23 True Accounts Of Absolute Terror From The Middle Of Nowhere

Tony Ciampa - www.instagram.com/emolabs/
Tony Ciampa –

1. Deep in The Aspen Grove

This story takes place in August of 2013, in the mountains of Southern Oregon. I am a USAF Security Forces Airman (military policeman). My girlfriend was at work, and as a swelteringly hot day began to turn into thunderstorms, my buddy Nick (another military cop) and I decided to go explore some back roads and get out of the heat in town.

Southern Oregon is criss-crossed with logging roads, some actively used, and many totally forgotten and grown over. Nick and I spent many of our days off starting on roads that we knew, finding roads we didn’t know, driving for hours into the mountains, eventually navigating back to paved roads. On this particular day, with storm clouds building over the mountains, we set off on a road we had never been on, and began the drive into the mountains.

After driving for around an hour, we hadn’t seen nor heard any signs of other people in the woods. We rounded a bend in the thick fir woods, and emerged in a meadow that was totally surrounded by thick aspen groves. The meadow was perfectly flat, and eerily still. We both noticed the strange stillness almost immediately; no birds, hardly any insect noise, no squirrels, and certainly no other people. On the far side of the meadow, right at the edge of the tree-line, there was a picnic table. The table was very odd, however. It was painted a bright orange, and was much larger than a typical picnic table in a park. Remarking on this, Nick drove through the meadow to get a closer look.

I remember being apprehensive as we approached. The whole scenario was exceptionally strange; the overall silence of the aspen grove was unsettling. Also, it was nearly impossible to see far into the trees as aspens grow extremely close together. When we parked by the table, I hopped out of the passenger seat of the truck to check it out. I’m not very tall, only about 5’5″, regardless, the table was ridiculously oversized and practically unusable. The seats were nearly at chest level, meaning I would have to climb up to even sit on them.

As I was looking at the table, Nick called me over to the truck, and I noticed he was looking back into the aspens. At first, I couldn’t see what he was looking at, but then I noticed a splash of color that was completely out of place in the thick trees. A small one man tent was set back in the trees, about 50 feet from the strange table.

I had an initial feeling of dread, and felt certain that there was someone in the tent, and if we could see the tent, they could see us. There were no campgrounds in this area; no people, no main roads for miles. Surely someone camping so remotely would be, at the very least, a strange person. However, as we observed the tent, we didn’t see any movement or hear any sounds coming from it. Nick suggested I call out; I didn’t want to, but I did. “Hey! Anyone in there?”, I yelled.

No reply. Feeling completely on edge, Nick and I thought about driving away and leaving this strange area. But we began to fear the worst; what if there was a body in the tent? What if somebody had gotten kidnapped? Foolish, I know, but we thought it, all the same.

After some debate, we decided to have Nick turn the truck around to drive away from the camp; should we need to leave in a hurry, he would be waiting behind the wheel. With my heart pounding, I started walking through the trees towards the tent. I was totally keyed up with my senses on full alert. When I reached the “campsite”, several things struck me as odd. Backpacks were scattered all over. No fire had been built, no wood collected. The tent… The tent was literally full of backpacks, and women’s clothing. Full of dread, I turned to leave and tell Nick what I had seen. As I left, I heard Nick start yelling.

“Let’s go! Let’s get the fuck out of here!” Not knowing why he was yelling, I ran back to the truck. When I broke out of the trees, I saw a beat up old Ford Taurus on the road, blocking us from leaving the meadow. I immediately leapt into the passenger seat, and Nick floored the gas pedal. The car was occupied by two men; a third person was laying against the window in the back. As we drove across the meadow, the driver attempted to block us from the road, but Nick drove around them and accelerated the way we had come from. I looked back and saw the car attempting to turn around on the narrow road. Nick drove like a mad man, and though I was honestly terrified that they would catch up, we hit the the highway without seeing the car again. I still do not know if the person in the back was male or female.

I called the State Police, and they promised to send a Trooper out to check out the scene. However, I received a call the next day from a Trooper stating that the campsite, the back packs, and the women’s clothing was all gone, though he could tell people had been in the area. The strange table was still by the thick aspen grove. I have not returned to the area, and do not intend to.

2. “It Sounded Like Ten People Running From Me In Every Direction”

To preface this, I want to say last year I spent about 32 days in the woods either scouting, hunting ,or fishing. The year before that, I spent about 22 days, this doesn’t include my regular hunts and camping adventures, which in the past 3 years adds up to just over 100 days. I’ve been hunting since I was 9, and have spent a lot of time outdoors, in various different parts of the US, and in Canada. I’ve seen/heard a lot of strange shit, but this takes the cake.

I was in Cohutta (North Georgia Wilderness) for 7 days scouting for bears, wild hogs, and deer, prepping for a hunting trip later that year. I had hiked in about 10 miles , and then went off trail for another 3-5 miles, basically, I was out in the middle of nowhere. Since I was alone, I was using a hammock that has a built in bug net, and I had a rain fly over it. I spent about 3 days half way up a mountain, just looking for a good place to hunt. I saw 3-4 good size bears, about 10 hogs, and came across some good size deer.

On the 4th day, I was going to head down to a small stream that I had marked on my GPS, and then setup camp, restock on water, and prep for the 2 day hike back (I could have gone faster, but wanted to be able to look for any animal sign along the way). As I was approaching this small stream, I noticed a tent which I was excited to see, as I had been completely alone for a few days and it’s always nice to run into another hiker (generally us wilderness folks are pretty down to earth). As I got closer to the tent, I noticed that there was a small pack on the ground just outside of it. I figured the person couldn’t have been to far from where the camp was, so I set up my camp about 30 yards away, and with about 4 hours of daylight left, started cooking some dinner. 2 hours later, I was starting to wonder where this person was, Given that I was in the wilderness, and it was a 1+ day hike out, there wasn’t much I could do, but I did hike around the site, making a circle as I went out, to look for any signs of struggle (in case of a bear attack) or maybe they had an injury. I got about a 1/4 of a mile from the camp site, walking a circle, but I didn’t find anything.

As night came, no one showed. I started a fire, in hopes that the person would be able to find where they setup, and have some light. Fires burn really bright, and are very easy to see from far away. After eating, searching, and hoping that the person was going to make it back, I called it a night. I had a small flask with me and took a couple sips of whisky, jumped into my hammock with my pistol, and attempted to go to sleep.

