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Closing for campfire
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Select your story and
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... Rap ... Rap As told by Richard and Judy Dockery Young
Shylock Bones was the greatest
ghost detective of them all. There wasn't ever a mystery about a ghost that he
couldn't solve-including this one. One fine day a lady came into Shylock
Bones's office and said, "Help me, Mr. Bones, I am afraid my house is haunted."
Shylock Bones got out his big
plaid hat and his big rubber boots and his big magnifying glass that made
things look bigger, and off they went to the lady's house in the spookiest part
of town. They went inside, and the lady said, "Listen!"
Shylock Bones listened. He heard
something very far away in the big old house going,
"Rap ... rap ... rap!"
Shylock frowned and said, "it may be a ghost, Ma'am. Never fear, my dear,
Shylock Bones is here." And he went to work.
Shylock Bones searched the basement.
"Rap ... rap ... rap!" he heard in the distance. He searched the
first floor. "Rap ... rap ... rap!" It was a little louder. He went
"Rap ... rap ... rap!"
He searched all the bedrooms and looked under all the beds. He searched the
bathroom and tried to look under the bathtub. He searched all the closets and
looked inside all the shoes.
"Rap ... rap ... rap!"
It sounded a little bit louder. He searched all the drawers and shook out all
the pajamas and looked inside the toy chest. Then he turned to the lady, who
had been fol- lowing him. "Let's search the attic," he said.
They went out in the hall. They
heard, "Rap ... rap ... rap!" It sounded louder than downstairs. The
lady pulled on a rope and the ladder to the attic came down from the ceiling.
"Rap ... rap... rap!"
It was definitely louder. They climbed up into the attic. Shylock got out his
flashlight and his magnifying glass. He looked through his magnifying glass.
Everything looked bigger, but that didn't help any.
"Rap ... rap ... rap!"
It sounded nearby. They started searching the attic. They searched in the
trunks and they searched in the old boxes. They searched in the old birdcage
and they searched in the pickle barrel. Shylock Bones didn't ask why there was
a pickle barrel in her attic.
"Rap ... rap ... rap!"
They were getting closer. Shylock shined his flashlight on an old
"Rap ... Rap ... Rap!"
He opened the top drawer. Nothing.
"Rap ... Rap ... RAP!"
He opened the second drawer. Nothing!
"Rap ... RAP ... RAP!"
He opened the third drawer. Still nothing!"
"RAP ... RAP ..
RAP!" He opened the bottom drawer. And there it was! A sheet of
Stop the Coughin’ As told by Richard and Judy Dockery Young
Once upon a time, a long time
ago, there was a country boy who went to town to see the sights. He didn't have
much money, so he couldn't stay in a hotel. He decided to sleep where no one
would bother him: he went to sleep in the cemetery.
In the middle of the night, he
woke up when something bumped him on the foot. He looked up, and there was a
shiny rosewood coffin. He got up and moved. The coffin moved, too. He moved a
little further. The coffin moved a little further. He got up and started to
run. The coffin floated up into the air and started to follow him.
He ran out the gate of the
graveyard. The coffin followed him. He ran across the flower
trampling the flowers. The coffin came, too. He ran through the poultry yard
and scared all the chickens. The coffin scared them, too.
He ran through the park and
knocked over a picnic table. The coffin knocked one over, too. He ran through
the stable and scared all the horses. The coffin scared the horses, too.
He ran through the grocery store
and pushed over the cracker barrel. The coffin pushed one over, too.
He jumped through the back
window and broke the window out. The coffin broke a window out, too.
He ran into the drug store and
there it all ended.
He opened a box and ate some
cough drops ... and stopped the coughin'.
The Indian Chief’s Wait
As told by Doc Forgey
There is a legend about a great
Cherokee Indian Chief who lived many years ago in what is now called the Great
Smokey Mountains. He had led his people wisely for many years, through many
troubled times, and then finally in a time of great plenty. But he was growing
old and knew that it would soon be time to find his replacement as War Chief
over all of the Cherokee.
He had a nephew named Failing
Rock who had found great favor with him. The young man was clever, he was
strong and skilled, perhaps as important, he was kind and considerate. But he
was an unproven brave who had never been tested in battle, he had no
credentials that would allow the chief to place him above any of the other
young warriors without drawing criticism that he was simply choosing his
The old chief decided he would
design a test for all of the warriors. He knew that his nephew would try hard
to win the War Chief position and that he would probably have the best chance
of anyone, if a fair test could be arranged.
