Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco – Hardwick, New Jersey - Atlas Obscura
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Hardwick, New Jersey

Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco

This Boy Scout retreat acted as Friday the 13th's original Camp Crystal Lake. 

Maybe the most famous summer camp of all time is the deadly Camp Crystal Lake, the preferred hunting grounds of Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees (and yes, his mother). The very first camp to stand in for the Voorhees’ bloody kill zone? A still-active Boy Scout camp called Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco.

The camp actually had a rich history well before Hollywood came calling. Located in the wilds of Blairstown, New Jersey, the camp was first established by the Boy Scouts in 1927 during their first season, which saw over 500 campers come to stay. Over the next few years permanent log cabins were built, and once established, the summer camp operated continuously throughout the 20th century, even during World War II. While the camp lost some of its acreage to a proposed dam project that fell through, the resulting national park land that was established instead gave them access to much more wilderness.

But it was in 1979 that the producers of the first Friday the 13th movie came to the camp to film their slasher classic and forever change the way summer camps are seen. The film, designed to cash in on the popularity of John Carpenter’s Halloween, set the standard for tales of raunchy teens getting slaughtered, as (30+ year old spoiler alert) the mother of Jason Voorhees cuts a bloody swath through the camp. Other than a non-sensical scare at the end of the film, Jason himself is not actually introduced until the sequel, but Camp Crystal Lake was made immortal in the original. The Crystal Lake that Jason drowned in was actually known as Sand Pond. 

For their part, Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco doesn’t seem too enthused about this part of their past, as it is not even mentioned in the history on their website. This makes sense, though, as marketing an active Boy Scout camp that rightfully does not allow visitors probably shouldn’t play up its connection to a film about children getting murdered. In recent years, however, they have conducted singular tours of the filming sites still left around the camp. If you want to see where all the slashing happened, contact the camp or keep an eye out for one of their tours. 

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