Informant: Mary McGeagh is my 15 year old younger sister. She is now a freshman in High School and attending Catholic school her entire life. She is an avid volleyball player and enjoys spending time with friends and going to the beach. She lives with my parents in Pacific Palisades, California and has since she was born. She comes from Irish, German, Jewish, and Swedish roots but mainly was exposed to the cultures of the Irish, Catholics, and Jewish people. She attended a summer camp from the age of 5 to the age of 12 that has many interesting folk tales and traditions. The camp is pretty much run off of its lore and it is what makes it so unique. She carries the lore of St. Matthews Day Camp to this day.
Mary: “There is a tale that is very important to the culture of St. Matthew’s Day Camp . The tale is a myth about a being called ‘White Face.’ White Face was at one point a camper at Day camp. He was like all normal children: explorative, good-natured, happy, rambunctious, and energetic. his one fault was that he was very curious. There is a cave on the premisses of St. Matthews, at the top of the mountain. The cave is called “Jolly Rogers Cave” and is known for behind haunted, thus making it forbidden to all campers.
Being so curious, the camper that is now known as White Face, decided to give the cave a look. He had no fear at all and crawled right in. Of course, something went terribly wrong. There was an avalanche of rocks while he was inside the cave. They fell and closed up the entrance. The camper was now stuck in the dark cold cave. The only access to the camp was through a fist-sized hole in the pile of rocks. Campers knew he was trapped in there and spent the rest of summer giving him snacks and water to try and keep him alive.
On the last day of that camp season, the kids got the strongest counselors to come up and help move the rocks. After hours of work, there was enough room to see inside. And to everyone’s surprise, the cave was empty. Now the spirit of the camper roams the camp grounds and only appears on the notorious ‘overnight’ where the kids spend the night at camp. His name ‘White Face’ comes from the fact that his face is completely blanked-out white, from all the time he spent hidden from the sun. White Face is relatively harmless and only appears to give the children a little spook once or twice a year.”
” In addition to this story. On the night of the Overnight, a counselor dresses as White Face and runs around to spook the little children.”
This story is a huge part of the culture of the camp. The story is told very often, and the counselors and campers all know the myth of White Face. It is a highly anticipated event on the overnight that White Face will arrive. And it is a huge deal when he does. The children are scared of white face. But they also have a love for him and enjoy seeing him as well. The camp has lasted for more than 50 years and this story dates back just as far.
This is a fun, yet spooky tale that adds a lot of character to the camp. It allows for the campers to know the history behind the camp and the story creates a mystical aspect to its history. This is a great way to bring campers of all ages together over a common tale and they all thrive off the story. Stories like this are what make a camp unique and what makes this place so special to so many campers.