He meditated long and hard about
what sort of test he should conduct. He wanted it to test all of the skill,
stamina, drive, and ability of each of the warriors volunteering for it.
Finally, he decided upon a plan.
He assembled all of the warriors
one spring day on a bluff looking out over the mountains stretching towards the
west. With his back to the west, he addressed the assembled warriors: "You
braves are among the best that our nation has ever reared. From among your
number your next War Chief will be chosen. Who it will be is up to you, for I
am challenging you to a test."
"This test has no end, but
each of you must decide when you have had enough. It will require all of your
skills. Perhaps you will learn many things and see much during your test. What
I command for you to do is to travel west, beyond the distance that any of us
has ever gone. See what wonders there are and bring us back a totem so that we
may see how far you have gone. He who can go the furthest and who can return,
he shall I name the War Chief of the Cherokee."
The braves painted themselves as
if for a war party, took their hunting equipment, and each left on his separate
way - towards the unknown west.
Several months passed and the
first of the braves started returning. Thes braves brought leaves from western
Tennessee and tales of encounters with their neighboring tribes. Finally a
brave came back with the skin of a channel catfish and the story of having seen
a great river, the Mississippi. But the old chief sat b the ed-e of the bluff,
watching with great expectation for his nephew.
Fall turned to winter and
another of the great braves returned. He brought the skin of an animal they had
never seen, a prairie dog, and told tales of grass lands that stretched as far
as the eyes could see. He had many adventures with tribes along the way and had
survived by his great skill and cunning. The members of the tribe thought that
surely the chief would pick him as his replacement. But still the old chief sat
by the edge of the bluff, watching for his nephew.
Winter came with a fury and the
tribe worried about the old chief’s health. He sat bundled in heavy robes,
staring into the drifting snow clouds, watching always for his nephew.
Out of a storm one day a figure
approached. It was another of the braves who had stories to tell of another and
greater mountain range to the west. that which we now call the Rocky Mountains.
He had stories of tremendous numbers of beaver in the streams, of magnificent
elk, and he brought back the teeth of a grizzly bear.
Surely no one could go further
than that! The tribe expected this
brave to be named Way Chief. But the old chief refused to give up his hope. He
continued to sit by the bluff's edge, watching for his nephew.
An entire summer passed and the
tribe grew impatient. They wanted the failing chief to pass this title on to a
younger and more powerful warrior. Had not one such warrior distinguished
himself far beyond the others and lived to tell the tales of great and distant
lands? But the chief was steadfast in his hope for his nephew's return, so he
watched from the bluff for a distant glimmer of his homecoming.
The tribe would have said more,
but the old chief was dearly loved, and they did not want to disturb him in his
sorrow. Finally even he had to admit that his nephew may have been killed or
otherwise prevented from returning to them. He named the last of the returning
warriors as the new War Chief, but he vowed to keep up the vigil on the bluff,
watching for his nephew -- never entirely giving up hope.
The old chief’s health failed
during the following winter. As he lay dying, the members of his tribe drew
around him, mournful because of his condition.
The new War Chief cradled him in his arms. With his dying breath, the
old chief asked for a last request, that the tribe swear him an oath. The new
War Chief, speaking for the entire tribe, made his vow.
The old chief made them swear
that from that day on they should keep a vigil. watching for his nephew. The
War Chief and the people, in respect for this great chief whom they loved so
much. swore that they would.
And that is the reason, that to
this very day, as one drives through the Great Smokey Mountains, one sees signs
everywhere reminding us all to "Watch for Failing Rock."
The Story of La Cucaracha Mine
As told by Doc Forgey
Not so many years ago there was
a group of young men, a little older than you boys, who were in college. They
developed a hobby, and that hobby was to try and find buried treasure. They
felt that the best way of doing that was to learn Spanish. Not regular Spanish,
but the old Spanish, the Spanish spoken by the conquistadores. These
ancient soldiers had captured the Indians of Central America -- the Inca, the
Mayan, the Aztec. Stealing their gold and other treasures, they would bring it
back to Spain in their galleons. They kept meticulous records because this gold
was the property of the king. The instant they laid their hands on it, it was
considered the king's property. So they kept very good track of it -- their
lives were forfeit were they to lose their accounting of these treasures.
In Spain at the Alhambra, the old
royal castle where these records were sent, there are piles of ancient
documents which are old records of the gold shipments. The boys felt that
within those archives there could be some secret that might let them find a
lost treasure. Indeed they studied these records carefully. They went over
there during the summer and spent weeks and weeks poring over all sorts
of these ancient journals. They had explained to the officials that they were
there for academic purposes and therefore they were allowed access to the
archives to help their studies.
