Author Archive
Folk Beliefs
Myths
Narrative

The Friendly Wolf

This ghost story comes to me from my mother.  Interestingly, when asking her to tell the story, she kept insisting that it was not a ghost story.  Instead, she referred to it as a “strange occurrence.”  It was only until I referred to the events as a “strange occurrence” that she would tell me the story.  Her story goes as follows:

So, when I was little I was a Girl Scout.  And so we had… Our Girl Scout leader was Bryan.  He was a friend of my parents, and they had known him quite a while.  And so he brought us on this camping trip.  And by us, I mean my whole Girl Scout troop.  So, we took a car and drove out to this campground.  That night, he thought it would be fun to tell stories and so he started with a story that he said had happened to him.

So he was also a Boy Scout leader.  And he took a bunch of Boy Scouts camping.  And they went to the wood.  So, they set up camp and did their normal Boy Scout thing.  So, then one of the kids decided that he wanted to go fishing, so they got up all the fishing equipment and went to the lake.  While they were fishing, one of the boys looked up and suddenly they had this wolf walk up to all of them.  And they were scared to death of him.  But the wolf didn’t seem to be afraid of them.

So, Bryan he ended up becoming friends with this wolf for the few days that they were camping.  And the wolf would follow him around wherever he went.  What was strange was the feeling that he got with this wolf.  It was almost as if he knew the wolf, like he was a family member or something.  They kinda seemed to understand each other on… like… a different level.  Like, it was as if the spirit of someone close to him was in the wolf.  So, anyway, then he had to say goodbye to this wolf when they were leaving the campgrounds.  And he said goodbye to the wolf, and the wolf howled at him. And he thought, “Ok, whenever I hear a wolf howl, I will think of you. “

So, he went back home.  And he figured the wolf was old, and so it probably died pretty soon after that encounter.  So, he told us that whenever he goes camping, he always keeps his ear out for something, or to hear something howl.  Or like, a star to shoot across the sky.  Because whenever he hears a howl or something to shoot by, like a shooting star, he knows that the wolf’s spirit is nearby.

And just in that moment, when he finished telling all of us Girl Scouts the story, we looked up to the sky, and heard a howl and saw a shooting star go by. And he goes, “See there he is again.  The wolf.  He shows up when you least expect it.”

Analysis:

My mother, while telling this story, made it seem as spooky as possible by taking pauses and speaking in a hushed tone.  Additionally, because it was nighttime, and she was telling me this story in a parked car, the atmosphere was quite creepy.  I wasn’t able to tell if she really believed the story, or if she believed in the spirit of a wolf haunting her Scout Master, but the way she told the story seemed to imply that it could have all been true.

This story is a favorite of my mothers, and she has told this story to me on many occasions.  One time while camping, she had my father clued in to the story, so at the very end of it, he (hidden in the bushes) howled like a wolf.  This was in order to fake the idea that the story was true, and convince me and my brother of its validity.  My mother claims “I guess I told the story partly to scare you, but mostly just to entertain you.”  While I do agree with this, I feel this story, on a deeper level, is there to teach about humanity’s connection to nature.  It implies that mankind has a duty to respect animals, and even shares some Native American influence in the way it suggests that a deceased soul can go into the body of an animal.  It is also there to, similar to the purpose of a myth, explain some phenomenon in nature (e.g. shooting stars and wolf howls) using a spiritual explanation rather than a scientific one.  It could also be argued that this story is there to suggest that if a person is nice to nature, nature will be nice back.  Whatever the purpose, it is a thought-provoking story, and will most likely continue to be told to me again and again, year in and year out.

Folk Beliefs
Narrative

Campsite Photography

This story was told to me in the middle of the day in a large crowded area.  I mention this because, when giving the proceeding interview, my informant was skeptical that what happened was the work of ghosts.  Part of this is probably due to our bright, highly populated environment.

Q: So, who told you this story?

A: A teacher back from my middle school told our class this story.  I don’t really believe that it’s a ghost story, but it is definitely pretty creepy.

Q: Okay, so tell me what happened.

A: So, one summer day my teacher went camping.  She was with her friend.  They basically went because they wanted to go hiking.  It was just the two of them, and throughout the day, they were taking pictures of the scenery and each other, and each other in the scenery.  That night, they pitched their tents, and they went to sleep.  They slept fine, and then in the morning, they continued on their trip.  When the trip was all over, they went to Walgreens to develop their film.  Upon receiving their developed pictures, they found pictures of themselves sleeping in their tent.  What they figured was that this was the act of ghosts.

Q: Where was the camp site?

A: I mean it was camping.  Like it was away from everyone.  I really don’t see how anyone could have gotten to them.  I mean, best case scenario, some really creepy guy just wanted to fuck with them, so he somehow found their site, which was out in the middle of nowhere, and took a picture of them, and then rearranged everything perfectly so it looked like nobody had been there.  But like, that is the BEST case scenario.  The only other option was that there were some creepy forces at work.

Q: Was the camera out of place in the morning?

A: The thing was, it was like a perfect trip.  Like, they had a fantastic time.  (Laughs) And I know that really doesn’t make for good narrative structure, but like, everything seemed perfectly normal.  It was only after they had the pictures developed that they were like “What the fuck!?”

Q: How soon after the event did they get the pictures developed?

A: They really almost forgot about the camera.  It was like two months later, they found the camera and were like “We never got this developed.  We should do that.”  And then they found the pictures.

Analysis:

            The story itself is a memorate, in the sense that the explanation surrounding this strange occurrence is dictated by societal beliefs.  Specifically, it is societies acceptance of ghosts that dictated the teacher’s belief that it was ghosts that took the pictures.  If the teacher’s peers and social groups believed in Leprechauns, it is very possible that she would explain the strangeness of this event with that explanation.

The story is actually very intriguing, as there doesn’t seem to be any greater message or purpose, other than to scare the listener.  The haunting does not seem to result from any fault of the main characters, or strange events surrounding their campsite, it is simply a single strange occurrence.  The fact that it lacks any supernatural events (such as odd noises or ethereal beings) surrounding the creepy photographs does seem to add to the creepiness of the story.  Overall, this memorate is actually quite terrifying, and will make me think twice before bringing a camera on my next camping trip.

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