1. For what felt like forever it’s just me and some stranger in a ski mask, looking at each other, in the desolate woods. In the middle of winter. At 3 AM.
“My cousins live in North Dakota, and I spent the winter break there freshman year in college. We were at their friend’s house one night, drinking in her basement with some other girls and it was really late, like 3 AM. I was falling asleep so I decided to walk home. They live in a desolate area, with lots of snow and it gets really cold, especially at night, but the houses weren’t too far apart, and when the moon is out it seems light out.
The path we always take is straight behind the house through some wooded areas then more open land, and as I was shuffling home through the snow with my head down, I look up and to the left-my 10 o’clock-and, probably like 75 yards away is another figure walking in the opposite direction. I saw him a split second before he saw me, and when he did he kind of jerked his arms/shoulders up a little, obviously startled from the sight of me as I was with him.
I laughed out loud for some reason, just from the shock or something, and gave him a little wave like ‘oh you startled me haha sorry’ kind of thing. He just stood there and stared at me. I thought he was going to say something for a second and so I was stopped too just looking at him. He had a full-face ski mask on, and I could tell it was a dude cause he was really tall. But he didn’t say anything. So for what felt like forever it’s just me and some stranger in a ski mask, looking at each other, in the desolate woods. In the middle of winter. At 3 AM. A huge chill went up my spine and a voice said you need to get the fuck out of here, right now. I turned and started walking as fast as I could home.
I have never been that scared in my life, I was a little drunk, stoned and very paranoid. I imagined me walking home from the opposite perspective, and the man is running up from behind with an axe, so I literally just screamed and started sprinting as fast as I could all the way home, thinking that this guy could easily follow my tracks in the snow, and I’m gonna get murdered. Luckily I didn’t, but I don’t think I’ll be visiting them again anytime soon.”
2. In the middle of nowhere, in this remote cabin, someone starts knocking on the door. Doesn’t say anything. Just knocks.
“I’m not sure it counts as another human being because we didn’t positively identify anyone…but a few years ago my friend and I were staying in a small cabin my Dad had on a remote piece of land in the Idaho wilderness. The nearest town was probably 50 miles away, and the nearest active road that wasn’t an old logging road was about two miles from the cabin.
My friend and I had been BSing and laughing in the cabin in our bunks and it was about midnight. We had turned off the lantern and were trying to fall asleep when we heard something that sounded like something had scraped the door. We both lifted our heads up and mumbled a conversation of ‘did you hear something?’ ‘yeah haha.’ Then…in the middle of nowhere, in this remote cabin, someone starts knocking on the door. Doesn’t say anything. Just knocks.
We were both in our 30s, but we were so scared shitless we didn’t say anything… Just lay there with our heads up staring at the door. We didn’t go out until it was light out again, and there was nothing near the door that would have tapped against it, and no animal tracks.
It freaks me out even thinking about it.”
3. All of a sudden we hear a single gunshot, followed by absolute silence.
“I camped in northern California with a couple friends for 3 months straight in 2012. Were talking waaay out in the wilderness. The whole trip was a great success until we were heading south again. We set up camp a few miles outside of a tiny town as it was getting dark. The only things in this town were one long road, a gas station, a post office, and a bar. In the middle of the night we hear screaming in the distance. We could discern three different voices, but they were far enough away we couldn’t quite make out what was being said. All of a sudden we hear a single gunshot, followed by absolute silence. I opened my tent and looked over at my friends who were looking back at me. None of us said a word, we laid back down and tried to sleep. Scariest night of my life.
A lot of people wonder if we reported this to police. What police? You need to understand that in this area 1 sheriff patrols 3 counties. That’s it. This area of Cali is what Sons of Anarchy was based on. I know that was TV and was dramatized, but there is some truth to what goes on in these areas. The sheriff is most likely in the pockets of the drug runners. It is in your best interest to put your head down and mind your own damn business unless you want to be next. We were kids with no resources, backpacks and tents, hitch hiking through the NW. It would have been so easy to make us disappear next.”
4. About halfway from the dead end to the main road we see a man standing at the edge of the road in tattered clothes and covered in dirt carrying a shovel staring us down.
