Camping Out
By Katrina Rasbold

When I was growing up, my best friend was Delena, my cousin.  We lived about 7-8 miles from one another and our families (or mothers are sisters) saw each other often, so there were a lot of extended family things going on, such as sleepovers for the two and of us and such. 

One night, when we were probably around 10 and 12, Delena was staying over at my house for the night and my parents agreed we could sleep out in the camper for the night.  The camper was a really hideous thing, really. 

Camper in the background, as well as my dad's prized
possession, his Ford Ranger, on which the camper
usually sat.  Speaking of prized possessions, that's
my first pair of blue jeans, which I got in my freshman
year of highschool and my pea jacket, which I loved.
Picture is from 1976

Anyway, we were all set to spend the night in the camper.  It had a gas stove (popcorn!) and a little ice box (cold Dr Pepper!) and a fold out bed (room to sprawl).  It was heaven when you were 10 and 12.  We decided we needed decorations, so we secured my dad's industrial strength staple gun and his ball peen hammer to tack up pictures all over the paneling that lined the interior of the camper.  My dad teased us all though dinner about how he was going to scare us during the night. 

After we were fully sated from the snacks and drinks, we giggled ourselves to sleep.  We were never any good at staying up very late, even into our teens.  Around 2am, we were awakened by the camper door trying to be opened.  It was on one of those little weak flip locks for screen doors, as well as a chain lock.  Delena woke up at the same time as I did from the sound of the rattling door.  We watched as the door popped through the simple flip lock, leaving a space where the chain lock was holding it.  A man's hand appeared in the space and began pulling on the door, trying to get it to open, pulling it back hard over and over.  We looked at one another and said,  "Pfft, Dad."  We decided to give him a show and started screaming like mad.  The man's attempts on the door intensified.  As if with one mind, we flew to the door.  Being the biggest, I pulled back on the door during the second of space between his pull backs on the door.  This squashed his hand in the door and he howled while I pulled back on the door.  Delena went to work with the ball peen hammer and the staple gun, wailing on his left hand (we had no mercy).  Somehow, I held the door tight on his hand.  We didn't even think about the serious damage this would do to my dad's hand.  :o(

After what seemed like 5 minutes but was likely only about 15-20 seconds, the guy got his hand back (amid much very loud swearing) and we pulled the door closed again and relocked it.  Afterwards, we went back to sleep.

When we got up the next morning, we hurried across the dew-wet grass to grab breakfast from my mom, who was known to make the full boat breakfast of bacon/sausage/ham, biscuits/toast and eggs.  Sure enough, she was busy at the stove.  We started eating and I wondered where Dad was (yikes!  we must have really hurt him).  She told us that Dad had been called into work (he was a night watchman for a local coal company) at 11pm and wouldn't be home until around 9am.  (?!)  Dad got home right on time and...

his hand was just fine. 

No one in the neighborhood seemed to have an injured hand that week (we checked too and it's a small town!) and we would have wreaked some serious damage on whoever was trying to get into that door.

It might not have been a ghost (or maybe it was!), but it was definitely a scary moment.