The truth is, there are things that go bump in the night. Especially in the middle of the woods, in the middle of nowhere, when very few people know where you are. No one knows that better than these Redditors, who spent some time recalling their most inexplicable experiences in the forest.
1. Answer The Call
We have a camp that we visit during the hunting months and about every other weekend in between that. To get to our camp, you have to turn off of a major road onto a gravel road, drive about a mile, then turn onto another gravel road for about a half mile.
It’s set between a few other camps, plus some residents who live out there. It’s quiet, for the most part. There are some coyotes and bobcats. Bobcats are the worst due to their terrible scream. It sounds like a woman crying for help.
There has also been a black panther and wild dogs. But nothing compared to this one night. In 2013, we were at the camp for Thanksgiving. We hunted, fished, cooked, drank, all that good camp stuff. We’re sitting around a fire, swapping funny stories and just listening to the silence of the woods.
As we’re talking, we all hear, “Help me!” At first, we thought it was a bobcat. We listened some more and heard it again. It was a man’s voice yelling “help me!” repeatedly. Now, our first instinct was to grab our guns. Second was to go toward the voice, BUT you never know what you will encounter in the woods.
It was dark and cold. The hunters knew the area very well. We called the authorities and explained everything to the responding officers. The weird part was that we NEVER once heard it while the officers were with us. Not once. But it didn’t stay calm for long.
The officers left and we heard the man again, repeating “help me”. About half an hour later, the officers came back, and again we didn’t hear any call for help. Again, silence. We all decided it was best to go inside our camp for the night.
We never did find out anything. I’ve only been back to the camp once since then. Really freaked me out.
2. The Expanse
I've lived on the high desert for most of my life. One day I was out riding my horse alone in the absolute middle of the Badlands. There were no trees, and hardly any brush to speak of, so sounds carried a long way and there was nowhere to hide for long.
All of a sudden my horse’s ears perk up. I feel my skin start to crawl like we're being watched. My normally mellow gelding now starts to panic. I start to feel really dizzy, and my horse stumbles. I black out.
I come to an hour or so later, about three miles away from the inciting incident, still on my horse. He is frothing with sweat and shaking all over. I'm still not sure what happened. I had plenty of water and snacks.
It was 65ish degrees and breezy, so I don't believe weather or dehydration/hunger were a factor. I have never before or after had a fainting spell, and that was the most reliable, quiet horse I've ever owned.
I now have a serious case of the heebie-jeebies again just thinking about it.
3. Top Secret
A couple of good friends of mine fight fires, and in Washington state summers, business is usually booming. This year, a fair-sized crew of about 10 of them are miles and miles deep into the Cascades doing dig lines.
I'm talking like 60 miles away from anything, middle of nowhere. As they're hiking through, they come to a clearing where there are two landed Blackhawk helicopters and about seven fully armed personnel. They all point their rifles at the fire crew and demand to know what they are doing there.
My friend tells them they're doing fire digs and they're scheduled to be up there. They are told to turn around and forget that they saw anything up there. My friend says, “But this is government work, we have to do this, this is our job”. The helicopter guy says, “Not today, you're done, get the heck out of here now”.
I’ve never wanted to know so badly about what the heck was going on out there.
4. A Quiet Place
I've lived in the Smokies most of my life. Anywhere I've lived in the Smokies, I've been completely surrounded by woods, naturally. One night at like 1 am I was sitting on my porch drinking a brew.
If you haven't lived out here, during the summertime, nature is loud. It isn't quiet. Cicadas humming, frogs belching, etc. It’s like the ultimate white noise. While I was drinking my can, had noticed that everything in the woods had gone quiet.
This is pretty easy to notice when you live here because that just doesn’t happen. But that was just the beginning. Suddenly, I heard the most terrifying noise I had ever heard about a good 30 or 40 meters away from me.
It was a loud, shrieking, literally blood-curdling scream, like shrill. It sounded...non-human. It wasn’t a mountain lion because I've heard them before, and they're rare in the area I lived. I stood up, audibly said "nope” and walked inside.
That was the one and only time that ever happened. I still live in the same house, and still drink the same brew on the same porch.
5. The Woman In The Woods
My sister was in Colorado last year and went hiking with her friend. The plan was to hike up the mountain, stop midway and camp, then finish the hike the next morning. They started their hike and stopped for camp midway.
She said it started dumping rain that night, which meant the top would most likely be snow. The next morning, they continued their hike, but it started getting complicated. Her friend only wore Chaco sandals and not proper hiking boots as they didn’t expect the snow.
They stopped at a creek and were deciding if they wanted to turn back because they weren’t prepared properly when they heard a faint “help me”. They both stood still. They heard it again. They decided to follow up the creek to the woman’s voice.
They got to a clearing that was covered in snow—and made a chilling discovery. They found a woman lying in the meadow in basic athletic clothing (leggings, light pullover jacket, and athletic shoes). My sister said her legs were swollen, discolored, and had nasty cuts on them.
My sister asked her how long she had been out there and the woman said only a few hours. My sister was like okay we need to get you down this mountain. The woman was like, “No I need to go up the mountain, that’s where my car is parked”.
My sister was like, no, there is no driving access at the top of the mountain, which was another sign that this woman was confused. They get her down the mountain and my sister just kept seeing how confused this woman was.
They get to the bottom and they find this woman’s car. My sister couldn’t get cell service to call 9-1-1 during this, by the way. Anyways, my sister tells this woman she’s going to drive her to the hospital, but the woman is standing strong that she would just like to go back to her Bed and Breakfast.
My sister takes her there while driving this woman’s car. Once the woman is at the Bed and Breakfast, she thanks them and goes in. My sister spoke to the owners and was like you have to call a medic, she is severely confused and not acting normal.
They call a medic and transport her to a hospital. That’s when they found out the truth. Turns out this woman is from Chicago, has low blood pressure, and it was her first time ever hiking a mountain. She was also alone.
She had passed out during her hike, then it dumped snow on her. She was hypothermic and only thought she’d been out for a few hours—but really, she was out overnight in the dark, cold and alone. I couldn’t imagine the terror she must have felt.
Anyways, my sister went and saw her at the hospital and the woman thanked her for saving her life. They still lightly keep in touch.
6. You’re Being Watched
When my dad was in his 20s, he was staying with my mom at a small cabin in the woods of Colorado. It was fairly remote—there was another cabin about a mile away and a campground maybe three miles down the valley.
Late one afternoon, he was out fishing on a nearby river by himself. As the light started fading, he decided to call it a day and head back to the cabin for dinner. As he was walking back through the woods, he got an eerie feeling that he was being watched, but he couldn't see anyone or anything.
He kept walking back and then suddenly he heard a stick break behind him. He stopped, looking back for the source of the sound, but still didn't see anything. He nervously kept walking back, a little quicker, and then heard another stick break, whirled around, and still—nothing.
This happens like three or four times, but every time he stopped to listen and look, there was total silence and nothing else moving. By the time he finally made it back to the cabin, it was nearly dark. He never did find out what was following him, but whatever it was left him alone after that.
7. The Hunter And The Hunted
My friend goes with a buddy to hike a trail near our town. It’s Northern Washington state, so lots of woods and trees. When they get to the trailhead, there is one other car there, and he remembers seeing a person in that car.
The person in the car was just staring at them with what he described as a really white, unchanging face. He kept staring right at them without trying to hide it or look away. My friend got creeped out and decided to leave.
