The Informant is 20 years old, a sophomore at USC studying Communications and Journalism, and is from New York, New York.
Her: Uhm. Okay. So, when I was like in middle school, like ages 11-14-ish, I used to go to this theatre camp every summer in like upstate New York. And, like, over a period of 5 weeks we’d put on a play. I don’t remember what play we did that year, but this was like my 3rd year and they always told the same story about this girl who died at the camp. They’d tell it the midnight before opening night.
Me: Is this like a yearly ritual?
Her: Oh, totally. Everyone was always stoked about it and the new girls would get scared because they didn’t know it was coming.
Me: What’s the story?
Her: So…okay. Let me think about this. Okay…I got it. So there was this girl that died backstage at the camp like 40 years ago because of a set piece that fell from the lighting truss or something like that, and she was a virgin, and they said that because she was never able to go back home after camp, her ghost still stays there in the woods. And they say that the night before opening night if you look out your cabin window and you’re a virgin you can see her in the woods staring at you into the cabin. Apparently she’s supposed to come out of the woods and like kill you or something. But, I don’t know. I was always too afraid to look out of the window and risk it *laughs*, but none of my friends who looked died!
Me: That is terrifying. So you never saw her?
Her: No, but my friend Charlie swears to God that she did. But she didn’t die or anything so I don’t know.
Me: How long have they been telling the story there?
Her: I’m not sure how long they’ve told the story, but even the girls that were 3rd years when I was a 1st year had been hearing it for awhile too. So I wanna say it’s at least been awhile. And the camp counselors were in on it, too.
Being that the Informant attended an all-girls theatre camp in a liminal age period (the onset of puberty), I can understand how stories like this became very popular. Especially with the specificity of the involvement of virgins in the process. It’s clear that stories like this are created to help unite the girls in a way that helps them cope with the onset of womanhood. Also, from my experience, stories like this can be fun to share with girls you don’t know that well yet because it can lead to the onset of friendships and bonding over similar fears and the adrenaline rushes that result from them. The development of relationships with people in your age, gender, and school groups are very important for young adults.