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3 True Ghost Stories for Your Next Backyard Campfire
These spooky tales will make you feel like you’re out in the backwoods—almost
The Ghost of Oxford Milford Road
The storyteller: Writer and editor Brad Culp
When Brad Culp was a student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, there was a rumor that the town was one of the most haunted places in America. When Culp started an on-campus magazine, he couldn’t wait to write about several of the area’s most famous phantoms. Not long after his story published, though, he kept finding himself thinking about one ghost in particular—the ghost of Oxford Milford Road.
As the story goes, many decades ago, probably sometime in the 1940s, there was a young man courting a young woman in a rural part of town. Because the woman’s parents didn’t approve of the match, each night he visited under the cover of darkness. After her parents went to bed, the young woman would sneak out of her farmhouse and flash the lights of her parent’s car three times. Then her young suitor would ride his motorcycle down the road.
“One night he took the turn right before her house a little too sharp,” says Culp. The motorcycle went one way, he went the other. His injuries were so severe that he did not survive. Rumor has it, however, that his lovestruck ghost still haunts this stretch of Milford Road.
Was It People or Was It Aliens?
Storyteller: Doug Averill, retired owner and manager of the Flathead Lake Lodge
Doug Averill grew up as one of eight boys on his parents’ sprawling dude ranch, the Flathead Lake Lodge, in rural Montana. As a teen, the Averill boys ran wild. “We rode around as a little gang of cowboys,” he remembers. They’d saddle up and head off to check cattle on the three giant tracts of land the family managed, which formed a triangle around some of the state’s most remote rangelands.
One summer in the 1960s, the brothers came across a ghastly sight. There, on the ground, were three dead cows neatly arranged in a circle. No obvious wounds were visible, but their reproductive organs had been removed. “But there was never any blood. It was almost surgical removal,” Averill remembers.
During this decade, America was obsessed with aliens, and write-ups in the local newspapers posited that perhaps this was the work of extraterrestrials. People mused that aliens had taken the reproductive organs for testing. But one day, Averill and his friends came across a lance in their path. Attached to it was a cryptic note with a threatening message. “That’s when we thought, It’s gotta be people doing this,” he says.
The Ghost of La Parva Ski Resort
Storyteller: Drew Tabke, professional skier
La Parva, a ski spot in the Chilean Andes, the wailing woman is named Lola, and everyone in the area swears they knew her before she died. “A local restaurant owner said he dated her,” pro skier Drew Tabke says, adding that the ski patroller he heard the story from pointed at the exact hut where this tale takes place.
The story starts on a nice day in peak ski season. Lola and her young son planned to spend the day on the slopes. “As can happen in the Andes, a thick fog rose up from the valley, which often precedes the arrival of a real storm. The clouds enveloped the two as they were making their way down from the top of the mountain, and they lost contact with one another,” Tabke says.
Desperate to find her son, Lola began screaming his name as she ran through the thick fog. Unable to see clearly, though, she stumbled down a steep slope and began sliding toward a rocky couloir.
“By chance, a local lift operator who was returning to his cabin came across her body. He was afraid she was dead, but on closer inspection, he found she was still alive, just barely,” Tabke says. Her body was covered in lacerations from sharp rocks, and the only word she said—in the faintest whisper—was her son’s name.