One summer they found it. There
was a record of a mine, a very rich mine, located in a province that today is
in southern Mexico. The Spaniards were running it with Indian slave labor and
getting tremendous quantities of gold. Year after year the gold was being
shipped back to Spain, when suddenly ... it stopped!
Something mysterious had
happened. There was no more gold from this area.
Several things could have
happened. The Indians could have mutinied and actually killed off the guards.
But if that were to have happened, the Spaniards would have sent more guards
and an army detail to restore order, for this was a very wealthy mine. So that
could not have been it. A disease could have struck killing off everyone in
that area. But again, with that much value to this mine, surely the mine would
have been reopened regardless
Something mysterious had
happened to have caused this whole operation to have just closed down. The name
given to the mine was: "La Cucaracha".
The three young friends took all
of the money that they had and formed an expedition to go down deep into the
jungles of lower Mexico. They had an approximate location from the old Spanish
name of the district, and so they went to find La Cucaracha.
They went to small towns in the
highlands on the jungle edge to see if they could get any clue about where some
mysterious things may have occurred. In one town there was a bar with an old
man there -- he did not know anything about La Cucaracha, but he said:
"You know, there is an Indian legend about a mine called, La Antigua, in
the back country. It means "The Old One. "
That was the closest of anything
they had come upon, the only thing that they had to go with, it certainly
sounded mysterious. Maybe the Indians had a different name for the mine than
the Spanish Conquistadores. They asked the old man to take them to La
Antigua and they headed off into the jungles on their quest.
They cut their way through the
thick underbrush, SLASHING their way through the foliage, and finally after
they had gotten way out in the jungles they found a mysterious shaft. This
shaft HAD to be man made. It was cut out of solid rock, a shaft that just
disappeared into the depths of the bedrock of the earth.
They had to find out what was at
the bottom of this pit. They dropped a rock down it ... they could hear
nothing. So they rigged up a wench, and one of the guys climbed into a
parachute harness. The Indians working with his two friends would lower him
into the shaft.
He had a head light on. Soon he
was below the surface of the ground and the darkness of the musty pit closed in
around him. As he was being lowered further and further into the shaft, the
rope started to slowly spin around. He slowly twirled around and around as he
went down deeper and deeper. Pretty soon he could see no light from the top of
the shaft at all. There was just a tiny light way up above as he was being
lowered into that shaft.
As he was being lowered deeper
and deeper, he noticed that the walls were turning a rusty brown color. As he
went further down he thought that maybe he could see the bottom of this mine
shaft. But he was spinning faster and faster, too fast to clearly make out what
He needed to slow down, so he
reached his leg way out to touch the wall of the mine shaft to stop the rapid
spinning. As he did this, while
spinning around, his foot literally gouged into the wall of the shaft --
suddenly he realized what that rust color was. Thousands, millions of
cockroaches had climbed up the side of the shaft -- indeed as he looked further
down he could see that the bottom of the shaft -- the place to which he was being
lowered -- was a teeming mass of cockroaches. He was being lowered to his
death, he was about to be buried alive by cockroaches!
AAAUUUGGGHHH! He shouted as loud
as he could, hoping his friends would hear him and stop lowering him into that
ocean of writhing insects.
His foot had dislodged the
cockroaches on the walls and millions came cascading down, some falling,
thousands flying. A suffocating mass of whirling wings. Trying to get his
breath for a second scream he choked on a mouth full of the vile insects. They
were in his ears, in his nose. his throat gagged with wriggling, struggling
insects. He was suffocating, he was gagging
- trying to scream and vomit at the same time.
He had learned the dread secret
of La Cucaracha mine. And now
was coming closer to the bottom of this pit -- closer to being buried alive in
a mountain of cockroaches. All light from his helmet obscured by the massive
number of insects, he knew he was closer and closer to the bottom of the shaft.
THOUSANDS, AND THOUSANDS OF THE ROACHES POUNDED HIM. ON ALL SIDES. HE COULDN'T
GET HIS BREATH. BUT HE HAD TO BREATHE! Desperately he struggled for air.
They were down his shirt,
swarming around his head, thousands, and thousands of them.
HELP!!!! His screams were
muffled by the millions of whirling cockroaches. He shouted again, and he
shouted again -desperate for help amongst this nightmare of cockroaches.
Cascading cockroaches were burying him alive!
