The Frost Valley Shoveler
Sometimes you never know if what you see
with your own eyes is real, or if it is conjured up by your own
imagination, like hallucinations formed when stranded in a desert with
no water and a throat dryer than the sand, heat so intense it
penetrates your skull in an attempt to melt your brain out of your
ears. Yes! This does happen, however, I was not in a dessert, my
throat was not dry and it was not hot, in fact it was perfectly cold,
not freezing, but perfectly cold. It was perfectly cold enough for the
mounds of snow lining the wet muddy trails to stay nicely packed and
alive for the remainder of winter. It was perfectly cold enough for
acres and acres of land to be covered with the most beautiful snowball
creation snow that ones eyes have ever seen, especially a New Yorker,
Brooklynite, like myself.
After about three hours, the bus finally
made its last turn into a parking lot with a sign at the entrance
“Welcome to Frost Valley.” I’m not much of a bus rider, never did
enjoy long bus rides since they make my stomach a bit queasy, but this
bus ride was different. I was paying more attention to the 8th
graders sitting behind me and my son Damic. 8th graders so tall that I
am willing to bet they are being scouted to play professional
But it was not their height I was paying
attention to, it was the consistent joking and mockery they exercised
throughout the bus ride. Helpless 6th graders being snapped
on “hey fat boy, your mother looks like Jason”, as their dope favorite
team caps with the perfectly straight brims were slapped off their
heads and thrown to the floor. I wondered if I had not chaperoned what
would have happened to Damic who is a six grader himself barely
reaching four feet and eight inches tall, but I guess it’s all kid
“It’s about time we got here son. Maaaaann,
it felt like we were gonna go to another country yo.” One kid shouted.
“Yo son! I thought the bus was gonna break down son, or run outta gas,
for real yo,” said another. “Where the deer at son?” Asked another 8th
“Alright everyone, off the bus and line up
outside,” shouted one of the teachers from the front of the bus. We
finally made it outside and it was time to get our bags, but as we
neared the bus compartment to retrieve our luggage, a person who
seemed to be one of the camp coordinators nicely told everyone to keep
moving up the trail straight to the dining hall.
“Don’t worry about your bags everyone;
just keep heading straight to the dining hall. Belongings will be
positioned outside of your lodges for you to retrieve once you head to
your cabins, just make sure your bags have name tags.”
Damic and I just did as we were told. On
our way up the trail, we gazed and were amazed at how much snow was
around us. Fields and fields of snow surrounded the camp.
“How come there’s so much snow out here,
and we don’t see any in Brooklyn?” asked Damic. ‘It snows more often
here in Claronville since it’s up north, and the weather is perfect
for the snow not to melt,’ I replied. Damic nodded in acknowledgement
and continued looking around.
Soon we made it into the dining hall
building, which inside was quite a site. The entrance greeted you with
an area where coat hooks trailed the walls, and soon the kids’
instincts of hanging up their jackets kicked in. Everyone ran to
either a hook on the wall or straight to a set of wheeled coat racks.
The kids were filled with excitement and
curiosity as they looked around and ran from side to side tagging
their friends and yelling playfully at each other. There is a glass
double door entrance into the main part of the dining hall, and in
front of the entrance stood a six foot and 8 inches tall teacher named
In a rough loud voice he yells, “Everyone
quiet down,” but no one listened. Once more, “Everyone quiet down,”
but no one listened. Dennis started counting backwards from five, “5,
4, 3,” as he counted the kids began quieting down, until finally there
was dead silence, “1, thank you,” said Dennis.
“Everyone listen. 8th graders,
when you enter the dining hall, walk straight towards the back where
your dining area will be. Herman will be waiting outside your dining
area with instructions. Once more, only 8th graders towards
the back of the dining hall, let’s go.”
The 8th graders rushed through
the open double doors in a hurry to reach their dining area, “I’m
hungry son, word up” claims an 8th grader while patting his
“Now the 6th graders; when you
come through the doors there is a dining area to your left. That is
your dining area, there are instructions on how and where groups will
be seated.” Said Dennis.
