Monday, October 10, 2011

Favorite Ghost Stories-The Captain

The next ghostly offering in the Favorite Ghost Stories Series comes from The Captain.
As a young boy The Captain was a Cub Scout. One of my favorite memories of Cub Scouts was going camping with multiple troops at the Boy Scout Jamboree each year. Of course being a spooky kid early on, my favorite part of the whole trip was the campfire at night and the scary stories that were told in the firelight.
 My wife and I recently took our 7-year-old niece, 8-year-old nephew, and 3-year-old nephew on their very first camping trip.  I wanted to give them the experience of the spooky fireside stories that I remembered so fondly from my childhood. I could vaguely remember this one story about two boys in a tent that had freaked me when I was a kid. So I search the Internet for almost a week trying to find the story that had stuck with me all these years, and then I found it!
 It’s not a Halloween story, but it is a ghost story of sorts, and it will stick with the kids. Every time I lay in a tent I think of this story that I heard as an 8-year-old Cub Scout. There are a few versions of this tale and I altered my version for telling to non-scouts, but you can easily change the beginning to suit your situation.
 Indian Graves. When I was a teenager we use to come camping right near here with the Scouts, but they don’t camp out here anymore. The last time I came camping out here we lost 2 scouts right near here. There used to be campsites over in that area, but its all closed to camping now (point to an overgrown area). They set up camp, had a campfire, and got ready for bed - 2 scouts per tent.

Around 2:30 in the morning, there was an awful, blood-curdling scream that echoed all across the campsite. Everyone woke up and I got on my shoes and ran over to the tent where the scream had come from and where I could hear someone crying hysterically. I opened the tent and there was one scout sitting there crying.

'Where's Randy?' I asked.

'I don't know. He's just gone!' said Joey Marshall. 'I just heard some weird scraping sound and then Randy screamed and was gone.'

Looking around with my flashlight, I saw Randy's sleeping bag torn to shreds. There was also some blood on it. But, there were no rips in the tent and Randy's shoes were still sitting by the door just fine. But, looking again, I noticed the floor of the tent had a large rip in it under Randy's sleeping bag.

I told the other scouts that had gotten up to go in pairs and check around the campsite looking for any clues, but to not go more than 50 feet out. I ran to the park ranger's cabin for help.

About 5 minutes later, the ranger and I were running back here when we heard another awful scream. When we got here, all the scouts were crowded around the campfire - all except Joey. The scouts said the scream came from Joey's tent but none of them wanted to go near it. They said they had heard some scraping noises and then Joey's scream and then silence.

I opened the tent flap and Joey's sleeping bag was ripped up just like Randy's and the floor of the tent was shredded.

The park ranger called 911 and in about an hour, just around dawn, the sheriff was here with dogs. They searched the entire camp - not a trace of either boy.

The local newspaper ran a story about the tragedy and the investigation continued for weeks. The boys' folks were heartbroken and our scouts had a rough time of it too.
A couple days later, I got a call from an archaeologist expert in local Indian history. He said that the tribe of Indians that used to inhabit this area were especially ruthless and fought the white man's invasion to the very last brave. Their burial grounds were protected with many signs and curses and he believed that there was a burial ground somewhere on the campground property. I contacted the park ranger and he told me that he and the expert spent a week exploring the area where we had camped.

After some digging, sure enough, they found some bones, arrowheads, and knives. He also found a pocketknife and compass - they were marked with R.R. - Randy Roberts. These were found in an Indian grave 4 feet underground directly under where Randy and Joey had pitched their tent. They quickly filled in the excavation and then the ranger closed off that part of camp and seeded it with nettles, poison ivy, and brambles to keep everyone away.

To this day, I'm a very light sleeper when I’m out camping. When I lay down, if I feel the slightest rock or root under my tent it will keep me awake remembering how Joey and the other boys described the scraping sounds – I’ll lay there listening for scraping and wondering if it is really just a root, or maybe it’s a boney finger.
They were so buying it!

3 comments:

  1. What an excellent ghost story! Can't wait to re tell it this weeKEnD!

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  2. Great stories! I sure wouldn't have told this at Girl Scout camp or I would have had 15 girls in my tent!

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  3. That would be mentally scarring to a bunch of young cub scouts...can't wait to tell it to my little cub scout nephew one fire-lit camping night!

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