I sleep pretty hard, I mean, really hard, regardless of where I am. It literally annoys my friends, because I can always seem to fall asleep, and stay asleep, regardless of where in the world we are. But this night was different, I felt like something was off, but I figured it was just me worrying about this person, who, by all my accounts, was completely missing.

So, for the first time in my life, I woke up to the sound of what I thought was foot steps, but not in the sense of foot steps on leafs, but what a heavy footed person would make walking on an old wood floor. It was extremely loud. I got my gun, grabbed my headlamp, stored in a small compartment up above me, and waited to see if it would stop, right at that moment, it did.

Then I saw something that scared the shit out of me, on my rain fly, the gleam of a flashlight, faint, but there. I shouted “HELLO?” and right when I did, it sounded like 10 people suddenly running away from me in every direction. I dropped out of my hammock on to the ground, frantically turning on my headlamp shining it all around me , but didn’t see shit. My heart was racing pretty bad, but I thought it might have just been the reflection of the moon on the rainfly, yeah, that was it, and those footsteps running away from me was probably armadillos, or something, even though their eyes shine, and they are pretty easy to spot. Problem was there was no moon. I’d never seen an armadillo above 2000ft (not to say they don’t live up there, just never seen one), and for some reason, the camp site I set up by was gone.

The fire had been put out, by water, it was apparent because there was not a damn coal in the thing. I thought for sure it was about 4am, but I had only been asleep about an hour.

At this point, I wanted to leave, but hiking out in the wilderness while it’s dark is always a bad idea. So I grabbed my flask, took a swig of whisky, removed my rain fly so I could see out of my hammock and around the area I was in, and tried my hardest to go back to sleep.

I laying down when I saw some light hit the trees above me, it was clear it was coming from down stream, and I got out of my hammock and started yelling “hey, y’all need any help?”. No response. I saw whatever was putting out the light, and it spun around and started heading down stream, really fast.

At this point my body had pumped through adrenaline then it had blood, and I was exhausted from it all. I finally was able to fall asleep, and woke up around 7AM.

When I did, I noticed that my water filter I had left out was missing, its a gravity filter, and it hangs on a tree filtering water down into my main bladder that I put in my backpack, and my water bladder (sitting at the base of a tree) looked like it was cut down the middle with a knife. They cut down my bear bag (which had food in it) and took some of it.

The creepiest part of all of it was that they went through my bag, which was under my hammock, while I was sleeping. I checked the bearbag before I went back to sleep the 2nd time, and it was still there, hanging, and my bag under my hammock hadn’t been touched. I packed all my shit and hightailed it out of there, keeping my pistol close to me and moving as fast as I could, I ended up making the hike back in just under 15 hours, I hiked the trail part in the night, because I wasn’t about to spend another night out there. I didn’t seen anyone on my hike out, there were no cars parked at the trail head, and the DNR said they had only seen my car there.

Since then, I haven’t gone out there without any friends.

I reported all of this to the local DNR, but they looked at me like I was crazy. Maybe I am.

3. A Kitten A Day

I used to live deep in the Santa Cruz mountains and often hiked and camped there growing up. As a teenager I went hiking on a secluded trail and as I often would I’d take a nap on a sleeping bag I’d bring and take off my shoes and dip my feet in the creek. One day I woke up and my shoes were gone and in their place was a pile of rocks. I still cannot explain that one And it still freaks me out. I moved back when I was 25, and rented a small Cottage on a very large property far up in the mountains of Bonny Doon. It was really rural and secluded and pitch black at night. I’d often hear screams of coyotes in the distance. We had some cats on the property that were friendly and one had a litter of kittens. They were really cute and I would take them in and feed them. There was a point where I was all alone on the property and one morning I came out and one of the kittens was laid across my doorstep, dead. No trauma, no sign of anything wrong with it. It wasn’t even cold enough for them to freeze. The little kitten I had played with the day before was dead. This happened for a week until all the kittens were dead and laid somewhere near my door in the morning. I was terrified. Soon after things started disappearing from my cottage. I ended up leaving pretty quickly. I never felt a sense of ease in those woods, they scared me my whole life and I don’t know why.

4. Just A Basement Apartment Out In The Middle Of The Forest

I had taken a job working for a company based up in the mountains. They offered me a cottage to stay in while working there. It was an hold home built into the side of the mountain and surrounded by the forest. I lived in the basement which had been converted into a small living space with a bathroom, kitchen, sleeping area, and laundry room. The laundry room was “L” shaped and had a door that went out the back and into the surrounding forest. The door that led to the forest was locked from the inside and was quite difficult to open. I never used that door and always kept it locked.The rest of the house was empty but I didn’t have access to it.

After a day of work, I returned to my little basement for an evening reading and playing solitaire. I turned off my lamp and started to nod off when I heard a noise. The noise was like a wood creaking. I played it off as my imagination, but then it repeated. I thought “Maybe one of the cabinets in the kitchen was latched improperly and swung open…” I checked, but all the cabinets where secured. I opened my closet, thinking maybe something in there had made the sound, but again nothing. The last place to look was the laundry room. I open the door that connected the house to the laundry room and was instantly hit by a gust of cold night air. I slowly turned the corner and witnessed the door that led to the outside just swaying in the night time breeze.

I don’t know what happened. Was there someone in the laundry room just waiting for me to fall asleep before sneaking out? Was it something supernatural? Either way, there are few times I had ever felt such genuine horror.

5. The Trail Guide

Tennessee has some real bumfucky people out in nature. I hiked all around while in school there, made some good memories with a girl in the enveloping nature.

Tennessee has good roads to popular hiking sites and tons of mini trails branching off. Sometimes, you need to know what to look for as far as trail markers go, because the interesting ones are always a good ways out.

There’s one spring waterfall that spills across a mossy, granite wall – towering over a shallow stream that empties into a decent size pond.

I went out there with a friend last time and we got separated on the way out. I have no fucking clue how this happened – we’ve each been hiking for over 10 years. I’ve run over it 1000 times in my mind and it has to be this one ledge system. To get to the top of the fall, you need to take a longish detour that has a lot of old, wooden railing and a 3 way branching ledge system. Ok so I’ve taken all 3 routes and ended up at the same spot. They take maybe 3-4 minutes to blast through and theyre kind of like rocky corridors. I don’t take the left one anymore because I’m 90% sure these big stains in the middle are blood. Don’t wanna know what happened there. It’s odd because the left is by far the most inviting – flowers bloom from vines that are etched into the moss-matted bedrock.

