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One of my fave staged scares for a group of teen girl scouts, was placing a VERY scary dummy behind a stack of fake cardboard boxes. The boxes were really only two-sided- stacked- and set on an angle in a corner against other boxes. When the point came to turn the lights out, I had someone pivot the fake-front boxes away from the dummy. A real person in costume would be better- but I didn't have enough helpers and the dummy was able to be staged HOURS ahead of time. Spooky music covered the reveal sounds.

The story was about a vengeful ghost that inhabited an old barn that the girls had visited that day... so it was very specific to them. It was SUPER effective since each listener had been to the site and done the exact thing that sets the ghost off. (In this case- touching a stone wall.) I started my story with the 'fact' that the barn owners don't like anyone to know about the 'true history' of that deep stone room.

So my suggestion would be to tie your tale to the listener so that they think they are part of the story. In our case, it was about two sisters. The older girl - tired of her tag-along little sister- locked the younger girl in a dank stone room so that she could play with her same-age friends. Before the older girl could tell anyone or unlock the door, she died in a barn accident. (The old pitchfork in the hay trick) The other girl died in the locked room- died ANGRY!

And of course... the ghosts are ESPECIALLY drawn to girls of the same age!

I dressed my dummy in turn-of-the-century grave-rotted garb. The lights were already dimmed, music played... and I kept pounding on the table during the telling to simulate the pounding on the door of the locked room. I had someone pound LOUDLY on the wall at the reveal and almost lost my hearing due to the screaming!

Ahhh... sweet memories...

eta: another good trick is spraying the ghost's scent during the story. At some scary cemmie tours, the tour guide will stash a scent in their pockets and surreptitiously spray the scent as they tell people, "some people swear they can still smell her perfume..."
 
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