Tell a spooky ghost story outdoors

10:00 a.m. on October 25, 2010 (EDT)
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This thread is for comments on the article "Tell a spooky ghost story outdoors"

Hikers who disappear without a trace, haunted huts, Sasquatch sightings, mysterious lights and visions in the woods, UFOs. If you want to scare the gorp out of your friends, learn how to tell a good ghost story.

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9:02 p.m. on October 25, 2010 (EDT)
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I have been telling tall tales at Scout campfires for quite a few years. Doc Forgey's collections work well for youth groups. The classic Robert Service poems from the Yukon, Cremation of Sam Magee and Shooting of Dan McGraw work well even when read, as do the 2 versions of Jack London's To Light a Fire (the early version is the optimistic one where the protagonist succeeds, while the later version, written when London was apparently in a very depressed stage of his life, has the protagonist freezing to death as he fails to keep the fire lit).

But you do have to use some judgment with the group. One night, while camped in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, I told the tale of the Blue Mist. This story is based on a true incident that happened not far from Calaveras Big Trees, involving a blue mist (probably hydrocyanic gas or other vapor from a gold mine) that kills the 3 protagonists one by one, on successive nights. I introduced the tale with the words that "This is a true story that happened not far from this very place." After telling the tale and 3 or 4 others, we walked out into the meadow to do some star gazing. As we stood there looking up at the stars, a mist arose from the damp meadow. A very young, and short, scout became very frightened and grabbed my hand with one of his hands and the Senior Patrol Leader's hand with his other hand, and started screaming over and over "Mr. Scoutmaster, Mr Scoutmaster, THE BLUE MIST! LOOK! THE BLUE MIST!" I had not realized that a small 11-year-old could squeeze so hard. It took quite a while to calm him down, along with a couple of other young scouts.

So beware! You might stir up a few nightmares and actually scare some of your audience, especially if it includes young kids.

10:05 p.m. on October 25, 2010 (EDT)
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I have nothing to add but I thought this picture might get some people in the mood.

8:23 p.m. on November 15, 2015 (EST)
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I've told a few in my time. Now I YouTube or read...missing 411 which is about people who go missing in the park systems before trips and it really gets to some of the people I go with. I worry more about other people than anything else in the woods. A good story around the campfire is always fun though! I usually look up Native American tails and stories before a trip in the area we go too and tell those.

February 13, 2016
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