Episode 7: Adirondack Ghost Stories

Ghost stories have been around as long as there have been people telling stories. Here in the Adirondacks, we have plenty of scary stories that have been told and retold—especially as groups sit around a campfire late at night. Telling ghost stories was a favorite pastime of the traditional Adirondack Guide. It was and still is, a great way to share the folklore of the region.

This episode is a celebration of the tradition of telling spooky stories. Our stories have just enough history in them to make you wonder…

Alice Lowell and “ghost” of E. Bowditch 1885 (P069988)

The photos on this page are from Putnam Camp in Keene Valley, a retreat built in the 1870s. The images are examples of a photographic technique called double exposure.

Header Image: Amy White and “ghost” of E. Bowditch, 1885 (P070011)

Sma Stevens (Ghost of Ethel Bowditch) 1885 (P070009)

Ethel Bowditch (Ghost of S. Bowditch) 1886. (P070035)

Connecting To Curriculum

Read-aloud – Students can follow along while listening. Download a copy of the transcript here.

Vocabulary – Explore new words. Students will hear high-level vocabulary in context. Have them identify the definitions. Click here for the vocabulary page.

Research & Writing – Many families share traditional stories that stretch back into the past. Collect personal folklore by recording interviews with family members. Have students pay special attention to songs, stories, words, and sayings that are common in their family. Expand the project by having students write about the food, celebrations, and games that are a part of their family traditions.

Questions

Higher grade level students may want to explore some topics in more depth.

  1. Explore the ghost stories from your region.  After writing them down and retelling them, research the background. Why do people believe spirits haunt that place? Who are they? What happened?
  2. Double exposure is a combination of two images into one where one image is overlaid onto another at less than full opacity. This technique was used in ‘spirit photography’ in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Explore its history as an art form and its use as exploitation.