On their drive to the park, the Johnson family eagerly planned all the fun things they would do while camping. Joey and Jenny looked forward to a big campfire that evening. They loved s’mores, and their mom and dad, Jesse and Jane, loved to scare them by telling creepy stories.

Unfortunately, they had been so busy planning their weekend that they hadn’t bothered to listen to the radio. News reporters had announced that a large creature had been seen in the vicinity of the park. Some speculated it might be Sasquatch. If only the poor Johnson family had known…

Tales like this are the perfect way to enliven an evening around the campfire. When the sun sets, the night becomes chilly. A campfire provides a warm, comfortable spot to relax with friends and family.

The shadows of tall trees loom above the campfire. Snapping twigs and rustling leaves sound loud and scary as we imagine wild animals and even ghostly spirits. As the burning wood crackles and smoke drifts lazily toward the sky, the dancing flames just might put you in a trance.

Telling ghost stories is a traditional part of campfire fun. If you’re wondering who invented campfire stories, no one knows. But we’d bet it was probably the person who first figured out how to make a fire.

That’s right. Campfire stories are probably as old as fire itself. The earliest humans didn’t have a written language, so they told stories to communicate with each other.

Some of the best scary stories are famous old ghost tales. For example, each Christmas families listen to the retelling of A Christmas Carol — the famous tale of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

Another famous favorite is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The gangling teacher Ichabod Crane returns on horseback late one evening from a student’s home. They had shared a big meal and told ghost stories by the fireplace.

Tired and very full, Ichabod slowly makes his way home. He had no idea he was about to encounter the frightful ghost of the headless horseman.

Do you have a favorite ghost story? Is it a story about a scary creature, such as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster? Or does it feature zombies or werewolves that might come out of the woods next to your campfire at any minute?

There are thousands and thousands of scary stories to tell around a campfire. Some feature ghosts, while others are spooky mysteries, myths, legends or tall tales.

Ask your friends and family members about their favorite ghost stories. Do they remember a really scary tale from their youth?

In Wonderopolis, there’s an old story about a creature that lurks behind a floodwall. It’s half fish, half man. And it’s up to no good… but that’s a story for the campfire!

As you listen to these scary stories, your body will probably react in certain ways. Your heart will probably beat faster. You may get goose bumps. You might even start to shiver. These are all typical physical reactions from the psychological impact of fright.

Do you enjoy feeling scared? Believe it or not, many people like the excitement these feelings bring. That’s probably why horror movies and ghost stories remain popular.

 

Wonder What's Next?

Wonderopolis is really going to the dogs… but in a good way! Tune in tomorrow to find out why!