Camping Stories

Campfire Stories


From A Fine And Pleasant Misery by Patrick F. McManus

The campfire was of two basic kinds: the Smudge and the Inferno. The Smudge was what you used when you were desperately in need of heat. By covering over the Smudge the camper could usually manage to thaw ice from his hands before being kippered to death. The Inferno was what you always used for cooking. Experts on camp cooking claimed you were supposed to cook over something called “a bed of glowing coals.” The “bed of glowing coals” was a fiction concocted by experts on camp cooking. As a result, the camp cook was frequently pictured, by artists who should have known better, as a tranquil man hunkered down by a bed of glowing coals, turning plump trout in the frying pan with the blade of his knife. In reality, the camp cook is a wildly distraught individual who charged though waves of heat and speared savagely with a long sharp stick a a burning hunk of meat he had tossed on the grill from twenty feet away. Meat roasted over an Inferno was either raw or extra well done. The cook, if he was lucky, came out medium rare.

The Ballad Of Johnny O’Dell

Wild are the tales of the Pony Express

And most of them are true if I don’t miss my guess.

But wildest of all tales that they tell

Is that of fearless young Johnny O’Dell.

Johnny was little, but he was a man

Whom none could outride, outshoot or outplan.

Ride, he could ride anything that could run

And could outdo any man with a gun.

Back in those days there were men in the West

And Johnny O’Dell was as good as the best.

Only the bravest could carry the mail

Through terrible dangers that haunted the trail.

Dangers there were on the night I describe,

For Johnny encountered an Indian tribe.

Blackie, his horse, gave a new burst of speed.

No Indian pinto could equal that steed.

Bullets and arrows whizzed over his head

As into the foe and right through them he sped.

Outlaws had raided the station ahead

The horses were stolen, his partner was dead.

Onward went Johnny over the trail.

For such was the life when you carry the mail

Rivers they forded for bridges there were none

While crossing one stream he was stopped by a gun.

“Halt!” cried a man on the bank of the creek-

As together they fired by the light of the sun.

Still lay the stranger whom Johnny had met,

For all that I know he is lying there yet.

Onward went Johnny into the West,

As a spot of crimson appeared on his vest.

Together they continued their hazardous ride,

The powerful horse with the brave man astride.

Into the town of Red Gulch did they go,

As blotches of blood marked their way through the snow.

This was the end of the perilous trail

Through bullets, and arrows; through blizzards and hail.

Johnny dismounted and cried with a wail,

“Oh, Darn it all, I’ve forgotten the mail!”


If Only …

Won Lee was a stone cutter who lived in ancient China. He cut large stones and he cut small stones. He made them into ornaments for gardens. Some he cut to build houses. He was proud of his work, but sometimes he would think, “If only I had more money” or “If only I had less work.”

One day, Won Lee was walking home from work. The sun was very hot and he was tired, so he sat down at the side of the road. He felt the heat of the sun and thought, “It’s the sun that gives us the daylight, the warmth to grow our crops. Surely the sun must be the most powerful of all things.”

Won Lee said quietly to himself, “God, if only I could be the sun. I would love to feel what it is like to be the most powerful, the greatest of all things.”

God answered Won Lee. “You may become the sun.” He said. And Won Lee became the sun. He felt wonderful; so strong and powerful. He shone down on the world far below.

After a few days, a puffy white cloud appeared in the sky. It drifted about and, when it came near Won Lee, it blotted out his rays and cast a shadow on the world. Won Lee was sad. Surely this cloud was more powerful than he ? “If only I were the cloud. That would make me the greatest of all things,” he said.

God heard, and again He answered: “Won Lee, you may become the cloud.” So Won Lee floated about the sky feeling very grand.

One day, Won Lee saw a great black cloud coming his way. Soon it surrounded him, and he saw the black cloud dripping droplets of water. The drops fell on the earth and made a mighty river.

Won Lee thought that this black cloud must be very powerful to swallow up a cloud and turn itself into a river, so he said, “If only I were the river. How mighty I would be. Then I would be truly happy.”

Again God heard and answered: “Okay. You may be the river.”

So Won Lee flowed along, feeling the mighty rush of water. Then he came to a bend in the river. There was a great boulder jutting out into the river. The great boulder held the river, swirling it back on itself.

Won Lee thought, “The rock ! The rock ! At last I have found the mightiest of all things. If this rock can hold back the raging river, then it is the greatest. If only I were this great big rock, I would be happy.”

So God made Won Lee into the boulder and he stood there, holding back the water and feeling very great and happy. Then, one day, along came a man who cut a large piece off the boulder. Won Lee was sad. No longer was he the greatest if this man could come along and cut him up.

“If only I could be the man who cut up the stone, I would surely be the greatest,” Won Lee thought.

And God said to Won Lee: “But you are the Stone Cutter!”

Australian Scout magazine

Winter Cub Story

Years ago, right here at this camp, a Cub pack, much like ours came out for the weekend. As with most every pack, there’s always one Cub, who’s much better than everyone else in his camping skills. This Pack had an exceptional Cub, who everyone looked up to, to help them out if they were having any problems. This Cub could walk farther than anyone else, catch bigger fish, make a better snow-fort to sleep in, start a fire with one match every time, could snowshoe faster than the leaders, and many more skills. Everyone would ask him for help, because he was so good. The leaders relayed on him to help teach all the Cub skills, and he did it with a smile on his face. Everyone liked him because he was so friendly.

Saturday night, he and a few of his friends decided to sleep outside in a snow fort. The Cub helped everyone to get settled, before turning in himself. The Camp Chief came out to check on them periodically, so no one would get cold. In the middle of the night, the Cub was awoken by the call to nature. He woke up a couple of his buddies to go with him, as he knew that no one should go anywhere without a buddy. His friends told him that since he was the best Cub in the pack, and knew so much, that there was no chance for something to go wrong. You all know, that flattery is great for one’s ego, and this Cub was no different. He got dressed and ventured outside to one of the biffies, to complete his task.

After he had done, he got dressed again, and started back to his snow fort. But when he opened the door to the biffie, he saw that a storm had moved in. He started to return to his fort, but the tracks he had left had been blown over by the storm. He tried to find his way back, but the wind was driving the snow in his eyes and he couldn’t see anything. He walked as fast as he could to where he thought the fort was, but he couldn’t find it. He walked, and stumbled in the storm for what seemed a long time, when he realized he was in trouble. He remembered the first rule when lost in the winter: stop and build a fire. He found a spot to dig out a cave in a snow bank, and crawled in. He had an emergency kit with him, and quickly had a fire going.

