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Camping Horror Stories: Eerie Tales for the Campfire

September 2023 | Steve Travels

Camping Horror Stories: Eerie Tales for the Campfire

Few things encapsulate the essence of camping like gathering around a campfire, watching the flames dance, and sharing stories. But when the night is cold, the forest is silent, and the only light is the flickering fire, tales of the eerie and supernatural become irresistibly haunting. From ghost stories to true camping horror stories, the tradition of sharing a scary story beneath the stars is a time-honored one. Here, we recount three tales that are sure to send shivers down your spine and make you question every rustle in the woods.

  1. The Phantom Camper 

    In the dense woods of Elmsworth, nature thrives and secrets are buried deep. Among the tall tales that have been passed down for generations, the legend of the Phantom Camper is perhaps the most haunting.

    In the late '70s, a man named Ethan Carter, a passionate adventurer, set out on a solo journey to discover the untouched parts of Elmsworth forest. His goal was simple: to immerse himself in nature, far from the bustling noise of city life. Ethan was known to be a diligent journal keeper, jotting down every detail of his travels, from the shifting moods of the sky to the call of distant birds.

    When weeks turned into months without any word from Ethan, his friends and family grew increasingly worried. Search parties were dispatched, retracing the routes he was known to frequent, but Ethan had vanished without a trace.

    Fast forward several years. A group of young campers, enticed by the forest’s allure, stumbled upon a secluded clearing. There, pitched amidst the towering trees, was a lone tent. A campfire crackled nearby, its flames strangely vibrant, as if freshly kindled. However, the campsite was eerily deserted.

    Curiosity piqued, the campers peeked inside the tent, discovering an old leather-bound journal. Its pages, yellowed by time, bore the signature of one Ethan Carter. The entries started cheerfully, detailing the joys of nature. But as the dates progressed, a more ominous tone took over. Ethan wrote of feeling eyes on him, especially at night. He mentioned distant whispers and shadowy figures flitting just outside the circle of his campfire. His final entry, scrawled with an unsteady hand, read, "They are watching. They don’t want me to leave."

    Unease settled in the hearts of the young campers. They decided to pack up and head back to more familiar grounds. As they left, one swore they caught a fleeting glimpse of a man, his eyes wide and searching, watching them from the shadows.

    The story of their chilling discovery spread like wildfire. More and more people ventured into the woods, hoping to catch sight of the Phantom Camper's secluded site. Many have claimed to find the camp, always perfectly preserved, the journal consistently present, recounting the same chilling tales.

    To this day, many claim to see Ethan's spirit, the Phantom Camper, wandering the woods of Elmsworth. Some say he’s looking for a way out, others believe he's forever trapped by the very entities he feared. Whatever the truth, the legend serves as a chilling reminder of the mysteries the forest holds, of the eyes that might be watching, and of the stories waiting to be uncovered.

  2. The Echoing Cry 

    The town of Harrows Edge was a quaint, quiet settlement, nestled at the edge of a vast, sprawling forest. The forest, with its towering ancient trees and sprawling undergrowth, was a treasure trove of natural beauty, boasting some of the most stunning cliffs which were famous for their unique echoing properties. Locals affectionately called them the Whispering Cliffs.

    During the summer of 1989, a group of five teenagers - Laura, Mark, Anna, Jamie, and Evan - decided to set up camp deep within this forest, eager to explore and experience the wilderness in all its glory. They were drawn especially to the allure of the Whispering Cliffs, having heard many tales about the phenomenon.

    One evening, as the sun began to dip beneath the horizon, painting the sky with hues of gold and purple, the group sat around their campfire, sharing stories and laughter. The idea of testing the echoing cliffs came from Jamie, who was always up for a good thrill. They decided to play a game: each would shout their name towards the cliffs and await the reverberating echo.

    One by one, they called out. "Laura!" The cliffs responded, "Laura..." "Mark!" And back it came, "Mark..." The game continued, bringing more laughter and amusement.

