Comments for Part 5
After reading through all of those, I sent them to my girlfriend, and her response freaked me out. After reading about the stairs on the first part, she told me that her grandma spoke of something similar. And when she told me, I realized there was also something similar to one other of those stories she hadn’t read yet too, and got even more freaked out. I believed the stories OP posted were real until the stairs thing began to happen, but then I heard this from a completely unrelated source and I don’t know what to think anymore. I don’t know if they’re supposed to be real in first place, but well.
Anyway, I have to share that story. We’re Brazilian, and her grandma lived in a indigenous community in the Amazon at the time, towards the end of the 70s.
She lived near an igapó; Igapós are the parts of the Amazonian forest near the margins of the river, which get easily flooded depending on the season and are more like swamps than anything. Apparently, it’s really easy to get lost in those, and people did get lost often, and many of those had no idea what happened when they were found.
One of those was a man who left the community to check the fishing nets on the river, and no one saw him for two weeks. When they finally found him, he was just sitting in a canoe in the river. It was raining, so his clothes were rotten and the canoe was full of water, and he was trying to take the watter out using a bowl.
According to the man, he saw a set of stairs in the forest, and climbed it. After that, the only thing he remembers was sitting in that canoe, trying to take out the water, because there was a hole on it. Except there were no holes, all the water on it came from the rain, and the place he was dragging the bowl across was really worn out from so much dragging, like he was slowly digging through the wood. He claimed to have spent around two hours in there, when in reality had been two weeks.
She also said the man turned out to be really close to home, even though people were looking for him all over. He was found by a group of women who had gone to the river to do their laundry.
So yeah, not only the stairs in uncharted territory in the middle of the fucking Amazon, but also some sort of weird ass fugue state similar to KD’s.
Exactly one year after he was found, he woke up and couldn’t speak anymore. It was a small community and they had no doctors, so I don’t think they ever explained that. My girlfriend didn’t know if he’s still mute, or even alive anymore since it’s been almost 40 years. I don’t know what to make of that either.
A few months back, while visiting gramps in Lillesand (southern Norway), we went hiking. Nothing big, just a walk and a picnic in some woods. With us were my niece and nephew, who are both quite young, so I joined them in Hide and Seek while the proper grown-ups had coffee and whatnot. Me and my nephew were first to hide, but we split up, and I ran alone quite a ways into a thicket of woods. And I found a staircase. Nothing remarkable, ridden with moss, and made from what looked like really old concrete with large pebbles of rocks in it. It didn’t really seem out of place at the time, but thinking back… Anyway, I decided it was fit for a hiding place, but after only a few seconds of squatting behind it, I got up. Stepped back. And couldn’t shake the feeling that I really shouldn’t be anywhere near it. I suddenly had this feeling of being severely unwelcome, and that I should get as far away from it as possible. So I ran the fuck back to my family and didn’t look back at it.
Like I said, I hadn’t thought about this until now, but thinking back it still gives me the same sort of… I don’t know, twisted, /wrong/ feeling.
Back here in the Philippines, we have our own stories too and we have specific names for these entities. Filipinos call them “engkantos” (general name for forest spirits), “duwendes" (elves), “kapres” (no direct english translation but they are large, hairy, tree-dwelling creatures who for some reason smoke large cigars) and “diwatas" (fairies). The reason I mention them is because these creatures all have one thing in common. When angered or when they just wanna fuck people over for their own amusement, they trick people traveling in the forests or mountains. They make them get lost, forget where they are, make them go around in circles, make them get nauseous/sick or even flat out kidnap them. In this day and age, a lot of Filipinos still believe in these myths and so are wary when traveling in rural areas. Kids are always warned by the elders to be respectful and say “tabi-tabi po” when walking in the forests as a way of saying excuse me to the creatures that live there.
It always just fascinates me (and scares the hell out of me) that wherever we are in the world, all the stories and legends are similar. There are some things out there that we’ll never be able to completely understand.
Oh and that “crying on a loop” that was mentioned in Part 3? We have a story for that too. Legend calls them the “tiyanak”, a little demon baby that lures travellers with their crying. The unsuspecting traveller will find a baby in the middle of the woods and will feel bad for it and pick it up. Once you pick up the baby, it will transform into a hideous creature and will feast on your blood and guts.
We have a lot more mythical creatures but these are the creatures I’m most familiar with and creatures that seem to fit the theme of these stories.
I was totally thinking about this when I was reading the series! You forgot the “manananggal” (which is a flying creature which halves her body and the top part flies away while the lower part stays hidden somewhere and “tiktik”, which I’m not actually sure of but apparently has a long tongue and targets pregnant women in their sleep.
Yeah, we Filipinos have a lot of those stories and we are indeed taught manners when going to a foreign and unknown territory.
Heck, I’m no longer in the Philippines but my manners like what engkanto said, I just don’t fuck around with the unknown. No pointing, no walking without saying excuse me in forest areas. Just no.
When I was a kid and was walking with my sister, she abruptly pulled me up as if to avoid stepping on something. Later we found out she saw a small man running near my feet and I almost stepped on it. I don’t know what happened, but she said the elf talked to her and she bent down to talk to him and she couldn’t stand up anymore. My parents later called this “ambularyo” which is sort of like a witch doctor, I guess. And I think they offered chicken/chicken blood.