“I feel late to the party but this story seems relevant. A friend and I were scoping out an area for hiking because we were both new to the area. It was probably 6 pm but pitch black because it was the dead middle of winter when it gets dark at 4 pm. We drove down a dead-end dirt road to try to find a trail head we had heard about. The road is probably only 2-3 miles long and we don’t see anything on our way down. We get to the dead end and turn around to head back out to the main road. About halfway from the dead end to the main road we see a man standing at the edge of the road in tattered clothes and covered in dirt carrying a shovel staring us down. My friend and I both held our breath until we were back in town and asked each other if we saw the same thing.
TL:DR saw a creepy man in tattered clothes carrying a shovel on the edge of a dirt road, still not sure if it actually happened or not.”
5. I notice some sweaty older dude in an open Hawaiian shirt has followed me into the woods.
“Hiking off the main trail along a river when I notice some sweaty older dude in an open Hawaiian shirt has followed me into the woods…I press on until reaching a steep bank and an impasse and turn to head out, past him…I swerve through a canebrake to avoid walking by him but he still stops to ask, ‘Hey, looking for a good time?’….I said ‘fuck no’ and noped the fuck outta there.”
6. We stumbled onto a shack that had a moonshine still cooking with a coat hanging on a tree, shotgun leaned against it.
“Mapping all livable structures for the census once, we had to take every road, open or closed, every trail that looked like it was possible to find a structure near. In the backwoods of Tennessee, I was training a crew, so I would go one day with each person. Found a lot of cool stuff, abandoned schools from the 1900s, some weird permanent campsites, all that. Once, we were about 4 miles into the woods on foot and stumbled onto a shack that had a moonshine still cooking with a coat hanging on a tree, shotgun leaned against it. The girl I was training was all ‘Isn’t this exciting?’ STFU, Kayce, no it isn’t exciting at all to be the guy with a government badge finding an armed person cooking moonshine miles from anywhere.”
7. It started saying things and shouting at me. Oh hell no. I booked it.
“I work on the beach at night looking for turtles. Most nights you’ll see one or two people with a flashlight or a couple up towards the dune trying not to be seen. And most times the moon or the sky glow is bright enough that you can see at least 20m in front of you. But one night it had just rained so no one was out and the moon was covered and even with pretty good eyes I couldn’t see shit. I was waiting for a turtle to come up out of the water and kept hearing grunting and rustling in the dune. Initially I thought it was a fox or at worst a coyote, so I figured it would go on its merry way. Nope. That thing sat there for half an hour making an occasional sound and moving around. The green turtle eventually heard it and was freaked out enough to leave (they’re skittish at the best of times). By this time I was by the water and so I started walking away to go find another turtle and the sounds followed me! Only this time it started saying things and shouting at me. Oh hell no. I booked it.
Unfortunately my vehicle was back the way I had come so I waited on the other end of the beach for two hours and then decided it would probably be ok to walk back. When I get back to that spot a drunk guy is passed out and there’s a path of cans leading back into the dune. Dammit.”
8. Dude is fumbling around and it’s scary as hell because it’s the middle of the darkness in the middle of nowhere.
“A trail I like backpacking in an isolated area of Pennsylvania was the setting for this is odd encounter. The trail has a short section that goes over someone’s cabin property and continues on the other side of his yard, it’s marked with an orange blaze so you can see where to go. Usually it’s an empty cabin, I always do some peering inside since it’s in a pretty secluded spot, probably 4 or 5 miles from a major road. One time I was hiking through and there is a large dude grilling outside with about 15 bud light cans on the ground around him. I distinctly remember him saying ‘keep it moving no food here,’ which I thought was funny since I didn’t say anything about needing food. Fast forward the following year and I decide to take my sister, my wife and her best friend on a trip that takes us through this very spot. As we are walking up on it I see the dude is there again which is odd, since I’ve hiked the trail 100 times and this is only twice I’ve seen him. He is grilling again, beer cans everywhere. I see him start to give the ‘keep it moving’ signal until he sees who I am with. Now, the girls in traveling with are attractive so I’m nervous all of a sudden. He asks us to stay for dinner, says he has plenty of extra food. I tell him no we are good, just trying to enjoy the trail away from the comforts of home. He gets weirdly pushy about us staying and I firmly say no thanks and we are just passing through. I hear the dude mumble to himself as we continue past his house. This is where things get weird. There is a prominent camping spot not far from this section of trail and it’s late-in my head I want to keep going because I don’t want to camp near this asshole. The consensus is everyone is pretty tired so we set up camp. I’m nervous the whole time thinking this drunk dude knows there are three women camping in tents near his cabin. I never get nervous around folk I see on the trail because everyone is usually very nice and wonderful to talk to. This guy just felt off to me though. Fast forward to the middle of the night and sure enough I hear someone on the trail outside the tent. I’m just praying it’s a bear at this point. But I hear the dude mumbling to himself and I panic. I hear him now in the camp. He’s going through our shit and is piss drunk. Fuck. Ok think. I realize I have a blow horn on my pack I use on the trail to scare animals off should I encounter any. So I unzip the tent slowly and roll out. Dude is fumbling around and it’s scary as hell because it’s the middle of the darkness in the middle of nowhere. I start to run towards him and blow my air horn repeatedly and it’s LOUD AS SHIT. Everyone in their tents start screaming. The dude nearly shits his pants and starts bumbling the fuck out of there. Everyone is so shooken up at this point we pack up and night hike out of there. Worst experience I’ve ever had.”
