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One of the pleasures of being a wandering storyteller is the variety of venues I'm privileged to perform in. I've been on stages in theaters that hold 2000 people and in quiet coffeehouses that seat 30. I've held court in small stadiums in amusement parks and gathered crowds around me in the streets between the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Roller Coaster. I attended Renaissance Faires, Art festivals, Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction conventions, Halloween celebrations and every other place you can possibly imagine.

But there is a distinct pleasure telling ghostly, spooky tales during a cool summer night, under a star-filled sky around a roaring campfire. Illuminated by the dancing flames, with shadows fueling the listeners' imaginations, a tale of delicious terror can be doubly eerie and entertaining.

 

Some images of my young companions and myself around the campfire at PAL Camp.

 


One of my favorite photos; around the fire with audience enthralled at Pamplin Grove.

Some years ago, when I first arrived on the Lost Coast , I was asked to entertain the young ladies and gentlemen at the PAL Camp run by the local Discovery Museum out at Freshwater Creek near Eureka , CA. We all had a wonderfully scary, giggly, time huddled together around the fire.

My favorite location for outdoor stories is the amphitheater at Patrick Point's State Park up by Trinidad, CA. Standing on the stage in the clearing, next to the stone campfire circle, surrounded by Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir and Red Alders, it seems the perfect place for an evening of intimate entertainment, be it musical or spoken word. The sounds of the night accentuate the atmosphere, and just beyond the trees you can hear the pounding surf of the Pacific coastline, making the picture complete.

 


Creeping 'round the trees on the way to my theater...

In years past the North Coast Storytellers have held their two-day Storytelling By The Sea Festival there, until some audiences complained about the cold September season. The event was moved to Trinidad , and moved indoors, but I missed the mood and ambiance that Patrick's Point possessed. Friday nights during the Festival was the Mostly Ghostly event, which I hosted for several years, and that location seemed ideal for a blood-chilling evening of scary silliness and spookery.

Patrick's Point still hosts storytelling for both the summer campers and public at large every weekend during the summer, and for the past few years I've been invited up each month to raise the goosebumps on my human companions. It's a great delight to be there, and I'm pleased to say that my friends always seem to look forward to my visits. The amphitheater can hold approximately 150 to 200, and quite often I've stepped forward onto the rough stage to find every seat on the wooden benches taken!

 

A Ghostly Host invites a human companion in for refreshments...
Then the ghost moved over HERE...

This past June, something happened that had never happened to me to that date at Patrick's Point: as I stepped forward to begin my tales, the skies opened up, and a steady rain began to fall, much to my dismay. I was doubly disappointed because this was one of the evenings when almost every seat was filled, and there was no place to take cover until the storm blew past (if indeed it was going to).

I didn't mind getting wet myself (although the smell of wet ectoplasm is awful! ); what I was concerned about were my human friends slowly getting drenched, huddled underneath coats held over their heads in makeshift umbrellas. I was particularly concerned about the children; I didn't want them getting cold and sick from being in wet clothes. So, reluctantly, after my second story I apologized and suggested that the show be stopped, and everyone return to their campsites for warm, dry clothing.

But they wouldn't leave! En masse they begged me for at least one more story; they were having too good a time and didn't want to go, rain or no! What could I do? I was amazed, very touched and extremely grateful; I told another story, then swept them all out of their seat, back to their campground to seek shelter from the elements. And still a large group wanted to stay, gathered around the campfire and talking for a spell before finally giving in to the weather. I hope the evening was as unforgettable for them as it was for me!


Surrounded by my fellow spirits at the campfire in the forms of ghostly orbs of light. (Or the lense needs cleaning...)


One final embrace beofe we say goodnight?

 

 

And as the firelight slowly dies, we bid farewll to another summer season of spooky, spectral stories...see you next year!

For the past two years I've been privileged to appear at another local campsite, this one in Pamplin Grove, about an hour below my usual haunt of Eureka , down past Fortuna and Rio Dell. The campground hosts private events, and is usually closed to the general public. Two year ago I was delighted to be asked to perform at the rehearsal dinner of two of my long-time fans. The event went so well that this past summer I was invited to be the entertainment at a large gathering of families hosting a weekend of communing and reunion. I had a marvelous time at each!

What distinguishes Pamplin Grove from Patrick's Point is that there is no stage at the Grove, and the fire is huge! The seats were arranged around the fire, and for the wedding rehearsal I walked among the audience in a rough semi-circle. The reunion was an even larger crowd; they formed a complete circle around the fire and I walked among them with the fire to my back, telling my tales in a fiery theater-in-the-round.

 

The photo at the top was sent to me by the hostess of the event, and has become one of my favorites; with the fire burning brightly and the half-glimpsed faces of the crowd around me, it perfectly conveys the atmosphere of the truly magical evening. The night was capped by a drum circle, and this time I joined my young human friends as an audience member, enjoying good company, conversation, and at least one hundred questions! It was a glorious time!

I enjoy these outdoor excursions as much as, if not more, than my human companions, and I hope to partake in them again during the upcoming summer. And if you have a barbecue or campout that might benefit from a little ghostly company, please extend an invitation; I'd be more than happy to accept!

A very special thank you to my human friends Guyla, Amy & the Counselors at the
PAL Camp for the photos for this page!

 

 

© 2012 Patient Creatures Ltd.