Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

WANAfriday. Childhood Memory: Scary, Scary Campfire Stories

WANAfriday: Share an early childhood memory, or a photo that brings back a memory of childhood or family.

In my childhood, large family gatherings were common.

Many evenings, my aunts and uncles gathered round the big kitchen table drinking coffee and talking about the events of the day, the weather, and the crops.

The aunts and uncles gathered frequently in the evening for coffee and news.

The aunts and uncles gathered frequently in the evening for coffee and news.

We cousins ran around outside in the twilight swatting mosquitos and catching fireflies to make lanterns for our bedrooms. Mom’s Mason canning jars, especially the green tinted ones, made the best lanterns.

Photo credit: girlsguideto.com

Photo credit: girlsguideto.com

Sometimes we sat outside on the big lawn in a big circle just talking. Sometimes we even had a campfire. One of the bigger kids invariably started telling scary stories, complete with stormy sound effects and long drawn out details. Here is an abbreviated version of one classic night-time summer tale:

It’s a dark and stormy night, and Bubba and Sarah Lee sneek away from their friends in his new black convertible to go sparking out on the woodsy bluff. In the midst of their tryst, they hear a faint scratching on the passenger door. Then the scratching gets louder. Scratch, SCRATCH.  And LOUDER.  SCRAA-AAATCH.

Then… thump, thump, thump.  The door rattles. A deep, snorting chuggle fills the air.

Bubba, remembering tales of terrors in these parts and fearing the worst, puts the car in reverse and blasts out of the woods, the romantic interlude forgotten in the terror of the moment.

When Bubba and Sarah Lee get back to her house, Bubba goes around the car to open the passenger door for Sarah Lee,       and………he……….sees……..   [deathly silence]




Was it the famed Jersey Devil?  Who knows. But this story has been told and retold at many a campfire.

It was all too real to us little ones because we knew that the Jersey Devil did live in the woods of South Jersey, not that far from our home.

The Last Meow

Ha. You think that’s a scary story. You want to hear about the night I met the Jersey Devil on a moon-less night in the dark woods and chased him out of town? That Jersey Devil was so scared that he never came back again. So much for him, the big lummox. I never got much thanks from any humans for saving them from terror either. Oh well, what can you expect from those superstitious scaredy-cat humans. They probably think THEY chased the Jersey Devil away. Humph.

Gordon College 5-16-2013 040

Meow for now. =<*!*>=

Here are a few more WANAfriday childhood memories:

P.S. Did you ever hear that scary story when you were a kid?   What scary stories did you hear at camp?

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8 thoughts on “WANAfriday. Childhood Memory: Scary, Scary Campfire Stories

  1. Pingback: When I was very young… | Liv Rancourt

  2. I can SO remember doing that – sitting around in the dark trying to freak each other out with stories. I remember chasing fireflies, too. It’s one of the biggest downers to living in Seattle. No fireflies here, so my kids have never chased them.

    • Poor fireflies. How many were brutalized in the name of childhood play. Alas, we do not seem to have fireflies in this area, and its only 30 minutes away from where I grew up.

  3. No fireflies here either – I would LOVE to make a firefly lantern! That photo of your aunts and uncles is awesome – it looks like they sat down and posed especially for your blog post. 🙂

  4. My aunts and uncles were all characters. Really great people. This picture must be 50 years old.

  5. I’ve never caught a firefly either. But I HAVE heard that “clawed hand on the door handle” story! That really was scary. Still is, actually…

  6. Great memory! I loved climbing trees as a kid and would often climb into the giant oak tree in my backyard and read books, while spying on people through the cover of the leaves 🙂

  7. I loved scaring people with ghost stories, didn’t even need a campfire, a dark room worked just as well.
    I remember, “Mary I’m on the first step–Mary I’m on the second step—Mary I’m here. MANIACAL LAUGHTER followed by screams.
    Thoughts from almost forgotten youth.


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