In the next week or two after that, a couple of hikers and a ranger turned up deceased in that same area. I’m pretty sure they caught the guy, but I don't remember if his photo was posted. Super creepy.
8. Two Against Three
My friends and I were in the woods deep in the Sierra Nevadas in the California backcountry. We decided to travel a few miles off a path to reach a river and shoot at targets with our 22. The path is littered with deer bones and claw marks from bears, so we're freaking out a bit already but finally make it to where we set up camp.
I notice off in the distance, about a half mile up the river, there are two men walking towards us in the exact direction we are firing. I yell at the guys for them to stop and we just watch these men, wide-eyed and in their late 20s and early 30s, walking quickly alongside the river.
Then suddenly they both decide to jump in. I should say at this point that the river is moving very quickly and could easily sweep you under. It is definitely not safe for a casual swim. The worst happens. We watch as both the men are swept away towards us downstream.
One of my friends, we'll call him Mike, decides to be brave and get close to the edge and extend a piece of wood for them to grab as they're about to pass us. Both the men latch on and Mike is the hero pulling them to shore.
Once everyone catches their breath, we asked the men what they were doing out here as it's super remote and they were at least three or four miles from the nearest trail. We also asked why they both jumped in the dangerous river. They give us short answers like, "Oh we were just having fun boys," and "Just free swimming the river!" all while they're leering at us.
Immediately the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and every fiber in my body tells me they mean us harm. We tell them we're going to head back to the trail and they say they're coming with us. Given that we're so far off from civilization and these guys are clearly on something and a danger to themselves, we reluctantly agree to allow them to follow us.
It was the quietest hike of my life. I felt them trying to feel out if they could take us in a fight. There were three of us and two of them and we had a 22, but were young squirrelly adults. I don't know how to explain it, but the hike was us constantly positioning against each other with body language without ever directly fighting.
We finally make it to the car and they decide we weren't suitable targets and moved on. No idea what two random guys were doing risking their life in a freezing cold raging river in the Sierra Nevadas, or why they felt the need to size up if they could attack three random teens but I'm glad nothing happened that day.
9. Forest Bathing
This happened to me when I was a student forester this summer. The forest I was working in was about 30 miles from the nearest town, which contained around 1,200 people. We usually set out for whatever task we had to do in the forest at around 7:00 am.
So we are at the forest at around 7:30 am and we are about 15 miles up the road when we turn a corner very slowly and see what I initially thought to be a weird-looking bush or statue. But I was so, so wrong. It was in fact a person, sitting on a carved-out stump on the side of the road, just sitting there.
What really threw me off was the fact that this person had a parka on and a balaclava underneath it IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER. We drove by this person real slow, and he lifted a hand to wave slowly as we drove past. It was just super creepy.
I never saw them again after that but it did make going out on excursions a little more uneasy sometimes when alone.
10. The Demon At The Well
When I was six, my babysitter was this nice middle-aged lady and her equally nice husband. My twin brother and I were always at their house in the summer and we hung out with the couple's two grandkids, another boy and girl sibling set of similar ages.
This was literally my happy place. This lady had the best movie collection for a six-year-old. It is where I saw The Last Unicorn for the first time, as well as The Little Mermaid, The Great Mouse Detective, the first Land Before Time, and The Brave Little Toaster.
Also, her husband was a phenomenal cook by a kid's standard. Every day was chicken nuggets and pizza day. They had kid-size four-wheelers, a pool, a huge kids’ playhouse, and a jungle gym set up in the backyard. And they put on the best 4th of July show in the county for years.
Six-year-old me was the happiest girl on the freaking planet. They were some of the wealthiest people in our area, too. Neither one of them worked so I have no idea where the money came from, but I didn't care. One day, in mid-summer, the two boys were being typical boys and the little girl and I thought they were being mean.
In reality, the boys wanted to play cops or something and the girls wanted to play wedding. Or something similarly stupid. Whatever. She and I were sad and we refused to play with the boys. Instead, we decided to go pick flowers that grew at the edge of the forest.
We thought it was baby's breath, but it was really just poison hemlock (seriously). Kids, right? So we are walking along the edge of this dense forest in the middle of banjo country in southern Ohio. This was in 1990 so we weren't worried about stranger danger because we were just so far out in the country.
The adults did worry about animals from time to time because the next county over has bears and mountain lions, but us six-year-olds were fearless. We ended up walking onto the neighbor's property picking these flowers when we found a break in the tree line.
It was an old, well-worn path leading into the woods. For whatever reason, she and I decided to ditch our flowers and take the path in the woods and see what it led to. This was our biggest mistake. The path itself was unremarkable. Well-worn but unmaintained as there were tree roots growing up through the path in places.
We came upon a little bridge at one point. We were both a little confused about it because we had been told there were no creeks in our area, yet here was a bridge. It wasn't a particularly old bridge either. But the creek bed under it was dry as a bone. Weird. We kept going because...why not, I guess?
I'm not sure how far we walked beyond the bridge, but we ended up in a clearing with stones all around it in a circle. The clearing was big enough that there was a gap in the trees that allowed the sunlight in. In the middle of the circle was a massive stone-walled well.
It was big enough that there were stairs built into the walls in a huge spiral. My little friend was mesmerized by the well. She found a rock and tossed it in. We never heard it hit the bottom. As we were searching for more rocks to throw in, I was rooting around in the brush by the bigger stones and actually looked at the big ones. That’s when it hit me. These were not normal stones.
Nope. I was a smart cookie, already reading at a 3rd-grade level the summer before 1st grade (something I loved to show off to anyone who would sit still for three seconds or more) so I could read the stupid stones. There were names and dates cut into the rough-hewn stone.
We were in a freaking graveyard. In the middle of the woods. Far away from our adults. I remember getting chills realizing this. Moments later, my little friend got really quiet and poked me. She pointed to the edge of the clearing on the other side of the well.
Thankfully, not the side that we had entered the graveyard on. My little heart would have exploded, I think. She was pointing at a dark shape standing just inside the woods facing us. We both stood up very slowly and stared at this dark shape.
At some point, the little girl took my hand and tried to get me to leave, but I couldn't move. The fear was paralyzing. It didn't move until the clouds covered the sun and our bright, inviting clearing became slightly shadowy. Then, the shape moved. It was an adult-shaped thing wearing long dark robes with a hood over its face.
We were stupid kids, but we weren't that stupid. We both turned tail and ran as fast as our little legs allowed. My friend was faster than me because I was a chunkier (a kid with a love of reading and movies and pizza is overweight, who would have thunk it?) so she made it to the bridge first.
I wasn't far behind her, though. I looked back after we got over the bridge—and nearly screamed. That guy was standing at the edge of the bridge. Just standing there. I kept running. I tripped over a tree root in the path, ripping my pants and shredding my knee in the process. I scrambled up and kept running.
We burst out of the trees like our hair was on fire, screaming and crying, and made a beeline for the girl's grandparents’ house. Her grandfather was in the backyard planting something and came running when he heard us.
We were absolutely beside ourselves and nothing could calm us down. We spent hours sobbing while the grandma and grandpa got us bathed and in clean clothes and tried to soothe us. The more they said there was no one in the woods, the worse we became.
It took both of us months before we'd even go onto the back deck again. Everyone was convinced we made up the story with our hyperactive imaginations, but the adults humored us. The kids, not so much.
