The Camper, for all we know about it/them there's a lot we're unsure of. For example should the Camper be referred to in the plural or the singular? For all that the individual bodies can act like independent beings there's good evidence that the Camper is one being with multiple bodies. Hell, the Camper may even be EAT rather than serving it.
More than most Proxies one can not discuss the Camper without discussing the being behind it/them, EAT. The first verified encounter with this entity was by an associate of the late Jordan Dooling, a girl named Sam. It was she who named it the The Epping AquaTarkus after a song, shortly before she herself became a Camper/part of the Camper. Other names it's gone by are Ichor, the Loom, Salmacis, or Scylla. What EAT does is dwell in bodies of water slowly replacing the water with excretions of its own, most commonly known as Ink or Ichor, that are indistinguishable from the water they replace. What this Ichor does when consumed by a living being is quite insidious. Just a small amount makes you want to return to the source of the Ichor and submerge yourself in it. This is the last thing any sane individual wants to do as the Ichor will replace all of your bodily fluids with itself effectively killing you and leaving only a/the Camper in your place. Probably the only reason we haven't all drowned ourselves in Ichor by this point is our bodies defense mechanism against it (this mechanism does imply that EAT has been with us a long time, or else we wouldn't have evolved such a defense). Simply put, ingestion of the Ichor causes an obsession with something unrelated to the body of "water" in question. If this is enough to keep you away from ingesting more Ichor it will eventually pass from your system. I don't know that it's been experimented with, but at least theoretically a diuretic could speed this process if one finds themselves infected with Ichor. Most are prescription but goldenrod and juniper berries are probably available from health food stores or the herbal supplement aisle of your local S-mart (shop smart!). Caffeine is another easily available one and I'm sure most runners enjoy the ocasional coffee, cola, energy drink, or entire bottle of no-doze so they don't have to sleep and risk nightmares or actual attacks by Proxies or Fears.
If however one gives in and drowns themselves in the Ichor than the process of becoming Camper has begun. In some cases the poor soul will return home, in others they remain next to the "water" (some have been found still floating IN the "water", an especially nasty trick since their "rescuer" risks infection), but in all cases the victim appears to be in a coma. They remain in this state, often thought of as Stage One, indefinitely until someone tries to interact with them*. Once someone of the same species interacts with them they move on to Stage Two where they will copy anything said, word for word down to the tone and inflection. They may also mimic actions at this point but that isn't always the case. Soon they move on to Stage Three and begin analyzing those attempts to communicate with it. During this stage they will repeat individual words from sentences they've heard, sometimes attempting to arrange the various words they've heard in new ways (for example if the only words they've heard by this point are "Would you like an apple or a pear with your lunch?" all you would hear at this stage are either repetitions of one word - for example "apple . . . apple . . . apple" or attempts to rearrange it into new content like "Lunch apple pear like you would your a or an for". It's not clear if what happens next is properly thought of as one stage or multiple ones but in Stage Four they show a rapid gain in intellect progressing from correct simple sentences to more complex sentences, now its using words that it may not have heard from you. It might even use words that the person they used to be never knew (although I've never heard of a case where one spoke a language that it hadn't heard in Stage One). At this point they have a lot of knowledge, but no tact (less than me even) and will probably be acting nothing like the person they used to be. This is followed by what one hopes is the last Stage of development, depending on who's list you go by this is either Stage Five or Stage Nine. They appear to go back to normal. I stress here that this is a facade only, the person you may once have known is gone all that's left is the Camper pretending to be them so that it can operate as EAT's scouts, spys, and hands. They've been known to spike water supplies with Ichor and carry those resisting the call back to a pool of Ichor to drown them and make more Camper. Once they've reached what is hopefully the final stage they are extremely difficult to spot unless you know they went through the previous stages. They may occasionally show knowledge that they shouldn't have (EAT is a being of knowledge, as far as I can tell anything it knows the Camper know) and from what I've read and the few I've encountered (okay, there's a slim chance they weren't Camper, but honestly if you try to slip something into the water supply I don't think people are going to cry much when you wind up with a few stab wounds in you. A city employee would have been in uniform, in a city vehicle, and probably wouldn't have been putting any legal additives in the water supply at 3 in the morning.) they are often damp. I don't know if it's because they like to be in contact with water/Ichor as much as possible or if they just sweat a lot but it's kind of gross.
If you need to killing Camper is as easy as killing a person (unless, I don't know, you're dealing with a converted elephant or something. Anything that drinks/lives in water can become Camper.). However remember that their bodily fluids have been replaced with Ichor, you do not want to come into contact with it. While I've never heard of someone becoming infected by contact with Camper's blood no one wants to be the first.
There are a few disturbing rumors going around pertaining to Camper and to EAT that you should be aware of. Firstly, the rumor that there is a stage of Camper beyond what I've mentioned here. No one who's claimed this has been able to say what this stage is however so I'm not that worried. Besides, if I stab them at Stage Five/Nine they'll never get to the hypothetical Stage Six/Ten.
More disturbing are rumors that a high profile national brand of bottled water has been taken over entirely by Camper. No one can agree on which one though. There are also rumors of gangs (especially the Timber Wolves) mixing Ichor into the drugs they sell to create an obsession with the drug in question and increase sales. I've also heard of it being sold as a homeopathic remedy, usually as "Extract of Salmacis". There are even rumors of groups who have weaponized it.
Damn it. My tail just walked in the door again. I'm going to have to confront her soon and get this - whatever the hell it is - over with.
Until my next post, Stay Alert, Stay Alive.
*Although there have been cases where a period of time ranging from days to weeks has elapsed while under a doctors care before they moved on to Stage Two. Perhaps there are different strengths of Ichor out there?