13. 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 f**k 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 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.
14. The thing that gets me sometimes is the sounds. Sometimes you’ll just hear some animal and it sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before and you can’t imagine it being anything like any animal you’ve ever even heard of. That combined with pitch blackness of the woods can creep you the f**k out. Worst one was a couple months ago sitting under a tarp because it was raining a bit, small fire going a bit away with no other light. Heard a sound with a rhythm you would expect from a bird but with a deeper sound than any bird ever. Sound continues to repeat every couple seconds and slowly gets louder like it’s getting closer. Then stops. Never heard it again, but those couple minutes until I convinced myself it was gone I was creeped the f**k out no doubt.
15. I used to live in rural Panama in a community with no electricity. The whole town is inside by sundown, around 7pm, and asleep by 9pm. One night, I’m outside at around 11pm photographing stars and I have to turn my headlamp off while the camera is taking the picture, usually about 30 to 150 seconds at a time. 30 to 150 seconds of almost complete darkness. When I finish a photo, I’ll turn my headlamp back on and look at my camera to adjust settings and take another shot. One time when I turned my head lamp on, I saw a pair of eyes just about fifteen feet away in the bushes staring at me. I’ve got friends who have worked setting camera traps throughout the country and I’ve seen picture evidence that there are still several types of big cats alive and well in the area. I lean down to pick up some rocks, look back up, and the eyes are gone. My house is about 100 feet away. I do my best to turn my handful of rocks and dinky tripod into weapons and run as manly-like as I can back to my house. I never went back out to take pictures at night.
16. 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 every day, 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 billiard 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 behavior 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.
17. Last year I was on an Outward Bound trip in the Rockies on a 14-day expedition. In case you guys aren’t hip to the Outward Bound course, there is a Solo about 3/4ths the way through the trip, which is pretty much you’re in your own area out of eyeshot and hearing range of other group members for a set amount of time (this expedition had a 2 day one.) So on day 11 or so we stop, to do ours. Mind you this is a 9 day hike from the closest base camp, and we went about a mile off the rugged trail we were taking to set up. I woke up on the 2nd day of the Solo and looked out of my tarp and saw a guy about 20 feet away in a solid cherry red hoodie with the hood draw strings fully pulled (so his face was entirely covered.) I figured this was one of the instructors, because they go around sometime on the second day to check on us, so I waved at him and smiled. He then took off uphill and I lost sight in the trees. Come the next day when we are all back and talking about it, I asked which of the instructors had the red hoodie. Turns out neither of them did. There was a man 10,000 feet up a mountain in the middle of the woods who walked by me sleeping in a tent. It had potential to go pretty awry.
18. I spent 3 months in North Western Utah in 1999 doing graduate field work. I was alone for almost all of it. I read Lord of the Rings, played guitar, laid in the dirt staring up at the stars… very fun.
Anyhow, one night as I was sleeping, I heard a strange noise around 3AM that jolted me awake instantly. I was in a tent and about 30 feet away from me, I heard a grunt that lasted about 4 seconds. Maybe it was a throat clearing? It was an animal noise.
Most alarmingly though, it had a definitely aggressive tone to it. It sounded like a challenge. There were no bears in the area – but mountain lions were possible, although quite rare. (I didn’t hear any of the insane mating calls for the 3 months).
I sat bolt upright and grabbed my flashlight (I had no weapons with me other than a small knife and that was somewhere with the cook gear). I waited, quiet as a mouse for about 30 seconds listening for any noise. It was dead quiet. I could’ve heard anything. But – not a single sound.
As quietly as I could (but it sounded like when you’re opening a bag of chips when you’re trying not to make a sound), I positioned myself at the tent zipper then suddenly yanked it open and shined the flashlight. Nothing.
Then I bolted for the truck about 50 yards away. I made it and looked around with the flashlight. Nothing.
It was out there watching me – unless it ran away when I ran to the truck. I had the window cracked a bit and watched and listened for about an hour. Nothing.
I laid down in the back and tried to sleep but it was quite chilly and I was wearing only a pair of underwear and my huge scratchy wool sweater that was luckily in the backseat.
The next morning I looked for tracks but saw nothing. And for the next 6 or so weeks I slept in the back of the truck.
19. 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 dont 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 sh*t 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.
20. This wasn’t necessarily a LOT of time, but I was in solitude, and it was at sea. When I was 23 I was a dockhand for a boat-rental club. I bought myself a 27ft Catalina sail boat and lived on it at the docks for about a year while I worked for the boat club. I would often get toasted on 101 proof peppermint schnapps and go joy-sailing late at night on the Chesapeake Bay for kicks. My main sail tears, and my atomic 4 engine breaks down. I drift out of the channel, drop anchor, plug in my back-up batteries for power for my anchor light, and bed-down in my forward berth to wait until morning for one of my co-workers to tow me back in. I’m about a mile offshore, well out of the channel in about 60ft of open water when I hear a rhythmic thudding on my hull beneath me. It was like someone was doing a semi-fast snare-roll with closed fists against my hull. There was nothing in my head that I could figure could make that noise happen besides someone diving under by boat and literally beating on it. I went topside with my flash light to investigate and couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, and the sound continued on and off for about 15 minutes then stopped. It was a calm night with nearly no wind or waves at this point, and I visually couldn’t see what could have been making the noise. It came from mid-ship so it couldn’t be the motor being weird or something, and I checked my bilges for any anomalies and couldn’t find any. It left me pretty shaken up because I just couldn’t figure what could make that sound as loudly, and as precisely as it was. I could FEEL the bumps hitting against the fiberglass hull. I eventually got back to sleep and made it back to the docks next morning. I dove on my boat that day to check for anything amiss and didn’t find anything off. Needless to say that was the last time I went out alone at night.