The next summer, we were forced into the backyard for the annual 4th of July party. Tons of kids. They all knew our story and one of the teenage boys called us liars. He tormented us for hours until we told him where the path in the woods was. And then he made us go with him.
To my utter relief, when we got to where she and I both remembered the path being, there was nothing. No path. Just a very heavy growth of hemlock. He tried to wade through it and ended up with chiggers from neck to foot. And he got in a ton of trouble for dragging us kids down there once we got back.
So she and I were relieved not to go back but from then on, even though all those kids thought we were stone-cold liars. But the story doesn’t end there. Fast forward 15 years later (16 years after this all happened), my mom mentioned that the grandpa passed a few months prior while I was off to school.
I was 22 at that point and had mostly forgotten the events in the woods. I expressed my condolences and asked what happened. I mean, this guy was a friend of my mom's for 20+ years. My mom started being evasive, so I got curious and pressed her.
She said that he had hung himself in their garage. Jesus. Wow, okay. That sucks. And then she told me the bad part. His granddaughter (my little friend) was the one that found his body. All around him were notebooks with crazy-person writings that he had amassed over a very long time, some dating back to the early 70s apparently, detailing his dealings with demons and spirits and other crazy things.
He had left notes for all of his loved ones. The note for his granddaughter was an apology for not protecting her from the demon at the well. And the note for his wife was an apology for leaving her, as it was the only way to protect her and the other people he loved.
It seems that the explanation for their wealth was deals struck with the demons. After a few decades of these deals, they had started coming to collect on the debts the old man owed. Everyone wrote the guy off as having a serious mental health issue; they threw the journals away, buried him, and moved on.
No investigations. Nothing. I can rationalize everything we saw and experienced as some kind of weird psychological reaction to picking hemlock. But that wouldn't explain how both of us had the exact same delusion though. I know what I saw was real.
I might not remember all the details nearly 30 years after the fact but I remember the fear. And I still have a scar on my knee that had never faded. I'm not afraid of the woods or the dark or anything. In the immortal words of Ducky, Nope, nope, nope.
11. A Big Question Mark
When I was in Boy Scouts, my troop would always go to a camp called Camp Tahquitz for our yearly summer camp. That specific year, they had abnormal bear activity in and around the camp.
It was a pretty sizable camp, but was still way out in the boonies, so an encounter with a chipmunk was just as common as it would be with a California black bear. Wildlife management was done by some crazy old Gunnery Sergeant that we called Gunny, so you can see the situations you might find yourself in.
So anyway, I was tenting with my friend who had just joined the troop, James. James and I are sleeping in our tent in the middle of the night, probably around 1 or 2 in the morning, when I was abruptly awoken by something.
Everything is silent, aside from a plasticky creaking sound. It unraveled so fast. I see it, right above my head. Something was pushing the tent in so hard that it began to cave in right above my head, like if someone was leaning into it with all their weight.
Except, these tents were relatively strong, you could jump on them and you would just bounce right off. So, being the scared little 13-year-old that I was, I began to smack whatever it was with all of my might whilst simultaneously clubbing James with my fist to get him to wake up.
Mind you, James is an incredibly deep sleeper, so this in effect does nothing. Whoever or whatever it is is leaning so hard that it’s almost touching my head when James wakes up from the nightmare that he was having and let out a blood-curdling ten-year-old-girl-in-the-woods type scream.
Whatever it was stopped leaning on the tent and vanished silently into the night. So, for a few years, James (who has no recollection of the event whatsoever) and I always assumed it was a bear after the medications in my daypack.
But, after staffing at the camp and getting to know the lore of the grounds a little better, I think something else might have been afoot. There have been many strange happenings in and around Camp Tahquitz, both paranormal and just normally unexplained.
There’s the usual Bigfoot and ghost stories, but older scouts and even administrative higher-ups claim to have seen things. Claims of wendigo-skinwalker hybrids, some guy called Dragthump, and a bunch of Native American myths. Tahquitz has the biggest and most active Native American program West of Oklahoma.
The fact that there were no tears in the tent flap from the bear claws, we were the furthest away from the bear box, the fact that there was absolutely no sound from the supposed bear (black bears make a heck of a ruckus), and the fact that it was just persistently leaning into the tent instead of just clawing at it like most bears do, leads me to believe that it was no Yogi or Smokey.
It just didn’t behave like bears do, and even if it was some older scouts attempting to play a joke on us, they wouldn't have been heavy enough to lean that far in on the tent and probably would have erupted into laughter right afterward.
Plus, my troop isn’t like that. It’s full of a bunch of mild-mannered city boys, perfect Eagle Scout material (of which I am one). Everything just seems so off.
12. A Ghostly Stampede
About 20 years ago I had just finished my degree and was bummed because I couldn't find a job. A former roommate/good friend and I went on an overnight backpacking trip near Burr Oak State Park in Southeast Ohio.
At about 2 am we were awoken in our tent by the sound of dozens of horses being ridden all around us. We could hear muted conversation, harnesses jingling, hoofs clopping, and we could feel it shaking the ground.
We lay in our tent and the sound just kept going on, like a whole convoy was passing right beside us. After a few minutes, we unzipped the tent and the sounds immediately ceased and nothing was there.
It was freaky, we were afraid they were going to ride over us it was so intense. I have no idea who or what it was, but we're camped on a trail that had been used by John Morgan Hunts Confederate raiders.
Not a logical explanation, but it was deafening that there were so many horses. I can still hear men's voices murmuring as they rode by. The next morning, not a single hoofprint was to be found.
13. Vanishing Act
A few years back, my dad, my little brother, and I all went out deer hunting in the afternoon right before sundown. While we were walking through the woods, before we even got started, my little brother tugged on my arm and asked me if I saw "that".
I said that it was probably his imagination and he let go of my arm. It ended up being a horrible mistake. A few minutes later, I couldn't hear him walking behind us anymore, and turned around to find him gone.
I quickly told my dad and we looked for him for, at least, half an hour. We were panicking completely when he suddenly walked over out of nowhere towards the both of us. He was covered in mud like he'd fallen somewhere.
I worriedly asked where he'd gone and he just stared at me, telling me that he couldn't remember and thought that he had never left. He acted normally afterward just as if nothing had happened. This shook my entire family, including myself, quite a bit.
14. Get Off Our Lawn
In 1992 my uncle owned about 150 acres in a remote area of East Tennessee. On this land, he had a large fishing pond and a stream running through it, and he used to leave lines out at night to pull in big catfish.
This pond was accessible by two small game trails through thick patches of woods, and he would need to drive to the trail entrances from his house near the front of the property and walk about a half mile in with his gear and nothing but a headlamp for light.
This was something he did pretty often and my uncle was a lover of the outdoors so this was business as usual for him. He was a Vietnam vet as well. This particular night in July 1992, he went down to the pond at about 9:30 pm to check his lines.
As he was doing so, he heard a loud splash and assumed it was a fish jumping. He carried on with what he was doing…until something stopped him in his tracks. He then heard a low, guttural groan and what he described as "monkeys fighting" just on the other side of the pond.
Multiple loud splashes occurred and he also heard a loud crash in the woods just yards away to his left. He talked about how he immediately felt a sense of panic and was attempting to get visuals using his headlamp, but whatever was producing these sounds was behind tree cover.
He said that the woods then erupted in continued sounds of "fighting monkeys" and he opted to drop his gear and run down the trail toward his truck. Apparently, even in his adrenaline-fueled state, he could hear footfall on his left as if he was being "hunted".
