Tell a spooky ghost story outdoors
Hikers that disappear without a trace, haunted huts, Sasquatch sightings, mysterious lights and visions in the woods, UFOs. It's time for spooky stories of the backcountry sort.
If you want to do the scaring, learn how to tell a good ghost story.
- A dark, secluded, primitive setting. This part is easy enough for all of you hikers and backpackers.
- The right mood. Wait till it's dark, late, and quiet. A small campfire or single candle lantern or flashlight can give a shadowy effect.
- A great ghost story. Know your audience, and what will scare the gorp out of them (serial killers, ghost hikers, bears, etc.). Then pick a spooky tale from the many ghost books and websites that abound. Personally, I think creepiness works better than gore for a good story, but play to your audience.
- Make it real and yours. Embellish the story with local, believable details, historical facts and folklore, and locations appropriate to your setting and audience. (It was Long Lake, the one we passed on our hike in, that the boy set out for 100 winters ago...)
- Practice telling the story so it sounds believable. Start off with a conversational tone and ramp up the tension for the horrific, unfinished ending. A scary twist or surprise at the end will complete the effect. If you're with a group, you can enlist helpers for this part.
- Keep the fright factor appropriate. If you're telling a story to kids, don't scare them out of the outdoors for life, just give them a little thrill.
Here are two instructional videos with tips:
And, here are a few of the many sites with scary stories:
Which reminds me, did I ever tell you about that night I slept out alone near the swamp? It was such a stormy and dark night, no stars or the moon out. I woke up around 2 a.m. and heard these strange noises...
Share your own favorite outdoor ghost or scary stories below.