Campfire Stories Vol 1, 2, 3

ICS Books Campfire stories

Campfire Stories Vol 1: Things That Go Bump in the Night by William Forgey, M..D. ISBN 0-934802-23-8 177 pp $9.95 U.S. Available from

Campfire Tales [Vol 2]: Ghoulies, Ghosties and Long-leggety Beasties by William Forgey, M.D. ISBN 0-934802-50-5 163 pp $11..95 U.S. Available from

Campfire Stories More Things That Go Bump in the Night
by William Forgey, M.D... ISBN 1-570-018-8 142pp $11.95 U.S. Available on

John Long's Campfire Howlers: Stories to Amuse and Entertain edited by John Long. ISBN l-57034-000-5 154 p
$11...99 U.S. Available on

All published by ICS Books, 1370 East 86th Place, Merrellville, IN 46410.1-80~541-7323

Summertime means campfire storytelling whether that be at Scout Camp, a provincial park or backyard campfire. ICS presents four collections for just such . occasions...

Forgey is a physician outdoorsman, and author of several medical books, calls upon his ten years as a scout leader in putting together his three volumes of scary tales.

The stories range from reworked urban legends, to classic stories by Grey Owl, Attlbrose Bierce and Jack London, to original stories by two young men who spent a year in a cabin in Northern Manitoba. Some of the stories are gruesome, some horrific, and quite a few are variants of familiar tales.

Two of the stories, The Plaid Coffin, and Willie Brown and the Graveyard Corpse, are identified only as variations of traditional tales, but the wording is very close to that of The Calico Coffin, and Mary Culhane and the Dead Man as told by The Folktellers on their tape and credited by them to others.

The first two volumes have very general tips on how to select and tell scary stories, stressing that both teller and listeners should have fun, and that techniques of telling are what make a story scary, not the sudden appearance of an accomplice in the shadows. Each of the stories is followed by a large print outline of the tale to facilitate leaming-a neat touch for inexperienced tellers. Forgey’s books are for listeners 11-16, but even so I question the appropriateness of some of the stories. In volume three, for instance, there is a story of a man driven to madness, and finally suicide, by pain.

Will tellers and leaders be able to find good stories in these pages? Yes, but I found the collections uneven in quality.Some of the , stories were too long. Others were literary tales which would need to be adapted. Some of the tales which have been adapted are, I feel, far more gripping in their traditional telling, as in the case of Mr. Black, which is based on Mr. Fox from Jacobs' English Fairy Tales.
A friend of mine, Jim Blake, who worked for years with the YMCA camping program, cautions those who would use scary stories with youngsters in a camp setting. It is imperative, he says, that the stories have resolution - that the listener is left feeling safe, that the setting not be in the camp but rather in some other place. While kids will ask for really scary stories, the reality of dealing with horror can cause distress. Counsellors who select stories from these, or any other books of "scary stories" will have to use their discretion.

John Long's collection of Campfire Howlers is definitely adult fare. Billed as "a boon companion for the campfire, the interminable plane ride or those barren moments alone when you feel like committing a criminal act", it is a collection of anecdotes, tales, jokes,. yarns and sketches chosen to amuse and entertain. Authors range from Bennet Cerf, to P.J. O'Rourke. Mark Twain, S.J. Perelman and others. One of Long's own contributions to the collection has a passage which reads like erotica. A few, including a Shelley Berman piece, made me chuckle. Mildly amusing - but there are better collections out there.

The Second Story Review, Vol 1, No. 3, September 1996
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