Did you hear the one about?

May 26, 2017 Off By ProAdventure

You’re grouped with friends around a campfire in the woods on a dark and moonless night. You’ve pitched the tents, lit the fire, cooked the food (all with your camping equipment from ProAdventure) and settled down to an evening of talk, singing and general campfire camaraderie.

It’s as inevitable as a Hollywood movie that you begin taking turns telling stories. Somebody recounts a particularly eerie tale about a ghostly encounter, insisting it was true. Then someone around the flickering flames coughs slightly and begins to speak: “Did you hear the one about. . . ”

When pitching a tent or rolling out a sleeping bag under the stars, few things on earth are as wonderful as taking yourself off to the woods or the beach for a few nights surrounded by natural beauty. One of the very best things about camping is the campfire. On chilly nights, it keeps you warm. On warm nights, it helps to keep the mosquitoes and other unwelcome wildlife away.

The campfire also serves as a gathering point for your group where storytelling and/or live music of some kind are central to the overnight experience. Scary stories are also traditional but any yarn from nostalgic remembrances to tall tales will do the trick.

Like this one.

“In the 1990s I was living in a two bedroom flat with my mum; I was in third grade at the time. I remember the built-in cupboard in my room being a little odd; it had sliding doors and an elevated bottom about 2-3 feet higher than the floor. Being the messy kid I was, the doors were always open and clothes and stuff were lying about everywhere.

“One night, I remember randomly waking up. I couldn’t explain why, but something just felt really off. I sat up in my bed and looked around my room. Sitting in my cupboard was my mum. She just sat there perfectly still in her nightclothes, straight-backed with her hands on her knees, and she was staring right at me. I called to her a few times, but she never moved and never acknowledged that I had even spoken to her. After a while I gave up and just lay back down to go to sleep – it was my mum so I didn’t feel threatened or anything.

“The next morning over breakfast I asked mum why she was sitting in my cupboard last night. Mum looked at me like I had lost my mind and asked me why would she sit in my cupboard and that she hadn’t left her room all night. My mum isn’t much for fibbing or playing pranks so I believed her and it really freaked me out. I never left those cupboard doors open again.”

Most ‘campfire stories’ have much in common with the plot lines of modern horror movies, but there is a difference. Typically, slasher film villains exhibit supernatural traits such as inhuman strength and seem to be un-killable, while the hook-handed madmen and crazed axe murderers of urban legend are only slightly exaggerated versions of the real-life serial killers we read about in news media. It’s these guys that that make for really, creepy tales.

So, if you have a pertinent story that can really cause the body hairs to stand on end, then poke the embers in the campfire, pause a moment, and speak up.

“I grew up in a family of adventurers and was always into the outdoors either hiking, camping, rock climbing and the like. One summer when I was 19, in the mid-1980s, I went on a four day, three night camping trip near my parents’ house on my own, just to chill out for a few days. It might sound weird but I had been to this area many times and it was quite safe. It was off the beaten track but very picturesque and I pitched up in a clearing near a running stream; a place I had done so many times before. Anyway, I brought my camera and took lots of pictures. When I came back and developed my film, there were three extra pictures that I didn’t take.

“Photos of me. Sleeping. One on each night.

None of my stuff was missing or stolen and nothing happened, but it freaked me out so much I’ve never been back.”

Remember, ProAdventure stock all manner of outdoor equipment for the adventurous from Tentipi tents to firestarters, from camping foods to clothing. And Gransfors Bruk axes. In fact, everything required for an enjoyable evening around the campfire.