‘Cropsey’ documentary project collecting stories, crowd-funding

If you grew up attending summer camp in the Northeast, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the legend of Cropsey. Though there are many variations on the theme – he was known simply as the axe murderer at my scout camp in South Jersey – it’s essentially a story told around the campfire of a violent killer who takes revenge on an unsuspecting group of campers.

New York City-based TV and film producer Ben Schaeffer is overseeing a project to trace the origins and the variety of tales drawn from the legend in a documentary film and online database. He’s launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for both the production of the documentary and the database of the stories.

“The first time I heard the tale was back in 1990 at a Boy Scout camp in NY and have been fascinated by the tale ever since,” Schaeffer wrote in an email. “For the past few years I have been researching it hoping to find the origins of the legend. I believe that I have discovered who the name comes from and how the story was introduced into the campfire tale lexicon about a hundred years ago. It has since then spread throughout the NE of the US, mostly in New York State.”

To learn more about the project, visit Ben’s GoFundMe page.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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