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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Stone Steps

Jeff Tushaus
Blog Option #4

It is children's natural behavior to use creativity and imagination daily. Many times imaginations can run wild, leading children to believe stories that may not be true. "The Lonesome Place" by August Derleth tells the story of Steve and Johnny, young boys who use their imaginations to mentally create a monster that lives in a run down grain elevator. I believe we all can relate to this story, and there is one story in particular that reminds me of this tale.

When I was younger I used to go to Boy Scout Camp every summer. The camp lasted for 10 days, filled with canoeing, rock climbing, and survival classes. Every summer my troop camped in the same area, at the top of a large hill that led down to a creek. Campers were afraid to venture down the hill to the creek by night, but had no problem going down there during the day, much like Johnny and Steve with the grain elevator.

It was said that the area we camped on used to be an old indian reservation, and that the creek was the location of many of their native rituals. At the bottom of the hill, right by the creek, there were a series of 7 stone steps that led down the embankment to the water's edge. Nobody knows who built the steps, but one thing was for sure- they were very, very old.

It was a tradition in my troop for the older kids to tell the younger kids ghost stories on the last night of camp. This particular summer, I was considered an "older kid" for the first time. My friends and I devised a story to scare the younger scouts that was sure to make them wet their pants.

We led the younger scouts through the dense forest down the hill to the creek late that night, flashlights in hand. When we got to the 7 steps by the creek, we told them that anyone who climbs down all 7 steps to the water's edge will face immediate death by the ghost of the indian warrior whose land we were camping on.

One brave little scout decided to call us on our bluff, and began to step down each step. I don't know whether our story became reality, or it was just a coincidence that the little scout got an immediate nose bleed the second his foot hit the 7th step, but we all ran up the hill to our campsite as fast as we could, screaming at the top of our lungs. I truly To this day we never speak of that night, for fear of admitting that our ghost story may have become true.

Derleth, August. "The Lonesome Place." American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oats.
New York: The Penguin Group.

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