He got to his truck and hauled out of there to the road and back to his home (which mind you, sits on the property about six miles away). He went inside and locked every window and door, grabbed his piece, and stayed up and vigilant the entire night, but nothing more occurred.
He called my dad the next day, who sort of just laughed it off. Well, for my uncle, whatever he experienced scared him so badly that he put his land up for sale and sold it a few months later. Until he passed in 2017, he would maintain that he believes that he walked into a group of Sasquatch and they erupted in territorial displays to get him out of there.
He never enjoyed the outdoors after that. This wasn't a man who I took for a liar.
15. Ghost Dog
I was out hunting with my older brother and his best friend a few years back. We had been walking along a trail for a good seven miles at least. On one side of this trail is a decent drop, and then a river, and on the other side is a decent uphill section and a huge pine forest.
It was about 1 am by this point and we were just sort of quietly talking to each other. Then a horrific noise split the air. We all froze and looked at each other with the expressions on our faces doing all the work.
“What the heck was that”. We knew it came from up in the pine forest, where there aren’t any big predators or really anything out there that we should be “scared” of. So we shouldered our rifles and headed up to find out exactly what made this sound. I wish we hadn’t.
We got to a clearing. The trees were thinning out and my brother flicked on his spotlight. Big bright thing, excellent range. What I saw made me terrified. Way up ahead of us was the strangest-looking figure I’d ever seen. Like the general shape of a wolf but just...off.
It was just stopped on the edge of another tree line further up the hill and looking right at us. It was pacing side to side. My brother’s friend and I had our targets trained on it, trying to get a good look. We couldn’t count out the fact it was another hunter’s dog that was lost, so we (against my gut feeling) went up after it.
As we went up after it, it became increasingly obvious this thing was watching us very intently. The closer we got, the more we realized this was definitely not a hunter’s dog. It was big. Really big, and just the way it moved and its entire demeanor was just so unsettling.
We slowly made our way back down and haven’t been back there since. I don’t really talk about it either, as we still don’t know what we saw and people usually jump to the “hallucination” conclusion because like I said before, where we live there aren’t really any big predators.
16. Knowing Is Worse
I've spent a lot of time in fairly wild places and never had an incident that I couldn't explain. The thing is, knowing almost makes it worse. When you figure out it's a cougar, bear, moose, or strange human, it's not like you exhale and relax.
The scariest moment for me, to date, was the grizzly that was circling our camp at dusk at about 20 meters. I packed my family into the car as fast as we could move, but it wouldn't have been fast enough if the bear had lunged.
I really regret it—I feel that I failed as a parent, because it's only luck that nothing horrible happened. I don't think I'll ever forget seeing its green eyes bobbing and swaying in my headlamp. It briefly rushed our vehicle as we left, too. Scary as heck.
17. Unknown Flying Object
My partner and I were off-roading in the Cibola National Forest. On a few of the turns, there's a spot in the trees looking out over a cliff. At one of these, we saw a weird thing in the air. I can't even really say it was in the sky, because it was too close.
I could see the other parts of the mountain behind this thing. It did this weird thing, almost like a loading bar, lighting up white back to front, then vanished. I still don't know what that thing was. We both saw it.
It had a wider back and went to a point at the front, and the front part curved down. It was terrifying the whole way out, because the road wasn't wide enough to turn around on and there were more openings in the trees like that ahead of us.
No missing time, nothing weird like that, but it was a good minute before either of us said anything. I've been back since (took months before I was willing, to be honest). I’ve never seen anything like it since.
18. The Triangle Of Doom
We lived on the Hopi/Navajo reservation growing up. My mom and I were feeding the horses very early in the morning before I went to school—it was still almost completely dark out—when we hear this low, dim humming noise.
The horses start acting really nervous, ours included. Sweating, pacing, nostrils flared, eyes showing white—the works. We feed them and walk out from the barn/shack trying to figure out what’s happened. We look up after scanning the horizon for anything, squinting as best as we could. I let out a gasp at the sight.
I swear to God, there is a black triangle-like thing hovering right over us. It was almost completely silent. It was perfectly over us, so you couldn’t see it unless you looked straight up, and it felt like it was so close I could touch it.
It was pretty large too, like a long triangle. Smooth and black. Thinking back, it was actually quite impressive and beautiful. My mom grabbed me and ran back into the shed. This was before cell phones were really a thing, so she just clutched me and told me not to make a sound.
We waited for what felt like ages but was probably only two or three more minutes. The horses weren’t even eating, they just paced the shed inside back and forth. Finally, the horses started settling down to eat and my mom went outside. It was gone.
We felt like we had the flu the rest of the day and I stayed home. We never told my dad. I think it was some sort of military aircraft since around the reservation there are quiet, secret setups like that, but who knows.
19. Secret Stash
I live in southern Spain, near an ancient forest called "Los Alcornocales," which has a species of trees that are almost extinct and only grow here and in another two or so places. It's a bit of a rocky terrain, and if you ever are walking in the forest and try to climb some rocks, you should be really careful.
There are caves and hollow spaces under your feet, and you can fall easily. So, my father and his friends usually go hiking on Thursdays because it’s pretty empty. On this day they decided to climb a really large and rocky hill.
My uncle Frank remembered that when he was young, he slept in a little cave when he went hunting and got lost, and he wanted to try to find that cave. After a few hours, they find the cave. It was covered in moss and grime, but it was the same cave.
One of my father's friends, John, tried to get as far as possible into the cave, because he was in really good shape and wanted to see all of it. The rest of them waited outside. It turned terrifying. Suddenly, John started screaming and calling for my father.
He went inside and turned on his flashlight. Inside the cave was a really weird shrine or something like that, with candles, two apples, bones, pieces of coal and ashes on the ground, a pair of gloves, a pan, etc. Everything looked really old and dusty, and it was clear it hadn’t been touched in a long time.
My father went to the shrine and it had a little bowl. When he looked inside, there was something that looked like human teeth. When they got out, they packed up all their things and got out of there really fast. My father refuses to hike around there anymore, and they started hiking on the other side of the hill and into the woods.
20. Don’t Make A Move
I live in quite a remote area and I never really believed in ghosts or monsters. I was driving along at night and decided to pull up for the night and continue driving the next day at a spot known as the flat sands. It's literally just a flat land that spans for 100s of miles.
I was sleeping and I woke up to the most intense feeling of someone pinning me down and making me unable to move. I couldn't see anything, but it lasted a good minute. I was sweating and out of breath and had to take a moment to process what just happened.
I ended up going back to sleep and drove home the next day. Fast forward a few weeks later in my own home, the same thing happened. Later on, I was chatting to a few locals and another guy who had stayed at the same sand flats started talking about how he refuses to sleep there anymore, as he has been there twice and both times, he's had the same experience.
21. Dog Daze
I was hunting while walking down some thickets, and I heard something growling and making a lot of noise ahead of me. I live in Ohio, so growling is odd, especially as I was the only one on the property I was hunting. It did not go the way I thought it would.
Five seconds later, a beagle just paces out of the thickets as calm as anybody, alongside an owner. I tried calling them to see if they were lost, but I might as well have been a tree stump. Guess they didn't need help.
22. The Wicker People
The year I met my wife, we were 17 and I was a hunting nut. We decided to go camping in the sand dunes behind my suburb, just off the beach. We live in rural west Australia, so nothing happens.