I don’t know but my parents, specifically my dad was very superstitious and cautious. Even though I no longer am in the Philippines, I am still careful around forests or just plain new places. I’d rather be safe than sorry.
I’m Native American, and my family has stories of seeing “deer people” walking along highways in remote areas in the middle of the night. There’s one where an uncle picked up a hitchhiker and the man was really quiet and didn’t say anything, and when he dropped the man off he realized the man had hooves instead of feet. Another where some cousins were driving and were going to pick up a hitchhiker, but they saw the hooves before they let him in, and they pumped the gas and drove FAST out of there…and the man with hooves took off after them, and almost caught up! Eep!
Also, I did a cross-country roadtrip by myself recently, and my little brother didn’t want me driving from Utah to Arizona by myself. He said, “There are skinwalkers out there in the desert. Witches. I wouldn’t drive out there by myself.” He’s had a no-face man come up to his car when he’s been parked and chatting with a friend. It came up to the window and peered in at him. Oy.
It’s a shame how we all live in a planet where we were once surrounded only by woods. And now that we colonized that woods and made it into cities we cannot believe that this phenomena doesn’t respect boundaries or cultures. These creatures own the world quite much and we have disturbed them, disturbed their woods to live in cities. We shouldn’t be surprised.
I don’t know about you guys but I live in borneo. It is basically tree all over. I read about the stairs and it is common here. Sometimes you’ll see a stairs, just old wooden chair, a really beautiful house, sometime fast moving people, amazingly beautiful girls taking their bath at before non-existing river or lake, and sometimes people talking around you. I’m familiar with the rain forest. I would know if there’s someone (real) near or if there’s a population nearby.
Those things I saw, hear, smell is from ‘bunian’ people. I don’t know what you call them there in America but it is similar like hobbit. They can show themselves if they choose to. Some are nice and some are bad. People do go missing sometimes. Usually they just disappear to the ‘bunian’ village. They often found confuse about time. Those death/missing person the SAR told about, it is similar with the death/missing person here. Long way from initial position, weird death, and disappear forever.
Piece of advice, don’t follow people you don’t know. Most people here get lost because the tried to follow the ‘bunian’. Unless you’re honestly lost on your on and someone told you to follow them then it is probably okay.
I got lost once. I was in the mount massive wilderness in Colorado, and I walked about 100ft from camp to go to the bathroom.
I finished my business, and looked up, and I saw a shadow of something. Hell if I knew what it was. But it morphed. It looked like a bear at first, but its shape was masked by the shadow of a nearby tree. It expanded and then contracted into a standing figure. I ran as fast as someone can with pants around their ankles. Not surprisingly, I tripped. I landed flat on my face, and I knew that I was dead meat. I turned over, expecting to be face to face with my death. There was nothing. It was dead silent. I gathered myself, and stood up. I looked around, but I didn’t recognize my surroundings. I couldn’t hear camp, or see smoke from the campfire. All I could see was trees. I ran back to where I thought I had come from, but there was nothing. Terrified, I started running as fast as I could, looking for camp. I kept seeing the same rocks over and over, and tree formations even though I was running uphill. Then I stopped, because I heard a bird. It was distinctly loud, and it only chirped once. Not a whistle, just a chirp. A strange feeling washed over me. Like knowing that death is right behind you. Afraid to look back, I just walked toward the bird. After a few minutes, I found myself walking into the campsite. I looked up, and saw a tiny bird fly away from a solitary tree right in the center of camp.
Relieved that I was now safe, I turned and looked at the treeline I just emerged from. I saw the shadowlike figure, just standing. I blinked and it was gone.
This story hits close to home…the bit about the bear figure morphing into a standing figure - I had something eerily similar happen that I still haven’t been able to rationalize and I don’t like to think about.
I used to live up near a large forest in northern california…I was kind of on the edge of the small town I lived in, I could walk a minute or two and be in a huge redwood forest. People would come and go up down my street into the forest, homeless transient types…it wasn’t unusual they had camps out there, they actually found a cabin someone built way out in the woods.
Anyway I was living in a two story house, the bottom was empty except for a water heater type thing…dirt floor. The second floor was were I lived, I had patio on the second floor probably 14 feet up off the ground. Back beyond that patio was my small yard and behind the yard was a clearing…there’d be deer back there. Lots of trees.
So one night I’m out for a smoke on my patio when I hear a bit of rustling…and it’s late, probably around 1-2am…I notice a light, and a figure hunched over moving around near my neighbors fence. I’m thinking it’s a homeless dude, probably nosing around in my yard which isn’t a great thing…so I kind of step out and cough to make my presence known. That’s when I realize - it’s too big to be a human. I mean…the proportions just weren’t right. It’s back was a little too long and the legs were just too…fuck I don’t know bent in a bit of a weird way. Suddenly in one strange fluid motion the figure turns around and makes eye contact with me, seemingly in an instant…I shit you not it’s eyes were glowing. A pale blue. This is when I realize I’m way out of my league and exposed on a shitty patio at like 2am facing some kind of bear demon and I want none of this, so without breaking eye contact I back into my house and slam the sliding glass door. But I’m still looking at this thing. It hunches over on all fours and looks bigger now, like a bear, and faster than I’ve ever seen anything move it fucking scales up my patio, bearhugging some of the wood, and is just kind of peering into my house through the sliding glass door - it’s eyes still glowing with that weird pale blue color.