Anyways, I’m 45 seconds ahead of her and opt for the right path when I realize I should tell her to avoid the left. It’s really hard to reverse given the sloping angle of the path and a few short drops that become narrow climbs. Fuck it, faster if I speed through and yell down.

I get out of the right corridor swing around to where the middle path drops off. Yell, no reply. She took left. I run over and climb into the left corridor – thinking she saw the stains and freaked out. It looks like someone got bludgeoned to death, to be fair.

She’s fucking gone! “Ashleigh?!” Nothing. And that’s what made my hairs stand up – I literally heard nothing. No birds, no hum of the forest, not even wind. Just myself and the babbling water. I traced left all the way back and noted a few side passages if you miss a couple of the jumps. No bodies were in there or the middle, though. Good.

I figure I may as well get to the top of the falls, where I can get somewhat of an aerial view. I get there and Ashleigh is sitting there waiting for me…

She says she took the left path with the trail guide. What?! There are no trail guides. There are Rangers, but she knows the difference. They wouldn’t be in the rock labyrinth. This guy had a uniform on and a “trail authority” visor on. She knew what I was thinking based on my face and agreed that we should reverse course ASAP without us saying anything out loud. Man, it’s weird when you know you’re watched.

So yeah, we pretend we are going back to the car real quick (~30mins) to get more water and so I left some fish food in a little crevice like i always did and we left. She showed me this weird side passage that could not have existed a year before. I walked all the way around. You had to crouch, but you could walk through the labyrinth if you kept left through. Hindsight, we should’ve taken another way.

I think he lives in those tunnels. She said he kept trying to lead her in different directions, but she just followed the light and saw him standing in the tunnel as she walked the rest of the trip to the top.

That means he was there when I was looking for her. That means she followed him before seeing the blood spatters all over the floor/walls. And that’s not the totally fucked part.

The fucking fish food was on the hood of MY car. Her water bottle was gone, too. She had it carabinered to her pack, so he must’ve snuck up and taken it at some point. We hiked fast, too. Never went back and will not.

6. Cody, Wyoming, Midnight…

I had just finished a very long day at work. I am a medical courier, and I am regularly on the road, staying in hotels, and life is never dull. This particular evening I wound up on a 500mi drive that ended in Cody Wyo, at around midnight.

It had been cold, it was December after all and this is Wyoming. The roads had been very so-so that night, they weren’t clear, but they weren’t treacherous, it was one of those drives in the dark where you are on edge the whole time. Staying alert for 500 miles in the dark, on roads that were nearly abandoned at this time of night, with light snow and heavy winds, it takes a lot out of a person. This particular week it had been very busy, I had been in 4 states that week by the time I reached Wyoming that evening.

The drive to the patients house was up a windy slick road, and the drive was uneventful. After I had dropped the medicine off to them and called the boss to let them know I had made it in and was heading to a hotel to get some sleep. Pretty usual conversation, we talked briefly about how much they would reimburse me for the hotel room. They always say $80-$100 its pretty typical, and fair, since the cheap hotel in Cody Wyo is about that price.

I however am 31 and a good night’s rest, a good free breakfast, and a nice AM soak in a hot tub are requirements for when I catch myself in a hotel room. I know that by the time I get to the hotel I have put on serious miles, so I treat myself, one, because if I am staying in a hotel it has been a profitable day and I can afford to treat my self just a little, and two, I feel better after a good nights rest, a great breakfast, and a nice soak. I will not name the chain of hotels I stay at, but I frequent one chain because its the best value hotel in my home town, which is back in Nebraska. Tonight I pulled into the hotel, which I have stayed at 3 or 4 times now, so I am familiar with the place. I had called ahead about 8 hours before when I was leaving Denver to call and book a room, and let them know they would be expecting me at midnight. I walk into the hotel with my bag, dusting off the snow that had fallen on me while I got my stuff out of the car and walked inside.

Its very quiet, there’s no music and the tv isn’t on in the lobby. I wander to the counter, leaving a trail of wet shoe prints behind from coming in out of the snow into the lobby, my shoes squeaking as I approach the counter. When I get to the counter there is no one at there. On the counter is a bowl of ice cream, with a brownie from the restaurant connected to the hotel, the local paper is open to the comics page, and the Sudoku is half filled out with a pen sitting there. Hanging on the back of the chair is a small ladies coat with fake fur fringe around the hood, on the floor next to the chair are a pair on smaller pink and black Nikes, and a black purse.

I figure that she, by the assumption of the coat, shoes and purse, is in the bathroom, so I stand at the counter quietly, waiting on her to return. I fiddle with my wallet getting out my card to pay for it and my ID. I scroll thru on my phone and hook to the free wifi. 5 minutes go by. Then 10. At 15 minutes the phone starts ringing. I still had no idea where she was, and I had begun to get irritated, it had been a long day and I wanted to get rested before I got up and drove home in the morning.

After the phone stopped ringing, and I started to get frustrated, I began to wander around the lobby, and behind the counter shouting “Hello, is any one here?” as loudly as possible. The area behind the counter is an employee only area. I venture back behind the counter where a hallway leads to the back of house area connected to the offices, staff elevator, bathrooms, laundry and the restaurant. I venture down the hallway shouting hello, still no one answers. It is now 1230am.

As I return to the counter and begin looking for a posted phone number for a manager, or some one of authority, the phone rings, the cordless phone still laying next to the paper she had opened. Frustrated, and exhausted I answer the phone, hoping its some one who could tell me where the woman is who is supposed to check me in. Its not. Its another guest, who had tried calling earlier for a wake up call in the morning. I explain to the gentleman on the phone my situation, and how I can not help him. He states he is coming to the lobby to help me look for the “girl” at the counter. I had not found a number to call.

