From time-to-time, I’ve posted these photos from what I consider the best assignment ever to this point in my writing career. Until the site had been recently repurposed and monetized for the public as “Crystal Lake Tours” (only given at certain times of the year, caveat) I’d been granted private access to the location most horror fans would give an appendage or two to see: the Boy Scout camp doubling as the most notorious patch of woods the horror genre’s ever seen in the original Friday the 13th.
Camp No-Be-Bos-Co has been around since the early 1900s and continues to operate as a functioning Scout camp today. I’ll never forget this trip as I was given a green light by the camp’s management to do an article on the site in 2008 when it was announced a remake of Friday the 13th was on its way. Ranger Tom, the only official presence on-site the day I went up, gave me some terrific stories but advised that, just like the deputy in the original Friday says, they don’t stand for no weirdness from unauthorized uber-fans trying to sneak onto the camp. I consider myself blessed for being allowed to photograph “Camp Crystal Lake” to my heart’s content. It really does have a creepy ambiance, in particular around the edges of Sand Pond, constituting the movie’s “lake.”
I later ventured into Blairstown, New Jersey to see the town used in Friday the 13th’s establishing shots where the ill-fated hitchhiker cook Annie tramps through. To no surprise, I couldn’t get anyone to talk to me about the film for my article, but I did find a jewelry store owner with the last name of Voorhees. As it turns out, Voorhees is a common last name in the Jersey region. Later, we ate at the Blairstown Diner used in the film, but our waitress vanished as quick as the doomed counselors when I tried to kick up convo about the film with her.
Nonetheless, the piece was a success and it was capped by an interview with the late Betsy Palmer, another personal thrill. Betsy was the sweetest woman and she’d called me after our interview ran, telling me I was the first writer to ever quote her 100% accurately. I still feel proud about that. She’d invited me to a future lunch date in Manhattan, which I’m sorry to say never happened, even when I made the attempt to follow up a couple years later prior to her unfortunate passing. RIP Mama Voorhees.
I was later approached by Allentown, PA writer David Zernhelt about my “Crystal Lake” photos I’d posted around the web. He’d put together a few small booklets about the Friday the 13th series and asked to use some of the photos you see here. Some were featured by him and I thank David for his exposure of my work.
Ki ki ki kiiiii…ma ma ma maaaaa…
All photos (c) Ray Van Horn, Jr.