9. It still kinda bugs me that a guy just vanished like that.
“My buddies and I would hit up the desert at night and go 4 wheeling on the trails. This one night we had stopped for a break and this guy rolls up on us. He asks us if he can join us and we say sure. We continue riding and I was second to last, with him being the last one. We were pretty familiar with the trails so I kept looking back checking in on him not knowing how familiar he was or experienced rider he was. As we’re approaching the hill that overlooks most of the area I look back and he’s gone. I flag my buddies down and we go back to look for him. Nothing. We go up the hill, kill our engines and listen for his bike or look for his lights. It was pitch-black and not a sound. From the hill I’m sure you could see for a few miles, but there was no trace of him. We looked for him or his bike till about 3am and we’re unsuccessful. It still kinda bugs me that a guy just vanished like that. I hope nothing happened to the dude.
This was maybe 12ish years back in El Paso, Texas. A lot of the riding desert areas have become heavily populated by now. We were scared out of our minds so our last though was to call the cops. None of us had actually talked to the guy. He just rolled up on us. We asked him if he wanted to ride with us and he just nodded yes. We watched the news like hawks for weeks after to see if there was a body found or something and nothing. It’s kinda probable that it was a drug runner being that it was in a border town.”
10. I heard one shot in my direction. I hit the ground behind a bush and another shot rings out.
“I was on my wife’s family’s ranch which is about 1,000 acres. I was scouting deer as it was deer season. I had my rifle slung on my back as I was walking through the woods. As I walk out of the woods onto one of our two dirt roads into the property. I saw two strangers sitting on the back bed of their white pickup truck. They had rifles in their hands. I approached them with a friendly wave. As I approached them I kept my rifle slung on my back so to not threaten them. I asked them how they are doing and what are they hunting. They said they were doing fine and looking for deer. I then noticed 6 or 7 beer cans on the ground. They asked me the same thing and I told them that I was good and scouting deer as well. Here comes the hard part. I asked them how they got onto the property. They began to mumble and asked me the same question. I politely told them that my wife’s family owns the property. I then told them that they should leave. I told them to have a great day and started walking backwards. After about 20 yards I turn around and start walking very briskly. I heard one shot in my direction. I hit the ground behind a bush and another shot rings out. I hear that ‘wizz.’ I immediately position myself to fire on them. I see one guy packing up his gun into the back bed of the truck. I take aim at his right leg and fire. I get up and start running into the woods. I hear screaming. After 20 minutes I get back to my Tahoe and call the game warden and local sheriff. They come out after about 30 minutes and these poachers were gone. I told them all the details and descriptions and said I think I shot one in the leg. Next day I get a call from the sheriff saying they had a guy in the local ER with a GSW to the leg. He sent me a pic via text. It was the guy I shot. He survived and got 4 years in prison because this was his first felony. They never found the other guy. TL;DR, My wife’s family has a ranch, I found poachers on it, I told them to leave, they fired on me and I fired back hitting one in the leg and he got arrested at the local ER.”
11. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
“In college I lived near the edge of the city and there was this road nearby that winded through some forest before opening up to some farms. It was rarely used by cars and people avoided walking there because there were no sidewalks and it went nowhere. Halfway down the road was this abandoned property that had apple trees that produced a ton of fruit that always ended up on the ground.