Damic and I headed through the doors and
made a quick left, however we could not help but to notice the huge
wide open area in the middle of the dining hall and the high ceiling
made out of what seemed to be beautifully finished oak wood. Before
entering the dining area, positioned on a table were containers full
of different types of cereals waiting for the kids to consume them at
Finally all the groups were seated at
their tables and one of the camps’ counselors was ready to speak. He
stood on a ledge against the wall with his right arm up in the air
allowing for everyone in the dining area to see him clearly. It was
their way of letting the kids know that it was time to quiet down. The
kids had not caught on to it yet, but soon enough they would.
From one side of the area a familiar loud
voice is heard, “5, 4, 3, don’t repeat my counting,” shouted Dennis,
“2, 1.” Once more there was dead silence. “Thank you,” said the
counselor loud enough for everyone to hear. “When any one of us come
up here and raise our hand in the air, it means we need your immediate
The counselor went on to explain the rules
of the dining area and also explained that as soon as lunch was over,
we were engaging in our first activity. Lunch was finally over and
everyone was looking forward to their first activity. Damic and I
gathered outside with our group of sixteen which included one teacher
and two other chaperones.
Our designated camp guide led us to the
first activity which was in a large snow blanketed field that could be
used to play a good game of soccer; unfortunately soccer was not
possible under such climatic conditions. We played a few
intellectually challenging games and hiked a bit towards a see-saw
type element low to the ground and the size of a picnic table. The
kids were challenged to keep the element evenly balanced as to not
allow the edges to touch the snow. One by one they added themselves
until they all stood upon it and through teamwork were able to balance
It was time to go to the next activity.
This next activity sounded even more interesting, we were going syrup
sugaring. A new camp guide was designated, and she explained how
everyone will have to board a van in order to reach the syrup sugaring
“Hello everyone, my name is Dianne. I will
be your guide for the sugaring activity. Wow! This sure is a large
group,” she claimed. “I can only fit fourteen passengers in the van;
can any of the Chaperones stay? This way all the kids can go.”
I raised my hand to stay, and so did one
other chaperone. “You’re not coming?” Asked Damic. ‘Don’t worry,’ I
said, ‘you’ll be ok, just have fun and be good, I don’t want to hear
that you got out of hand.’ “I’ll be good,” responded Damic. Everyone
boarded the van and off they went. I stood there until the van finally
disappeared from my path of vision.
“Do you know which way I can go to find
the Werten lodge?” Asked Leyla, the other chaperone who remained
behind. ‘Let me see, I have a map here,’ I replied. ‘It looks like if
you make a left by the dining hall and follow this trail here, you’ll
end up right in front of it.’ “I hope I don’t get lost,” she replies.
‘You’ll be fine,’ I assured. She heads off on her quest to find the
lodge, as for me; I did not know what to do
next, so I sat on a
nearby bench took a deep breath and simply admired the snowy planes.
The air smelled fresh, clean, and felt
comfortably cold, the clear blue sky seemed like an ocean above with
only a few clouds traveling by, the sun was perfectly vibrant and
illuminated the snow to the whitest glow the eyes could ever perceive.
After some minutes I quickly glanced at my watch and realized I had
over half an hour to myself before Damic returned.
There was no one in my sight, seemed like
everyone was either inside or away on a short trip such as Damic and
the rest of his group were on.
‘I wonder where our lodge is located?’ I
asked myself. In my backpack I carried a folder with all the
information I needed, it was supplied by the school before going on
the trip. “Here we go! We’re staying in the Pelligo lodge.” I took a
look at the map and off I went.
As I followed the trails designated by the
map to reach my destination, I remained in awe at the beauty nature
had to offer. Trees standing high, long branches covered in snow,
birds singing along the way and squirrels scurrying about. I had not
seen anything exotic though, at least not yet.
