There were many fun things to do. There was fishing, swimming, outdoor and indoor games, eating fun foods and sitting around the camp fire listening to the stories the camp masters had to tell.
Wally and his family came once a year in October when the season was slower and not too crowded.
This year Wally & the Gang wanted to join in on the bigger kids events. They were now getting too old for the little kids games, they thought.
One of the highlights for the bigger kids was the ghost story telling hour. The stories were scarier they thought.
This years story was about the Ghost of Sleepy Hollow Park. Sleepy Hollow Park was right next door to Camp John's at the end of a winding trail they drove past to get to Camp John's.
Camp Master began the story by telling the location of the old oak tree the ghosts hid behind to scare their prey. " Now see" he said pointing a finger at the dirt trail. If you go down the path beyond the gates you can see the tree at the end. It's right at the entrance to the park.
Camp Master added, AND... if you go just before dark and not a minute too soon you can see the ghosts as plain as day, they say. He grinned. But, you better get out before it gets too dark because it is believed the ghosts will blow out your lights to scare you to death if you don't.
That's the legend I hear, he continued with a smile.
Let me ask two questions, Camp Master looked to the group of listeners. #1. Has anyone here ever caught a ghost? he asked. #2. Can they really scare you to death he continued. R raise your hand if you know the answer, he looked at each of the kids in the group.
Wally raised his hand to ask the Camp Master a question. I have never seen a ghost but I have a question Camp Master. Wally said, and with a very concerned look on his face.
Can a person catch a ghost? All the campers got very quite to listen to the Camp Masters answer.
Wally that is a great question, let me think Camp Master said putting his hand to his chin tapping his index finger with a puzzled look.
"NO! You can't catch a ghost stupid", said one of the other kids from the group. And yes, he said again, sticking his tongue out at wally they can scare you to death.
Tell him Camp Master. Yeah! tell him Camp Master, said another camper and added that's ridiculous no one can catch a ghost, they laughed and poked fun at Wally's question.
"Now, Now, boys. I have never seen a ghost so I really can't tell you. said the Camp Master. I have heard of some who have claimed too. I know if I saw a ghost myself I would probably be scared to death, he said.
The Camp Master went on with the story.
Wally nudged his friend with his elbow and whispered "let's do it". Huh, "let's do what"? asked the friend. Let's go and hunt some ghosts. I'm not afraid of any ghosts, Wally continued. Me neither said one of the other friends. Me neither too, said another.
Ok, then it's set. Get all your fishing nets and lights you can carry, Wally ordered. We are going on a ghost hunt. Be at the road one half hour before dark. We'll show them you can catch a ghost and we'll bring it back for them to see. They listened to the rest of Camp Masters story but was more excited about catching the ghost. Then off they went to get their ghost hunting gear.
It was right on the dot a half hour before dark and they were all at the road. Wally made a check list to make sure there was nothing forgotten, because if they had forgotten any thing it could be life or death if something was left out. They had everything they needed Wally confirmed and down the path they began.
While walking the trail each told their own stories and repeated those they had heard others tell of seeing ghosts. My mom said she saw a ghost once and it was my grandfather Kevin said. Mine too said Matt but I think it was my grandma. So, I don't think they hurt you because my mom said she wasn't afraid.. Yeah, and my mom is still alive Kevin popped in.
"We'll show them" Wally said waving his ghost catching net while going down the trail and looking like a ghost hunting leader.
Wally lead the way closer to the old oak tree. Then all of a sudden a faint howling sound was heard. Shhh. Wally said. Listen up, he ordered. What is that noise, did you hear that? he asked. They all stopped to listen.
It's old lady Barn's dog one of the boys said, he's probably chasing the ghosts he added.
No. No, Wally said. That is the sound of a ghost. I bet he is calling to the others to let them know we are near.
Heh, heh , he is? another boy asked.
Sure said Wally, but we are not afraid of them he said waiving his net higher.
Nope, we're not afraid of any ghosts! Let's keep going Kevin motioned while waving his ghost catching net too.
They all again started down the trail to the old oak tree. The howling sounds seemed to grow louder with every step they took. Let's all stay close together Wally told the gang.
Everyone moved closer together with each step forward.
"We're not afraid of any ghosts", Wally said. "We're not afraid of any ghosts" Wally repeated again. Then all the gang began to chant as they reached the old oak tree. "We're not afraid of any ghosts".
Shhh, Shhh, quiet Wally said. I think I hear something. Listen, Listen. Quiet, he repeated as they all came to a halt.
Do you hear that? he asked. Is that a ghost rattling his iron chains?
OK everyone spread out, Wally ordered. If it's a big one we'll all need to net him from all sides.
Of course Wally was the bravest of the whole gang and no one moved an inch from him.
OK, Let's stay together then. But remember we need to catch this ghost to show them we are not stupid. Wally reminded.
While they walked further and further into the park there were no signs of a ghost. Finally one of the gang said "C'mon Wally, let's go back. There isn't any ghost out here. We have walked the whole park.
Wally agreed they had reached the end of the park and there wasn't a ghost in sight. Wally and the Gang headed back to camp and made a rest stop at the old oak tree.
Ooooooooo, oooohhhhh, was heard. Then a gust of howling wind swooped the leaves all around and blew out the lantern.
Wally and the gang grabbed each other in fear. "It's the ghost". It's come to scare us to death, one cried. Then Wally whispered to everyone. Quiet, we have to be quiet. We don't want it to know we are afraid. Wally said with his eyes wide as an owls. On the count of three we all make a run for it, OK? Wally asked.
Just as Wally whispered the count of "one" a screeching, howling, scary sound surrounded them. The gang began to run.
Boooo it sounded. Then ordered them to all to STOP! If you don't, I will scare you to death. STOP! the voice threatened again.
Wally and the Gang came to a screeching halt holding on for dear life to one another.
STOP! the voice said again. Wally and the Gang stood very still. They looked around but could see nothing, Only the moving shadows of the moons light passing through the bare limbs of the old oak tree.
The howling winds came again and blew the tree limbs in such a way to wrap themselves around Wally and the Gang with a grip as if to trap them.
Then the voice announced again "Go home you trespassers or I'll scare you to death". Wally and the Gang were frozen stiff with fright.
It was then, a HUGE WHITE SHADOW appeared behind the old oak tree. "The Sleepy Hollow GHOST" Kevin shouted.
"I'm the GHOST of Sleepy Hollow Park" the ghost roared. You must close your eyes and count to "20" then you can leave, the ghost ordered.
On the count of 19 and 1/2 Wally and the Gang looked at each other, dropped their ghost catching gear and ran like they were qualifying for the olympics.
When they got back to the camp gate panting and as white as sheet as if they just seen a ghost The Camp Master appeared to be waiting for them. "Boy's" he asked where are you running to? Or... should I ask what are you running from he squinted his eyes and looked at each with an eerily grin.
Wally and the Gang was so out of breath they couldn't get a word out.
Or... were they so scared they couldn't speak?