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.