September 2014 at 4:37pm

This Is soo wired I showed my brother and he laughed so much he needed the toilet!

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10 June 2014 at 12:17am

In our class it's: Have you seen the ghost of tom? Long white bone with the flesh all go-o-one oh oh oh oh oh oh oh Wouldn't it be chilly with no skin on?

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Latavia, United States

17 November 2012 at 3:59am

I love this song cause u can add your own beat but I am in mad love with Justin bieber so don't heat me for that ok Justin .

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Vicky, El Salvador

19 October 2012 at 2:55am

I have been practicing on this song for about a mouth on the xylophone bass so i am used of it

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Jessy, Angola

14 October 2012 at 5:30pm

i hate it

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Dr H, United States

30 November 2011 at 4:30pm

Wow, am I glad to see that this actually is a song! I remember singing this in the music portables in elementary school. I'm 31 and a school administrator and any teachers or students I speak to have never heard of this....I was starting to think I was just a little looney...

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Anza111, China

8 November 2011 at 1:16pm

Ahhh, six grades back!

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Tania, United States

21 October 2011 at 1:46am

I remember singing this in elementary school (probably early 70's)! My son came home from school singing a slightly different version today - "wouldn't it be SILLY with no skin on?" I like the spookier version better.

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Mindy-ri,, United States

5 October 2011 at 6:31am

I remember singing this song in elementary school around Halloween. It also reminds me of The Charlie Brown- Peanuts Halloween Cartoon. Fond memories

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Kalli, Egypt

15 May 2011 at 11:48am

i thouht that john song was rockin

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Dracula, Romania

16 April 2011 at 4:20pm

I lost my v-card to that song, he was the best first grade teacher. I can still smell john's scent

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Dan, Canada

17 January 2011 at 7:06pm

Strong Bad ftw

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Steevn, United States

11 January 2011 at 9:21pm

awesome song

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Dave, Canada

5 January 2011 at 10:08am

justin lives in canada dummies hes canadian and usher found his video on youtube.

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Alyssa, United States

19 December 2010 at 8:58am

justin i like you too.)

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Alyssa, United States

19 December 2010 at 8:55am

hay justin my friends like you a lot!

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Britney, United States

16 December 2010 at 8:22pm

plus justin bieber does not even live in the united states he lives in atlanta,goerga...

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Britney, United States

16 December 2010 at 8:21pm

thats not justin bieber the one sayin i dont like this song and if u do i hate you...he would never say that i actually do talk to justin bieber im friends with him...

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This song has been printed from the BusSongs.com website.