Campfire Story Series: The Moss Man

Have you ever heard of the moss man? You HAVEN’T?! You’ve never heard the story of the moss man? Huh, well it’s become something of an urban legend. A lot of people think it started out as some old wives’ tale to keep kids from going too deep in the woods. But it was more than that and I believe the stories. 

You ever hear of Beth Cooper? You might be a bit too young. She was a sweet girl. Bookish type too. She was on track to go away to a top college and marry her high school sweetheart, Kenny Sterling. He was on the local football team. Not a star athlete by any means, but he was well-known. The two of them went out into the woods with their graduating class. They all went out to party and celebrate. It was a big year and they had the rest of their lives ahead of them. 

What I heard was that Kenny went out to use the bathroom or something. I mean what else are you gonna do? It’s the woods. So he told Beth and went out on his own. A half hour or so later, Beth got concerned. He hadn’t come back for a while, and he just went out because, you know, nature called. Anyway, after that, Beth went out looking for him. She must’ve walked pretty deep into the woods cause she said she saw a lot of moss, covering trees, rocks, and everything. It wasn’t regular moss either. According to her, what she saw was red moss. It was just blood red. She started getting spooked. She called and called for Kenny but couldn’t find him.

That’s when she went back to the party and told everyone she couldn’t find him. She was frantic. Some people were trying to tell her she was just being paranoid. Some tried to say he probably ran off on her with someone else. That was pretty messed up. But anyway, she got a good number of their friends to go back out with her to look for him. They went back out into the woods, deep, where she said she saw the red moss. They found it, but still couldn’t find him. 

Apparently, she thought she saw him and ran off from the group. She later said she saw a man or a man’s silhouette. Poor thing thought she saw Kenny. When she lost sight of him, she realized she got separated from the group. She looked and looked around. She called for Kenny and everyone else. There was a creaking that broke through the usual silence of the woods. 

That’s when the rest of the search party heard her shrieks. And I mean she was screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs. Kenny’s best friends found her alone at the bottom of a hill. In the darkness of the woods, she tripped and fell. Sweet little Beth was all scratched up from the rocks, covered in dirt, & crying about a “moss man.” If I had heard it right then and there, I don’t know if I’d believe her. 

According to Beth, she turned and saw this tall, wide fellow. But that wasn’t it. His whole body was covered in moss. He was big, green, and ugly. Even after everything with Kenny, some people laughed at her. They really like to see good people struggle. Some of them tried to say it was probably a hunter or someone in one of those grass suits. Others said she was probably stressed or losing it. They tried to dismiss it and say she was just seeing things, seeing what she wanted to see because she was missing Kenny. She insisted otherwise. She kept saying that man or that thing was made of the stuff. 

Nowadays, they say you can tell when the moss man is nearby because there’ll be red moss and lots of it. Some say it’s red because it’s covered in the blood of his victims. I think that’s a little dramatic. Others say it’s red because of some kind of evil. I personally think that might just be coincidence and superstition. It all sounded too delusional to me, until I ran into him myself.

I was part of one of the last search parties for Kenny. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think we were gonna find him. We didn’t. But I figured it was something I could do to help Beth at least get some closure. I didn’t like going in the woods to begin with, but you try to do the right thing. We got pretty deep in the woods. Didn’t see any red moss. We tried sticking together but a heavy fog rolled in and you couldn’t see past two feet in front of you. I was ready to jump out of my skin. 

I thought I heard the rest of the group with me. I definitely heard steps, but I didn’t hear their voices anymore. I called out and they sounded far away. I tried making my way to them. I heard steps behind me again so I asked who that was. There wasn’t an answer. I tried moving back to the group faster. When I heard the creaking, I ran and tripped. I caught myself on a tree. It was then that I realized it was covered in red moss. I looked back and saw a silhouette behind me. I ran for my life. I didn’t look for the group, I just ran the other way as fast as I could until I was out of the woods. I never looked back and I haven’t been back since. 

They never found Kenny. There wasn’t even a body. Other people went out looking for Kenny. Authorities, family, and friends. But he was never found. It ruined Beth. That life she had planned out slipped away. I don’t think it helped that half the people she knew started calling her crazy. She became a shut-in after a while. When asked about it, she said she never wanted to see that thing again, whatever it was. They say that on some days, you can still hear her muttering under her breath about the moss man. The stories about it continued long after Kenny disappeared. 

People started going out, looking for this famous moss man. I think it became a “legend” when a fair amount of those people who searched for him started disappearing too. They came in waves. Some of them would disappear. Authorities would get involved and tell everyone to avoid going into the woods. People should have heeded the warnings. Unfortunately, more of them came out looking for the moss man again, only to disappear themselves. So I tell you this. Listen and listen good. If you go out there and you see red moss, run for your life. 

Christian Burgos

Christian Burgos

Although I’ve never strayed too far from my home in New York City, I hope to change that by exploring new places soon. As a writer who’s beginning to settle into his craft, I seek out adventures and new experiences to inspire my work. When I’m not writing articles about camping, I’m writing short horror stories for my podcast, Wickedly Insidious Pages.

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