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Spooky stories - a part of summer

COURTESY PHOTO - Professional storyteller Anne Rutherford will tell stories and entertain audiences Tuesday as part of the Walters Cultural Arts Centers Spoken Word Series. Award-winning storyteller Anne Rutherford doesn’t stockpile her scariest stories for Halloween.

In fact, she thinks summer is the perfect time to sit on the lawn and share them with a captivated crowd.

A sunny, warm evening is the perfect time to listen to tales of the supernatural and spooky variety, Rutherford says, because listeners are scared and sitting in suspense — but there they are in the daylight without any real present danger.

Rutherford, who makes her living telling stories and has been honing her craft for 20 years, will be at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 E. Main St. in Hillsboro, for the sixth annual outdoor storytelling picnic at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18. Attendees are invited to bring a blanket and picnic. Free strawberry lemonade will be available.

Rutherford has always been drawn to the supernatural. As a youngster, she watched “Dark Shadows,” subscribed to a monsters magazine and played in the cemetery with friends.

Reading scary stories and staying awake all night, unable to sleep, was a favorite pastime.

Tuesday, she’ll share an urban legend about a hitchhiker who vanished in Hillsboro many years ago; a fictional story about a spooky presence joining in hide and seek; her own country & western vampire song, “Your Blood Sucking Heart”; an early 1900s ghost story; and a few more tales she has up her sleeve.

Rutherford likes to include the audience in her performances but never forces people up on stage.

“My shows are introvert safe and extrovert friendly,” she jokes.

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