Tag Archives: New Hampshire

The Pig Man

Text: “I actually got told this story while I was in the cabin–this was Cabin 2. The story is before it was Cabin 2, the place was a pig pen. Some guy came to the island and he killed one of the pigs, and he like carved out the pig’s head and made a mask-like thing, and like lived on the island and killed people on the low. It sounds pretty fried, but I lived in the cabin probably when I was like 10 years old, and I was told the story in a very scary way and I was sitting in my little bet like ‘dude, fuck, like this is crazy.’ In the moment this stuff is very scary. When you’re at this camp, you don’t really have your phone, so when the counselors tell this stuff that they’ve told a million times, they tell it very well and there’s no other authority to check the story against.”

Context: My informant, NR, told me this story while we sat together and played NHL while listening to house music and eating frozen yogurt. This was a pretty ideal storytelling setting. He first heard this story as a middle-school-aged camper at a sleepaway summer camp in New Hampshire, and was scared by it at the time. He interpreted the legend as the crux of a practical joke that counselors enjoyed playing on campers. 

Analysis: I believe NR’s legend bears elements of practical joking in that it is leveraged by an ingroup, the counselors, to display the ignorance of the outgroup, the campers. The legend’s employment of elements that could potentially exist add credibility to the horror factor and play upon the ignorance of youth to frighten children. NR also emphasized the credibility of the storytellers, emphasizing that he defaulted to believing their account because he lacked a method to investigate other possibilities without his phone. The Pig Man’s employment of the mask also creates a fear factor, as anyone wearing the head of a dead pig would appear frightening, certainly in American culture where people are far removed from the slaughter of animals and death of animals in general. This legend can tell us about summer camp culture, in which authority is valued as well as respect for the surrounding land, which is often unsupervised and can be dangerous for a wandering child. In that spirit, the legend also plays a cautionary role, encouraging campers to stay vigilant in nature–the closer a camper is to being alone in nature, the more the camper will think of the Pig Man and desire a return to safety. I additionally believe that the death aspect of the legend taps into the childhood interest in death as a taboo topic. 

The Outpost

Text: “Alright so basically it was like, so my sleepaway camp was on an island in Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire and it’s like an all-boys camp whatever but basically the camp is all centered around this island and it’s all kinda in this one area and there’s this path you can take through the middle, and at the end of the path is this place called ‘the outpost,’ which is basically a little hut with a bathroom, it’s got a fire pit for camping and stuff–you could spend the night there if you didn’t want to sleep in the cabin, like people did cabin nights there. And so basically only older kids really spent the night at the Outpost, but there were these things called cabin nights where you go with your cabin and basically like post up at like a little beach along the island or play hoops for a while or you could like do random shit honestly-go swimming maybe. You’d camp out with marshmallows and do all that stuff. Basically older kids who could go to the outpost started the story, and essentially it says there’s a murderer in the outpost bathroom. All these kids are out camping, and this kid asks to go to the bathroom and basically gets like stabbed and like blicked. Nobody knows where he is after a while, but the counselor lets another kid use the bathroom–other kid pulls up, gets stabbed, whatever, blicked. At this point the counselor is like ‘yo what the fuck is going on.’ So two kids blicked, blood everywhere. Someone else gets blicked, then they run back to camp super far. One of the guys who works in the office, his dad owned the camp, and he grabbed a gun and killed the guy. It’s really scary when it’s told to you as a kid around a campfire at the outpost.”

Context: My informant, NR, told me this story while we sat together and played NHL (hockey video game) while listening to house music and eating frozen yogurt. This was a pretty ideal storytelling setting. He first heard this story as a middle-school-aged camper at a sleepaway summer camp in New Hampshire, and was scared by it at the time. He emphasized the combination of his youth, the campfire setting, and the storyteller’s authority as elements that enhanced the fear factor of the legend. As explained in the text, the camp was all-boys and the legend revolved around a remote location on the property known as the outpost, at which cabins (groups of campers) would sometimes spend the night outdoors. The legend is traditional at the camp. In hindsight, NR interprets the story as a classic scare-legend, told to encourage adherence to the ‘buddy system’ and to scare younger children. 

Analysis: In my interpretation, the legend of the Outpost offers insights into summer camp and childrens’ culture, particularly through the classic campfire-horror trope. A few dynamics at play make the legend material to the young NR. For one, his youth relative to the storytellers enhances their credibility and thus the plausibility of the legend. In the days of early adolescence, age plays a major role in credibility–this legend is most popular/effective with young children, reflecting this truth. Also, NR’s unfamiliarity with the area adds to the legend’s effect. While he was a regular camper, the Outpost region was still not completely familiar to NR, which can create gaps in understanding that are prone to being filled in with horror legends such as this. In this case, his fear of the unknown, already exacerbated by the campfire setting, became manifested by the legend of a murderer who lived in the Outpost, reflecting a classic youth’s outlook on reality. On the flip side, I view this legend as a practical joke played by counselors on campers and as a cautionary tale leveraged to ensure safety. However, contrasting with many uses of practical jokes, I do not view this necessarily as a rite of passage or an initiation ritual–I believe it is more just a tradition that the camp can collectively identify with. Due to the temporary nature of the camp experience, there is no investment in seeing the children on the other side of understanding the reality of the story. 

Superstition: Talking to the Goalposts


“Yeah, I’ve always talked to the goalposts, ever since I was a kid playing in the backyard. I just feel like they’re my teammates back there, you know? They’ve helped me out more times than I can count. As far as what I say to the posts, that varies, but it’s usually something along the lines of helping me keep pucks out of the net. I think it comes from my early days as a fan. I used to be a big fan of Patrick Roy, and he was really superstitious, so I kind of took after him with all the superstition, talking to the posts is a big one. It’s basically my way of giving 110%, I’m asking for the posts to be an extension of my game and not bank shots in behind me.”


My informant, who is white and from New Hampshire, has been practicing this superstition since his early days as a goalie, and learned it from French-Canadian goaltender Patrick Roy. He interprets it as a necessary part of his game, though he also understands how crazy the whole thing sounds. 


My informant hails from New Hampshire, a state in which hockey is very popular. The folk group that this superstition is relevant to, however, is the hockey community, in which superstition is common especially among goaltenders. By extension, this is a category of sports superstition. 

My informant’s superstition is a form of magic superstition, in which one takes action to ensure a certain outcome. While it does not neatly fit into a category of Frazer’s sympathetic magic, there are elements of contagious magic, as my informant views the net as an extension of himself and wishes to manipulate it even when separated from it. Or, perhaps, one could argue that it is similar to homeopathic magic, as my informant imitates the act of allying with a sentient force with the hope that such a bond will both be formed and be productive. This is also imitative as my informant emulates Patrick Roy in an effort to attain his great abilities. Either way, my informant’s practice strongly adheres to the idea that people engage in superstition to gain control or greater understanding of the uncontrollable world around them. 

Beyond Patrick Roy, the origins of this superstition are unclear, though, mostly due to Roy’s greatness, the superstition has certainly become canonized among goalies.