Anyway, it’s a pretty local area, lots of people around, so we decided to just hang around the beach, go walking, and settle down for the night. A few hours passed and we had a small campfire going, jumped into our shared sleeping bag, and went to sleep.
We woke up to thudding all around us and a huge “grock grock grock” noise. Ok, it freaked us out because I was half asleep. It was an emu that basically stood on us, and honestly, the big fella was as shocked as we were and he took off. So we settled to sleep…and then we hear it.
People everywhere. They walked past us, but we couldn’t see them. They weren't talking, we could just hear them walking. They broke into a run and started laughing. We heard them run over the dune to the seaside, and then the chanting started.
These people weren't joking around, and it gets more chilling. They were chasing someone and loving it. There were a group of people running up and down the trails around us, with a group chanting, hunting someone.
At that stage, we noped the heck out. We called my partner's parents, and they came with their big dog to pick us up. We walked back to the parking lot that lead to the trails with the dog snarling at everything. We could hear people running out of the darkness behind us and laughing at us, some of them even taunted us to come back to the dunes.
I never figured out what it was about, but it was over 50 people at around three AM.
23. Get Out
My wife and I were homeless for a while at around 20. We rescued mastiffs and I had an opportunity to train in Melbourne and represent a gym for MMA. We drove across the Nullarbor with our three dogs and my wife's mother.
Halfway across we got tired and saw a dilapidated roadside stop. It was just some younger woman's house with a shop attached. We pulled up and talked to the owner and an older bloke. They looked at us and asked if we were tired.
I said yeah and they asked us if we wanted to park around back. Sure, we’ll stop for a rest because these folks seemed nice. We drove around the back to a carpark equivalent of car bodies. Ok sure, that's odd already, but the nearest town is a day’s drive.
Anyway, one of our dogs was unwell and needed a strict diet and to poop regularly. I get her out of the car and the other dogs jump out too. The Rottweiler takes off to explore. The dogs poop and I call our big girl back. No response.
That's pretty normal, she was ignorant sometimes. I go to look for her and she is sniffing a sleeping bag. Ok fine, the place is a wreck with trash everywhere. I didn't give it a second thought. Then I looked up and saw a massive tarp wrapped up around…something…and it is strung up between a few trees.
It’s completely suspended. Behind it, a few sleeping bags are also suspended between some trees. About ten in all. Then I noticed the absolute swarm of flies. Got the dogs back in the car and left. Saw the woman and old bloke on the way out.
I waved at them and acted naturally. Nothing. No smile or wave, all former charm was gone. We dodged some Ivan Milat level stuff because my dog was picky about where she pooped. We never reported this because we honestly have no idea where on the Nullarbor it was.
We just kept heading east on the biggest road we could. I'm absolutely certain we were going to be offed by some hillbillies.
24. An Eden On Earth
I’m a wildland firefighter in the US. I've fought fires all over the Northwest, eastern Rockies, and Midwest forests, and the only thing that's ever thrown me off was fighting fires in the mountains of northeastern Wyoming, in the land east of Yellowstone.
I was hiking into a recently burnt valley that was...just...eerie. Smoke can make that a norm, but the colors were so vibrant. Even after being touched by fire, most of the trees and shrubs were unburnt. This, to be fair, is uncommon but not rare or impossible. But then it got truly bizarre.
Within a few steps of entering the base of the valley, I knew the details of the terrain intimately. It was like I had lived there all my life. Like deja vu, but with the clarity of reality and not a momentary second, but like 20 minutes and a hundred yards of hiking.
To be clear this was a place I'd never been before and yet I was hiking paths that were as familiar to me as a brother. Trees I knew had scars opposite of me 20 yards away. Stones that I knew were going to be warm, almost hot to the touch, perched inches from an ice-cold stream.
Before I turned corners, I knew about a rock shelf that was protecting a small pool with a lush green patch of grass the size of a small room with small untouched trees. Green grass in Wyoming in August is fairly uncommon. I stayed there for a moment that felt like an hour.
The whole time my hairs were standing up and falling down like I was revisiting a favorite song and the symphony of emotions like nostalgia, joy, and bliss was just washing over me. Everything just felt perfect. Every. single. detail. perfect.
For the Star Trek fans out there, it was basically how Guinan described the Nexus in Star Trek VII: Generations: "Like being inside joy...and never in my entire life have I ever been as content". We finished scouting the valley, I went back to my crew, and we moved on.
I kept it to myself, not knowing how to explain this perfect place to anyone let alone myself. This shook me for days. I had no way to rationalize it and it kept me awake a few nights for the rest of that assignment.
Even as we worked, ate, and shared fun stories, it still gnawed at me. To this day, four years and countless fires fought later, I've never had an experience like it and it’s likely the only place I've desired beyond any to return to again just to touch that perfect world.
25. Dark Daylight
I was walking through the woods in a state park. I saw a bunch of branches perfectly twisted in a vortex manner that resembled a swirling portal maybe 10-15 feet high.
Obviously, I know that somebody made it, but it was still so creepy, and you get that feeling that you don’t know if your mind is tricking you because it almost looks hazy in the center of the branch portal.
I kept walking a bit further, but then it got dark abnormally early, and abnormally quickly. I began practically running back…and somehow didn’t pass the portal again even though I know I was on the path. I got back to the parking lot and it was suddenly daytime again; it was only mid-afternoon.
26. Blast Away
I was hunting alone in the middle of the Oregon Cascades, miles from any people. I'm sitting still watching a clearing. Then I hear a sound that I've never heard before or since. The only way I can describe it is that it sounded like wood cracking together, like someone hit a pine tree with a telephone pole and was doing their best Jose Conseco impression.
The first time it happened I genuinely thought it was a bullet because the initial crack was so loud, but the last half of the sound was very clearly a tree being struck and shaking. There was a flood of instant terror once my mind worked out the calculation for how hard you would have to hit a tree to replicate that sound.
I'd estimate the source was on the other side of a small valley from me, well over 300 yards. I know it sounds stupid, but it was such a tremendous show of force that I Instantly started making my way back to my truck.
I've been hunting all my life and as an avid firearm enthusiast, I go almost every weekend. This was 100% not gunfire. Pine trees and cedar trees will also sometimes make popping sounds in the morning and into the afternoon as the sun warms them. It was much louder than that.
27. Someone’s Always Watching
I'm a landscaper, and we manage some pretty big accounts in the woods. One day, I stepped off a hundred feet or so to take a leak. I started peeing and looked up and around, and off in the distance, I see someone in a red hoodie just staring at me from behind a tree.
This lot of land is next to a road, but it’s all commercial and not residential, so besides us there really shouldn’t be any other people out here. Especially this deep out there. I cocked my head to the side to make sure that it was in fact a person in a hoodie and not something else my mind distorted into a human.
Well, once I move they move back behind the tree. I yelled at them, “Hey what are you doing?” and they took off. I'm pretty sure whoever it was did not have pants on. They could have been flesh-colored but I don’t believe so. And no shoes.
I was shook by it all, so I just called my boss man and told him what’s up. We all went to do a quick search together and we never saw the person again.
28. Playing The Long Game
My best friend used to have a job as a research assistant on an owl census project in New Mexico. This basically involved systematically hiking through remote forests for two weeks at a time and charting where owls were sighted, what owl sounds were heard, and what pellets were found.