The next morning, everyone awoke to find a clean, crisp layer of white snow had covered the camp. It didn’t take long for the Cub’s friends to realized that he was missing, and they ran to tell the rest of the camp. Everyone got dressed in their warmest clothes and quickly started a search party. They scoured the entire camp for hours, but couldn’t find the Lost Cub. For the rest of the day, everyone searched for him. They called the police to help, but still couldn’t find him. For days, search parties combed the area looking for the Cub, but he was never found.

It was a sad year for that Cub Pack. They had lost a great friend. In the Spring, they gathered again at the camp to search for the Cub’s remains. Again, everyone searched everywhere, but couldn’t find him.

I often walk through these woods at night, and often think about the Lost Cub. It’s been said that if you are walking alone through these woods at night, you may feel a cold draft shiver down your back. It maybe the Lost Cub reminding you to get a BUDDY!

Randy Carnduff


The Rabbi & The Soap Maker

A Rabbi and a soap maker were walking along and the soap maker questioned the Rabbi by asking, “What good is religion? There’s been religion for a long time, but people are still bad to each other”

The Rabbi was silent until they saw a boy who was dirty from playing in the street. The Rabbi asked the soap maker, “What good is soap? We’ve had soap for many, many years and people still get dirty”

The soap maker protested the comparison and insisted that the soap had to be used in order to keep people clean. “Exactly my point”, said the Rabbi. “Religion”, he said, “has to be applied in order to do anybody any good.”

The Koolamunga Test

Long ago, somewhere in Africa, a little place called Koolamunga had a Scout troop but no Cub Pack. When the missionary, John Cristy, sent out word that he was going to start a pack, all the boys who were too young to be Scouts rushed over to join.

John looked out at rows and rows of faces – black, white, brown, yellow, and some so dirty you couldn’t tell. It was impossible to start a pack with 40 or 50 Cubs ! “You can’t be a Cub until you are eight,” he said, “so would everybody younger please go home.”

Nobody left. The six and seven-year-olds stood as tall as they could and tried to look tough. John realized he would have to sort them out some other way. So he told them the Cub Law. And then he said, “Next week, we will have an obstacle race. You can all come, but I shall start the pack with the 12 boys who do their best to keep the Law during the race.”

A big crowd gathered on race day. The Scouts came along to help John pick his 12 Cubs. John designed an obstacle course so tough that it automatically eliminated the boys who were too young. The others had to run half a kilometer downhill to the river through prickles and a mangrove swamp with knee-deep mud. Then they had to swim across the river. On the other side, they had to climb a steep bank, go along the top, cross over the river again by a fallen tree bridge, and finally climb 300 m up the hill to the finish.

“This is not a race,” John told them. “It’s a test to see who can really do his best to keep the Cub Law.” And he was already sorting them out. Some jabbered away and didn’t listen to the rules. One put his foot over the starting line. “Ready, steady, GO!” John shouted, and off they went.

Very soon, some of them were yelling and swearing at the prickles. In the swamp, some gave up, pretending they were hurt. One boy thought he would be clever and sneak along the bank instead of swimming across the river.

A small boy caught his foot in a floating branch and thought it was a crocodile. John didn’t blame him for yelling, but noticed a red-headed boy swim back to pull the branch free. Then he saw a white hand shoot out and duck a black head. That settled the white boy’s chances, but the black face came up smiling and the boy swam on without complaint. On the tree bridge, there was a good deal of bumping, some by mistake and some by mistake-on- purpose.

Only 20 boys finished the race, and the first 12 home were sure they would be chosen. But the Scouts put aside those who had cheated or taken short cuts, those who had pretended to be hurt, and those who had sworn or lost their temper.

John chose only boys who had done their best to keep the Cub Law. There were 11 of them. For the 12th, he chose a boy named Peter who was watching but hadn’t taken part in the race. John knew his mother was ill. She’d asked Peter to look after the younger children to make sure they didn’t fall into the river, and he did it without a grumble.

And who do you think he asked to be his sixers ? He chose the red-haired boy who had turned back to help with the crocodile that wasn’t a crocodile, and the black boy who came up smiling after being ducked.

And that’s how the 1st Koolamunga Pack began. If you’d been there, would you have been one of the 12 chosen ?

Leader Magazine

January, 1989

One Day At A Time

A friend of ours was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the local native kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things out into the ocean.

As our friend approached even closer, he noticed that the man was pickin g up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water.

Our frind was puzzled. He approached the man and said, “Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you are doing.”

“I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”

“I understand,” my friend replied, “but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don’t you realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”

The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”

(Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen, taken from “Chicken Soup for the Soul”)

There are hundreds of thousands (millions) of boys around the world who can benefit from the Scouting experience. We can’t reach them all, but even within our own groups we see our task overwhelming, not making any difference. However, to that one boy in your den, pack, troop or post who looked to you as a role model, a friend, an inspiration (even if he never told you) you’ve made a difference!

You Do Make A Difference — in making our world a better place to be….One Boy At A Time!

Peter Van Houten



Ging Gang Goolee

In deepest darkest Africa there is a legend concerning the Great Gray Ghost Every year after the rains the great gray ghost elephant arose from the mists and wandered throughout the land at dawn. When he came to a village he would stop and sniff the air, then he would either go around the village or through it. If he went around the village the village would have a prosperous year, if he went through it there would be hunger and drought.

The village of Wat-cha had been visited three years in a row by the elephant and things were very bad indeed, and the village leader Ging-ganga, was very worried, as was the village medicine man Hay-la-shay. Together they decided to do something about the problem.

Now Ging-ganga and his warriors were huge men with big shields and Spears and they decided to stand in the path of the elephant and shake their shields and swords at it to frighten off.

Hay-la-shay and his followers were going to cast magic spells to deter the elephant by shaking their medicine bags as the elephant approached which made the sound shalawally hallway shalawally.

Very early in the morning of the day the Great Gray Elephant came the villagers gathered at the edge of the village on one side were Ging-gana and his warriors (indicate right side of camp fire circle) on the other was Hay-la-shay and his followers (indicate left side of camp fire)

As they waited the warriors sang softly about their leader

Ging Gang Gooli, Gooli, Gooli, Gooli Watcha

Ging Gang Goo Ging Gang Goo

Ging Gang Gooli, Gooli, Gooli, Gooli Watcha

Ging Gang Goo Ging Gang Goo

As they waited the medicine men sang of their leader

Hayla, Hayla Shayla Heyla Shayla Halya Ho-o-o!