    However, when it was Anna's turn, the mood shifted. "Anna!" she cried out, her voice confident and clear. A few seconds passed, and the cliffs responded. But it wasn't her name that they heard. Instead, a chilling voice echoed back, "Help me..."

    The group froze, exchanging bewildered glances. Assuming it was a prank, Mark called out again, but this time he too received the same haunting plea. Panic set in, and the teens began to pack up their belongings.

    As they hurriedly dismantled their campsite, Laura claimed she saw a shadowy figure darting between the trees, its movements desperate and erratic. The figure seemed to be trying to approach them but always remained just out of clear sight, adding to the eerie atmosphere.

    They wasted no time in leaving, navigating the treacherous forest pathways in the pitch black, guided only by their torches. When they reached the town, their tale of the echoing cry spread, soon becoming the stuff of local legend.

    Every year, curious campers and thrill-seekers venture to the Whispering Cliffs, and many return with stories of hearing the desperate plea. Some have even reported sightings of a shadowy figure, always fleeting, always just out of grasp.

    As years went by, the tale of the Echoing Cry became deeply woven into the fabric of Harrows Edge. Some believe it's the spirit of a lost soul, trapped in the forest, forever calling out for help. Others consider it a mere auditory illusion. But all agree on one thing: The Whispering Cliffs hold a mystery that's yet to be fully understood.

  3. The Lake's Lullaby 

    Lake Lure, with its pristine waters reflecting the azure sky and encircled by towering pine trees, had been a favorite amongst campers and nature enthusiasts. Its allure lay not just in its scenic beauty but also in its tranquility. Birds chirping, gentle waves lapping the shore, and the rustling of leaves were the usual sounds one would expect while camping by its banks. However, there was another sound, one that was spoken of in hushed tones around campfires.

    It was during a summer in the late 70s when the phenomenon first became widely known. A family of four had set up camp by the lake's edge. As the night deepened and the stars painted the sky, the family was jolted awake from their sleep. From across the lake, a hauntingly beautiful lullaby resonated, its melody echoing amidst the silence. The voice was unlike any other; it seemed to transcend the realms of the earthly and the divine.

    Captivated, yet unnerved, the family cut short their camping trip, returning to town with a tale that would soon become legendary. It didn't take long for more campers to come forth, recounting their own experiences of the Lake's Lullaby.

    Delving into the town's archives, an old tale resurfaced. Decades prior, a young mother named Elara had often visited Lake Lure with her infant son, Elias. The lake was their sanctuary, a place where Elara would sing her cherished lullabies to soothe her child to sleep. One fateful afternoon, as Elara momentarily turned her back, Elias's laughter turned to silence. By the time she realized, he had disappeared into the lake's vast expanse. Despite her desperate attempts and days of searching, Elias was never found. Heartbroken, Elara would visit the lake every night, singing her lullabies, hoping that her voice would reach her lost son in the depths below. One night, she too never returned.

    Now, it's believed that it is Elara's spirit that graces the stillness of Lake Lure with her melancholic melody, singing her child to sleep, hoping to be reunited with him. Some campers claim to have seen a silhouette of a woman by the water's edge, her voice rising and falling with the gentle waves, her song a beacon for her lost child.

    To this day, the Lake's Lullaby remains one of the most enchanting mysteries of Lake Lure. While many visit hoping to witness the phenomenon, others prefer to keep their distance, respecting the tragic tale of a mother's undying love. Whether a mere legend or a spectral serenade, the lullaby of Lake Lure continues to captivate the hearts of all who hear it.


Whether it's tales of wandering spirits, mysterious cries, or the haunting melodies of a long-gone mother, telling ghost stories is an integral part of the camping experience. Each of these tales, inspired by campfire legends and true camping horror stories, is designed to be retold, passed down from one group of campers to the next. So, the next time you're around a campfire and the mood is just right, share a scary story or two. After all, what's camping without a little thrill in the air?

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