A natural amphitheater among the trees of Priest Point Park is the backdrop for Saturdays event, which includes an hour of family stories for all ages and a second hour of scary stories as darkness falls, plus a sing-along led by guitarist Ric Zassenhaus.
But the stories themselves will take listeners even further.
As were telling stories and as were listening to stories, were transported, said Rebecca Hom, one of the guilds storytellers. We are taken to that other place, and it becomes real to us, at least for a little while.
The park amplifies the magical effect, she said.
When we start the second half, its just dusky, but by the time we finish, it is dark. People need flashlights to get back to their cars, she said. It adds to the mystery. Here you are in these woods, and youre listening to these shivery kinds of stories. The familiar becomes a little more unfamiliar when you go into the world of stories.
Lest you be frightened off by the idea of scary stories, theyre not really that scary, Hom said.
None of them will be so bizarrely scary or gross that it is terribly uncomfortable, she said. I would say it is more shiver to tingle sort of scary as opposed to nightmare scary.
The stories told by members of the guild (which welcomes new members who want to tell stories or simply listen in at regular meetings) range from old favorites to tales taken straight from their own lives.
When I first started telling stories, I asked an experienced teller how he found stories and he said: I dont find stories; stories find me, and thats basically what happens, said Billie Mazzei, another of the guilds storytellers. I find a story or think of a story or read a story or hear of a story that strikes something in my being that I want to share.
I pretty much see life as a story, so my ears and heart are always open for another story.
That includes the scary stories. Hom once told one about her grandfather, who was the groundskeeper at a cemetery. She also remembers hearing versions of such classics as the one about the couple parked along a deserted stretch of road who later find a hook attached to the car door.
We will take them and turn them personal, she said. Often, people will say, Really? Is that story true? Did that happen to you? and you just smile and say, Theres truth in the story.
Thats the mystery of the stories and part of the beauty of the stories.