5 minutes go by and the strange older man, with odd glasses and long unkept hair comes into the lobby from the first floor hallway. At this point I had been behind the counter, and had been shouting to the point I feared I may wake up other guests. I had wandered thru the back area, the lobby and the front part of the restaurant, all while shouting, and no one responded. This guy had given me the creeps, and I was exhausted but on high alert, there was an employee missing, and a creepy guy who just happened to appear in the same time she is missing. Feeling nervous about this gentleman I stay prepared for any strange behavior and keep myself at least arms distance from him the entire time. I explain where I have looked. That I have yelled. At this point I begin to go thru what I call “worst case scenario preparation”. This guy could of easily overpowered a small woman. I may be standing here with a crazy person. I keep my space, and my back towards the main entry just in case. I am a grown man, just under 6ft, I have had self defense courses, and I have a CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) after encountering a bear at a patients house in the fall. I have no reason to believe I am in immediate trouble but this guy just gives me the creeps. It is at this point I debate calling the cops. Its now 1245am.

The gentleman tells me, maybe shes in the bathroom, which i respond to that I had thought that myself, but I had walked by and yelled loudly when I walked thru the back and no one responded. He insists we check the bathrooms. My red flag goes off and I put another foot or two of space between us as I let him lead us down the hallway to the employee bathroom. My heart and mind a racing at this point, did this dude kill her and now hes gonna try to kill me, I start to worry about my safety as we go down a hallway that leads to small rooms and with one exit in and out. We reach the bathroom.

He knocks and annonces himself, then opens the door. The bathroom is empty. We check a few more rooms and the elevator and find nothing. We venture back to the lobby where I stand behind the counter looking for any phone number that could be a manager or supervisor. After about 10 mins I find a number and some one answers, Its now 1255am the half asleep voice on the other end of the phone is the maintenance woman for the hotel. Confused as to who I am and why I am calling I explain the situation as the creepy man stands on the other side of the counter staring at me in a dead cold manner. The maintenance woman says she will be there in 10 minutes or so. I hang up the phone.

I walk around the counter still confused looking at her stuff there, as if she just vanished. Its at this point I decide to wander towards the lobby/seating for the restaurant. Once in the doorway I turn the corner and down at the end of the booths there are a pair of legs hanging out of the booth. I had walked with in 15 feet of there while checking around before the creepy guy showed up.

I see her legs hanging and instantly the pit of my stomach turns sour and a sense of dread comes over me. Suddenly the creepy guy walks right up by me. Thinking the worst I take a few quick steps away from him and down the row of booths in the dark restaurant. With him at the other end, I look in the booth where she is laying. She is maybe 20 and very pretty. I shake her foot, she doesn’t respond. I shake again, saying ‘HEY!” Nothing.

Its at this moment the creepy guy starts down the booth that I finally feel I may need to defend myself. I kneel down to draw from my ankle holster as he quickly comes down the row of booths, and its at this exact moment the girl wakes up and accidentally kicks me in the chest knocking me gently on my ass and stopping Mr Creepy in his tracks, also stopping me from drawing a weapon. She had been asleep. Mr Creepy was just a guest. Moments later the Maintenance Woman arrived and by 115am I was in my room trying to decompress.

7. A Grave That Had No Business Being THere

I was hiking the Arizona trail in the Superstition mountains in May of last year. I had run out of water that morning, it was blistering hot, it was a weekday (I saw no people for ~3 days), and my pack was far too heavy (I was an inexperienced hiker)

I ended up taking a wrong turn and wandering off trail for about a mile. Its easier to do than you think.

At the end of this wrong turn, I found an unmarked grave that had no business being in a national forest.

View post on imgur.com

I didn’t panic, but realizing I had made a wrong turn while I was already out of water (and didn’t for sure know where my next source was), really set in the dangers of hiking in the desert. There is no greater hardship a human being can endure than thirst. It weakens your whole body, and makes your mind slow/delirious. It takes away your morale and your will to live.

I ended up flagging a jeep on a road that follows the top of the mountains at the end of the day. If I had not found the Jeep, I would have been out of water until later the next day, which was only a puddle of water.

I’m not sure if I would have made it if I didn’t find that Jeep, but I don’t think I would have been the first person to have died in the Superstitions.

8. At The South Pole

South Pole winter-over here. Occasionally my bed will start rocking back and forth in the middle of the night with no apparent explanation. No heavy equipment is running, no washing machines, no accompanying noises etc… just starts swaying back and forth. Also some people believe the station is being haunted by the guy who died here a few years back although I have never witnessed any of the alleged creepy stuff they have seen.

9. A Frozen Raccoon Clutching An Elk Head

While I was elk hunting last year I found this:

Elk and raccoon

The raccoon was frozen solid. The head belong to a bull elk and had it’s antlers and ivories removed.

10. A Feeling Of Pure Terror

This summer I was out in the Dark Canyon Wilderness of Utah, after 2 weeks of driving and backpacking around the country alone. The plan was a 7 day trip and after a few days of setbacks I was on my last night. By this time I was already a little scared of the dark but that’s just what happens when you are your only company for 3 weeks. Anyway on the 6th day I found an awesome elk antler and put it on my shoulders about a mile into the days hike. As anyone who has poorly packed a pack will attest just slapping 15 lbs on the top of your pack is a bad idea. About halfway through my planned death march my hip was getting sore and I blew through my water. I decided that I would stop early and get some water. Luckily I found a few puddles in a dryish river bed and made camp. I started boiling some water when it struck me, if there’s skanky water here there may be good water upstream.

So up I went upstream. Just as the canyon boxed out a little spring filled the bed with deliciously cold refreshing water. I drank on my hands and knees before realizing I didn’t bring my water bottles. Whatever I hiked the half mile or so back to the camp and grabbed them. This is where it gets weird. On my trip back up I kept feeling really vulnerable and uncomfortable. Every little rustle in the bushes set me off. I could hear birds calling in the distance that set me off. I kept looking for something following me. I can only describe my emotion as pure terror. It got to the point where I picked up a branch in the just incase a cougar tried to attack me. I still kept telling myself that it was just paranoia and I’m fine but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched. I finally got to the water and filled up my camelback and bottle, constantly looking over my shoulder. The feeling of unease was still with me when I headed back down the gulch. There I came upon a fresh mountain lion print placed directly between two that I made on the way up. Its one thing to think that your fears are unfounded paranoia, its much much worse to know they are true.