Now I’ve seen enough horror movies to know when to bow out, so run back into my room and lock the door. My memory is really foggy after this and I honestly don’t remember falling asleep that night. So I’m a little confused as to what exactly happened afterwards. But it remains one of the strangest experiences I’ve had.
This is a bit of a late reply but…hoping somebody reads this.
What’s hard for me to shake is how quickly it moved and how…unreal the figure was. I swear the thing looked like a bear / kind of moved like one but was slightly bipedal and it’s head looked kind of human like. Plus it’s glowing eyes.
I grew up in the woods, the house was a little distance from the road down a dirt track, nearest village had more cows, ducks and pigs than people 900 I think. Now that was rural France. And unwelcoming to outsider like us.
I grew up the youngest of three with quite an age gap, 5 years with my sis and 13 with my bro and my father passed away when I was 2 In other words, a lot on my own. But not always.
The memory got triggered by some details in some stories and installement 5 made it even stronger.
I spent all the time I could in the woods, building tree houses and what not, I covered a lot of distance on foot too. Well as much as 7-10 yo could.
My mum freaked out one day when I got home a bit too late, well past night time and allready had called some people to come look for me. “where have you been all this time?” I was a bit dumb founded, she had been crying a bit and there was my school teacher and the neighbour’s wife. I said I was sorry didn’t time go by.
The next day I apologized again and told her I was with a new friend and she must have freaked internally as I would. “who’s your friend?” she asked I said " Idon’t know, he doesn’t speak and he lives in the forrest. He gave me berries"
the berries, one kid mentionned berries and I could almost taste them again.
“if you don’t talk how do you know you’re friends” " because we think the same, we know without talking" she asked to meet him. Any concerned adult would I guess to make sure the kid isn’t lured in by some kind of weirdo.
I took her to the place i met him, by an old water reservoir where one of my cabane, hut, was. “he’s here but he says he doesn’t meet with tall people” “how do you know?” “we think together so I know when he knows” by then she figured it was a lonely kid with an imaginary friend or a made up story to say sorry. So we left it at that.
I met him again, the second time I didn’t get scared as I did the first time cause I recognized him, felt him coming like he kind of let me know he was approaching and he popped out of nowhere walking next to me. without a face but some kindness, the smile part of the last story brings that up in my memory.
I became was a regular occurance. he hated hunters that I knew, we did all we could to jeopardize hunts that is scare the game away.
And he would feed me, that freaks me out so much to remember that. he would stick the food in my mouth. I’m a half decent outdoor man and a lot I have learned from that age. Now it seems from him.
I had forgotten about that friend, until my mum told me the story some years ago and I too thought it was a fruit of my kidself imagination. until those stories made it surface it all.
An other thing, time fucking flew when with him, always had to run home and he always took me to places I didn’t know and never found on my own. I knew every tree and rabbit hole around there. That was some kind of hallucination I guess. Also he did not like the dogs much, he never was around when I took the dogs.
Shit, finally some kind of paranormal stuff I can talk about! The no-face ghosts/ Egg ghosts are a common type of ghost in Korean folklore (I think they are in Japan and China too, but less popular there), and they are said to lurk forests or parks. They are said to be either death omens or just poor lost souls looking for their ‘face’.
I did some hiking last year in very rural China, and was told to avoid “temple gates” that were out in the wilderness. They were associated with disappearances and other strange happenings. I’ve heard similar things about standing stones in the UK, and doorways in other places.
I grew up in rural Japan, but the general rule is stay the hell away from any sort of entrance that shouldn’t be there. Temple gates, or Torii, and ropes with sashes should never be crossed, as they mark the boundary of where your domain ends and another’s begin. The times I have encountered them, it feels pretty obvious that you should stay away. It’s eerie.
Also don’t disrespect the forest while you’re deep inside of it. That is how you get spirited away, or kami-kakushi as it is called.
I’m in the Philippines and based on my uncle’s story. (He was a scout ranger btw) A lot of his colleagues often remember him as an expert with navigating through forests and mountains (They say he has this strange 6th sense and instincts on where to go). My father once told me to avoid going up on “weird” stair-like objects in the middle of the forest. It can look exactly like normal stairs or just stones stacked up to each other in an unnatural way. There was even this one time that one of his superiors asked him to go with him to escort a lady out of camp to her home when the lady suddenly disappeared. They didn’t even wander too far away from their camp and they said the trail was too easy so they know that they can go back very easily but it turns out that their surroundings changed and they were lost. They ended up searching their way back and it felt like they only got lost for about a week or so until they met a strange old man and told them that they were trapped in an enchantment and needed to do some ritual to escape it. (I have to ask my Dad about it because I already forgot.) After that, they walked a few yards and discovered their way back to camp. They were told that they’ve been missing for 5 years but they didn’t look that they were gone for that long. My uncle was even suspected dead and the regiment gave up on searching for them and what’s surprising is, the forest is inside a very small island that they reclaimed from rebels and my uncle was assigned there for too long that he already knows the place like the back of his hands.