Hayla, Hayla Shayla Heyla Shayla Halya Ho-o-o!

And shook their medicine bags

shalawally hallway shalawally shalawally.

And from the river came the mighty great gray elephants reply (Have all the adults do this)

Oompah Oompah Oomph Oompah!

The elephant was coming closer so the warriors beat their shields and sang louder (signal warriors to stand and beat thighs in time)

Ging Gang Gooli, Gooli, Gooli, Gooli Watcha

Ging Gang Goo Ging Gang Goo

Ging Gang Gooli, Gooli, Gooli, Gooli Watcha

Ging Gang Goo Ging Gang Goo

Then the medicine men rose and sang loudly

Hayla, Hayla Shayla Heyla Shayla Halya Ho-o-o!

Hayla, Hayla Shayla Heyla Shayla Halya Ho-o-o!

And shook their medicine bags

shallawally shallawally shallawally shallawally.

And mighty great gray elephant turn aside and went around the village saying

Oompah Oompah Oompah Oompah!

There was great rejoicing in the village and all the villagers joined to gether to sing

Ging Gang Gooli ……..



Ging gang goolie, goolie, goolie, goolie, watcha

A7 D

Ging gang goo, ging gang goo


Ging gang goolie, goolie, goolie, goolie, watcha

A7 D

Ging gang goo, ging gang goo.


Heyla, heyla sheyla,

A7 D

Heyla sheyla, heyla ho-o-o


Heyla, heyla sheyla,

A7 D

Heyla sheyla heyla ho.


Shully wully, Shully wully, Shully wully, Shully wully


Oompah, Oompah…

The Farmer

There was this farmer who had many fields. And throughout all his fields, he worked very very hard at keeping all the animals away, and as such, out of his crops that he worked very very hard to plant.

And … He was successful in keeping all the animals out. No birds, no deer, NOTHING got through all his wire fences and traps that he had set out to keep the animals out.

As time went on, this farmer got more and more lonely. So lonely as a matter of fact, that one day, he went out into his fields, held his arms out wide and called to all of the animals to come. He stood there all day and night with his arms out wide, calling to all the animals, but you know what, none of the animals came … No, not one. … And what was the reason none came?

All of the animals were afraid of the farmers … new scarecrow out in the field.

Brad George

He Drew

This Poem was written by a Grade 12 Student who committed suicide some 2 weeks later.

He always wanted to explain things.

But no one cared.

So he drew.

Sometimes he would draw and it wasn’t anything.

He wanted to carve it in stone or write it in the sky.

He would lie out on the grass and look up in the sky.

And it would be only him and the sky and the things inside him that needed saying.

And it was after that he drew the picture. It was a beautiful picture.

He kept it under his pillow and would let no one see it. And he would look at it every night and think about it.

And when it was dark, and his eyes were closed, he could still see it. And it was all of him. And he loved it.

When he started school he brought it with him. Not to show anyone, but just to have it with him like a friend. It was funny about school. He sat in a square, brown desk. Like all the other square, brown desks. And he thought it should be red. And his room was a square brown room. Like all the other rooms. And it was tight and close. And stiff. He hated to hold the pencil and chalk, with his arm stiff and his feet flat on the floor, Stiff.

With the teacher watching and watching. The teacher came and spoke to him. She told him to wear a tie like all the other boys. He said he didn’t like them. And she said it didn’t matter.

After that they drew. And he drew all yellow and it was the way he felt about morning. And it was beautiful. The teacher came and smiled at him. “What’s this?” she said.

“Why don’t you draw something like Ken’s drawing? Isn’t that beautiful?”

After that his mother bought him a tie. And he always drew airplanes and rocket ships like everyone else.

And he threw the old picture away.

And when he lay alone looking at the sky, it was big and blue and all of everything.

But he wasn’t anymore. He was square inside And brown And his hands were stiff.

And he was like everyone else. And the things inside him that needed saying didn’t need it anymore.

It had stopped pushing.

It was crushed.



He Who Follows Me

This is a ghost story I taped from an old-time radio program. I didn’t tape the credits, but I know the name of it is He Who Follows Me, adapted for radio by Ritchard Thorn. I find an old diary at a flea market for about fifty cents, and copied the story down into it. I then take it to camp with my troop and tell them it is the diary of my late great Uncle Bill. Then, I simply start reading it to them. Granted, much of this is too detailed to be part of someone’s REAL diary, but the scouts are wrapped up in the story too much to notice.

March 3, 1938

Today, Helen and I came across one of the delightful old southern mansions. We decided to stop and make a study of the place. Helen was especially interested in taking some color pictures to illustrate our lecture series in the fall.

Although no one was home, we felt than no one would mind us taking a look around the place. We both felt it a shame that the owners let the place rundown. It was probably beautiful in its day. It could still be renovated, but not without a lot of money being spent.

After some shots of the house from the front and side, I noticed a building in back of the house. No one was to stop us, so we moved back there to take a look. The grounds of the back was more shabby than the front, but seeing how much needed done, it would be impossible without major construction work. Part of the mansion was still livable, though not very secure.

The building we were nearing didn’t seem so worn down. It was in remarkably fine condition. It was built a lot later than the house was, I estimated it as no more than twenty years old. It was made of stone, gray stone. Somebody probably had lived in the old house not too long ago, and during that time constructed this building. But we both still felt it a shame that they let what must have been a wonderful place rundown like this.

We both stopped in front of the stone building. Helen made the observation that it didn’t have any windows, something I had noticed too. I told her it was probably used for storage. It was then that Helen pointed to the broken padlock on the door. Our curiosity getting the best of us, we decided to check inside, to make sure everything was alright.

The massive heavy iron door swung open reluctantly. We stepped inside. Although there were no windows, light entered the structure through a skylight in the ceiling. The cold, damp musty air chilled our bones. Helen looked around the room, and laid her eyes on a large stone block in the middle of the floor, right where the light was coming down from the skylight. This was not a storehouse by any stretch of the imagination. This was a mausoleum, and the stone case on the floor was a sarcophagus, a stone coffin. There was nothing else in there, but Helen, and I to an extent, felt crowded.