11. Escaped Prisoners

I was camping in upstate New York a week after 2 prisoners escaped. This was a high notoriety escape and was national news. My girlfriend and I had hiked and camped for 2 days before this. We were very comfortable, had met a lot of awesome people, but everyone was on alert of the escapees. We had settled in, in a remote area upstate New York with no one around that night. I was sound asleep that night. At 5:30am I had started to awake but stayed in my tent, not trying to awake but to maybe go back to sleep for an hour or 2. Not long after I was awake did I hear rustling in the woods around our campsite. At first It was a few rustles, which caught my attention but not enough to be alarmed. Suddenly, the rustles are right outside are tent and I am on edge. Before I could even tap my girlfriend, all hell breaks loose. My tent is slashed open with a knife while I am watching. My heart almost went through my throat. Before I knew what was happening I was being pile driven into the ground by men with guns. Thankfully I had noticed in the seconds that the men had POLICE armour on. I started screaming out my name, my address, my Social security number. Everything. My girlfriend was even jumped on and forcefully subdued while she was sleeping. Once everyone’s adreneline calmed down we showed our ID’s and proved we were just camping. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, and also for the police officers that subdued us. Turns out we were not far from where they were just spotted, and the police hadn’t come across anyone in days. They had thought for sure they had come upon the escapees camp.

12. A Knock During A Snowstorm

I live on a compound by myself (I know it sounds Waco-ey, but it’s really my tiny home, work shop, and a couple of other buildings for food/equipment storage and a guest room).

One bad snowstorm knocked my area OOC, so I decided to hunker in for the long haul. I spent almost two weeks without leaving.

Three days in, I get woken up to a knock at the door. I get up to answer it and halfway there, I realize the only way this guy could knock on my door is if he broke the lock.

So I grab my shotgun and ask him through the door who he is and what he wants. Guy says nothing and keeps banging. I go out the back door and sneak around front and I see a man who is on the ground, covered in blood, and shouting (albeit quietly) for help.

Turns out he was driving and crashed and dragged himself 5 miles down the road until he came to my place. By then he realized that I forgot to lock the bottom part of the gate and weaseled in.

Luckily he survived.

13. The Man In The Red Plaid Shirt

Some friends and I would take my truck up in the mountains during the winter time and tow someone on a tube across the snow. We’d drop the tailgate in my old long bed Ford and a few guys would sit in the back with one of those bazillion candlelight spotlights. When I was driving it’d be fun to make really wide turns in the dark so the person on the tube didn’t have the luxury of headlights or taillights to somewhat illuminate their trail. The person in the bed of the truck with the spotlight would be funny and shine the light clear off to the side so it was pitch black if you were on the tube. One particular winter night a snowstorm was rolling in so we headed up to the usual spot and it was DARK that night. A friend was on the tube, I was driving watching my mirrors as I’d swing him wide enough he had little light to see anything. The guy with the spotlight shined the light clear to the side of the truck and as I checked my mirror and I made eye contact with a guy dressed in jeans, a red plaid shirt, and a blaze orange ball cap. As we made eye contact I lost all control of my body for probably only 5 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. I stopped the truck and turned it around and asked the guys if they saw him. They all said no, so I flipped the truck around and turned on the high beams and they shined the spotlight all over. I got out and looked for footprints in the fresh snow and saw nothing.

That night we went back home and I told my dad about the weird experience and he didn’t think anything of it. A week later on the news the police reported finding a body in the area close to where we were and asked for any tips. My old man convinced me to call the police and tell them we were up in the area and saw that guy. I called and the police said they’d send an investigator over. He came over to the house, I recalled the same experience saying it happened 7 days earlier. As soon as I said that, the investigator asked me “you are sure on your date?” Which I was positive, and he showed me a picture of the body they found wearing the same red plaid shirt and blaze orange ball cap. He informed me the body had been on the mountain for at least 1 month so I must have just seen something. Turns out it was a man who suffered from some mental handicaps and committed suicide on the mountain, 1 month prior to when I saw him.

14. Camping In Maine

This happened to my cousin while camping in Maine. He decided to settle into his tent for the night. He was woken up at around 2am by footsteps just outside his tent.

Whoever it was paced out there for at least an hour. My cousin just waited until they left, and left immediately. He doesn’t camp alone anymore.

15. A Scream In The Night

Where do I start? So I was just about 24 years old, when my cousin Charlie had gotten throat cancer. He wasn’t really my cousin, he was my Dad’s cousin, but for whatever reason I always called him cousin Charlie. Anyways, he and his wife lived up around San Louis Obispo, and when he was finally recovering from cancer, he went to stay in his estate in mainland Hawaii. At one point he needed someone to babysit his house in San Louis, and I volunteered.

Fast forward, I’m staying at his place by myself; we’re talking Satellite Internet and Television slower than a snail. I had found myself enthralled in a Lord of The Rings marathon and proceeded to stay up till around 2:30 am. Changing the channel meant what ever channel I was clicking meant it would choose 4 stations down from my selection so I was hesitant to change the channel.

The marathon ends and I proceed to make some green tea. That’s when I hear it. A distant scream calls across the valley below. I knew it was a human scream but for some reason I just refused to believe it. The thing about houses inland from San Louis is that you have a lot of room between your neighbors; we’re talking about 2 miles apart from each other. If someone played music on the other side of the hill, you had no problem hearing it. I thought maybe they screamed because they were watching a scary film, or perhaps they were playing a board game; I really don’t know I just did my best to imagine it was me over exaggerating.

About 2 minutes had gone by, and I passed it off at this time, getting lost in Infomercials. That’s when I heard something familiar to a fire cracker, but then I heard it multiple times. Something didnt seem right, so I grabbed the nearest blunt object and headed upstairs. My Cousin Charlie has a 360 degree second deck which I proceeded to go and take watch on with a fire poker; like that would do me any good.

I listened, but I could only hear the wind. I would later end up falling asleep in one of the rocking chairs, and then waking up about 40 minutes later.

What I later found out from my Cousin Charlie is that a man had got into a big argument with his wife and shot her as she ran from the house. I also later found out that because I was the only one who had left the outside lights on that she had run towards me, but died from her wounds about 60 percent of the way here.

This still gives me chills.