One evening just after sunset, I passed the property on my way back from a run so I picked my way into the brambles to grab some apples. After I got a couple I circled back around some bushes to head home and right in the path was this middle-aged man creeping towards me with his hands spread like he was hunting something and I FUCKING LOST IT. I screamed and kinda flailed my arms so the apples flung towards him. He also jumped and went OH NO SORRY, SORRY, I THOUGHT YOU WERE A DEER and backed up into the road. He was super embarrassed and apologetic and I was way too happy to not be getting murdered to get mad, but holy crap, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
12. I heard footsteps coming toward me. I am freaking out. I hear someone right outside of my tent…
“Was hitchhiking in Greece, got dropped off at a crucial fork in the road for my journey in the middle of the night by a super nice guy (he was going the other way). Had to camp for the night in the middle of nowhere and start again in the morning. His were the only headlights I saw from getting out of his vehicle to walking a half-mile into the woods. I set up camp, had some whiskey, and started to doze off. Before I could, I heard footsteps coming toward me. I am freaking out. I hear someone right outside of my tent. I yell ‘I have a weapon!,’ and start to open the tent and they bolt. I see a figure running back towards the road. I close the tent, and stayed awake for 8 hours until the sun came up, fighting a sleep deprived drunken sleepiness the whole night. It was the worst night of my life but I never saw whoever it was again.”
13. A guy in full camouflage is lying on his stomach and staring at our campsite.
“I used to often spend my summers bouldering with my friends by a relatively large forest that was about an hour and a half away from where I used to live. We used to spend some of the nights camping out there just to save some travel costs and time.
Anyway, I think this was roughly like the third or fourth time we were out there camping, my friend had left all her climbing gear and her rucksack just outside her tent or we definitely think she did anyway. The next morning we found her boots, a few clothes and all her chalk powder had disappeared. We figured that it could have been completely feasible that she misplaced it, although we were quite sure that they were next to her tent we didn’t really want to believe that they were stolen. Anyway, we didn’t read too much into this and just stupidly said to ourselves that perhaps she had left it by the boulders and some animal took an interest to it… I know it sounds stupid but it was very reasonable to us at the time.
Anyway fast forward a year, we’re at the same spot as usual, sitting by the tents and chilling after having some food. Mind you it’s pitch black out, and only the camp area is lit by the fire. I go somewhere a bit out of sight for a slash and what do I see? A dude in a full-on ghillie suit laying on his stomach looking right towards our camp site. I kinda stood there frozen as this dude clocks that I’ve seen him and he just bolts it out of there.
I don’t know whether the event to the year prior was related to the ghillie guy but this definitely has stuck to all of us, we haven’t been back there since which is a damn shame.”
14. They do nothing but sit quietly and stare at us. Then a dozen vehicles come over the ridge in a line.
“Out in the boonies about to do some shooting in the woods. Truck comes over the ridge on a one lane logging road. Seeing the oncoming vehicle we pull over as far as possible to allow them to pass. They do not pass. They pull up as close to my vehicle as possible. I mean inches if that, kept our rigs from touching. Two country ass dudes in ragged clothes drinking beer with rifles across their laps. The back of the truck is full of lumber (this was a logging area.)
We say hello, silence. Ask if they are shooting, silence. They do nothing but sit quietly and stare at us. Then a dozen vehicles come over the ridge in a line. These vehicles are packed with lumber, minivans with the bucket seats full. A Honda civic with the back seat, shotgun and trunk teeming with lumber. All of which is being illegally stolen from the lumber company that felled the trees but hasn’t transported them. Literally felonious amounts of lumber being stolen and we are the only witnesses, out of cell range in the middle of nowhere. My buddy has his handgun drawn and low. Mine is pressed to my car door pointed right at these guys. We sit in complete silence till the final car passes. They drive off without a word.
I got a membership to a range the next week. Fuck country ass places.”
15. HOLY FUCK IT’S A FUCKING INSANE LOOKING DUDE WEARING A DRESS AND HAS HIS HAIR IN SMALL BRAIDS WITH RUBBER BANDS.
“So not sure this counts as wilderness…but me and my girlfriend did this off-trail hike that had an extremely long and steep climb to reach a small rock overhang that looked over cliffs and ocean. As it came in view we noticed there was an old lady already sitting up there with a sketch pad in her hand.
So we started making jokes saying that maybe it is not a woman, and its actually Norman Bates waiting to throw us off the cliff. So for 20 mins we are kidding around along these lines. For the final approach you could not see the top because it was so steep.