Helen wanted to get a picture of the sarcophagus, with the light laying over. We didn’t think there was enough light for our camera, but we decided to try.

After the first shot, we heard movement outside and a man yell to us. I explained that we saw that the lock was broken and decided to explore. He told us that he wasn’t mad, but that we still shouldn’t of came in here, because “he” wouldn’t like it. When I pressed the man to tell me who “he” was, he answered “the thing that sleeps in that stone coffin.”

“This man must be crazy,” I thought. He asked us why we didn’t pay attention to the warning. Not knowing what he meant, he took us outside and showed us the writing above the door. “IF YOU ENTER HERE, INTO THE REALM OF DEATH, I SHALL FOLLOW YOU, AND BRING HIM WITH ME.” He said it was a shame that we didn’t see it, because we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.

I once again apologized and told him we didn’t want any legal trouble. He said we were already in enough trouble, none of it being legal, because it didn’t matter to “him.” This time, Helen asked about “him,” and the man went into his story. “They called him Mr. Thomas when he was livin’. They call him The Dead that Walks now that he’s dead. He came to get that name because people around here ‘as seen ‘em, at night. He is dead, but they did see him walkin’. I know, cause I seen him myself. I know you ain’t believin’ what I’m tellin’ ya. I don’t care what you believe. But you listen to what I’m sayin’ now. If I was you I’d get as far away from this place as I could. Not just this place, but this town, this part of the country.”

I didn’t understand the urgency, so the man continued with the story, hoping to convince us.

“Old Thomas came from some place in Europe. I say “Old,” but he really wasn’t old. Just seemed that way. He bought the house and grounds here and had them cleaned up, till the place looked like it was brand new. Then he started buildin’ this here buildin’.”

“There was something funny ’bout Thomas; somethin’ in his eyes. Made ya frightened of him. His eyes, they looked like the eyes of a dead man.”

“He never acted like anyone I ever knew. He was always talking about death, always tellin’ me how he could come back after death. I was the caretaker then, just like I am now.”

“After this building was completed, I use to watch him at night. He’d come out here. It seemed as though he was in some sort of trance. He’d stay out here for hours. And when he’d come back to the house his eyes would glisten and shine, so you couldn’t hardly look at him.”

“A week before he died, he told me that as long as I live, I was to take care of this place. ‘Cause if I didn’t he’d come back an kill me. Then he died. Just like that. He was put in here, in that coffin.”

“One night, about two months later when the moon was full, I heard a noise. And when I had come out to look I saw the door to this place open, and him come out. I could hear his footsteps, something queer and draggin’-like. Then he turned around, and I could see his face in the moonlight: pale and pasty. Sick lookin’. Those eyes of his seemed like to burning coals of fire.”

“He seemed to be lookin’ at me. I heard him say, ‘They have disturbed me, and the moon has awakened me. I shall follow them.’ That’s what he said. I heard him just as straight as your hearin’ me. And then, he vanished into the night.” “Towards morning, I heard his footsteps again. I heard that big iron door closin’. And I knew he was back.”

“The next day I heard Ralph Cummins died the night before, screaming something about not meanin’ to go into the mausoleum. I knew who killed him.”

“This has happened again and again for the last ten years since he’s been dead. Folks around hear say he’ll follow you around wherever you go if you come inside here.”

“Why haven’t you been killed?” I asked, thinking I have caught him in his lie.

“Cause he needs me, Hee hee. He ain’t gonna kill me. But if I was you, I get out of this part of the country.”

March 3, Later.

I sit here and write these words. It is late and the moon has risen full in the sky. Helen is standing by the window looking out.

For some reason, I am frightened. Yet I know that a few months from now I will laugh at the memory of my fright. However, in the morning, I do believe that we will leave this place. Helen is glad. She doesn’t not believe the caretaker’s story, but she is concerned, just as I.

March 3, Still Later.

When I joined Helen at the window, a husky man appeared on the street below. He looked up at us.

The thing I noticed first was his face. Pale and pasty looking. Helen was startled by his eyes — two bright coals of fire, just as the caretaker had described.

The man down in the street, whomever he was, left after about ten minutes. He has given us quite a fright. If I had felt any doubts as to whether we should leave this place they have all been dispelled now. I don’t know what to believe.

Helen has just gone to bed. I think I shall do the same.

March 4, 1938.

Upon settling down to sleep last night, we heard footsteps coming from the room above us. I called down to the desk clerk, who only told us that the room above ours was unoccupied.

We left the hotel a short time after hearing the steps. We went immediately to our car and drove all night and all day.

We are stopping now in a motel almost one-thousand miles away. It is reassuring to know that he cannot possibly follow us.

I am very tired. I will go to bed and get an early start in the morning.

March 5, 1938.

Last night was not very comforting either. We heard the same footsteps outside our room, and Helen saw the man’s face at the window.

This morning when I went into pay the bill, the man who owns the motel said that a strange pasty-faced man had been in earlier and told him to tell me that he would follow me.

March 11, 1938.

It is impossible to get any material together that will help me in my work. Everywhere we go, he’s there also.

March 16, 1938.

The clerk told us this guy had said it was OK for us to go ahead because he was going to follow us.

March 22, 1938.

He left a message with the lady at the desk lady telling us that he would be in touch.

April 7, 1938.

He left another message at the desk. The manager had the nerve to ask me if he was a friend of ours.

April 18, 1938.

Another disturbing night without sleep. More footsteps from the hall outside.

April 29, 1938.

Expecting it when we went to check out this morning, I asked the clerk if there were any messages. The clerk said a husky man in a white suit came by and said he’d follow us.

May 15, 1938.

I don’t know what to do anymore. We cannot stop for the night without him showing up. The only sleep we get anymore is in the car while on the road.

May 30, 1938.

Helen and I argued again today. Since we’ve been on the run, that seems to be all that we can do. She suggested we go home. I fear that he will stalk us there, too. She felt it was the only place left to turn. I didn’t know what to do or say, so we left for home.

June 23, 1938.

We arrived home this evening. I called Gary as soon as we got home. He said he’d be out within the hour to see us.

June 24, 1938.

Gary wasn’t able to help us in any way. I did not really expecting any help. I was hoping he would be able to offer some concrete suggestion as to what to do. However, last night was the first night in months that we haven’t been aware of his presence.

Maybe Helen is right. Perhaps he won’t follow us here.

July 3, 1938.

We have not seen, nor heard, anything unusual since we first came home. I feel as a man might feel who has been given a new lease on life.

