We’d often invite the local Boy Scout troop, in which my family was heavily involved, to our farm for camp outs. As expected, we’d stage a huge bonfire to cook tin-foil dinners and s’mores. As the night sky got darker, my older brother, Mark, would take over and bring us on one of his epic haunted hikes around our property.
One story that still sticks in my mind is that of Old Shag Nasty. As the story goes, Old Shag Nasty
lives lived in our woods and only came out at night to feed on the blood of small rodents. As we walked around the farm, Mark would go into great detail about the life of Old Shag Nasty. And while most storytellers would end the adventure there, Mark always took his storytelling one step further by creating physical evidence to the existence of Old Shag Nasty.
Hours prior to our haunted hike, Mark went around and planted evidence of Old Shag Nasty; a dirty cloth over a tree limb, an old shoe under a pie of wood, and even a fake rat with fake blood along the path.
In my seven year old mind, Mark’s stories he told during our haunted hikes might as well have been scientifically documented and proven because he was that good at not only telling the story, but in creating the scenario in which the story must be true.
Mark currently works as a writer, director and film editor, and he still has an amazing ability to craft a story in such a way that the listener has no other option but to believe it’s true.
If there’s one thing you should know about Mark, in case you never get to meet him, is he’s the most creative storyteller I know. He can create a captivating two hour drama with a water bottle and pair of socks. He’s like the MacGyver of storytelling.
Every time I start to write out a story, I pull from the many years of being under Mark’s wing as a master storyteller.