Prop Man

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Posted by Bryan Henderson on May 27, 19100 at 00:17:08:

In Reply to: Why was this homepage created? posted by Duncan McAlpine- Webmaster on August 31, 1999 at 11:25:16:

I'm glad someone else recognizes Camp Loowit for
its literary contribution of Prop Man. I can't
say I'd recommend it is bedtime reading for a
four-year-old, though, as I can still remember a
cabin full of boys quaking all night over it. Of
course, this was Cabin 6, halfway to the camp
power and water plant and a day's mule ride from
the center of camp. It's a wonder Prop Man didn't
pick us off like fish in a barrel.

I don't remember a lot of details -- I'm sure
they're different every time it's told. But the
basic idea is that a plane crashed there in the
mountains ten years ago and when they found the
wreckage, the pilot was nowhere to be found. And
the propeller was also missing. Later, visitors
to the woods reported seeing a man wandering
around horribly burned and disfigured with a
propeller sticking out of his head. He was so
brain-damaged that he had become a mad killer.
Several groups of campers were massacred by Prop
Man, but the authorities could never find him, and
as far as anyone knows, he's still wandering around
the woods somewhere.

If a counselor should jump out of the bushes at
that point, yelling at the top of his lungs, so
much the better.

I heard that when I was 9, at a 1973 (boys)
session. A year later, I told my more junior
cabinmates that I'd thought a lot about it and
decided the story was probably apocryphal. An
older camper said it really happened, but had in
fact been exaggerated. The man didn't have the
entire propeller sticking out of his head, but
rather just part of it. Later, someone else
admitted that there was no propeller at all;
the pilot's head had just been maimed by the

I can't recall whether I bought that or not.

There was a lot to be scared of in those pitch
black nights by the lake. We were smack dab in
the middle of Big Foot's back yard, and in the
early 1970s, not even adults were convinced he
didn't exist.

Probably more than the stories, though, I remember
the shaggy dog jokes and, most of all, the rich
collection of truly juvenile dirty jokes I learned
on the overnight hikes. They kept me supplied
throughout the school year.

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