The Disappearing Boy


Interviewer: “I heard you have a Boy Scouts story.”

Informant: “Oh yeah. Oh yes. Okay. So back in…back when I was much smaller I was part of the Boy Scouts um… in my district while I was still living in Memphis, Tennessee. As I was in elementary school I joined the Boy Scouts and did a couple of things with them. And one day we had this camping trip. SO we went to some camping sight that wasn’t really that populated and we stayed there one weekend. So, the first night that we stayed there, the um… the entire troop was walked out to this lake in the middle of the forest near the camping site. And as we were brought there, we were told this story about a boy that was also a Boy Scout around the same age as us at the time. He uh…apparently was bullied a lot by other Boy Scouts as well as his peers in school.”

Interviewer: “Do you know why he was bullied?”

Informant: “I don’t remember the details on why exactly, just that he was weird or different. Um…and so from what I remember, the story goes that he was pressured into visiting that very same lake that we were next to by…a bunch of the…a bunch of his peers that were bullying him and antagonizing him. So…apparently one night he did go out to that very lake and he never returned. And that was the end of the story. They never explained what it was that happened to him. He just went out to that lake and was never seen again.”

Interviewer: “And were yall allowed to swim in the lake?”

Informant: “We were not allowed to swim in it. We were only allowed to get somewhat near it. Oh  but that reminds me that we were not allowed to get within a certain distance of it.”

Interviewer: “Do you think that this story could’ve been told to keep yall away from the lake?”

Informant: “It’s definitely possible. In fact, the more I think about it, very likely. But there was always this kind of eeriness to the story that I always enjoyed. Just the not knowing. I guess it makes sense that they kinda left us in the dark though. Maybe if we had been told that oh something pulled him in, our curiosity my spike us to go in. But at the same time, not telling us at all could spike curiosity as well. So I’m not sure. I just uh…I just always enjoyed the open ended-ness of the story.”


When the informant was in Boy Scouts, he was told a story. His troop leader took his group to the lake and told them the story of a boy who visited the lake and disappeared. The reason for his disappearance is unknown. I personally think that the story was made up to dissuade the children from going near the lake. I don’t know if the story was necessary or even made a difference but it is still remembered and retold.