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New York Folklore Vol. 3. Nos. 1-4, 1977
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NEW YORK FOLKLORE
Vol. 3, Nos. 1-4, 1977

THE CROPSEY MANIAC
by Lee Haring and Mark Breslerman

CHILDREN in New York’s summer camps yearly learn or hear again the story of the Cropsey Maniac, a respected member of the community whose insane desire to avenge an accidental death prompts him to stalk the outskirts of the camp property as a revenant. The camper who strays off the grounds needs to beware of Cropsey, who is probably carrying an ax. Here is a sample text, collected from Peter Sherman, a former camper and counselor at Camp Lakota on Masten Lake at Wurtsboro, New York.
George Cropsey was a judge. He had a wife and two children, all of whom he loved very much. He owned a small summer cottage along the shores of Masten Lake. His wife and children would go there for the summer months, and he would come up to visit with them on weekends....One night two campers snuck away from the camp’s scheduled evening activity and went down to the lake to roast some marshmallows. The fire they built went out of control and there was a big fire on the lake. George Cropsey’s family was burnt to death. When Cropsey read the report in the newspaper, it is said he became completely white and disappeared from his home. Two weeks later one of the campers from Lakota was found near the lake chopped to death with an ax. There was talk of closing the camp for the remainder of the summer but they didn’t....

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