The Legend of Stoggoty Stu

Text: “This is called the legend of Stoggoty Stu, that’s literally what they call it. Every year my family for like the past three, four generations has gone to New Hampshire. We like to own the cabins on one part of the lake and then people on the houses on the other part of the lake. There was this myth that Charlie and this man named Stoggoty Stu were best friends. Stoggoty Stu lived across the lake and Charlie lived in the cabins where we were. We play volleyball every single night from like 10pm-1am there. Charlie would blow this huge horn and scream volleyball across the lake and then families, including Stoggoty Stu would come to play volleyball. Stoggoty Stu and Charli have passed on now because it’s been so many generations, but we still play volleyball and we don’t call across the lake, but everyone comes like when they know. And so, the myth is that after we all play volleyball and everyone is getting hammered, good vibes all around everyone goes to the lake to jump in. Everyone pretends if they’re drunk enough or if you believe it that you can hear Stoggoty Stu calling back across the lake especially when it’s windy and dark and foggy. Specifically at 12:12 when we all jump in.”

Context: M is nineteen years old and grew up in Seattle, Washington. She’s currently a Business major at USC. She says that she grew up hearing the Legend of Stoggy Stu, and her family and friends still tell it today. 

Analysis: Stoggoty Stu’s location and nature are both interesting in this story. Those who interact with ghosts are typically witnesses or victims, in this case M’s family is witnesses. Ghosts also often appear at a changing of location or ownership, in this case the ownership of the lake house is changing hands from one generation to the next. Stoggoty Stu is stationary, M says her family doesn’t tell or follow the legend when they are at home in Seattle, but rather when they enter the separate space of the lake property. Stoggoty Stu could also be considered an ancestral spirit, connecting M’s family to the property. By continuing to call for his friend to come play volleyball, Stoggoty Stu is expressing a desire for M and her family to stay connected to their community. M’s family’s imitation of his call, having their friend’s for volleyball every night, could be considered quasi-homeopathic ritual magic perhaps to bring back the spirit of the good times Stoggoty Stu represents.