As I walked up a particular trail, about a
city block ahead of me I could see a man with his back towards me.
From behind it appeared as if he was shoveling snow, but I was a bit
too far to tell yet. With each step I took I came closer and closer to
him. I was not bewildered at all, I mean let’s admit; it was just a
man shoveling snow right? Wrong!
I finally stopped about six feet behind
him as he shoveled and shoveled and shoveled. There was a certain
rhythm to the way he was shoveling, it was almost as if the shoveling
made its own music each time he drove the shovel into the snow and
piled it to the side. Shoo--pah----shoo--pah----shoo--pah----shoo--pah.
He stood at least 8 feet tall, wore a long
black raincoat slightly above his ankles with a hood covering his
head, black boots with spikes penetrating the snow, and as he swung
the shovel from side to side I could see black gloves covering what
appeared to resemble hands the size of bear’s paws.
For some strange unbeknownst reason I was
frozen still, unwarily mesmerized by what I was seeing. I quickly
shook my head and snapped out of it, but remained standing behind this
giant just watching him shovel the snow. Shoo--pah----shoo--pah----shoo--pah----shoo—pah.
I did not want to pass by this man, no
way, something told me this was no ordinary person, and as I thought
this, I suddenly decided to look down at the mound he was building. I
looked down at the mound and could not believe what I was seeing. My
eyes opened as wide as they could, my neck made a cracking sound as my
head snapped back in shock, I rubbed my eyes to make sure I was not
seeing things, but as I kept looking reality struck even harder.
A frozen hand stuck out of the mound with
red snow surrounding it. ‘Could it be? Is that man burying a body in
that mound?’ I thought to myself. But, I still could not move, I just
could not move. It became harder and harder to move because I felt
that if this man hears me, and that’s a body he’s burying, I am a dead
Suddenly, with no warning, SWOOSH; the man
turns around and with both hands tightly gripping the shovel
diagonally across his body he stares directly at my eyes. The sun
reflected off his shiny silvery shovel with a tip so sharp it could
penetrate through a wall. The sides of the shovel were honed like a
double edged knife, and I could now see what this man looks like, he
did not look human.
His face was cruddy and leathery almost
like the skin of an alligator with mucous seeping out of noticeably
open crevices, his left eye was wide open and high up on his forehead,
his right eye dragged down past his nose which looked like just a
small piece of burger meat hanging from the middle of his face, his
lips were paper thin with a long sharp tooth penetrating directly
though the bottom one, and the rest of his teeth were chipped pointy
like those of a shark.
I was speechless and could not tell if I
was breathing. Inside I trembled and could feel my own blood rushing
towards my extremities, my heart pumped like never before,
pump-pump-pump-pump-pump. He starts to slowly walk towards me, but I
could not move. He came closer and closer and closer, until he got so
close I could smell his breath, it smelled like a dead rotting rat.
He panted heavily like Darth Vader from
star wars hughh-haghh --- hughh-haghh and just stared into my eyes
with the look of a growling dog, then suddenly in a hoarse raspy voice
he asks, “Why are you standing behind me? Would you like for me to
drive this shovel through your stomach and scoop your guts out to the
‘Please let this be a bad dream, or even a
nightmare, please’ I thought to myself. But this was not a bad dream,
this was pure reality. In a tinny, tinny, tiny voice I said, ‘no.’ I
knew this thing meant what it said and would easily create a snowy
grave for me.
‘I was just admiring your shoveling skills
Mister, that’s all,’ I said. Suddenly he backed away a few feet, still
close enough to shovel me though, so I remained calm. He looked at me
up and down and I thought ‘Oh no, here it goes that’s it for me. My
life is over, so long wonderful world.’
“Let me tell you something boyyyyyyyy,’ he
said as he growled and gnarled, “growwwl, growwwl. Three young boys
stood behind me once, two got away, growwwl, growwwl, the third is
somewhere buried in one of my snow mounds to keep his body fresh. The
cold snow keeps my food fresh and whenever I get real hungry I cut off
a leg, an arm, maybe even the whole torso and devour it to shreds.