Then you'd get two weeks off, then two weeks on, etc. The job required that two research assistants hike together for safety. Unfortunately, the guy she was paired with was slow and out of shape, so he generally trailed some distance behind her.
One week into a hike, she started to develop the feeling that she was being watched. She stopped in the middle of a clearing to wait for the other guy to catch up. Thankfully, he wasn't too far behind—and that’s when they made a disturbing realization.
There was a mountain lion in the trees, watching her. They both put their arms up and screamed at it until it went away. She said the most terrifying part of the whole experience was knowing that it had been following her for an entire week or longer, and was just waiting for her to be far enough away from her companion to attack.
29. Ghosts In The Mist
My husband worked as a logger in the Penrose, Wingello, and Belanglo state forests. It’s uncommon to see people walking and wandering in the mist in the early morning, but some appear from nowhere or disappear behind things they shouldn't.
The operators scare each other saying it's the souls of Ivan Milat’s victims, but they absolutely don't get out of the cabs for anyone just in case. They have also found human remains a few times.
30. The Man In Blue
I was hiking through the remnants of a remote, long-abandoned town and the surrounding area. To get as far into the woods as I was, you had to cross fallen trees over a creek three times. I had just crossed the third "bridge" and was about five miles in and something blue caught my eye just ahead of me. I’ll never forget what I saw.
There was a man, in his sixties at least, wearing blue satin pajamas, sitting in a tree. The closer I got to him the louder he laughed. It wasn't a maniacal laugh, but it set off all the alarms in my head nevertheless. He also wasn't wearing any shoes yet looked well-groomed and clean.
I gave him a friendly nod as I passed, and he just kept laughing. Then it stopped. I turned and he was gone. There was no branch cracking, plants rustling, nothing...He was just gone. Still rubs me the wrong way. The area I was in was a pretty rough hike, very secluded.
Not very many people venture as deep as I was that day. No idea what was going on there.
31. Out Of Thin Air
The was in the early 90s, I think 1990. I was in western Washington, wandering, just for fun. I found a modest-sized car from the mid-60s just sitting there. No broken glass, it was covered in moss, its tires flat, just sitting there. There were no roads at all for probably 300 feet or so. Never went back.
32. Animal Instinct
I went out hunting. My dad and I were about three miles from camp when we heard a very deep, long growl. We initially thought it was a bear. We were definitely wrong. I get back to camp where everyone talks about the growl. Not weird in itself, until one of us realized there were probably 10-15 miles between the farthest groups of hunters.
The are no bear growls loud enough to carry for 15 miles.
33. I’m Afraid Of The Forest
A couple years ago while hunting, I went out before first light and climbed into my deer stand like I’ve done countless times. Right at about 5 am. My favorite part of the day is when the light starts to break into the sky and the forest wakes up.
The nocturnal creatures retreat and the day creatures stir and become active. But that morning, as the light started to appear, nothing happened. And I mean nothing. No rabbits or raccoons retreating to a den, no squirrels searching for breakfast, no deer, no hogs, not even a single bird.
The weather/temperature was unremarkable and the air was mostly still. There was just no movement and no sound throughout the woods that morning. Not a chirp nor a rustle. As time passed, I started to get an unexplainable sense of dread.
Not a “this is weird” feeling of observing something strange but more of a “the end is imminent” feeling that I’ve never experienced before. I stayed until about 8 am (still early for deer hunting) until I was literally trembling with fear and I stormed out of there.
I went back that afternoon and I found the woods to be completely normal with all the usual sights and sounds. It was the weirdest and most uncomfortable experience in the woods that I’ve ever had. Almost like a dream, but I absolutely was not dreaming.
I have not been scared in the woods since I was a boy going out the first few times with my dad. He would joke, “We’re hunting. We have nothing to fear. The forest is afraid of us”. Not that morning, dad. I was scared to my core and I don’t know why. I was 45 years old at the time.
34. Slender Man Visits The Woods
My friends and I went camping in a forest in the Mantiqueira in Brazil. Everyone brought a piece in case we had to protect ourselves from bandits. We were aiming to stay four days. Our camping site was over an hour from the main road.
We made camp in the afternoon, and when night came we lit a fire, chatted, etc. Around 1:00 am it started raining and extinguished our fire, so we turned our (very bad) electric lights on. That’s when it started. First, the cattle on a nearby farm started making a lot of noise.
Then the birds woke up and started screaming like crazy.
This went on for around an hour, then suddenly, it all stopped, full and mortal silence. All the animals stopped making noise. At this point, we were terrified. With our guns loaded we made a circle. Then we heard movement near us. Something was watching us from a near distance.
We couldn't tell where because of the noise of the rain. Then our electric lights went out. So now we were in darkness surrounded by something in full silence. That’s when we heard the scream. I can´t even describe it. It was a very high-pitched sound that lasted for a long time, about a minute.
Lightning struck and I saw it: A very tall, skinny thing with humanoid traits. It just wasn't human, and had very long arms and black eyes. We then packed up as fast as possible and ran to the car and left. I didn't sleep for a few nights after that incident.
35. Together Forever
One of my best friends from college was a Geology major who ended up becoming a Ranger in the Southeast US. We haven’t spoken in years (as is the case with age) but I remember about eight years back, he was telling me about an old married couple that he had recently helped out.
He had seen them come to the park several days in a row, found out they were visiting from out west, and they had gotten engaged there decades prior. They had been searching for a spot they’d taken pictures at where he popped the question, but were having trouble.
After looking at the pictures and figuring out roughly where they were trying to get to, he escorted them in his vehicle, then hiked with them to where he thought it would be. They found it, and he left them there, and went back to his station at the entrance.
He said he got a weird feeling once he got back, and felt like he needed to wait to see them whenever they left. Well, once it came time to lock up at night, he still hadn’t seen them leave. He reported it, left his assistant to wait at the shack at the entrance, and went back to where he left them. The sight was deeply upsetting.
He found both of them lying down, spooning along the bank of the river. Neither was alive. He called the authorities, went through the whole nine yards with them, and went home. The officers were able to disclose to him their identities, but weren’t sure of anything else initially.
Later he learned that the wife was terminally ill with cancer, and they had both ingested some sort of chemical/pill combination to go down together. They chose to do it where they had gotten engaged.
36. Voices In The Night
I have a friend who is a trail ranger. Basically, he’s a ranger who can't get you in trouble. He told me about this time he was gathering illegally placed wildlife cameras and knocking down hunting stands, feeders, and blinds with another actual ranger.
The other ranger wasn't feeling well so he said he was going to head back as it's a one-hour ATV ride. My friend finished up the last one when he heard voices. Keep in mind he's FAR off the beaten path. He called out and no one replied.
As it was getting dark, he started to head back and found that his ATV wouldn't start. He then noticed that the battery wasn’t connected anymore. He reconnected it and started to drive, but it wasn't going fast at all. Less than a half mile later, the whole thing went kaput.
He radioed back saying "Hey guys, I need someone to come pick me up". They told him they would, but it would be an hour. It only got more desperate from there. He asked if the other guy got back, and they said no. He settled down and started a small fire, but before long he heard voices again.
It's now dark. He's not happy. The voices sound like an argument now. Someone was angry and yelling at someone else, who sounded more scared. He called out and asked if anyone needed help. The voices didn't seem to care. He guessed they had to be less than 1,000 feet away.
