Haunting in the Hills (by Matthew Hendrickson)

 
The author taking photos at the Angel Falls Overlook in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

The author taking photos at the Angel Falls Overlook in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

The end of summer and the start of fall is a wonderful time to visit the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area on the Kentucky/Tennessee border. 

The cool nights make for great, roaring bonfires, and what bonfire would be complete without a campfire tale as the smoke rises into the sky and the flickering light bounces off the surrounding woods?

On our recent trip to film a public service announcement for the park's annual storytelling festival, we got just that. We had the unique privilege to play host to some of the country's best oral storytellers and learn how they're keeping the tradition alive. After setting up camp and building our fire, we let them do the rest. 

Even as they repeated their tale tales over and over for our camera (and always in good humor), the story was never told the same way twice.

The storytellers were in town for the 21st annual Haunting in the Hills Storytelling Festival. To these folks, spinning a yarn around a campfire means reaching deep into their family and cultural history in the same way it has been done for centuries. The tales serve as a way to convey important messages to the community about their history, some life lessons, or just to serve as good old fashioned entertainment. 

Canon C100, Dana Dolly, Red Bull

Canon C100, Dana Dolly, Red Bull

In typical southern style, our hosts at Big South Fork were wonderfully hospitable and made our two-night stay about as comfortable as you can get sleeping on the ground. 

If you live in the region, keep an eye out for our work when the festival comes around next year, or get an early look on our Vimeo account when it's posted. 

  

On the set

On the set