So we finally make it onto this tiny overhang and the old woman turns around to looks at us AND HOLY FUCK IT’S A FUCKING INSANE LOOKING DUDE WEARING A DRESS AND HAS HIS HAIR IN SMALL BRAIDS WITH RUBBER BANDS. And to be clear this was not a trans person looking to be herself in the wilderness, this was escaped convict, hardened face looking psychopath. We said ‘hello’ and he said nothing but just stared at us. We tried to act like we did not just shit our Patagonia’s and calmly about faced and headed down.”
16. I’ve got 911 dialed on my phone, a hatchet beside my chair, and my hunting knife in my lap.
“My BF, our dog, and I went camping up this Forest service road in BC, Canada that I’ve gone to well over 20 times. Midweek, early in the season for most people. We have the place to ourselves.
Around dusk two guys bomb up the road on quads, had to go past my car to get to the river, we don’t think anything of it. About an hour later one guy left. Other guy is still at the river, so after a bit I go ask if everything is all good with his quad, thinking maybe he ran out of gas and his buddy went to go get more.
Dude was very surprised by the fact that there were people there, had no idea that they went right past my car and our campsite. Apparently his quad was fine, so I head back to our site.
We’re peacefully making dinner and hear YELLING over the sounds of the river. Both of us thought it was odd, but hey, people are weird. He’s yelling things like ‘fuck you, you ruined my life’ and unintelligible angriness. About an hour of this and we’re wondering what the deal is. Its full dark, we’ve got the campfire going strong and Buddy fires up his quad. We’re a little bit higher up than the road, maybe 5 feet, and he stops at the entrance to our site. My bf walks over and Buddy is all ‘oh! There’s people here!?’ And starts asking questions about how many people and how long we’ve been there for. My bf lies and says there’s a few of us, and more coming (smart man). Buddy goes off on his quad past my car which is parked about 10 feet down the road on the way out.
About 10 minutes later he comes back, past the car, past our site and has some more strong words with the river. Another half hour of yelling and he gets back on his quad, goes to drive back out, and stops right near my car. We’re definitely weirded out at this point and didn’t want my car trashed. Bf takes the hatchet and goes to ‘get something out of the car.’ Buddy is once again surprised by our presence. Buddy leaves again, but not 20 minutes go by and he’s come back. It’s about 11 PM now, we were drinking but now are stone cold sober. Buddy stops his quad just below the campsite again. We pretend to ignore his presence and go on with our conversation. I’ve got 911 dialed on my phone, a hatchet beside my chair and my hunting knife in my lap, just about to press send when he goes to leave again. I call anyway and let the police know what’s been going on and if they find two murdered bodies it’s us.
Buddy came back two more times, finally left for good around 2 AM. I don’t think we got any sleep that night. I’ve never been so unnerved in my life, and I do a decent amount of solo camping. Never heard anything back from the police either. Still freaks me out a bit to this day.”
17. His friend waltzes in, MACHETE IN HAND, telling me he is ON LSD.
“A few years ago, a girlfriend and I lived in an apartment complex near some woods and a lake. I would occasionally take my banjo, Illy, out to this boards-on-wires-with-a-tarp hut I found in the woods. Mostly, kids used it to smoke pot, but it was also great to get some real down-south pickin’ goin’ on.
Anyway. I’m out there one night (I’m a fucking idiot), practicing chords or whatever (I still suck at it). Cuesticks breaking, people shouting, and distant slivers of light shining through the hut’s boards.
So, you know, I ignore it as it all comes closer.
A few moments later, one of them comes in. He seems a little hazy.
‘Are you the architect?’
‘No, I’m not.’
His friend waltzes in, MACHETE IN HAND, telling me he is ON LSD.
I play real chill as he and like four other friends come in and sit down next to me. They start telling me how euphoric they feel, how the banjo playing was euphoric (I guess Britney Spears on banjo should have that effect), and how he brought his machete in case ‘there were crazy woods people’.
Anyway, my then-girlfriend calls. I calmly tell her ‘I met some friends.’ She asked if they were high and if I was high, when one of them shouted that they were on LSD. Girlfriend wanted me to come home right away, I told her I would be soon. Really, I just didn’t want to immediately upset they machete wankers just in case.
Eventually, I tell them ‘I need to get home to my girlfriend.’ Bonus story, I get to the apartment and get chewed out for not coming right home after she got off work. Telling her I was trying to be careful around machete-LSD-wankers and was trying to not die didn’t matter because she was a narcissist like her then-dying dad.”