Im fron the philippines too, and recently my brother went canyoneering with friends, and they got separated into three groups. The first group went ahead with the guide, my brother was in the second with a male and female friend, then they went over a bridge and realized they were going the wrong way, but when they went back their female friend disappeared. A while after they saw the third group go over the bridge, and my brother called them to get back and when they did, they said they were following the (previously mentioned) female friend and she was also gone when they went back. A few minutes later the female friend appeared, apparently annoyed and confused as to why she was left behind (she said was alone, catching up, the whole time my brother and his friends claimed to have been following her over to the bridge/wrong way) then the guide told them that those kinds of stuff happens. He also said that the day a trekking guide drowned in the river, the forest was unnaturally loud, drums and beats could be heard.
We have a famous haunted forest in Romania, the Hoia-Baciu forest. I’ve never been there but people have been investigating it for a long time now and a lot of weird shit seems to happen in it. Everything from spirits, UFOs and magnetic anomalies has been discussed. The common agreement is that it is filled with portals to “the other side”, or it is one big portal in itself. People that go in it come out sick, nauseous and sometimes with burns on their skin. There are no strange material apparitions such as stairs or doorways , but people have reported tracks and shapes appearing on the ground in front of them, even though there is no one else there. Human silhouettes and disembodied human heads hanging on trees have also been rumored to watch those who enter the forest.
Dering Woods in the UK. Dering Woods a.k.a. Screaming Woods sit just south of what is said to be the most haunted village in Britain, Pluckley. The woods get their name because of the blood curdling screams people sometimes hear coming from the forest late at night. Described as the most haunted woodland in Kent, Screaming Woods is said to be haunted by a highwayman who was captured by villagers, brought to the woods, pinned to a tree and killed with a sword, and a screaming man who is said to have fallen to his death. Here’s a post from an interesting message board thread where people are discussing Screaming Woods.
I was in pluckley and a group of friends and i deicided to go to deering woods (screaming woods) when we got there ther were birds singing and the atmosphear seemed quite happy we pulled up the other car in the car park left we got out the car and my friend noticed that the birds had stopped singing as we went into the woods you could have heard a pin drop we walked in up to half way towards the cross roads and us girls decided to come out so we went in to the car and the boys went bac in about 20 min later the boys came running out they got in the car started the car and turned it head on to the woods were my friends brand new car stalled head on and we saw this dark black mist coming towards us as if it was walking down the path (there was definatly something) we then went down to the black horse pub were we discussed the days ghost hunt a we always did and the boys said that it was only when they started getting close to the crossroads that it apperead so they ran out. we have talked to a few of the local people who have said that early in the morning you can here screaming coming from the woods.
Here’s how It operates. The Vet at the training op (story 2) followed the lure alone (faceless backpacker) in the middle of the night a mile from camp? My god what an unfortunate choice. Don’t do that. Don’t ever, ever do that. Lucky to be alive. Balls the likes of which can be seen from space tho.
I’m going to speak this in clear English, explain It like you’re five. This creature is a predator, a meat eater & a trapper. It hunts, watches, waits, lures, pounces, you’re dead.
Don’t go into the woods at night. Don’t stray from your camp fire. Don’t take your eyes off each other. Stay away from wild berry patches and boulder fields. Don’t trek too loud. Remain steadfast. Never wear red (unless you’re trying to match the butcher aisle). Tallest man is the anchor, hikes at the back of the line, second tallest, front. Don’t take small children into the forest or the weak, elderly or limping. Hide your wounds. Keep your injuries, wounds, and blood covered. Burn bloody field dressings. Blood will only excite it.
You’re being stalked & lured into a trap. It’ll probably be death by suffocation or broken neck. Those that have felt like they were being followed, circled, watched, were being hunted. It deploys a remarkable and segmented method of capture. That ‘know they’re watching’ sensation’s Stage One.
Stage Two, somebody’s calling you.
Been trackin this thing at night, solo for years. Night affords me sensory advantages, improved hearing, smell, situational awareness. This has allowed me to counter-creep on it, triangulate it. Without light, I could only ever make out it’s shape, hieght. It’s never where I’ve positioned it, however. It’s moved. Invariably to reaquire it, all one has to do is turn around.
Reading these stories brought back the memory of an event that happened a few years ago when I was a sophomore in high school. I still can’t explain what the fuck happened til this day. I shit you not, this story is true.
