After being out here in Raleigh, NC and running around Lake Johnson whose greenway trail goes right through the surrounding woods I’ve decided that individuals who have grown up on the Great Plains have no concept that woods can be “dark and deep”.
On the plains the highest tree is, at most 10 feet tall and its nearest neighbor is a good 15 feet away. There’s no dense woods, no blocking of the sun, so thus it’s impossible to get lost among them and thus there’s nothing even remotely menacing about them. This explains why growing up I could never grok stories of people getting lost in the woods or really comprehend what’s so scary about a mystery set in the woods. Even down in the Texas hill country the trees are neither overly tall or particularly dense. After being here and seeing the amazingly tall trees so tightly packed together I have a much better appreciation for both their beauty and their potential to sow confusion for an unprepared soul.
Given this, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the ghost stories told at camps held on the plains are significantly different and possibly less menacing than those held in the woods of North Carolina.
And because you know you want to go read it now that it’s stuck in your head, here’s a link to the Robert Frost poem: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.