Suddenly ... he jerked to a
He felt himself being raised,
raised as rapidly as he knew his friends could. Once on the surface, he lay
gagging and choking - trying to breath. His friends on the surface had realized
something was wrong. Thousands of cockroaches suddenly began swarming out of
the entrance to the shaft, and when they saw that they stopped lowering him and
immediately tried to get their friend out of there. They now all knew the
secret of La Cucaracha!
Subsequently the village people
made certain that the shaft was boarded up so that never again would somebody
be lowered into the sprawling mass of insects that had taken over La
The Lost Hunter
As told by Doc Forgey
The Adirondacks has many
beautiful places to camp. It is an old, and in many places a wild area. There
have been many stories that have come from the Adirondack Mountains. This
particular story, told in the Pennsylvania region, is a story of a lost hunter.
One weekend a group of guys went
hunting, back into the remote hills of the Adirondacks. In that country there
are plenty of deer and they all hoped one of them would be lucky enough to get
one for their families. It was a very cold day, one threatening to snow. They
had permission to use a cabin from its owner, so they felt they would be safe
in case of a storm.
At about the time that they
arrived at the cabin, a very light snow had, indeed, already begun to fall. The
one essential thing was to be able to keep warm in that cabin. They opened the
door and found that everything was intact, no damage had been done. The cabin had a nice Franklin stove to one
side of the room which looked sturdy and which should maintain a good, warm
glow throughout the night.
There was one problem which they
now discovered. There was no firewood where the wood pile should have been
located. The previous occupant of the building had failed to cut firewood and
replace what he had burned. There was not a stick to be found. Obviously they
were going to have to get out in the few remaining moments of day light and
gather some wood real fast. Darkness was coming as well as the possibility of
an approaching storm. With snow clouds formed overhead, darkness would indeed
They scattered out around the
cabin, each man trying to find some wood. If a cabin has been built for any
length of time, generally it means that all of the readily available wood
suitable for burning in that area has been used. All of the easily gathered
wood has been picked up or pulled off of trees already. One has to then go further
and further away to get a firewood supply. Ana that was just the case for these
men. There was no wood that they could use right near the cabin and they had to
spread out further and further to rind the wood that they so desperately
There was one man. John Butler,
who did wander and wander. He strayed down into a little valley ravine where he
hoped to find downed squaw wood to burn. The tricky part about wandering in an
area which is cut up into ravines, ridges, and valleys is that you may feel you
know where you are, but by climbing over a ridge into a wrong, ravine you can
easily be lead into a maze of wrong ridges and your directions can easily
become very twisted and confusing. You can end up not heading in the direction
that vou thought you were going. This, indeed, proved to be the fate of John
Butler. For on this cold. stormy evening he disappeared into the night.
The snow was cascading down
worse and worse. The darkness settled in, which combined with the swirling
snow, made visibility virtually zero. His friends returned back to the cabin
fairly soon for they realized how dangerous it was to be out at night in a snow
storm, especially in territory that they really weren't familiar with. But John
Butler had been caught, extending himself out too far, and was trapped in a
swirling snow storm in the Adirondacks in Pennsylvania.
His friends were really quite
concerned about him. They waited impatiently for him to appear. When he didn't
return after about 2 hours, they fell they would have to get out there and look
for him. It would take too long to get into town, the road may not be passable,
and his tracks would certainly disappear if they waited much longer. The
temperature was dropping and John could be getting into trouble, maybe he was
They took the lanterns that they
had brought and placed kerosene lights in the cabin's two windows. They tried
to follow what they thought might be his trail, each person trying to determine
who had made the marks that they were following, trying to determine if they
were following the trail of the lost hunter.
It became quite apparent after
struggling in a fiercer and fiercer blizzard that it would be absolutely
impossible to find him that night. The trails were becoming rapidly obscured.
The weather was so bad, that the best they could do was to return to the cabin
and try to survive the storm themselves. They had only found a few scraps of
wood, so they didn't have a very pleasant night of it. But huddled there
together. listening to the gale winds tearing at the cabin and the trees
groaning outside, they feared for their friend's life.
When morning came, the snow
continued. Two of the men took their 4-wheel drive vehicle and drove into town
to get the sheriff who alerted the local Search and Rescue team. The rescue
team soon congregated at the cabin site deep in the woods. They had brought
their tracking dogs, food. clothing. and heaters to establish a base camp for
the search operation .
They struck out looking for him.
The dogs proved useless in the confusion of tracks and the blowing snow drifts.