21. When I was 15, I was at a Boy Scout camp in Illinois. My tent-mate was sick, so he went home on Tuesday. Wednesday night, I’m alone in my tent and I heard what heard like thuds. Between 10 and 12 a minute. I thought little of it and went to sleep. Thursday night, alone again, I need to take a sh*t about 1 am. I walk up to the latrine, and behind me, I start to hear those thuds. Someone is chopping wood with our troop’s axe at one in the morning. Someone who then stops, looks directly at me, and then walks away into the woods. I’ve never been so scared in my life. I heard laughing accompanying the chopping later that night. I reported it to the camp staff, and they did an investigation, which revealed that others heard what I had and one had even seen the same thing, and to this day, five years later, has come up empty. This wood-chopper hasn’t reappeared, and it was confirmed not to be a camper or staff member.
22. I used to live in Spain because my father was a government official. We lived near an area that was frequented by pilgrims.
I saw a few dead bodies while I was there. A lot of the pilgrims are really old, and they can’t handle the physical toll the hike takes, so they suddenly drop dead , or they rest on the side of the road and they never wake up again. I once had the displeasure of seeing one of the corpses up close, the face on the dead woman was contorted, she looked terrified like death had taken her by surprise.
As for “supernatural”, I remember in 2013 I got up early, and I traveled to a path that was frequented by pilgrims. I wanted to go stargazing, and there was relatively little light pollution out in the countryside. When I arrived at my usual spot I noticed there was a man in brown robes not too far off in the distance. When I yelled a greeting towards him, he turned his face towards me. He was unnaturally pale as if he were a corpse or gravely ill. His eyes were bloodshot and he looked like he was crying. He said not a word to me and turned around again, continuing to stare off into the distance. I remained for a few minutes, but shivers kept running through my spine, and I decided I shouldn’t be there so I left. Later that evening, a train derailed at Santiago de Compostela, which is the endpoint of the pilgrimage and 80 people died.
I’m think this is all a coincidence, and I probably met some sleepy pilgrim. But I told my grandma and she said it was the spirit of St. James the Muslim killer, as the pilgrim’s path is dedicated to him, she says he was trying to warn me of the tragedy that was going to take place later that day.
23. Lived in Germany for many years while my father was stationed there (U. S. Army). We lived off base in private housing and I LOVED it!! That country is amazing, the vast forests, the mountains, the countryside, the farmlands, the little towns…everything.
I quickly became really good friends with some local boys whose parents owned the town’s dairy farm. We were always in the forests running around and exploring, fishing, playing army, etc.. I was around 8 or 9 yrs old around that time (37 now).
One night, I stayed late at the farm hanging with the guys. Left about 9 or 10ish, it was dark, but then moonlight gave pretty good vision that night I remember. I lived just across the soccer field and a small corn field from the farm. As I’m walking through the soccer field I see a bit of movement, just real quick, from the corner of my eye along the tree line at the edge of the field. I quickly step up my pace. As I turn to take my usual path through the corn field to my house, I see at least half a dozen silhouette figures emerge from each side of the rows of corn on the sides of the path. I froze so hard! They just stand there. Then there’s one behind me. Before I can snap around and haul ass, he asked, in German, where I was going.
I turn around now and what I see surprises, but relieves me also. I answered in English and told him I was heading home. He was then curious about my English. Turns out it was a team of special forces operators (I mean, these guys were decked out in so much tactical gear I couldn’t comprehend how they were able to move so stealthily. Night vision goggles, packs, bags, weapons, there was even a dog. They looked like total f**king bad asses) who were using these small towns off base to do some training. I just happened upon them this particular night. I’ll never understand why they chose to break cover and show themselves. They could have easily just stayed put and I would’ve walked right by them none then wiser. They walked me home as it was on their way back they said. Started off creepy for me, but it was actually pretty cool. An experience I will never forget that’s always stuck with me.
24. I’m a pretty avid backpacker in the PNW. Sometimes I’ll hike for days on end without seeing another person. I think its 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. It 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 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 were 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 then 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 whose a 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.
25. Friend and I went camping when we were around 18. Found an awesome flat area off the side of a rather steep hill that overlooked the lake nearby. I can’t remember the name of the lake (not important), but it was large enough that we couldn’t see the other side. We were there for a couple of days, were fishing, setting a couple snares, pretty much pulling a Survivorman. On the third night we hadn’t lit the fire yet, we wanted to see the stars. Being Toronto kids, we rarely got to see too many. Sure enough, moonless night, no light-source around anywhere, and there are the stars. I pointed out a few passing satellites (I miss having such great vision), he named off the constellations that he knew. We were chatting then we saw it. On the horizon, a small, and very bright, red dot appeared. Looked like a gun laser dot. We both sat there racking our brains and making “Aliens” jokes. But sure enough it was getting closer. Soon it was the size of a dime, then a quarter, but it’s taken the shape of an eye, and yet it got closer and closer. We started thinking that maybe it was a forest fire or something. maybe it really was Aliens with a nervous laugh. I remember him getting his hunting knife out of its sheath, and I did the same, ready for anything. Finally it’s the size of a football, actually lighting up the area we were in. We were able to see the red glow off the trees, and the lake.
About here is when I realized we were looking at the rising blood moon. The lake was perfectly still and the moon was reflecting off of it. He physically slapped himself into a facepalm. We were city kids after all.