P is a freshman at USC, and a good friend of mine. In the United States, children tend to go to summer camps, where they spend time with nature and with older camp counselors who supervise and lead them.
P: So the camp was at a lake and across the lake you could see like, I don’t know if it was an island, it was just another strip of land and there was just a couch there. Just a white couch with nothing else around it, just a couch. Yeah, we could see this couch like we could see it and so we called it couch Island. I don’t think it was an island though. That area of land, we called it couch island because it looked like it was surrounded by water kinda, and so I think the legend was, you should never step foot on couch island because — we had boats, like wooden boats. We have like, you know, canoes and we would canoe around the lake. But you’re not supposed to go on couch Island. Because there’s like some shadow guy, some shit that lives there. And like that’s his couch. You don’t want to fucking sit on his couch. But sometimes the couch would get removed and then there wouldn’t be the couch there. Like I would see the couch. Like it just wouldn’t be there some days other days it would be sometimes it was just like a chair. You know, it was switched out? Yeah, it was weird. I think, really there was a house over there. It was somebody’s house and they would just put furniture out sometimes. But we would never see them sitting there, was the thing so we were like they would always switch out the furniture so it must have been like after we’d left the camp because there was a daycare. But sometimes we would have overnights and we still wouldn’t see who was over there. So people would just make shit like people were talking about this they saw like a shadow man over there one time or whatever. But you’re not supposed to go to Couch Island. That’s what I remember. Don’t set foot on Couch Island.
Me: Did you ever hear stories about someone who stepped on couch Island and got killed? Or got caught by the Shadow Man?
P: Maybe, if anything, it was just like they stepped on the island and then they would never be heard from again. Yeah. Like that’s why you wouldn’t go there. Because if you stepped on his couch, if you sat on the couch immediately either the fog and Shadow Man or the couch just enveloped you.
Folklore tends to be the most believable for children, who are obviously less knowledgeable on how the world works and are more susceptible to believing legends. In this case, there are clear trends on what is unseen and the legends that surround things. When something is foggy or unexplained, there tends to be more mysticism and magic around it. For the couch, there might be a very logical explanation for it. But because there is so much in the unknown, people, and especially children, are likely to come up with a more fantastical and interesting explanation for it. In many ways, the reveal of what actually happened doesn’t matter — what is real is not what’s important, what’s important is what we believe and choose to believe.