Jumping On The Last Ghost Bandwagon In The Sky: Five Days Remain

Ghost Riders In The Sky by Chase Stone

We begin with a medley of sorts:

“An old cowboy went riding out one dark and windy day
Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way”

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

When all at once a mighty herd of red eyed cows he saw
A-plowing through the ragged sky and up the cloudy draw

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel
Their horns were black and shiny and their hot breath he could feel

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky
For he saw the Riders coming hard and he heard their mournful cry

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Yippie yi yaaaaay

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat
He’s riding hard to catch that herd, but he ain’t caught ’em yet
‘Cause they’ve got to ride forever on that range up in the sky
On horses snorting fire
As they ride on hear their cry

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the Devil’s herd, across these endless skies

And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Yippie yi Yaaaaay

Ghost Riders in the sky

~The Apocalypse of John, Revelation 6:1-8, and Stan Jones, Ghost Riders In The Sky

“Ghost Riders In The Sky” is a parable about a man who should seriously be thinking about getting ready. It was written by Stan Jones in 1948 who remembers the tale told to him while still a boy by an old cowboy. Jones grew up on an Arizona ranch and one late afternoon after securing the blades of a windmill before a thunderstorm¬† a cowboy told the 12 year old boy to look up at the edges of the dark clouds and see if he couldn’t see the devil’s herd. He was also warned not to look too long as he might get snatched up by the thundering beasts.

The story was derived from a much older European tale called “The Wild Hunt” where lost souls where doomed to forever ride the skies in endless hunt and those that bared witness foretold doom and catastrophe.

For those of us counting down what could be our final days there’s a particularly frightening lesson in “Ghost Riders In The Sky.” The horror of seeing the promised land while never attaining it is echoed repeatedly throughout scripture. To be left out in the cold, alone and torn from the Maker is the ultimate agony, a never ending torment; hell.

No one is interested in the end of days to hear about the raptured. The lucky chosen are well and good, but happily ever after ends stories it doesn’t sell them. What we’re really interested in, the proverbial under-the-counter stuff, is what happens to those left behind; the damned. This rough riding herd song has a Dickensian morality to it; the chains you forge in life you will surely carry in death. The Oakland City Christian Gnostics think similarly, but instead of the dead clanking chains in old drafty houses of former co-workers think the live gnashing of teeth, plague, and pestilence. This is not an existential cold, this is full knowledge of what has been lost, but sadly only after the fact. Remember: There is no plan B.

If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today

Stan Jones, photo by Michelle Sundan

Almost looks like he’s wishing us luck.


About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
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2 Responses to Jumping On The Last Ghost Bandwagon In The Sky: Five Days Remain

  1. Pingback: The Second Coming Redux; Yeats, Schulz and Me « The Real Mr. Heartache

  2. Pingback: Smush(ed) « The Real Mr. Heartache

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