Ghost Stories and Cabins
Tell a great ghost story
Carole Lanham, member of Midwest Horror Writers, picked up spooky-storytelling skills around campfires as a Girl Scout and lake lifeguard in Illinois.
"Atmosphere is crucial in storytelling, and in this case, nature is on your side. Campfires create the most ghastly shadows, and, huddled in that circle of firelight, the darkness surrounding you can seem even darker. Play upon the lake’s gurgles, drips and fish-plops, and the woods’ creeping animals and buzzing, blood-seeking insects. Listen for wind-rattles and branch-snaps. Use these sounds to draw your victims in.
"If you don’t have a story ready, mix and match elements from your imagination and from urban or local legends, regardless of their original setting. You’ll want to personalize the story anyway, for an extra element of suspense. Perhaps it was a dark and starry night, just like this one, when two hikers disappeared while taking a dip in (insert your lake name here). Or maybe they weren’t a couple of hikers, but a whole family—just like us! Don’t forget to muster up a whispery, monsterish, ’Man-with-the-Golden-Hand’-like voice while you’re at it. Otherwise, you might as well be reciting 'Little Bo Peep.' "
Finding a cabin
FEATURED IN THIS STORY Two Inlets Resort on Two Inlets Lake, off Hwy. 71, northwest of Park Rapids, Minnesota. Located in one of the state’s lakes areas, about 200 miles from the Twin Cities.
The resort offers 13 housekeeping cabins and a safe swimming area with a hard-sand bottom. The lodge has snacks, TV, books, pinball and other games. Activities include fishing, canoeing, shuffleboard and more. Golf, bicycling and shopping are nearby.
Summertime rates range from $450 to $2,270 per cabin per week, depending on time of year and number of bedrooms (800/843-7453; www.twoinlets.com).
CABIN-HUNTING TIPS To ensure a week at the lake everyone will enjoy, think about what you want and don’t want. Do you need a place that allows pets? Is an in-cabin phone a necessity? How about cell-phone service? TV or no TV? Active and kid-friendly or quiet grounds? Each family has its own idea of the perfect setting.
Once you know your requirements, ask around. Fellow lake vacationers with no investment in your choice are the best source. You also can contact the tourism office for the state you would like to visit, search the Internet or just open an atlas. Look for a big lake (or big cluster of small lakes) and contact the Chamber of Commerce or Convention and Visitors Bureau of the largest nearby town.
Do not assume anything, and remember that websites and brochures tend to mention only the positives. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down, call ahead. Ask questions to get a feel for the place and to confirm it has the features that are important to you. The more specific and thorough you are during the resort-hunting process, the better the chances your home for the week will be as you imagined, or even better.