He radioed again and they said they were having trouble finding what path he might be on and hadn’t left yet. He asked them just to get the other ranger to tell them about where they are because he left with the iPad that had the map. They said he still isn't back.
About three more minutes go by and he hears the voices start up again. He decides to walk to them, hoping maybe they can stop fighting and maybe even have a map. He walked in their direction, but the voices seemed to be getting further as he got closer. Finally, after 20 minutes, he gave up and walked back.
He got a radio call and they said the other guy was found passed out, covered in vomit, and was being taken to the hospital, but he crossed off everywhere they found a stand so they have a general idea where he is. It took another turn. Then the radio also stopped working. Then the voices came back.
Going out of his mind, he decided to listen to what they were arguing about, picking up things like "Well it wasn't yours to take," "I don’t care," "You knew better," and so on. His guess was two hunters arguing over an animal. Then he heard the one shout something unintelligible, then silence, then...
A shot. He doused his fire and hid. After that, he heard nothing, just his breathing for the next half hour until he saw ATV lights. He told the guy picking him up everything and they called back. They had people looking for three hours and found nothing. They came back the next day with officers and dogs.
After about an hour, a shallow grave was found. It was a man who had clearly been shot in the face. Thing was, it was a skeleton that was there for years. So either the argument he heard just ended with a bang and both parties went home last night, or he heard the death of someone from years ago.
37. Don’t Go It Alone
I lived on the outskirts of a national park in a cabin. It was a four-mile drive from the main road just to get to the property, and we had no plumbing or power. This property was right next to where the parks started, so to call it the middle of nowhere is an understatement.
My roommate at the time was interning with the park service, but he is a...city kid. Every evening in the middle of the night I had been hearing noises in the woods. At the time, I thought it was just someone walking...but then they'd just stop in particularly overgrown areas of the jungle, so your mind starts to doubt itself.
Is it a pig? A cat? Is it just the wind? The cabin didn't have a locking door, and the owners didn't want me to install one, so I was so scared I began sleeping in my car. Now, this is a huge property, and I'd park my car over an acre away from the cabin and where I was hearing something.
I started hearing those footsteps again. I moved out, my roommate (who thought I was bonkers) stayed and still slept there without a locking door. He got robbed, not once, but twice after I moved out! So, he finally put up motion-triggered cameras to see what was going on.
There was a man with a holstered piece who'd hike up to the property, set up in the bushes, and watch us night after night.
38. Lurking In The Dark
I was out camping with my dog one night along the Mogollon Rim of Arizona. It was dark and we were sitting around the campfire when we hear something behind a bush close to our camp. Instead of my dog barking at it, he begins to whimper.
I didn't think anything of it at the time and just tended to the fire. After a couple of minutes, we hear some more noises from a different bush. This time my dog gets up and goes over to the tent and scratches the door because he wants to go in.
So now I’m getting more on edge. I toss a couple of rocks in the direction I heard the noise, but nothing happened. I'm fully spooked now so I toss a couple of pieces of wood on the fire and climb into my tent with my dog, hoping that the light from the fire would keep whatever was out there away from us.
We both eventually fall asleep and luckily had no other disturbances during the night. The next morning, though, I go out behind the bushes where we had heard the noises. I nearly gasped. I found mountain lion tracks that were circling around our camp.
I'm sure glad I didn't go looking at night when I heard the noises.
39. Not A Good Idea Of A Joke
I used to be the leader of a group that's somewhat like the boy scouts, so we spent a lot of time in the woods. Some weird stuff happened fairly often, but most of the time it was easy to explain. One thing happened, though, that to this day scares the ever-living heck out of me.
I was a leader for the age group 8-10 years old, and we were out on a camping trip. It was the first year we stayed on that terrain, and it was huge. Normally we tend to explore the majority of the terrain before the kids arrive so we’d be aware of any possible dangerous spots to avoid. This time it was impossible.
At every camp, we have what we call a “night game”. This is usually a scary game in which the kids have to complete several tasks while the leaders scare the poop right out of them. Obviously, we had one too during that camp. We masked up as monsters and hid out in the woods close to the checkpoints they had to pass.
While running in between checkpoints, I found an open stretch of forest with little to no foliage, so it was ideal for chasing after them. There was no real room to hide besides behind trees, so I couldn't use my flashlight or they'd be able to see me from miles away.
It was dark, like the unsettling kind of dark that plays tricks on your eyes and you start imagining things that aren't real. During my stay there, I saw a shadow that was around my size running past me a few times. I couldn't see it very well, so I just assumed I was imagining things because nothing was there when I turned my flashlight on.
The game was nearing its end and I saw the shadow again, this time I could see it vaguely standing near a tree not too far away from me. At that point, I thought it was one of the other leaders hiding to scare kids and I decided to go over there as it was about time to go back.
I aimed my flashlight toward the tree and while getting closer I noticed that there was indeed someone standing there, dressed in what looked like a torn burlap sack. They had their head covered with a few white plastic bags that looked like they were tied together. I started to feel pure dread, something felt really off.
I asked if everything was ok but they didn't respond. The only thing I heard was this weird sound that sounded like someone knocking on wood. Nevertheless, I went a bit closer until I was about 10 meters away from this person. The knocking sound turned out to be that person smacking his head repeatedly into the tree.
I noticed he looked like a male. He was barefoot and his arms and legs were covered with crusted mud, while his hands were in a weird cramped position. I was still convinced this was just one of the other leaders pulling a prank, so I told them to knock it off. He slowly turned his head and started walking toward me.
Something inside me just told me to run. It didn't matter if it was just a stupid prank and I ran away scared for nothing. If this wasn't a prank, it felt like I was in serious danger, so I ran as fast as I could. I heard him running after me, but I didn't want to turn around to look as I'd probably run into a tree.
I arrived back at the campsite and every single person that could be dressed like that was already there. They couldn't have gotten there before me and even if they did, they sure as heck didn’t have the time to change into their regular clothes.
Still, I told them that they gave me a good scare with that. They just looked weird at me, thinking I was trying to scare them, and we left it at that. The next day I wanted to go check it out, as who knows maybe some weirdo ate the wrong mushroom and might be out there dying from hypothermia.
I took someone else with me just in case…and there was nothing but endless trees. We arrived at the tree where I saw the person banging his head and there was only a skinned, decomposing rabbit nailed to the tree. We called the authorities.
They looked around quickly and brushed it off as just a prank from another scouting group or some kids from the nearby town and left it at that. We didn't notice anything weird after that, so it probably was a dumb prank, but seriously some people have a messed-up sense of humor.
40. Like A Grave
Absolute silence. It kind of freaked me out. I was on a short day hike by myself. I was walking down a trail near a stand of pine trees and came around a bend on the trail. All of a sudden, everything got really quiet. No wind. No birds chirping. No rustling leaves.
Only the sounds of my own footsteps and breathing. I kept hiking, but it gave me chills. I've since been back there, and the woods seemed "alive" again.
41. Double Double Toil And Trouble
I stumbled across some kind of...witch circle? while backpacking off-trail in the Colorado Mountains. It was a cobblestone circle with bones hanging from the trees, burned-out candles, and creepy pictures in a tree trunk.
My family didn't let me get a good look at it before they dragged me away. I never did figure out exactly what was going on there. That was a fun trip.
42. Fire It Up
I was hiking with my cousins in Guatemala when we came across a MASSIVE field of burnt forest. We decided to explore it and didn’t find anything interesting…until we found a burnt car. I still can’t figure out how a car could have gotten there since we were hours away from any road.