16. The Moaning Corpse

Back in the 70’s my father used to fly freelance charter jobs. One job was flying a dead guy to his funeral destination. On the way there he ran into some bad weather. Turbulence ensued. He started hearing a strange sound. A human sound. The dead guy behind him was gasping/moaning. Sounded like a forceful “HUURRRRRR…. HUURRRR…!”. Before you start thinking the dead guy wasn’t actually dead, he was… The rough turbulence was forcing air out of the cadavers lungs producing the sound.

17. Lights In The Arctic

I grew up in the arctic.

In the town I lived in, as long as it was a clear night, it was an extremely normal occurrence to see all sorts of strange lights move across the sky. Keep in mind the winter is long in the arctic, which means longer amounts of time being spent under the stars. It’s quite beautiful, as long as you don’t mind the cold so much. Sometimes I would drive a snowmobile a few kilometers out of town, shut it down, and just lay down on the snow looking up at the majesty of it all, the only thing disturbing the silence being the occasional breeze.

The northern lights are also a common occurrence. Doesn’t happen everyday, but often enough that they start getting ignored after a while, as long as they aren’t too spectacular anyway.

On one particular night, without asking my parents (it was their snowmobile), I decided to go on one of my midnight drives out of town. I drove a few kilometers over the hills to find a spot devoid of light pollution from town, shut off the machine, and settled in to a good spot to look up and be introspective.

It wasn’t all that interesting a scene. A few satellites passing here and there, some relatively boring activity affecting the magnetic field, etc. And then I started noticing a clicking noise…

At first I thought it was the sound of the snow machine cooling down, as engine expands and contracts a lot in the cold. But the source of the sound definitely wasn’t coming from that direction. My next thought was there must be an animal nearby in which case I need to get out of there fast (you don’t really want to mess with a wild animal). But, the clicking is far too regular for an animal to produce it. It was fairly mechanical sounding. And again, the source of the sound isn’t coming from anywhere around me laterally. It was coming from up. So naturally I look up determined to ascertain the origin of this strange noise.

I see what I always see: stars, northern lights, a lazy satellite crossing the sky…all normal stuff. But before I dismiss it altogether and begin heading home, I notice something strange in the Aurora Borealis. There were three rather strong points of light. I ignored them at first thinking they were oddly symmetrical stars, but this proved false. They were definitely getting brighter. I kept staring in morbid fascination as they grew stronger and stronger, yet still only remaining single points in the sky. All the while the clicking noise is getting louder and louder and more pronounced, almost like someone started with tapping a pen on a desk to clacking billard balls together inside my head.

Then it stops. The lights are gone, the clicking is not heard, and aside from being a little stiff, cold, and rather petrified, I’m fine.

So I jump back on the snowmobile thinking maybe I’m going crazy. The machine takes a little longer than usual to start up, and I’m beginning to worry, but soon it’s running and I’m heading back to town. As I’m driving back several plausible scenarios as to what occurred are running through my head. I’m thinking it could’ve been a helicopter from the mine, or some strange northern lights behaviour etc. Probably not that big a deal.

I pull up to my house. Lights are all dark. Strange. It wasn’t that late when I left. Open outer door as quietly as possible, remove winter gear, enter inner door. House is quiet. Really quiet. My parents are teachers and are usually up late marking or watching T.V. All I’m thinking is I have to get to bed without anyone noticing. Proves to be easy as I’m soon under my covers. I go to set my alarm for the next day. All of the sudden everything makes sense.

Engine hard to start, stiff, rather chilly, nobody up when I was gone what felt like relatively short period of time…

It was almost 11:00pm when I left, and now it was creeping up on 6:00am. I stood, staring at clicking lights for almost 7 hours.

I never ended up sleeping that night, and I don’t go on late night snow machine rides anymore.

18. The Masked Man

So this happened 3 years ago when I was living with my parents in Meeteetse, Wyoming. Super small and secluded. It was Halloween and my parents decorated the house and we expected about 3-4 kids to show up as the house is about a mile from a subdivision and parents usually drive their kids. At 8 I took in the chair with candy because I figured no one else would be coming around. I’m in the basement where there are no windows and very little sound can get out and it’s about 11. All the lights upstairs are shut off because I’m going to bed. I hear a knock at the side door (which no one ever knocks at). I go upstairs and the flood light which usually turns on automatically wasn’t on. So I flipped on the other light that lights up the basketball hoop area.

There’s a person in one of those “old man” masks that have the crazy hair just standing there. He is just looking at the house. He sprints to the back where the patio is. I hear loud banging on the back windows. Honestly the loudest kicking I’ve ever heard. I rush over and the person is just staring. Then he runs away and I do t hear anything for 5 minutes or so. Then I start hearing the knob to the main door being forcefully jiggled back and forth. I ran upstairs to the bedroom and went to the crawl space in the attic. I immediately dialed 911.

This was the first time I ever dialed 911 so I don’t know what I was expecting but the operator didn’t seem to be very shocked or wanting to send out a car very quickly. I remember repeating my address like 12 times and the lady kept saying “calm down sir.” She wants me to stay on the line but I’m afraid if the guy got in he would know where I was because of my voice. I hang up and I can hear the knob being slammed like he had a hammer or something. I’m having a full on panic attack and I’m wheezing trying to get air. Then I hear the side door (original door) being kicked super hard. At this point I’m shaking so bad the dust from the floor boards is flying up in the air. I hear a window smash and I immediately know he’s going to get in. I hold my breath which makes the wheezing worse. I’m going to die. I’m listening to hear footsteps or anything. Nothing. The actual amount of time I spent up there was around 16 minutes. I swear it was an hour.

An officer showed up and pounded on the door. I ran downstairs and flipped open the door. I told him everything as well as the backup Sheriffs that got there. They all kept saying a “friend” was probably just trying to scare me. I had no friends in Wyoming. None. They looked around the house and wrote down some shit but nothing really happened. They left and I drove behind them to Cody, WY and got a hotel room. I still can’t sleep without all the lights on and a .45 on my dresser.

19. Stick Indians

I’m a pretty avid backpacker in the PNW. Sometimes I’ll hike for days on end without seeing another person. I think it’s exhilarating being completely alone, there’s really no feeling like it. You get used to it, but personally I can never help but be on edge. The environment is completely serene and friendly, but there’s a constant feeling in the back of your mind, it’s hard to put your finger on. Most of the time you’ll be chugging along, comfortable in your mind, but when you stop for rest, or to fill up on water, you can’t help but look over your shoulder.