July 10, 1938.

Still nothing.

August 19, 1938.

For the past two months, a feeling of peace and security has enveloped the house. Helen and I have been able to go around with no sense of danger or dread. But last night that feeling was shattered…

[At this point I tell them a clipping from the newspaper was inserted into the diary. It was a clipping of a funeral notice for my Great Aunt Helen. It was, of course, too old and fragile to bring on the camp outing. (WINK WINK.) ]

According to one of their family friends (Gary?) my Great Uncle Bill went upstairs to investigate some footsteps, leaving my Great Aunt Helen downstairs alone.

When he got to the room that the noise came from, he found it empty. Going back downstairs, he found Helen, dead, with her eyes wide open.

August 23, 1938.

I sit here in the empty house, writing this. I know that Thomas will come for me too. I write this in the hope that someone will find it. Read it. And maybe understand my death.

It is lonely here. Yet, suddenly I feel as if I am not alone. Someone is hear with me.

He is here, in this room with me. I am afraid to turn to meet him. Those eyes of his burning in to me. Yet, I must. I pray that someone reads this. Perhaps he will

[The August 23 entry was the last he ever made. I simply close the diary and let the scouts wonder. I simply tell them that my Uncle Bill was found just like my aunt. The coroner could not determine a cause of death, but our family knows what killed him -- The Dead that Walks. --]

The Cremation Of Sam Mcgee

by Robert Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

By the men who moil for gold,

And the Arctic trails have their secret tales

That would make your blood run cold.

The northern lights have seen queer sights,

But the queerest they ever did see

Was the night on the marge of Lake LaBarge

I cremated Sam McGee.

Now, Sam McGee was from Tennessee

Where the cotton blooms and blows.

Why he left his home in the south to roam

‘Round the pole, God only knows.

He was always cold, but the land of gold

Seemed to hold him like a spell,

Though he’d often say, in his homely way,

He’d sooner live in hell.

On a Christmas day we were mushing our way

Over the Dawson Trail.

Talk of your cold–through the parka’s fold

It stabbed like a driven nail.

If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze

‘Till sometimes we couldn’t see.

It wasn’t much fun, but the only one

To whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night as we lay packed tight

In our robes beneath the snow,

And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead

Were dancing heel and toe,

He turned to me, and “Cap”, says he,

“I’ll cash in this trip, I guess,

And if I do, I’m asking that you

Won’t refuse my last request.”

Well, he seemed so low I couldn’t say no,

And he says with a sort of moan,

“It’s the cursed cold, and it’s got right hold

‘Till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.

Yet ‘ta’int being dead, it’s my awful dread

Of the icy grave that pains,

So I want you to swear that, foul or fair,

You’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed,

And I swore that I would not fail.

We started on at the streak of dawn,

But, God, he looked ghastly pale.

He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day

Of his home in Tennessee,

And before nightfall, a corpse was all

That was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death

As I hurried, horror driven,

With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid

Because of a promise given.

It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say,

“You may tax your brawn and brains,

But you promised true, and it’s up to you

To cremate those last remains.”

Now, a promise made is a debt unpaid,

And the trail has its own stern code.

In the days to come, ‘though my lips were dumb,

In my heart, how I cursed the load.

In the long, long night by the lone firelight

While the huskies ’round in a ring

Howled out their woes to the homeless snows

Oh, God, how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay

Seemed to heavy and heavier grow.

And on I went, though the dogs were spent

And the grub was getting low.

The trail was bad, and I felt half mad,

But I swore I would not give in,

And often I’d sing to the hateful thing,

And it hearkened with a grin.

‘Till I came to the marge of Lake LaBarge,

And a derelict there lay.

It was jammed in the ice, and I saw in a trice

It was called the “Alice May”.

I looked at it, and I thought a bit,

And I looked at my frozen chum,

Then, “Here”, said I, with a sudden cry,

“Is my crematorium.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor

And lit the boiler fire.

Some coal I found that was lying around

And heaped the fuel higher.

The flames just soared, and the furnace roared,

Such a blaze you seldom see.

Then I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal

And I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like

To hear him sizzle so.

And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled,

And the wind began to blow.

It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled

Down my cheek, and I don’t know why,

And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak

Went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow

I wrestled with gristly fear.

But the stars came out, and they danced about

‘Ere again I ventured near.

I was sick with dread, but I bravely said,

“I’ll just take a peek inside.

I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”,

And the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking calm and cool

In the heart of the furnace roar.

He wore a smile you could see a mile,

And he said, “Please close that door.

It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear

You’ll let in the cold and storm.

Since I left Plumbtree down in Tennessee

It’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

By the men who moil for gold,

And the Arctic trails have their secret tales

That would make your blood run cold.

The northern lights have seen queer sights,

But the queerest they ever did see

Was the night on the marge of Lake LaBarge

I cremated Sam McGee.

The Witch Of Coos

Robert Frost

I staid the night for shelter at a farm behind the mountain, with a mother and son, two old-believers. They did all the talking.

MOTHER. Folks think a witch who has familiar spirits She could call up to pass a winter evening, But won’t, should be burned at the stake or something. Summoning spirits isn’t “Button, button, Who’s got the button,” I would have them know.

SON. Mother can make a common table rear and kick with two legs like an army mule.

MOTHER. And when I’ve done it, what good have I done? Rather than tip a table for you, let me tell you what Ralle the Sioux Control once told me. He said the dead had souls, but when I asked him how could that be–I thought the dead were souls, He broke my trance. Don’t that make you suspicious that there’s something the dead are keeping back? Yes, there’s something the dead are keeping back.

SON. You wouldn’t want to tell him what we have UP attic, mother?

MOTHER. Bones–a skeleton.

SON. But the headboard of mother’s bet is pushed against the attic door: the door is nailed. It’s harmless. Mother hears it in the night halting perplexed behind the barrier of door and headboard. Where it wants to get is back into the cellar where it came from.

MOTHER. We’ll never let them, will we, son! We’ll never!

SON. It left the cellar forty years ago and carried itself like a pile of dishes up one flight from the cellar to the kitchen, Another from the kitchen to the bedroom, another from the bedroom to the attic, right past both father and mother, and neither stopped it. Father had gone upstairs; mother was downstairs. I was a baby: I don’t know where I was.

