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Thursday, April 9, 2009

What If Your Urban Legend... Were True?


If you grew up in the Northeastern U.S., particularly New York, at any time during the past 25-30 years or so, it's very possible that name holds a sinister meaning for you. That's because it was one of the area's most commonly repeated summer camp urban legends.

I can remember sitting around the campfire on Staten Island during my cub scout days, listening panic-stricken as the pack leaders told us all about the one-armed axe-wielding maniac who lived in a cabin in the woods, half his body covered with burns. Eager to chop up as many campers as he could in retribution for the fire caused by careless kids, which led to the death of wife and kids, as well as his own disfigurement. I guess you could say that Cropsey was our Jason.

Little did I know that although the popular tale was greatly embellished as any urban legend will be, it was actually based on a very real case. In other words, Cropsey was a real guy.

A documentary film will be screening later this month at the Tribeca Film Festival by two Staten Island natives, Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio, who investigated the legend and came up with the grisly truth behind the real-life madman who inspired the Cropsey tale.

Having grown up with this story, and still remembering those restless nights in the scout cabin, listening intently to every sound in the woods, fearing that the killer would barge through the door at any moment, I've got great interest in checking this one out. If you do as well, go to the official movie website for more information. Screening times are as follows:

  • Sat, April 25th 11:30pm . . . . . . . . AMC Village VII
  • Sun, April 26th 3:00pm . . . . . . . . AMC Village VII
  • Tues, April 28th 11:00pm . . . . . . School of Visual Arts
  • Sat, May 2nd 8:30 pm . . . . . . . . . AMC Village VII
**UPDATE** Cropsey co-director Joshua Zeman checked in this afternoon with this important bit of clarification:

Andre Rand, the man profiled in the film, isn’t the actual inspiration of the collective CROPSEY. The collective CROPSEY has been around for decades. Somehow as kids we assigned the name from the urban legend CROPSEY to the man living in the woods in Staten Island who was going around and allegedly snatching kids. The film looks at how we attached the myth to the man... And is our attempts as now as adults to discover whether the urban legend of our childhood was actually true.


Wings1295 said...

Wow. Never knew this was based on anything true, at all. Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

RayRay - Holy Olios, Batman!! I had no idea!! Back in my scouting days, our Scoutmaster, Mr. Macaluso, saved this one for the second week of summer camp up at Ten Mile River. Scouts were reduced to tears, calling home for mommy. And I am not talking about 7 yers olds, but kids in their early to mid teens.

And as B-Sol can surely attest to, the facts underlying the existence of Cropsey were buttressed by a titular avenue, allegedly the remains of his legendary estates, burned to the ground by careless scouts.

milo said...
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Anonymous said...

Yeah I've heard versions of cropsey like that! people have been posting different versions of the story on their facebook page. Its worth checking out... you can post to win tickets to the premiere.

The Vault of Horror B-sol “What If Your Urban Legend... Were True?” 4/9

Anonymous said...

check it out:


Coop said...

Check out "A Patchwork Of Flesh" blog for details and photos of a Frankenstein art project. http://apatchworkofflesh.blogspot.com/

scary pranks said...

Couldn't have said that better. Great post!

Anonymous said...


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