Author Archives: Jacob Leder


My best friend and I went to the same sleepover camp for eleven years. He recently reminded me of this story.

One year when we were very young, probably around nine or ten, our councilor decided that he would tell us a scary story. My friend and I sat on the floor in front of my councilors bed and he told us the story of Richie.

The camp was founded in 1964. A once calm and quite lake, where families could escape for a month or two from the city had now become the home of two-hundred, loud and rowdy kids. For the most part none of the families on the lake had a problem with this, and in fact sent their kids to the camp eventually. Other cottagers hated the camp and would try to vandalize it at night in order to scare the campers and staff off. One man in particular, named Bernard Richie Ludwig, did not like the idea of the camp. He did not like the free range that these kids had, and the interactions that the boys and girls had with each other, and made these views vocal on more than one occasion to the camp’s owners. The thing that really bothered Richie though was the camp’s activity on the lake.

See, Richie’s cottage sat on the lake right where the camps ski boats liked to drive their course. This meant that from ten in the morning till five at night boats were constantly speeding by his cottage, being loud and creating rough waters. This angered Ritchie; the constant traffic was ruining one of his previously favorite activates with his son, swimming.

One day, despite the constant boating, Richie and his son went swimming. The staff member driving the boat that day wasn’t paying attention to the water and only after he heard a blood-curdling scream did he realize he had hit Richie and his son. Richie’s son died on impact, Richie did not. Instead his leg got caught in the motor and was horribly mangled. Richie’s wife ran out of their cottage to see the boat driver carrying the bloodied Richie into the house, and her son’s dead body on the dock.

In the weeks to follow the staff member was let go and dealt with by the authorities. Richie refused medical attention, claiming he was so upset he would rather die. This deeply upset his wife and their other son. Slowly Richie’s leg began to gangrene, and he started going mad. He would stay up all night hollering at nothing and shouting curses at himself, the boat driver, god and the camp. Soon his entire leg was rotted with gangrene and Richie had become insane. His wife told him that she and the other son were leaving because they couldn’t watch him like this anymore. Then, for the first time in two months Richie stood up off the couch. He walked over to his wife, his gangrene leg immobile. He would take a step with his good foot and then drag his second one to catch up with the first. Slowly he made his way over to his wife. Thud, drag, thud, drag. He said to her quietly that he loves her and that she can’t leave. She took a step away from him but he grabbed onto her. She struggled, and hit him in the face. He held on tighter. Then she kicked him in his infected leg and he let go screaming in pain. She tried to get away, but he chased after her with a thud and a drag and pinned her to the ground. He strangled his wife, and then killed his other son. Richie then killed himself, but only after writing a note that read “I will not rest until I get even.”

For forty years after that, kids would recount events to each other where they woke up in the middle of the night to someone walking in the cabin with a thud and a drag. The thud and drag would stop next to their bed and they would smell something rotten, then it would vanish.

Finally many years later a fourteen-year-old girl by the name of Reagan Peters, came to camp for the first time. After a week she vanished and was never heard from again. Her cabin-mates claim they heard someone walking through their cabin with a thud and a drag. All that was left in her bed was a note that read “your daughter for my son.”

The guy who told me this story did not believe it was real and nor do I. It was used at our camp to deter young campers from interacting with the cottagers on the lake, as well to warn the kids to be careful around the water. This story has a lot of interesting motifs that are consistent with more traditional ghost stories, for example the theme of vengeance, and untimely death and a promise that must be fulfilled in order for the ghost to move on.

Paranormal Paramount (Stage 19)

For as long as I can remember my mothers best friend has always been fascinated by the supernatural. Whenever my she is at our house, and I see her, we have conversations about different supernatural topics. So it only made sense that I would approach her for ghost folklore. She told me that she heard an interesting one when she lived in LA about a haunting in Paramount Studios. The story goes as follows:

Hollywood is the home of many eerie tales. So many that there is a tour called the Haunted Hollywood tour. A famous stop is the cemetery, Hollywood Forever, which is located next to Paramount Studios. Security guards who work around the sound stages of Paramount Studios have claimed that sometimes those restless souls in Hollywood Forever come back to haunt the Studio. This happens so frequently that the security guards, more specifically those who work the night shift, have given the studio a new name. They call it Paranormal Paramount.

One of the most famous “hauntings” is the haunting on sound stage 19; the stage where Happy Days was shot. Most security guards refuse to work the night shift on sound stage 19. The stage is said to be haunted by Heather O’Rourke, the little girl from poltergeist. She joined the cast of Happy Days as Heather Pfister, and was featured in 12 episodes from 1982-1983. She died in a hospital in 1988 from mysterious causes, although it is believed that there was some sort of surgical complication. She was 12.

One evening a man was talking to a night shift security guard who worked stage 19 about the paranormal activities that go on at the studio. The security guard told the man that almost every night he hears running and laughing on the catwalk above the set, which is where Heather liked to play when she was on set on Happy Days. The security guard also told the man that sometimes they’d see the little girl playing on the stage. The man asked what they do when they see her. The security guard replied that they usually just tell her to leave and she runs off.

The man decided he wanted to test this out for himself. The guard let him into the stage at midnight and bid him good luck before shutting the sound stage door. The man walked around, and waited. He prepared himself to hear running on the catwalk or to see Heather playing, but nothing happened. Finally after 20 minutes or so he decided to provoke the spirit a little by telling her come out and play. Not a second after the words left his mouth did the man feel a hand brush across his lower back. He immediately ran off the stage in terror. Outside he told the security guard what happened and that he didn’t actually expect anything to happen. The security guard laughed and told the man that his expression looks just like the expression on of the editor for the show Wings (which was also shot on stage 19) had when he saw Heather in the background of one of the shots.

My mother’s friend, as I mentioned, is a firm believer in supernatural occurrences like this story. She said that things like visitations are not beyond being a possibility. I, on the other hand, am somewhat skeptical about ghosts in general. However this story is consistent with themes and motifs found in most ghost stories. For example, dying young, without marrying, without accomplishing, are all aspects of the theme of unfinished business. As well there were claims of malpractice in relation to her death, which is not a natural death. Unfinished business and unnatural death are two very strong motifs in ghost stories that prevent the dead from moving on.