MOTHER. The only fault my husband found with me– I went to sleep before I went to bed, especially in winter when the bed might just as well be ice and the clothes snow. The night the bones came up the cellar-stairs Toffile had gone to bed alone and left me, but left an open door to cool the room off so as to sort of turn me out of it. I was just coming to myself enough to wonder where the cold was coming from, when I heard Toffile upstairs in the bedroom and thought I heard him downstairs in the cellar. The board we had laid down to walk dry-shod on when there was water in the cellar in spring struck the hard cellar bottom.

And then someone began the stairs, tow footsteps for each step, the way a man with one leg and a crutch, or a little child, comes up. It wasn’t Toffile: It wasn’t anyone who could be there. The bulkhead double-doors were double-locked and swollen tight and buried under snow. The cellar windows were banked up with sawdust and swollen tight and buried under snow. It was the bones. I knew them–and good reason. My first impulse was to get to the knob and hold the door. But the bones didn’t try the door; they halted helpless on the landing, waiting for things to happen in their favor. The faintest restless rustling ran all through them. I never could have done the thing I did If the wish hadn’t been too strong in me to see how they were mounted for this walk. I had a vision of them put together not like a man, but like a chandelier.

So suddenly I flung the door wide on him. A moment he stood balancing with emotion, and all but lost himself. (A tongue of fire flashed out and licked along his upper teeth. Smoke rolled inside the sockets of his eyes.) Then he came at me with one hand outstretched, the way he did in life once; but this time I struck the hand off brittle on the floor, and fell back from him on the floor myself. The finger-pieces slid in all directions. (where did I see one of those pieces lately? Hand me my button-box-it must be there.) I sat up on the floor and shouted, “Toffile, it’s coming up to you.” It had its choice of the door to the cellar or the hall. It took the hall door for the novelty, and set off briskly for so slow a thing, still going every which way in the joints, though, so that it looked like lightning or a scribble, from the slap I had just now given its hand.

I listened till it almost climbed the stairs from the hall to the only finished bedroom, before I got up to do anything; Then ran and shouted, “Shut the bedroom door, Toffile, for my sake!” “Company?” he said, “Don’t make me get up; I’m too warm in bed.” So lying forward weakly on the handrail I pushed myself upstairs, and in the light (The kitchen had been dark) I had to own I could see nothing. “Toffile, I don’t see it. It’s with us in the room though. It’s the bones.” “What bones?” “The cellar bones–out of the grave.” That made him throw his bare legs out of bed and sit up by me and take hold of me. I wanted to put out the light and see If I could see it, or else mow the room, with our arms at the level of our knees, and bring the chalk-pile down. “I’ll tell you what– It’s looking for another door to try. The uncommonly deep snow has made him think of his old song, The Wild Colonial Boy, he always used to sing along the tote-road. He’s after an open door to get out- doors. Let’s trap him with an open door up attic.”

Toffile agreed to that, and sure enough, almost the moment he was given an opening, the steps began to climb the attic stairs. I heard them. Toffile didn’t seem to hear them. “Quick!” I slammed to the door and held the knob. “Toffile, get nails.” I made him nail the door shut, And push the headboard of the bed against it. Then we asked was there anything up attic that we’d ever want again. The attic was less to us than the cellar. If the bones liked the attic, let them have it. Let them stay in the attic. When they sometimes come down the stairs at night and stand perplexed behind the door and headboard of the bed, brushing their chalky skull with chalky fingers, with sounds like the dry rattling of a shutter, that’s what I sit up in the dark to say– to no one any more since Toffile died. Let them stay in the attic since they went there. I promised Toffile to be cruel to them for helping them to be cruel once to him.

SON. We think they had a grave down in the cellar.

MOTHER. We know they had a grave down in the cellar.

SON. We never could find out whose bones they were.

MOTHER. Yes, we could too, son. Tell the truth for once. They were a man’s his father killed for me. I mean a man he killed instead of me. The least I could do was to help dig their grave. We were about it one night in the cellar. Son knows the story: but ’twas not for him to tell the truth, suppose the time had come. Son looks surprised to see me end a lie We’d kept all these years between ourselves so as to have it ready for outsiders. But tonight I don’t care enough to lie– I don’t remember why I ever cared. Toffile, if he were here, I don’t believe could tell you why he ever cared himself. . .

She hadn’t found the finger-bone she wanted among the buttons poured out in her lap. I verified the name next morning: Toffile. The rural letter-box said Toffile Lajway.

White Eyes

In fact, there’s a boy scout camp not far from where this occurred.

The San Bernardino Mountains contains a lot of wilderness regions which saw substantial activity about 100 years ago. Here, miners and loggers worked to bring materials down to the Los Angeles basin. But, like most industries of that time, there was a high profit motive, and workers lives were not as important as they were now.

One day, a mine tunnel collapsed, trapping a number of men within. They were able to survive, after a fashion, by drinking water which seeped into the tunnels, eating rats, mushrooms, and their dead co-workers. They worked from within to dig themselves out, confident that on the other side, others were digging from the outside in. Well, maybe not that confident, since the mining company was not known for its compassion.

Well, it took them a while, but they finally managed to dig themselves out. Then, the formerly trapped miners found two surprises. First, since they had lived in darkness for a long period of time, they could no longer stand the sunlight, and their eyes were pure white—no color except for their pupils, which were dilated. Second, not one man had lifted a shovel to dig them out.

They then made a pact, these men, to take revenge on those who had abandoned them. Soon after, mysterious instances of men being killed in the mountains occurred. These men were usually found mauled, bloody and torn. Close examination showed the teeth marks on them were from human teeth. One man was even beated by his arm which had been torn off at the shoulder.

Soon thereafter, the mining company went out of business: No one was willing to work in those mountains, and even groups of men at night were at risk. Rumor had it that the White-Eyes were out for blood.

Now, since this happened about 100 years ago, and since only men were working in the mines, there should be no more White-Eyes around. So, we’re safe—or are we? Several years ago, a hiker was found mauled on the trail, with human teeth marks.

Embellish the story as you wish, adapt it to your locale. But beware—when I told this story to a group of campers at summer camp once, some boys were scared out of their wits, especially since it occurred so close to where they were at.

Mas Sayano Assistant Scoutmaster,

Los Angeles Area Council

The Beheaded Warrior

Like many of you, I was brought up with the ghost story by the campfire. We waited anxiously to hear another _good one_. (I must say that this was before such movies as Freddie came on — Movies weren’t that bold yet.)