I lived in Ann Arbor at the time, not next to the University of Michigan but about 30 minutes from it. My buddy Matt and I lived in the same neighborhood in a little place called Pittsfield Township. There was a main road that our neighborhood went out to that connected to a few dirt roads that went on for miles, and interconnecting all these roads were thick woods that carried on. Now the trees in these woods weren’t super tall or anything but they were just tall enough that you could see them from our backyards. One day we both got the bright idea to go hiking back into these woods to explore whatever was in there. I (dumbly) wore shorts and flip flops and cut the fuck out of my legs and feet while walking through all the thorn bushes. We went about 5 miles back into the woods and what we saw was so strange. We found the remnants of an old house, like it had been built in the 50’s or 60’s. The house itself wasn’t there anymore but the remnants of the furniture, the old gas stove, the bath tub, the chimney, and an old Ford truck were there. It all seemed pretty cool until we came across this fucking staircase. Here was this old looking metal staircase. It wasn’t untouched like in these stores but just being by it gave both of us a weird feeling. The metal was obviously rusting all the way around this staircase and there was green mold and moss on almost every bit of it. My buddy got the idea to climb to the top of it and what happened next made us realize that we shouldn’t have come there. He climbed to the top and told me that he felt extremely nautious. He vomited all over himself and slipped off the top of the stairs. Luckily it was only an 8 foot drop so I was relieved that it couldn’t have hurt him too much, sadly I was wrong. Matt let out a scream of pain. I ran over to see what had happened. His leg was broken. Part of the bone was sticking out because he had landed hard on his feet. Luckily I always keep a pocket knife on me so I cut the sleeve off of his shirt, forced the bone back into his leg and tied the part of the shirt around his leg to stop the bleeding the best I could. I asked Matt if he thought he could walk, he let out another scream and said that he could try. We didn’t have any cell phones of our own and our parents couldn’t afford them for us otherwise I would have called 911. A split second after, Matt stopped talking and the woods became silent. I could hear a faint scream farther back into the woods that was identical to Matt’s except it was in a lower tone and had a wheezing to it. I asked Matt if he heard it too and he nodded. The scream came again and our fucking eyes got wide. We were terrified. I helped him up and there was another scream, it couldn’t have been more than thirty feet away. We darted as fast as we could away from that staircase. I had Matt’s arm lumped around me as I tried to half carry him while he hopped on his other leg. The screams got closer and closer. I gashed my legs on tree branches and more thorn bushes. I could feel blood running down my legs but we couldn’t stop running. Eventually the screams became more distant until we emerged from the woods and crossed the main road. We made it back to my house and called for an ambulance. When the EMT’s asked us what happened we could barely speak. All Matt could bring himself to say was “that staircase”. Our hair was standing up on our necks the whole fucking time. I’ve sinced moved far away from Ann Arbor and wish to warn anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to go into the woods. If you see things that seem out of place, run. I can’t believe I almost buried this memory but I’m glad I could share it since it sounds like a lot of other people have had similar experiences.
I was out in the woods or near enough to them almost every day when I was younger, and I’ve got a few stories to reflect that.
The one that stands out the most is when I was about seven or eight. My friend (let’s call her S.) and I were out in my backyard, playing on this old swingset I had. It was a cloudy day, but sunlight peeked through sometimes. It was fall, cause I remember all the trees were half-bare, and the weeping willow was all fucked up (in my young eyes, anyway). Now, the swingset wasn’t far from the house. Close enough that mom could keep an eye on use while she made us lunch, and close enough that we could yell and get her attention. Moreover, when I say my grandparents live next door, I mean they live right the fuck next door. Plus, they have a front AND back porch, and they’re usually on one or the other (especially back then) so if we yelled, they’d hear us too.
Anyway, S. and I were swinging, having a grand old time, doing kid shit. I think we were about to play a game of Kim Possible when I got this feeling. I’ll never forget it. It was like someone poured cold water down my spine, and all the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. The way we were swinging, we were facing the back of my house. So, I turned, looking down across the field and at the woodline, and on my life, I saw a figure there, peering out from behind the trees. I told S. to look and she did, and she was freaked the fuck out as well. I don’t remember much about the figure except that I saw white, and it maybe was wearing bluejeans, and I couldn’t make out a face. At all. I remember staring at it and looking back at the house, freaked the fuck out, and when I looked back it was gone. Just gone, no trace, no nothing. It was fucking fall, man, we’d have heard if they were scrambling back up the hill or deeper into the woods or whatever, but we didn’t hear a sound.
Then again, we didn’t hear anything before that, either.
That was the only time I ever saw a figure like that in the woods, but I’ve seen some other shit that gave me the willies. Hiking with my aunt and uncle and occasionally, my cousin, I’ve seen some weird rocks, weird shit on rocks they attributed to early Native Americans. Riding ATVs with my dad, I’ve gotten the feeling of being watched, the feeling that if we got hung up there or stuck or whatever, we wouldn’t be getting back out. Ever.
I grew up in Southern California. My parents, loving the land and the mountains, taught me to be respectful of the forest and trails. And I was and still am. My father taught me where the native burial grounds were, and I was always fascinated with those areas. I was in awe. They weren’t scary, and I always felt a sense of reverence and peace near them. I got older, I would often take our dogs out on the same trail…alone. The same walk. For years. It was a gorgeous view, and people were often on the trail. Sometimes I went towards the evening. Less people, more wildlife, my kind of time. Kites, Hawks, jack rabbits were normal sightings, with the occasional deer.
The trail I knew so well was out in the open for the most part. Trek down into a usually dry stream bed, up through a sacred oak grove and you were out in the open. Always make a little noise for the snakes, rattlers were aplenty where I grew up. The trail lead across a hillside, well carved over the years. To the left of you, steep hillside, dry grass, and chaparral. To the right, open rolling hills dotted with green sycamores indicating where water would be found when it rained.
