Having blogged one Country classic, “Ghost Riders in the Sky” is another:
This song essentially gives the cowboy version of the Flying Dutchman legend:
In Roger Zelazny’s very clever retelling (“And I Only Am Escaped to Tell Thee” in Unicorn Variations),
“It was with them constantly – the black patch directly overhead from whence proceeded the lightnings, the near-blinding downpour, the explosions like artillery fire.
Van Berkum staggered as the ship shifted again, almost dropping the carton he carried. The winds howled about him, tearing at his soaked garments; the water splashed and swirled about his ankles – retreating, returning, retreating. High waves crashed constantly against the ship. The eerie, green light of St. Elmo's fire danced along the spars.
Above the wind and over even the thunder, he heard the sudden shriek of a fellow seaman, random object of attention from one of their drifting demonic tormentors.
Trapped high in the rigging was a dead man, flensed of all flesh by the elements, his bony frame infected now by the moving green glow, right arm flapping as if waving – or beckoning...”
Bonus points for spotting the Biblical reference in the story title.