Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Couple to tell spine-tingling tales at library

Don't miss Oregon Ghostly Legends Oct. 12 at 1 p.m.

SUBMITTED PHOTOS: SONJA BALES - Anne Rutherford and Norm Brecke, known as The Oregon Tellers, will tell spine-tingling tales at the Lake Oswego Public Library Oct. 12 at 1 p.m.

It’s probably a good thing the Lake Oswego Public Library’s Performing Arts presentation will take place in broad daylight — it might be too scary to hear after dark. If you dare, come hear the spine-tingling “Oregon Ghostly Legends,” presented by The Oregon Tellers, Anne Rutherford and Norm Brecke, seasoned storytellers who will share haunting tales from around the state.

“We love stories from the Pacific Northwest, especially from Oregon,” Rutherford said. “Norm grew up in Coos Bay and has that attitude that everything is better in Oregon. I came to Oregon after college for a one-year volunteer position and never left.” The couple has been performing together for about two years, but have decades of experience between them as storytellers.

Rutherford has loved a good story ever since her mother read her “The Wizard of Oz.” She grew up in a small Pennsylvania town which she describes as “part Norman Rockwell, part Stephen King.” She says she was “an odd and lively child who read stories to find her place in the world.”

She went on to develop and perform a repertoire of stories, poems and songs for audiences of all ages. Her specialties are original and vintage stories of humor and adventure, trickster and supernatural tales, plus a good dose of Northwest folklore.

Brecke specializes in folktales he spices to make unique, and his personal stories reflect his Northwest roots. His background and expertise as a primary school teacher enables his rapport with young audiences to be immediate and lasting.

Rutherford said audiences often don’t understand storytelling — they won’t be reading from books to the audience, but telling about events, like you would while sitting around a campfire.

“These are experiences,” she said. “We learn about unique sightings or events, like something that supposedly happened in a dorm in Eugene, or in the parking lot at Lithia Park in Ashland, or the basement of the Bagdad Theater in Portland. We find out as much as we can about the incident and then turn it into a story. What could happen in that instance? What weird, unique things could take place? Like the urban legend of picking up a hitch hiker who then vanishes from your car.”

She says the eerie stories trigger stories from the audience about similar incidents, and someone will always corroborate the tales.

“There is a legend about a stretch of highway down on the coast where a figure wrapped in bandages will appear,” Rutherford said. “And inevitably there will be someone in the audience who will say they saw that man. It’s always fun for us to hang around after the show to hear the audiences’ tales.”

Music is part of the fun as well, and Rutherford hints that you might hear a country-western song about vampires which she composed. Brecke often brings music to his stories, accompanying himself on guitar, ukulele, banjo and mouth harp.

Oregon Ghostly Legends will be presented at 1 p.m. Oct. 12 at the library, located at 706 4th St. in Lake Oswego. The event is free and open to the public.

The Oregon Tellers also present a monthly storytelling session the second Sunday of each month at 1 p.m. at Sellwood-Moreland library, 7860 S.E. 13th Ave. in Portland.

They also host a monthly story performance titled “Scared in Portland” on the Third Thursday of each month from 7-9 p.m. at Lucky Lab Tap Room, 1700 N. Killingsworth in Portland. Rutherford and Brecke chill your bones by telling a few classic ghostly tales and local eerie legends, and then it’s your turn. It’s an open mic event, where you can tell a story about what scares you, and will likely scare the audience. Participants are limited to eight minutes to make the audience’s blood run cold. No notes — eyeball to eyeball.

To learn more, visit oregontellers.com.

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Oregon Tellers also host Scared in Portland, an open mic event where you can share your scariest tales and practice your storytelling techniques. Learn more online at oregontellers.com.