My companions were two older dogs. They weren’t afraid of the local flora and fauna. Our eldest, Trooper, a german shepherd mix trotted along, our husky Hallie behind him. It was oddly quiet on the trails that afternoon. I remember there was a quick ear prick and I watched Hallie as if she was in slow motion. Hackles raised, bristling and snarling at something. Something was above us, on the hillside. I remember my heart felt like it bottomed out into my stomach as my head turned up to look. It was just like a car accident, where everything was in slow motion, I had a dawning realization as the hair on my neck and forearms stood on end as I stared up into nothing.
This is what a prey animal feels like. I’m being hunted.
I stared up into the brush, and while I couldn’t see anything, the sense of dread and fear was almost paralyzing. I remember that I made “eye contact” with whatever was up on the hillside, because I could feel it in the pit of my stomach. Whatever was watching me was intelligent, and exceptionally still. Never in my life had I wished more for another hiker to come around the bend.
I knew, that if it was a mountain lion, walking with my back turned was out of the question. Running was out of the question. Without taking my eyes off that spot on the hillside, I turned around to walk backwards away from the imminent danger facing myself and my dogs. I’m sure if anyone else had seen me, they would have thought me nuts, but I knew to keep a watch on the hillside, and listen carefully to my dogs and the surroundings.
Quite honestly, it was the longest quarter mile of my life, feeling the eyes on me, on the dogs and completely uncertain of what was tracking us. I spoke loudly, telling whatever it was that I could see it, that I knew where it was. Despite the fear, I attempted to exude as much confidence and aggression as I could. Ever so often, a slight slide of pebbles and grass crackling underfoot was my only indicator that it was still following us.
Only then, as the hillside curved away and the trail broke into the open section, did the dogs calm and the presence moved away and off into the thicker overgrowth, finally taking its eyes off me. I was glad I had a knife on me, but even more happy that I didn’t have to use it.
I always thought it may have been a mountain lion. Honestly, now I’m not so sure. Even if it was ONLY just a mountain lion, it was one of the most truly terrifying experiences of being out in the wild.
The most important thing I learned about that excursion: Never walk a trail and stare at your phone (this was before cell phones were common place on the same trail). Never be distracted. Trust your instincts. Trust your animals if they’re with you. ALWAYS carry a weapon.
It took me awhile before I felt comfortable going back to that trail. I took my husband down it, to show him exactly where the incident happened. He isn’t sure how I didn’t run away screaming. In response, I told him, “These are my woods. I know them, and I’m not going to be scared away from coming here.”
I’ve been following this series with interest. I’ve always walked and camped in woods, forests, mountains, and moorlands alone, on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s a time to get my mind right. I’ve put up with the rest of humanity for 50 weeks of the year, so I want to get to a place where I see no one. I’ve been out in various wildernesses for most of my life – it’s where I’m at home, day or night. The cities are, to me, far more dangerous.
Odd stuff does happen though. I’ve had my share.
- Long time back, I was walking through the local woodland at night. This is a patch of ancient woodland. I heard a creaking sound, like one tree branch rubbing on another. Now this was weird enough for the hair on the back of my head to go up, because there wasn’t a breath of wind. Not even a breeze to stir the ash tree leaves. It was coming from the region of the very old badger sett. I circled round to the site, but saw and heard nothing. There was a feeling of depthless misery and fear that grew stronger as I got nearer, and the wrongness of one tree bough rubbing on another without anything to cause it was causing my instincts to suggest leaving well alone. So I left well alone for that night.
Next day I had a chat with the gamekeeper. He’s an old guy, in his 60s, and has been teaching me everything he knows since I was 11-12. Woodcraft, poaching (i.e. illegal subsistence hunting for the pot), and various other bits of rural skills. He knew I’d go poaching on his patch eventually, and told me “You know it’s my job to catch you”, with the subtext of “but I’d be disappointed if I do.” It’s finishing school, if you like. He reckons you can’t really learn this stuff unless you’ve got something to lose. In his case it was his liberty when he was a young man poaching for the pot, before he became a gamekeeper like his father. Later it was his life at stake when he was hunting the Japanese through the jungles of southern Asia. He’s good. He’s very good. For most people, first you’d know he was there would be if you turned round and found him standing there, as if he’d come up through the ground. So we spend my formative years playing cat and mouse. I’m out hunting for game, whilst he’s hunting me, and yes, he really is trying to catch me. It’s my job not to get caught, and to get some game for the pot. No he never caught me. Sometimes I practice by walking behind folks walking through the woods – 5-6 feet – before turning off to another path. They never notice me. Other times I sit silently by the side of a path as folks go by, scaring the local wildlife past me. They don’t know I’m there. As I recently remarked to my daughter, who is now learning this stuff, most people go through the woods – and through life – as if they’ve got a letterbox in front of their eyes. They’re blind to everything above, below, and to the sides of that letterbox, as well as deaf, and unaware of what’s behind them. They’re only half alive. For good measure their thoughts are on something in the past, or on what they’ll do, what they want, what might happen, in the future, but never in the Now. They get to the ends of their lives never having lived them to the full.
And that’s how I spend most of my time after school, weekends, and holidays, for about ten years; just learning and practicing.
Anyway, it turned out a young woman had hanged herself there the previous week. She tied a rope around a bough, stood on a stump, and jumped off. It wasn’t an easy death. The rope was just too long, the branch too flexible, and her toes were in contact with the ground. She took hours to die, rising and falling on her toes as she slowly strangled, until her strength gave up, and her sagging body weight did the rest. The scuff marks on the ground showed how she’d struggled as she hung and gyrated there, the branch rubbing against one that it crossed. The gamekeeper found her far too late, and had to cut her down.
