As a child, the informant attended a summer camp in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. He tells the story of an urban legend that haunts the camp grounds– the Pocono Devil.
M: Pocono Devil? That is a story that I heard a couple of years ago when I went to camp in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania. There’s a story that I heard about a monster that lived in the woods. Basically, the story I always heard was that the camp opened in the 40s, and in the 50s, uh, there was a camper who got buried alive by his sister by the lake.
And the story goes that that kid rose from the grave as the Pocono Devil, who’s a demon who stalks the woods looking for revenge on his sister. So you go into the woods, wearing, at night, wearing a Pine Forest T-shirt–Pine Forest is the name of the camp– the Pocono Devil will come after you thinking you’re his sister.
It might be a story that they told campers to make sure they didn’t go into the woods in the middle of the night, or something that older kids 30 years ago came up with to scare younger kids.
There’s also this big, gnarled tree thing in the center of camp called the Ten Year Tree. Any person who’s either attended the camp for 10 years, or worked there for ten years, gets their name on a metal stamp bolted to the tree. And if you look for it, uh, right in the middle, there’s one for the Pocono Devil.
It’s classic for a summer camp to have haunting stories. Like the informant said, this story was probably either made to keep campers out of the woods at night to keep them safe or was made by older campers to freak out the younger ones. Either way, this story has very obviously become greatly entangled with the identity of the camp as they have a name plate in honor of it.
A story like this also helps increase the popularity of the camp. The name Pine Forest piggy backs on the story of the Pocono Devil, thus increasing the width of the camp’s brands reach as well as tempting kids to join next summer.