The search drug on for days. Ridges were combed. Valleys and ravines were
checked. They gave up all hope of finding him alive. Indeed, when a person is
lost in a driving snow storm, frequently their body will be covered so well
that it might not be found until after the Spring thaw.
But the story of John Butler
does not end there. While this area is very remote, it is still active with
camping and hiking. A scout camp was located only thirty miles away and the
Appalachian trail passes through a neighboring section of land. The next fall a
group of scouts reported an unusual occurrence.
Members of Troop 91 from
Colfield had left the scout camp 3 days before on a fifty mile hike. The evening
of their third day, three members of the troop were sleeping somewhat apart
from the others, but near the cooking fire embers left over from supper. Harold
Johnson, a Patrol Leader, was asleep in the area that had been the wood pile.
Had been, I said, because all of the fire wood had been consumed cooking supper
and for general warmth and campfire fun afterward. After hiking all day one
tends to be tired, very tired. Yet, in the middle of the night John sensed
something wrong and he just popped awake...
And he wished that he hadn't!
Standing next to him he saw a
man, and the man was holding an axe! In fact, it appeared to be his troop's
axe. John broke out in a cold sweat, his eyes barely open, peeking at what the
man was going to do next.
Suddenly the man moved, WHAM!
QUICK AS A FLASH THE AXE SLAMMED INTO THE TREE NEAR HIS HEAD!
John opened his eyes wide in
terror ... but the man was gone!
He bolted up out of his sleeping
bag, paying no attention to the night's chill. He virtually landed on his two
friends nearby, shaking them awake, telling them what he had seen. They fumbled
for their flashlights and shined them around looking for any trace of the man
John had just seen.
They did not see the man, but
what they did see was a stack of firewood, left where they had laid their axe
that night! Needless to say, the entire troop was awake within about 3 minutes
with the guys looking for clues of this missing man. He vanished without a
trace, no foot prints, nothing. Nothing but the stack of firewood and their axe
stuck in the tree.
As the years went on. the
stories of encounters with the Lost Hunter kept spreading out. The sightings
started happening further and further away from the lonely cabin. People in
nearby states started telling a story of a mysterious man visiting their
campsite, of their finding firewood where none had been the night before.
It seemed that the ghost of this
lost hunter was prowling around, just waiting, looking to find somebody who was
impolite enough not to chop firewood to leave for people who might come
afterwards, or perhaps lazy enough not to chop enough to have some there for
emergencies -- or for people who had burned all of theirs up and did not have
any left in case the weather became bad or some problem developed. It became
real important to everyone in that area to remember one of the basic courtesies
and rules of camping -- to plan ahead, to make sure that there was firewood
available and to make sure that the campsite was left in better shape than when
they first found it.
If you are out camping and the
weather is bad, particularly as a snow storm swirls in, be sure that you have
plenty of fire- wood. both for yourself or for others that might follow you.
Campers who do not obtain enough firewood are apt to have a visit in the middle
of the night from the Lost Hunter!
In a fashion unbecoming to a man
in his position, Governor Mason of
Michigan marched his troops upon Toledo, where they robbed melon patches and
chicken coops, and kicked in the door of the house belonging to Major Stickney,
whom they spirited away as prisoner of war. This proved to be a mistake, since
Stickney's wife pursued the Michigan force back across the border, catching up
with them at a ford of the Raisin River, where she delivered the Governor in
the presence of his troops' a tongue-lashing which he would still remember
wincingly in his old age.
The prisoner of war was
returned. But Mrs. Stickney refused to budge until the Governor had paid her
$27.13 in compensation to the people of Toledo for melons stolen and
Hearing of the skirmish, Governor Lucas of Ohio called out his own
troops, crossed the border at Toledo and ransacked the whiskey still of
Temperance, taking as prisoner Colonel Vinton, a doddering veteran of the
Revolution. There was nothing doddering about Mrs. Vinton, however, who
followed the Governor back into Ohio and, not content to deliver a
tongue-lashing, crept upon him in the night and stabbed him in the thigh with a
That, for all practical
purposes, ended the war. Ambassadors duly arrived from Washington to negotiate
matters. Both governors were anxious to avoid future raids, with or without
prisoners of war. Land was swapped between Michigan and Ohio, entire creek beds
and villages changed statehood overnight.
In three days the new border was
drawn straight as a prairie railroad track, and the troops retired to their
farms, the ambassadors to Washington. Afterward Mrs. Vinton hugged Mrs.
Stickney, advising her to use a paring knife next time, because it saves