Grizzly Ghosts

Tales of the Hoodoos

By Khaliela Wright

During the summer of 2008, when I worked as the handicraft director at the Boy Scouts’ Camp Grizzly in the Hoodoo Mountains, a cougar wreaked havoc on the 3D archery course. It treated the deer, turkey, and other targets like big cat toys. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game issued rubber bullets to our camp director, Aaron Parker, and encouraged us to keep the scouts in their tents after dark. My mind raced, filled with gory visions of scouts being mauled because their bunkmates dared them to walk the archery course alone after nightfall.

Tales of terror and mystery abound in the Hoodoos, both on and off the Camp Grizzly property. When such tales are retold around campfires, they find a home in the hearts and minds of scouts who have been forced to make do for a week without their electronic gadgets. My own boys, then aged nine and eleven, were at the camp with me, and I understood the lure to them of the full moon, of skinnydipping, or of just slipping beyond the tent flap because you can. I also understood the power of fear, which is why that summer I invented the Hoodoo Trail Ghost. My ghost was a young woman who went mad after her betrothed died in a logging camp on her wedding day and who now wanders the Hoodoo Trail, looking for her lost love.

At that point, I had been divorced for eight years, so there was no love lost when I donned my wedding dress each week, took up an ax, and ran screaming through the outer reaches of camp in the dusky evening light. The sight of a half-crazed, ax-wielding, bedraggled young woman in a wedding dress was ample inducement to keep the scouts in their tents after dark. And the look on the drycleaner’s face when I brought my mud-caked wedding dress in at the end of the summer was priceless.

There were rumors of other ghosts in camp, too, many of whom could be debunked as easily as my Hoodoo Trail Ghost.

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