Nothing bothers me much out in the woods. I’ve run into brown bears, had elk trample through camps late at night and much more. But one night was different. I was on a deep backwoods hike, in the late fall off-season. was pretty cold, but the snow hadn’t quite started falling yet. I like that. In fact, I usually plan my trips this way. The forest ranger I talked to when I was organizing the trip said I was the only hiker she knew of who’d be up there at the time. I was using dispersed camping sites so far off the beaten path they don’t have fire pits. That night was 5 or 6 miles from the trail Into the area. I set up camp at a site about a hundred yards from a a stream, close enough that a faint babbling was audible. I’d lit a fire, cooked dinner, read for a while and was settling down to sleep. I lay listening for a while to the sounds of the woods and the creek. Just as I was nodding off, I think I hear voices. Nothing distinct, no clear words, but clearly a group of people was having a good time, laughing, maybe telling stories around a campfire.

A feeling of dread came over me. I thought: “I shouldn’t leave the tent.” Fear like I’ve never felt engulfed me. All the hairs on my arms, legs, and on the back of my neck stood on end. I lay there for a while in panic, the voices carrying on laughing indistinctly. After a while they receded into the background noise. I still didn’t leave the tent, I was too afraid.

The next morning after a very short night’s sleep, I searched the surrounding area, and the path to the site. The few shoe prints I found were faded and worn around the edges, too old and too few to be from the size of group I’d heard.

I tried to shrug it off as nerves, maybe nervousness got the best of me, but I couldn’t shake a certain tension. I made good time to my next site, the last of the trip, looking around a little more than usual. Still nobody to be seen.

That site had no stream. Dry camping isn’t a blast, but it’s doable if you pack enough water for cooking and drinking for the night. It was a lot quieter, just the chirps of bugs and the wind rustling the trees. I cooked my dinner, and stayed up a good while after dark sitting on a log, looking at the stars and listening to the sounds of the forest, trying to hear the voices from the night before, but there was nothing. I turned in for the night, stretching every act out. I lay there, restless for what felt like hours. Finally, calm comes over me. And the it’s back. Nothing threatening or particularly scary, just the sounds of a group of 15-20 having a good time, barely audible above the background noise. This time I’m calm, and there’s what seems like an internal dialogue in the back of my mind: ‘Why not join them? Sounds like they’re having fun.’ “I’d really rather stay here.” This is entirely unconscious, and goes on for a while. I’d never experienced anything like this. I was worried that I’d lost it. After a time, the noises faded away into the white noise, and I felt that I was alone.

The next day I packed as quickly as I could and got out of Dodge. During the day I was more at ease, like I had always been in the past. I was relieved when I got to the car and started back home.

I told the story a few times, and every time I felt a little of that dread from the first night. I really had no reason to feel strongly about what had happened. I just heard strange noises in the forest, nothing extraordinary, but I felt it.

On one occasion, I told the story my teacher who’s native. He got quiet for a minute, then said I had run into stick indians. He said that it was good that I didn’t leave the tent. Stick indians are evil and dangerous being that prey on children and women. The look on his face was sober. He told me not to go back to that place again. These spirits are extremely aggressive and attack and kill at the slightest provocation, including even saying their Salish name, which he refused to do.

Whenever the subject comes up, I get that same fear in me. As I write this I’m thousands of miles from those sites and my arms are still quaking.

20. Stalked In Colorado

So as a kid I lived about 100 miles away from the nearest town at a house without electricity, running water – the works in the Colorado rockies. This place was in the bum-fuck middle of nowhere and we frequently did see all sorts of wild animals. Elk, deer, coyotes and such.

Our property and a bunch of other neighbors property bordered national forest roads, so to keep people off of our road we had a gate about a mile and half from our house that we drove through before we were home. This time of year we are the only people up there, all the other homes are hunting cabins long empty by this late in the winter. Now, this was not the type of gate that you could drive around if you forgot your key, there were tons of trees all around it with barb wire and ditches and such so anyone wanting for offroad around it would have to basically build a new road around this gate.

Well, one night my mom, brother, sister and I pull up to the gate and we cannot find the fucking key – its gone. So one of us has to hike to the house to get a spare then walk back. Now its recently snowed in January, and it is totally dark. Like can’t see your hand in front of your face dark, and with the new snow you can’t hear anything too. There are a few clouds in the sky on and off to let some starlight through every once in a while, but its dark and of course there isn’t a flashlight either. So off I go.

First you walk through about 200 meters of trees then it opens up into a huge meadow, which then narrows back down again to trees for another 200 meters then opens up again into another huge meadow, which on the other side of is our house.

So I set out and everything seems fine, I’m just irritated that I have to do this. I’m like 15/16 years old at this time and a little angsty teen that is peeved at an oldest kid chore – totally not thinking about my surroundings, but then I got that feeling of being watched as soon as I’m halfway through the first meadow. That deep creepy dread that something is right behind you that you can’t see which was made a thousand times worse by the light and lack of being able to hear. My instinct was run, but I knew that if there was something that was just going to provoke it. So I kept going and then stopped to try and listen and I heard a crunch crunch just out of sight echo my fucking footsteps! Holy shit, I was freaking the fuck out.

This time I walk a little faster and I know there is something behind me, and its probably a fucking cat, so I just keep walking right into the second bunch of trees before it opens up into the meadow our house is in and I can feel the pressure – at that point we were mind melded predator and prey and I could feel the breath on my shoes.

So second clearing comes up and I know what the plan is, and I fucking book it.

Thankfully I’m familiar with what to do and I scream “mother fucker!” at the top of my lungs and I hear our dogs bark at the other side of the meadow and I know they know whats up. I stop and ‘get big’ with my coat and I can hear it but still not see it, just outside my vision and I hear the dogs hauling ass towards me when they get there they continue right past me into the woods.

I hauled ass to the house got the key and the 12 gauge and got in the 2955 tractor we used for work to head back to the gate. On my way back I saw the tracks – it had cut right across the first part of the meadow and was on me – from what I could guess that pit of my stomach feeling hit right when it started across the meadow. Thankfully I got back to the gate and let the rest of my family in and told them the whole story. And while thats happening both the dogs show up – unhurt but obviously in the same state as me: not ready for a calm night of sleep.

To this day I never go out into the woods without a weapon.

