18 October 2010

Spooky Tale Telling

This weekend, I got to visit Connor Prairie for their Headless Horseman program, complete with mildly haunted hayride in which the Horseman himself chases you.

But, the Horseman was not the best part. Not by a long shot.

Nope. It was the guy telling stories in the old cabin. I could have listened to him all night. In fact, we listened to him two different times in the evening and didn't hear any of the same stories twice.

He had a great way of keeping you right there with him -- through both "true" stories and his retelling of old legends.

I've been thinking about his delivery of the stories, trying to put my finger on what made them so good. Maybe the setting had something to do with it... the firelight and the flickering cabin. The second time we listened to him, the cabin was so dark that he was just an outline really against the fire that was mostly down to embers then.

In one of the "true" stories (I say "true" because could all these somewhat spooky things really have happened to one man?), he said he was from Mississippi, near the border with Tennessee. Maybe the draw was the slight lilt to his voice, that timbre that said you should believe everything I tell you. And maybe, it was something in the actual telling, a way of weaving together plot and descriptions that kept us on the edges of the hard wood benches.

In the spirit of Halloween, what story that you heard told out loud scared you the most?

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