#8216;Sleepy Hollow#8217; comes to WNF

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

A legend returns to the woods of Wayne National Forest this Saturday.

That would be the reading of the American classic short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” which was set in rural New York in the early 1800s in which a school teacher named Ichabod Crane is chased down by the ghost of a headless Hessian soldier.

The reading is presented by Ohio University Southern’s Nature Center and has been for the past eight years. It will be in the woods by Lake Vesuvius at the Rock House.

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“We have a lot of fun doing it,” said Dr. Robert Culp, the director of the Ohio University Nature Center. “The last few years we have literally filled up the Rock House with people.”

OUS’s Facility Coordinator Dave Lucas will be the doing the reading at 8 p.m. Local musician Roger Smith will be singing tunes with a spooky edge starting at 7 p.m.

“Smith has played at the Nature Center several times and he will sing some scary songs like ‘Little Orphan Annie’ and other songs of that type,” Culp said.

And there will be plenty of ambiance. Lucas will read the story in front of a fire and OUS students dressed as the Grim Reaper will escort people from the boat dock parking lot to the Rock House.

“The interesting part is that the Grim Reaper just doesn’t talk and that drives the little kids crazy,” Culp said. “If they walk 3/8 of a mile back there and they try to talk and he won’t talk, that just scares them to death.”

They might also be a little scared by Culp who dresses up in a wizard’s costume and will wait along the trail to greet thrill seekers.

“There will be little kids dancing along the trail and I’ll say in a real low voice, ‘Welcome to my woods,’” Culp explained. “After I do that they are wrapped around mama or papa’s leg in a shot.”

Culp said he thinks the continued popularity of the event is because of both the setting and the scares.

“I think people just enjoy hearing a good tale in the woods,” he said.

Culp said people should bring a chair or blanket to sit on during the reading.

“There are some rocks there but they go pretty quick,” he said.

The event is free.