I went back there that night – the feeling of misery and fear was just as strong. I sat down, and offered to help, and offered a blessing for her. Something my mother taught me; it’s an old tradition in her family, and something that she herself was taught. There were no problems after that.
- We had a night escape and evasion exercise in the Forest of Dean. The Forest of Dean is an ancient, ancient forest, a relic of the forest that covered this land when the glaciers retreated. It’s an old landscape, with an old pagan temple at Lydney. I suspect that the whole of this area, from the ancient forest right down to the temple of Aqua Sulis at Bath, was once considered a strange and sacred landscape.
Anyway, I got sent to watch for the hunters, because of my prior experience as a poacher So there’s me, crouching in shadow, the moon breaking through the clouds, watching, waiting for the signal to start the exercise, watching, waiting, for the hunters, and just becoming one with the woods, mentally blending into it, alert, and not thinking, aware of an owl in the tree above me, the patterns of light and dark, and the gentle wind. I was just another animal in the forest, both hunter and hunted. Well, this is just natural for me.
As I crouched there, I became aware of a blue light behind the trunk of an oak tree to my left. As I watched, it grew stronger, until a patch of light emerged where the branches forked from the trunk. Then it came down my side. Best I can describe it is a lizard, about 4-5 feet long, made of blue light. I watched with interest – I’d vaguely heard of such things, and they’re not known to be friendly to human beings. However, I was just another animal in the woods. I also knew that it meant that the hunters were not close. I watched. Suddenly its head perked up and it looked off into the forest – then it went out like someone turning out a light. At the same time I felt the presence of the hunters, maybe a hundred yards off. I reported back to the guy in charge of our team that the hunters were closing in.
The guy in charge – an officer in the Green Jackets – proved to be useless at this. Two of our number just disappeared. The hunters got them. No noise, no sight of them. Eventually, with the team getting panic stricken, he turned to me and said “Can you get us out of this?” So I did. The hunters were good, but I’d had a top notch teacher, and I’d been at this since I was 11-12. Even so, I had to be on my toes – they were the best I’ve come across. We didn’t lose anyone else though. I even considered ambushing the hunters, on the grounds that they now had no idea where we were, but I knew where they were. I could feel them. The rest of the team didn’t feel up to this though, so we settled for simply heading for our allocated destination. I figured that the hunters, having lost our trail, would try to get ahead of us and ambush us near where they knew we had to go. It’s what I’d do. We therefore had to aim for working round them.
We were now an hour or two into the exercise when there was an almighty scream from someone in one of the other teams further over in the forest. My first thought was “Oh god, someone’s got hurt.” The signal went to call in all teams – exercise aborted. We all headed back.
They dragged a guy into a ring of headlights. I’ll always remember the scene. He lay on the floor on a foetal position, whimpering and shaking. I recognised him – a 20 year man in the Royal Marines. Tours of duty in Ulster, active service in the Falklands, that sort of thing. He’s known as a solid man, lots of combat experience. Now he lay on the floor, not physically hurt, whimpering inarticulately and shaking, obviously terrified. It took something like half an hour before we got anything other than animal-like whimpering out of him. It was a good hour before we got him on his feet with two guys supporting him, him walking as if his legs couldn’t take his weight, and sat him down in one of the cars. He was white, and still shaking. Unless I miss my guess, he was mentally scarred for life. Possibly even broken. Someone passed him a coffee, and he gulped it down. Someone else passed him a cigarette. He had great difficulty lighting it because his hands were shaking so much, so someone helped him. They tried to get out of him what had happened. All he’d say was that he’d seen something. They tried pushing, to find out just what it was that he’d seen. He just shook his head. I kept my peace and drank me coffee, but I had a good idea what it was that he’d seen. Like I said, they don’t like human beings. Partly I figured that no one would believe me. Then again, there was the possibility that, right then and there, they might well, at which point there might be panic.
The exercise was supposed to go on for several more hours, but that was it. Folks – well apart from me – were a bit rattled. You’ve never seen folks get into cars so quickly and leave, whilst trying to put on an air of everything being alright.
Some time later I mentioned what had happened to one of the locals. They went a bit quiet, then remarked, “We don’t bother them, and they don’t bother us. It does no good to ask what they are.”
Why didn’t it go for me? I guess that mentally I was just another animal in the woods, no different in mindset to a fox or a cat. They don’t pay animals much mind.
Hey idk if you’re going to find this relatable but these “creatures” or whatever “it” is…is found in many different cultures. I’m not religious but they are mentioned in the Islam and in the quran as Djinns. Like creatures made of “fire” or modern day plasma. And they feed on flesh and bones. And can disguise themselves in human like form, or animal form to lure their victims. They’re found in remote areas like deserts, mountains, forests, and the sea. My grandma used to tell me stories about them and even though they used to scare the shit out of me when I was younger I stopped believing in all that stuff. But reading your storied reminded me of what my grandma used to warn me about. Like not playing by trees after dark and stuff like that. But you should really research djinns. Because apparently they’ve been around for thousands of years and kind of exist their their own realm in a way. Idk if I believe or not but I found it relatable also spooky lol. But they say there are good djinns (pronounced jinn) bad ones. Good ones like the genie Aladdin had. But bad ones like kind of like demons that are mentioned in the bible too. It’s just weird to think these stories are told in all different countries and cultures. I would love an update soon though! Great job!