When I am not too hungry, I cut off a few toes or fingers, or an ear,
maybe even eat their eyeballs.”
He continued. “That last kid was not too
lucky, growwwl, growwwl. I drove my shovel straight through his foot
and into the ground, keeping him stuck in place while he screamed for
help. Help! Help! He screamed, but no one could hear him. His friends
just ran and ran and ran.
I could not believe my ears; this thing
was explaining to me in detail how he killed a helpless kid and
continued on as if he enjoyed telling of the account.
“When I removed the shovel from his foot
he fell to the ground still screaming, help, help, but no one could
hear him, growwwl, growwwl. With just one swoop of my shovel, I
shoveled his head right off his shoulders, his body still moved while
his head lay some feet away from him. I shoveled his legs off grrrrr,
I shoveled his arms off grrrrr, I shoveled his torso in half grrrrr,
then I shoveled all of the pieces into his own cold, cold snowy
He told the story as if it was the last
one I would ever hear, because it seemed that I was next to be
shoveled. Could this be his method? Does he tell you his horrific
stories to then make you his next victim? I didn’t know. After his
gruesome detailed account, he paused for a few seconds, then said
“That kid could have gotten away if he wanted to.”
‘HOW!’ I asked loudly, without realizing
that I had just shouted at this thing. ‘Oh no, what have I done,’ I
thought to myself.
However, he remained still just staring at
me, breathing heavily, and then suddenly without notice he starts to
what apparently sounded like singing, “sha-sha-shaaaa-voler,
eh-eh-eh-eh, ------ eh-eh-eh-eh, ---- sha-sha-shaaaa-voler,
eh-eh-eh-eh, ------ eh-eh-eh-eh,” In a low voice I repeated his tune,
‘sha-sha-shaaaa-voler, eh-eh-eh-eh, ------ eh-eh-eh-eh,
sha-sha-shaaaa-voler, eh-eh-eh-eh, ------ eh-eh-eh-eh.
As I followed his tune, I slowly started
walking backwards away from him, sha-sha-shaaaa-voler, eh-eh-eh-eh.’
He kept singing while holding his shovel and swaying from side to side
accompanied with short intermittent hops.
I kept walking backwards and singing the
tune, walking backwards and singing, walking backwards and singing
until I was so far from him that I could turn around and RUUUUNNNNNN
for my life.
I leapt over mounds, rolled down snowy
hills, smacked branches out of my way, dodged trees and just kept on
running without looking back, then finally, finally I came to a lodge
where I saw one of the camp coordinators. With no breath left in me I
fell to my knees and managed to yell out, ‘help, help.’ The
coordinator ran over to me, “Are you ok? What’s wrong?” He asked. It
took me a few minutes to regain my normal breathing, then I explained
to the coordinator what I had just seen. To my surprise, the
coordinator knew about this thing, he is called the Frost Valley
Somehow the Frost Valley Shoveler has been
an illusive mystery which till today has not been solved. Police are
constantly called out to crime scenes, but all they can do is write
reports. When the mounds of the crime scenes are visited, there is no
body to be found, the only proof of a body formerly buried in a mound
is the red snow tainted by human blood.
I just want to make sure you are all aware
of this; That’s why I wrote it for you. So the next time you visit
Frost Valley, find a stick, and as you walk the snowy trails poke a
few holes in the snow mounds around the area because you never know
what could be buried inside one of them.
I guess what saved my life was following
the tune of Frost Valley Shoveler, so my advice to you is; make sure
you remember his tune, ‘sha-sha-shaaaa-voler, ---- eh-eh-eh-eh, ------
eh-eh-eh-eh, ---- sha-sha-shaaaa-voler, ---- eh-eh-eh-eh, ------
By, Danny Contreras. –dc