43. Jumping At Ghosts
I spent a few nights in a lean-to. I fit snugly inside, underneath a widowmaker, falling asleep atop a bed of pine foliage. In the middle of the night, I hear and see this long black appendage impact, and then slide down the tarp.
I had nothing to protect myself, save for a hatchet, and I wouldn't make it out undetected, so I watched the entrance intensely for a few hours. Turns out, I had leaned my bow against the shelter, and the wind blew it over in the night.
44. Sound The Alarms
I was on a backwoods hiking/camping trip up in Maine. The trail intersected an overgrown logging road. I checked a topographical map and saw that the logging road led to an isolated pond. Curious, we hiked to the pond and found a small clearing.
It was the perfect spot to camp. Or so we thought. We went to bed shortly after sunset (8:30pm-ish) and woke up around 1:30 am to distant but loud noises coming from all angles around us. Up the logging road, in both directions, across the pond, and in the woods.
It was deep bass-y groans and hoots, occasionally hitting higher-pitched notes. Now, I’ve been in the woods for most of my adult life. I have come in contact with just about all the larger mammals of the North East and have never heard those noises before.
I haven’t heard them again either. I will never forget that sound.
45. Don’t Make A Sound
My friend and I were hiking in the woods. He was at the camp and I went to check on things about half a mile away. Suddenly, as if someone flipped a switch, the woods became silent. No wind, no rustling leaves, no birds. Just the most eerie silence I've experienced.
After a few minutes, it suddenly went back to normal forest noises. Thinking I must have had a seizure or temporary deafness or something, I hurry back to camp, only to see my friend standing there with a confused/scared look on his face.
I must have had a similar look because he immediately asked if I heard the silence. We tried to come up with an explanation, but absolute silence in the woods seems impossible—even more so that it was so sudden.
46. Childhood Ruined
As kids, always built a little tiki house in our woods and had loads of fun. But every week when we came back, it was destroyed, and we were sad as heck. Still, we always built a new one. One day, we saw a guy in a black hoodie taking our sticks apart. We never came back.
47. Life Is A Highway
I was driving from Tucson to Denver in the middle of the night. I got tired, and pulled off so I can crawl in a sleeping bag in the desert far away from the two-lane blacktop I was on—it happened to be called Route 666 then. I pull off the road, onto a dirt road, and then a little further.
I kind of hid the truck behind some vegetation and toss down a sleeping bag and pad in the middle of pitch-black, huge-star New Mexico night. No one around, no light, nothing at all…visibility for miles.
I’m completely alone in pitch black nothing and getting wound down. My eyes are getting droopy. Then I hear it. It sounds goofy to say but it’s the same Indigenous music you’d hear in old black-and-white westerns. Native music, voices, and a drum.
I literally think I’m dreaming and when it starts I’m petrified because that noise just appearing out of nothing simply put ice in my veins. I relax a little and unfreeze, then try to be logical about what I’m hearing.
Thinking logically instead of in a pure panic, I realize I could be on a reservation at this point. Perhaps it’s coming from behind a previously unseen hill. I get up, and look around. I don’t see anything at all. It kind of comes and goes in volume.
It doesn’t seem to be coming from a direction. I have no clue. I looked for evidence and didn’t find any. I eventually crawled back in the bag because I’d been driving for hours, and they sang all night. Logic tells me it had to be a group of people I didn’t see.
But I looked, and there were no other noises like talking or stopping or anything. Just that drum and the singing. I later learned that this was a terrible stretch of road for very bad things to happen, it sort of lived up to its 666 moniker for wrecks and bad stuff occurring apparently.
48. The Scene Of The Crime
I was once canoeing the boundary waters between Minnesota and Canada. These aren't your normal backyard ponds. The boundary waters are thousands of enormous lakes interconnected with each other. Think mini-great lakes.
We had been canoeing and camping along the lakes for about a week at this point. We didn't really have an itinerary, just planned to boat and camp, fish, and live off the land for two weeks. We had a GPS and a sat phone to call a helicopter for pickup whenever we were done.
Anyway, about a week in and we were set to canoe a few hours to the next lake. An hour or so in and we are in the center of an extremely long and narrow lake. Unfortunately, a storm started to come in and the waves on the lake swelled to over two feet.
Too much for our dinky canoes. We pull off to a random clearing on the shore and set up camp in a rush to avoid being totally thrashed by a rainstorm. We just set up camp and hunker down for the night. By the next morning, it had cleared up.
We started walking up the coast of the lake about 200 feet from our camp looking for a good fishing spot. What we actually found was another campsite. We couldn’t believe our eyes. Bizarrely, it was ABSOLUTELY wrecked. Trash strewn everywhere, tent collapsed and torn, clothes on the ground.
At first, we were just disgusted—like what people did this? Or left their stuff out to be bear food? The more we looked around though, the weirder things seemed. For one, their garbage was still hoisted into a tree to keep it safe from bears, but the whole bag was ripped open despite being 30 feet in the air.
Second, literally everything except the canoes was still at the campsite. Clothes, packs, food, rope, pans, like a serious set of hiking equipment. Enough for two or three people. Half of it was trashed and torn open, mostly the packs, tent, and clothes.
The other half was totally untouched but thrown on the ground. Like somebody NOPE'd the heck out of there in nothing but their long johns, ditching hundreds of dollars of gear in the process.
We waited a couple of hours and eventually called it back to our helicopter crew—then it got stranger. They hadn't been aware of anybody else or gotten any distress calls. We eventually just left everything and moved camp.
Everybody was pretty upset by it and a day or two later we ended the whole trip early because it seemed like nobody wanted to be out anymore. It was the weirdest thing I'd ever seen. My first thought was bear attack, but there was food left uneaten, and I've seen bear attacks on camps before, but nothing like this.
Bears rip open packs and go after food, and are generally pretty easy to scare away. What still sticks with me is why all their clothes and packs were still there with half being totally destroyed and half being untouched. I still don't get it.
I've done a lot of other camping and hiking, rafting, and biking all around the country and I've never had any other weird experiences like that.
49. Time To Leave
I was walking down this long street that was completely downhill surrounded by woods. This place was a known Native American burial ground. I was with a couple of friends, and we stopped to get drinks out of our bags.
All of a sudden, the moonlight in the sky disappeared above clouds that rolled in out of nowhere. It got eerily quiet, and I looked down at my feet and noticed I was standing on what looked like blood. Creepiest experience of my life. We ran back home and it stopped raining. They didn’t want our company that night.
50. I Can’t Bear It
I was hiking part of the NCT north of Grand Rapids, MI. We hiked around 25 miles in a day, and by the time we made camp, I was in a huge amount of pain. I hadn’t hiked for almost a year so going that hard was a mistake.
I was starting to get sick and couldn’t get warm no matter how I layered up. I barely ate and then went to sleep. I woke up in the very early morning to slow footsteps walking around camp. They were pretty heavy and lumbering—I knew exactly what it was. I knew it was a bear.
I didn’t dare move and tried to slow my breathing as much as possible to stay quiet. After around 20 minutes, it started moving away again and I passed back out. When I woke up, the shrubbery around the camp was disturbed and a friend had also woken up and heard the same thing.
She was somewhat new to hiking though, and had no idea what it was so she was a little spooked when I told her. We got the heck out of there as soon as we could.