After reading all of these stories I have to share my own. When my experience happened I was currently with a Civil Air Patrol squadron in Alaska. Sometimes we’re called to help with a SAR mission, usually for aerial recon, but sometimes on rare occasions we actually get into the woods and help out the SAR officers. We were looking for a kid around the age of 6 who got separated and was missing for about an hour before we got there. The parents explained that they heard some say, “Hey! Excuse me!” from behind them. They both turned to find no one there and their kid gone. My crew found his trail about 30 minutes later with the help of a dog and we followed it off the path. But it was strange because it was so straight, like he knew where he was going, and it was very well defined, as if he was leaving a trace to follow. Not to mention his trail was a mile or so down the path from where he disappeared. We followed the trail into woods and after about half a mile we came across this small clearing, and at the edge of this clearing was a dark stained Victorian staircase. I thought that this was incredibly weird, but I got no particular feeling from it until one of the guys in my group walked right up to it and climbed the stairs without saying a word. All of the sudden the bottom of my stomach dropped and I screamed for him to get down. As soon as he stepped off the stairs the dog sat down, and the trail disappeared. We knew exactly where we were and where the trail was when we entered the clearing, but it just vanished as if no one came through. Not even our own tracks were there. We never found the kid, until months later when a hunter was flying back from his post in the woods saw a yellow piece of cloth on the top of a tree. He called the SAR base and we found the kid. Except he was about 30 miles from the park and looked as if he had fallen from high altitude because his body was impaled by the tree, but found at the base of the tree. He was still warm when they got the helicopter there and removed his body. From what I notice, the stairs are tied with the events that happen, not simply because the no face man or any of those strange phenomenon are in the forest, but because they are triggered with the physical contact of the stairs. If I had known not to touch the stairs I would’ve told my crew member to not climb up the stairs. Maybe we would’ve found the kid alive that way. Parks seriously need a sign that says to stay on the path and not to approach staircases.
I used to live in this very small town in Iowa, only 3,000 people and the entire town was surrounded with dense forests. There was large wooded area that had many hills in my backyard that went on for nearly a mile before it tapered out into my neighbors backyard. When I was about ten my parents would let me and my sister walk through the woods to get to my neighbors. But we always had to be home by dark, and we were never allowed to walk off the trail. One day, my sister, my neighbor and I walked off the trail, because as I said, we were kids and didnt know any better. We walked for a long time before we saw a fucking staircase at the top of a hill. It looked like it literally came out of a house. It had carpet and everything. When we got to the top of the hill we smelled horrible rotting flesh. There was a dead deer right in front of the first stair. It couldnt have been there more than a day, but usually bugs and smaller animals would be eating the body, but nothing was near it at all. At that point we were really freaked out. Then i had this horrible feeling in my stomach, and my ears felt like they were popping and ringing at the same time. I turn to look at my sister and shes bawling, but I cant hear it. I see my neighbor start running away, so I grab my sisters hand and start running back towards my house but She kept pointing behind us, and when I finally looked back and all I saw was a dark shadow, but it looked like it was floating after us a lot faster than we were running to be honest. about halfway down the hill we fell and started rolling. When we got up at the bottom of the hill the ringing had stopped, and my stomach didnt hurt anymore. When I asked my sister if she was ok, she said that “it” had tried to grab her arm, and thats why we fell. She said it hurt really bad, but I was a kid so I didnt know what to do, so we ran home. Her entire forearm was crushed. We never went back, and we still don’t talk about it
I hike alone often. I’ve been warned by old Indians of these dangers. I run marathons and trail run 10k mountains to give you an idea of my physical. One of my encounters I was on a 26mile hike to summit a 5,500+ mountain. There is a section where the forest comes alive and you have that feeling that something is watching you. The birds are absent and the forest is quiet. Close to the last mile, this thick fog rolls through. Ive been told they travel in the fog and to be careful when unusual fog comes. The whole time I have a feeling someone is stalking me. As I near the top this bone aching fatigue washes over me. I don’t know why I’m tired all of a sudden. I start to hear this whisper in my head, over and over again, “Rest for a moment…take a nap at this tree. Rest…” I am shaking this fatigue off as I summit. I’m the only person there and still foggy. The suggestion comes stronger. It feels like a warm comforting blanket as I entertain the idea. “Rest for a bit hihoesilver…just a few moments, you will be refreshed…come sit down next to this tree…rest…” It was so enticing and alluring. But the back of my mind I had this vision replaying of waking up and this black beast was eating me alive. But sleep was so inviting. As im fighting this trance, the sun breaks through the fog for a few moments. I feel revitalised as I soak in the sun. That foggy warm blanket dissipates. It was only out for a few minutes and the fog crawls back and covers the sun. As the whisper comes back slowly, luckily 2 hikers came to the summit. The whisper and fatigueness disappears again. I chat with them for a bit then head back down. I ran about 10+ miles back to the parking lot with no incidents. Never had a feeling like this before.