Being on the other end of the campfire, I find myself mixed. When a SM must stay up all night with a new scout because the story was _too real_ puts it in a different light. Now, don’t get me wrong. Out of the two troops that I’ve been associated with, both _love_ the ghost stories.

However, we have adopted a philosophy in telling the stories. When the audience is populated with young scouts, we add parts to the story that break the mood somewhat, yet still give the thrill that the scouts seek. Then as the Scouts mature, work them into the good wall hangers.

As an example, I’ve enclosed a story that I’ve had good results with in many groups. I’ll just hit the highlights here, then expand a little at the end.


A Troop sets camp in a secluded area by a lake in the mountains. Just at the edge of the clearing stands an old trapper’s cabin. As all SM’s do at the campfire, this SM tells the following tale:

Many years ago this land was sacred hunting ground for the (pick your tribe) Indians in this area. The game in this field was always plentiful — until the white man came and built that cabin. The tribe elders were enraged at this encroachment, and sent their best warriors to oust the intruder.

The leader of the raiding party had seen this intruder, and knew him to be an old man with little spirit, so instead of harming him, they decided to scare him out. The Indian crept up to the house and gently _wrapped_ on the wall.

This attracted the attention of the home owner, but finding nothing there, he went back to his work. Again the Indian _wrapped_ on the wall. This cat and mouse game went on for the majority of the night. The white man was becoming afraid of this mystery noise, so he reached for the shotgun he kept over the mantle. The next time the Indian _wrapped_, the man was prepared and de-capitated the Indian with a single shot. The tribe elders, on seeing how easily the white man conquered their best, banned all people from setting foot in their sacred hunting ground. To insure this, the medicine man called on the spirit of the be- headed warrior to guard the land. It is said that on dark rainy nights, the warrior can still be heard prowling around the old home.

Once the story was told, the SM bade the boys good night and all turned in.

As can happen on spring nights, a thunder cloud began to build and soon the campers found themselves in a wind that was taking the tents away, and drenching them with cold ice water. The leaders decided that the safest thing would be to seek shelter in the old house. The boys eagerly moved into the old house, except for the troop cook — he was thinking of that old Indian and really didn’t want any part of the house. So, just in case he took two of his biggest pans with him for protection.

The storm raged on, but the boys had settled down inside the cabin. Suddenly, a faint noise could be heard, _wrap, wrap, wrap_. Most of the boys didn’t hear it, but the cook heard it well. Soon all the scouts were up listening to the _wrap, wrap, wrap_. The SM went over to the side where it appeared to be coming from and the noise stopped. ( A number of cycles here to build up the suspense. However, the cook was given pans for a reason — he’s the skittish one of the group and is liable to swing at anything.) The noise has grown in volume and intensity, and the SM has realized that he must go outside and fix whatever is loose on the house. He takes the senior scouts with him, which unfortunately is the cook. (Suspenseful) they walk around the house and find that the _wrapping_ noise is coming from a hole in the stone fireplace. The SM carefully inserts his hand into the hole and removes a roll of wrapping paper going _wrap, wrap, wrap_.

-end of story-

Now to expand on the concept. 1. The corny ending will take the stress off of the story, helping reinforce the thought that it is not real. Besides a laugh is a good thing to create at a campfire. 2. The whole story can be spiced up to make it as thrilling as you want. It won’t take too much imagination and a little acting to keep them on the edge of their seats. 3. The cook is a pressure release in the story. He is very high strung and can swing at anything from his own shadow to the scoutmaster. Use him in humorous ways to take the edge off of the story as you go. 4. Taylor the story to your group. If your group is young and gullible, use the cook a little more. If they are seasoned campers, pour on the suspense. We usually find a good mix works wonders. Keep in mind that young boys/girls can fix their minds on something like this very easily and they will not sleep in the wood, especially new Scouts.

You’ll know you did well when you hear that catch phrase _wrap, wrap, wrap_ echo around the camp for the next few days.

“Pierre D’un Oeil”

by Gavin Watt [c]

Up in the Boundary Waters on the northeast end of Ensign Lake there is a campsite on a point and it is real easy to find because there’s two dead trees with a bar that people use to hang their food bag to keep it from the bears. We usually put a poncho over the bag. As you sit at the campfire and look east across the lake that poncho between those two trees looks like a hanged man. And sometimes we hang the collapsible-plastic 5 gallon water bag off one of the trees. If you are there on June 14 this year start the story about 8:50 CDT because the full moon will rise at 8:53.

This afternoon while you kids were still coming over the portage an old guy came out of the woods and he told me this story. About a hundred years ago there was a trapper lived up here named Pierre d’un Oeil; they called him that ’cause he only had one good eye. He did have a glass eye but it was just an old glass marble he’d found somewhere and it was a weird yellow-green kind of color and it seemed to glow. Nobody talked to old Pierre much and he didn’t talk much to nobody. He went to town in the spring to sell his furs and maybe again in the fall to stock up. The folks in town were surprised one spring when he showed up with a wife, an Indian woman. Pierre said he’d traded with her folks up in Canada. A good deal he said she only cost him one gallon of whiskey and a good canoe. After a couple years the shopkeeper’s wife had befriended Pierre’s wife and was pleased to see one fall that she was pregnant. Well it was a long hard winter and it wasn’t till late May that the ice went out and Pierre showed up in town. Mrs. Shopkeeper asked after his wife and Pierre got real dark and quiet and said, “She dead”. “Oh no — how”. “She die havin’ the baby”. “And the baby” “The baby? I took it up to her folks in Canada”. “Oh that’s so sad”. Well Mrs. Shopkeeper was worried and so she began some inquiries and became suspicious until finally an investigation was launched. They found the parents up in Canada and they hadn’t seen Pierre or a baby. So the sheriff went out and found Pierre and confronted him and Pierre broke down and told how about in Feb. or March after being snowed in for 3 months the cabin fever got to them and they had a big fight and he went crazy and killed her — with an ax And buried her out in the woods after the thaw. Well they tried Pierre in court and found him guilty and sentenced him to die since that was the law but they all knew about cabin fever and that Pierre although he was spooky was not a bad man so the judge said, “Pierre do you have a last wish?”. Pierre said, “If you are going to hang me that’s that, but let’s do it someplace pretty — there’s a place at the east end of Ensign Lake where the walleyes bite real good in the middle of June — let’s do it there.” So they did — right over there between those two trees! And then the old man told me that as they were rigging him up he reached up an popped out that nasty yellow-green glass eye and handed it to the hangman who shuddered and set it in the notch of a tree and forgot about it. The old man said he put it in that tree right over there!