21. The Black Dingo

I am a biologist, and one of the perks of the job is being able to see some remote and spectacular places that people don’t see very often. Part of my work involves collecting insects from remote waterholes out in the middle of Australia, a few hundred km north of Uluru. One of the ladies I work with, Jayne, lives out there full time, spends a lot of time out bush and has spent a lot of time with the local aboriginal people, so she has a trove of stories and weird experiences. But I’ll just tell you about the one I had.

So, as I said, I visit a lot of waterholes out there. Being a very arid region, these waterholes hold great spiritual and cultural significance to the indigenous people. Most, if not all of them are sacred in some way, and they all have traditional stories attached to them. So, one day four of us headed out to this particular site, a full day of heavy four-wheel driving through the Finke Gorge. We get there not long before sun down, and as we pull up, there is a black dingo standing in the spot we are going to camp. He stares at us for a bit, then disappears off into the bush, as they do. This in itself isn’t weird. Plenty of dingos out there and they come in a range of colours. Not that common to see a black one but they are around. So that’s fine. We set up camp, have a nice night of looking for pythons and drinking wine (yep, biologists). We slept in swags – kind of like a tent that just fits a sleeping bag, and sometimes has a little fold up netting bit so you can sit up in there. It was really windy that night, so no problems with spooky noises, and I went to sleep pretty quickly. That night I had a really vivid dream about the black dingo coming in to camp, sniffing around my swag and scratching at the netting trying to get in. It bothered me, and I woke up, but went back to sleep pretty soon after. Still, not so weird.

We woke up in the morning, did our sampling, packed up camp and started off on the long drive back to town. After we have been driving for a bit, Jayne starts talking about how seeing the black dingo at the campsite when we got there really freaked her out. She didn’t say anything earlier because she didn’t want us to be spooked. Turns out that in the traditional folklore, that waterhole is protected by a black dingo spirit. The last time Jayne camped there with other people, one of them had a dream that a black dingo came up to their swag, and started attacking her. This lady woke up with long, deep scratches all over her face, and no reasonable explanation for them. I had no idea of this story before I had the dream, and didn’t mention it to anyone that morning… There is definitely a special feeling to a lot of these places. Very hard to describe. When you are out in this country, these kinds of weird semi-spiritual coincidences are common place.

22. A Visitor In Rural Georgia

I’m late to this party, but enjoy.

After grad school I moved into a house that my grandparents owned in rural east Georgia. They would visit every once in awhile, but for weeks at a time, I was completely alone. This house is in the literal middle of nowhere and is on about 20 acres or so surrounded by woodlands. The property is at the end of an easement, off a dirt road, off a rural paved road, off of a state highway. I had a few ‘neighbors’, but the nearest house was over a mile and a half away.

I wake up one morning to go for a run down the easement to the dirt road when I notice a set of unique, approximately size 10 footprints going towards my house. I followed them all the way to the carport where they disappeared either onto the concrete or the grass. No one, other than me, had been at the house in almost two weeks. It had rained a few days earlier, which meant the tracks were discernible and relatively fresh.

The door was locked and I was ready to run, so I decided to back-track them to see where they originated from.

I followed them .6 of a mile down the easement. I followed them .8 of a mile down the dirt road to the intersection of the paved road where I lost the trail. They were definitely a one-way set of prints that ended almost a mile and a half down the road at my carport.

I began to freak out. I called someone and let them know what I found in case I went missing. I returned to their vanishing point at the carport and attempt to track them through the grass. I’m not a skilled tracker by any means, but I hadn’t cut the grass in awhile and thought that I could follow them.

Turns out I could.

They went down the property line and into the woods. I followed them about twenty feet until I came to the creek that runs along the southernmost property boundary. The footprints clearly walked through the mud and into the creek. They didn’t come out the other side. I checked up and down the creekside and couldn’t find an exit point.

Judging from the path the person took, they knew where they were going. There were no stopping points. There were no deviations in the direction–no moves in either direction and no zig-zagging. They walked from the paved road in a single direction down a dirt road and down an easement, along the edge of my house, down the treeline, and into a creek.

Also, did I mention they were barefoot?

23. “Why Don’t You Come And Say Hello?!”

This happened to myself and a close friend (both 23 y.o. males) just last month.

We decided to go on a two night backpacking/camping trip in the Adirondack mountains of New York. We are both very comfortable with nature, and spend alot of time camping, hunting, fishing, etc.

We hiked about 5 miles into a small lake and set up camp on a small beach. This was not a heavily trafficked area, and we did not expect to run into anyone. Our first night there as we were sitting around the fire, we saw a flashlight moving on the other side of the lake around 10:30. This was fairly unusual, however we did not think too much of it.

But, as time went on, this flashlight kept moving around the lake getting closer to our campsite. We kept discussing who could possibly be wandering around the woods in the middle of the night, and we did not particularly want an unwelcomed guest.

Once it was clear that the person (or people) were heading for our campsite, we moved off into the woods nearby to see who wandered up. I took a small axe with me, and he had a .22 rifle. Now we weren’t expecting trouble, and we certainly didn’t want to make any, but we figured we might as well cover our bases.

Now, the moment of truth, the flashlight comes near the light of our fire and it is one man. He has a beard and is probably in his mid 40s. The scary part was he was carrying what turned out to be a pump action shotgun. He walked around the campsite a few times, and then proceeded to enter our tent. After rummaging around for a minute or so, he came out and started yelling “I know you’re out there, why don’t you come and say hello?”.

My friend and I remained motionless under a hemlock tree about 50 yards away. That is when the man proceeded to fire his shotgun into the woods (not too far from where we were). He also swung his flashlight around several times. After what felt like hours, he grabbed my friends backpack and a few articles of clothing we had drying off near the fire and threw them in to burn.

My friend, who had trained the .22 at the man, asked me if he should shoot. I told him absolutely not, unless he spots us and starts to point the gun in our direction. Thankfully the man moved off from where he had come after a little while. We waited until his flashlight was on the other side of the lake, ran out, grabbed everything we could fit in my pack and took off (it was now around 2 or 3 A.M.).

We RAN out the trail with flashlights, and made it back to my car as the sun was coming up. We immediately went to the police department and reported it, where we also spoke with some forest rangers. That was it, I haven’t heard anything back from the police. It wasn’t mysterious, however it creeped the hell out of both of us. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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