I rescued the following post from my old website, Mysterious Heartland, and decided to re-post it here in case I have any readers interested in Wisconsin folklore or who went to Camp Napowan as a Boy Scout. Enjoy!
After posting an edited transcription of the legend of Boot Hill from Napowan Scout Camp in central Wisconsin (read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), a reader contacted me with his own insight into the story. In addition to more information about how an audio version of the tale became available, he reveals that a tragic accident in the early 2000s may have squelched its retelling. Here are his remarks:
I came across your transcription of the Story of Boot Hill on
Mysterious Heartland, and I wanted to give you my recollection. I
visited Napowan as a Boy Scout from 1993 to 1999. The first year I went,
one of the camp staff was invited to our site to tell the story of Boot
Hill. I think he was the camp director at the time, or he became camp
director several years later, and I want to say his name was Eric. There
were a few additional details that were added to the story in future
tellings, as well as a few omissions.
I can only remember one omission regarding the event from 1992. A
special needs scout from the Little City sponsored troop (which I
believe is also out of Des Planes) got lost, wandered off camp property,
and recalled seeing black cats with white paws when he was found. The
troop is comprised of mentally challenged adults who were still in
attendance during the years I visited camp Napowan. I think the lost
scout was an African American guy who went by the name Horse.
Eric took a break from staffing, but returned in the late ’90s. Since he was not there to tell the story, another staff member told the story for the entire camp in 1994 or 1995. His name was Brad Shuman, and he was the director of the Nature program area. He was a creepy guy to begin with, but he did a superb job telling the story. It genuinely scarred a lot of scouts who had to later walk back to their campsites, in the dark, through many of the locations mentioned in the story.
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