If you timed this right the moon has just cleared the horizon and is shining through that water bag and is glows like a big eerie yellow-green glass marble.


Rescue At Sea

This is a tale of ships and rescue with a strange twist. Is it true? Did it really happen? Can a person be in two places at the same time? We do not know for certain, but it is an intriguing tale that will make you think.

The story takes place in the fall of 1823, when a young man named Robert Brace from Torbay, Newfoundland, was mate of a vessel trading between Liverpool, England, and Saint John, New Brunswick. On one particularly difficult westward passage, the vessel came close to the iceberg infested waters on the east coast of Newfoundland.

Near noon, Brace and his captain were on deck making routine navigation observations. After, they went below to work out the ship’s position. Brace’s cabin adjoined the main cabin, which made if possible for him to see into the main cabin, when he was at his desk, simply by looking over his shoulder.

Brace was intently working on his calculations and he noticed nothing unusual. He thought that his captain was working, with the same figures, in the main cabin. When Brace run into a little difficulty with his work, he, without turning around, asked the captain to confirm their position.

There was no reply. He repeated the question. When there was still no answer, Brace looked over his shoulder. He saw, what he thought was, the captain busily writing on his slate. (Remember that this was well before paper was in ready supply and most things, that did not have to be saved, were written on slate). Brace thought it unusual that the captain did not answer, so he got up and went to the door of the main cabin. As he did, the man, who had been writing on the slate, raised his head. Brace was frozen with shock. The man at the desk was a complete stranger!

Brace broke out in a cold sweat. He had faced death many times without fear, but as he met the stranger’s gaze, in the silence of the lower deck, knowing that he has never seen the man before, an errie sensation began to spread over his body. He had never seen this person before. Not on any ship or on shore. He bolted to the deck and hurriedly searched for the captain. When he found him Brace asked the captain, “Who’s in your cabin writing on your slate?”

The captain was startled. “There’s no one there as far as I know.”

“Well, there’s a man sitting at your desk,” Brace exclaimed.

“You must be dreaming,” the captain said, “but could be the second mate or the steward – nobody else would be in there without my permission.”

Brace, however, assured the skipper that the man in the cabin was neither the second mate nor the steward, nor in fact any of the crew – he was a complete stranger.

“Where could he have come from?” the captain asked. “We’re been at sea for nearly six weeks. Let’s go below and find out.”

The two men went to the cabin, but found no one. A search do not reveal any trace that a stranger having been there – until they looked at the slate. There they saw, in a strange handwriting, the statement: “Sail for the northwest!”

The captain, amazed, immediately sat down before the writing table. He stared at the slate. Then he ordered Brace to write the same message underneath the words on the slate. There was no resemblance in the handwriting. The captain sent for the second mate and every man of the crew in turn who was able to write. Each was told to write the same message on the slate. None of the handwriting matched the original message.

Dumbfounded, the captain insisted that there must be a stowaway aboard even though the ship had been at sea for six weeks. He ordered a thorough search of the vessel. The crew searched the ship from stem to stern and found no one.

The captain was puzzled. The mate insisted he had seen a strange man writing the message on the slate. And, in his opinion, if on one on the ship had done it, then it was a message they could not ignore. After some discussion, the captain ordered the helmsman to steer to the northwest.

All hands were on deck as the ship began to sail on the new course. A sense of great eagerness, mixed with some uneasiness, in the air. The lookouts were doubled in the rigging. Everyone peered at the horizon for the first sight of … they knew not what!

For more than three hours the ship sailed on her course, ninety degrees off the old one. Suddenly, an iceberg was sighted. A few minutes later, the masthead lookout shouted that there appeared to be a ship near the berg, so close that it might be a wreck. The captain looked through his telescope, and saw that the ship was stuck fast in a field of ice around the berg. The masts were gone and the ship was sinking. He could also see people on board.

The rescue vessel approached as near as it could with safety. A lifeboat was lowered to pick up the passengers and crew of the ship in distress. It was later learned that the ship was bound for Quebec from Liverpool, and carrying many passengers. It had become stuck in the ice for some time and was in trouble. The passengers and crew had given up hope of rescue when the vessel appeared.

As the people left the sinking vessel, they were taken aboard the lifeboats and carried to the rescue ship. Brace was on the rescue ship watching the survivors come aboard. He almost fell off the deck with fright. One of the men coming aboard his ship was the same fellow he had seen writing on the slate at the captain’s table some hours before. The same figure, features and clothing, exactly.

Brace called the captain aside and told him about the man. The captain was skeptical, to say the least, but he was determined to get to the bottom of the extraordinary affair. The mysterious stranger was standing with the captain of the abandoned ship. As soon as the shipwrecked people were safely stowed away, the captain and mate of the rescue vessel approached the stranger, a little apprehensive as to what to expect. Both men thanked their rescuers for saving their lives.

The stranger appeared to be a normal human being, dispelling any fears of ghosts or spirits. The mystery deepened. Brace’s captain asked the stranger if he would come to his cabin. When they reached there, the captain said to the man, “Forgive this odd request, but please write something on this slate.”

“Willingly,” the stranger replied. “What would you like me to write?”

Without hesitation the captain said, “Write – sail by the northwest.”

The puzzled stranger did as he was requested. On the blank side of the captain’s slate he wrote sail by the northwest. The captain put the slate behind his back, turned it over and handed it back to the writer.

“Is this your writing?” he asked.

“Of course it is,” said the stranger, “you saw me write it.”

“Well, then,” said the captain, turning over the slate, “who wrote this?”

“Why I did, of course, just now,” the stranger replied. Then he realized that the same message, in his own handwriting, on both sides of the slate.

His first reaction was to became angry. He thought they were trying to make a fool of him. But he soon realized it was no laughing matter, especially after he had heard Brace’s story. Then the stranger remembered that he had fainted with exhaustion earlier in the day. On waking, he declared to the captain that they would be rescued soon.

When the captain questioned his statement, the stranger said that he had seen himself on board another ship that was coming to save them. He described the rescue vessel and the description fit the rescue ship exactly. Thus, the survivors could hardly believe their eyes when they saw the rescue ship approaching, and all believed that divine providence had a hand in snatching them from a watery grave.


Like everything else.