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I have two distinct memories of spooky goings-on in Boy Scouts in the 80s (not counting the grapes and spaghetti we touched with our eyes closed in Cub Scouts in the 70s, of course):

#1 – On a camp-out late one night around a bonfire, one of the assistant Scoutmasters recited from memory Robert Service’s “The Cremation Of Sam McGee.”

It was one of those perfect moments where the environment fed the story and the story amplified the environment… and with a spooky / funny ending to boot!

If you’ve never heard or read the poem, you need to click here and read it. At one point, I memorized the creepy-in-a-good-way verses myself.

#2 – We were again out on a camp-out, but we were on a tour of the “civilized” area of the campground: the main building, the mess hall, etc.

I don’t remember all the specifics, but they claimed they had a “boot hill” on the property, a cemetery for outlaws, and took us to it… at night, of course, but with enough light to see what was going on.

Near one prominent tombstone, a story was woven by our tour guide regarding a massive gun battle that resulted in one of the bandits falling backwards into the grave before us. His boot actually stuck out of the ground “as a result if his hasty burial.”

We were told on some nights, nights just like this one, some have claimed to even see the boot MOVE, like the outlaw would get up again and resume his fight.

…About that time, the boot could be seen to start, slowly, moving back and forth.

*YIKES!*

“How was he DOING that,” I wondered? Finally I noticed (because the boot stopped moving every time he turned around to see what everybody was shouting about) that standing on a particular non-descript reasonably flat stone seemed to trigger the boot.

Mystery solved… but it was still pretty clever.

Here’s today’s 80s Halloween Music survey, 10 songs only: 80s Halloween Music Survey #5

Posted by Gene
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