Woods are the box of Pandora when it comes to wild and weird. After all, there is little human intervention and monitoring. It is not uncommon for campers to stumble upon something they should not have seen EVER. Not only there is a risk to their lives but also good chances to alter their psyche forever.
Would you risk going to dark after you have seen the devil? Or would you be able to trust the nature when it has betrayed you?
Caution: These 20+ stories may perturb you. Though in an amusing way.
1. Look Behind You
I’ve been geocaching in the woods many times, and occasionally one runs into caches with weird things in them. The creepiest was an ammo box with only a handful of finds that contained broken doll parts and a handwritten note that said, “Look behind you.”
I definitely had the heebie-jeebies and double-timed it back to my car despite it being the middle of the day. It’s crossed my mind before that geocaching would be a great way for a serial killer to lure people out to remote locations.
2. Creepy Tribals. Wait…
I was backpacking through a forest in North Queensland with my best buddy. Very humid, mosquitoes, tropical weather at its finest.
We went off the path (we are both seasoned hikers), literally cutting a path through all the lantana and other vines with our trusty machetes.
About an hour in, we stopped for a break.
That’s when we heard the drums.
Slow, rhythmic drumming. Tribal. Deep.
We looked at each other and silently agreed to go towards the drumming noise and investigate.
We crept through the bush until we were confronted with another wall of lantana. The drumming was coming from the other side, and now we could hear laughing and voices, chanting along with the drums.
We decided to go for broke, slashed through the wall of vines and walked through – right into the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.
About 30 islanders, dancing around a fire and playing drums. Grass skirts, bone necklaces, the works. They all froze and stared at us. We stared back, unsure what to do next.
Then the director ran out, yelling, “Cut! Cut! What the hell are you guys doing?”
We had stumbled into the film set of a chocolate bar commercial.
3. The Bad Ominous Feeling
It was near Halloween time when my friends and I were telling ghost stories. My friend said she was going to tell a story about her parents’ first date. She said she didn’t like telling the story, since it was actually true, but we prodded her on.
To cut to the chase, the parents had spent a nice, if awkward first date, and around the time that they would have said “good night,” my friend’s dad suggested that they go for a midnight hike up Provo Canyon. He apparently knew the place, since he had done a fair amount of rock climbing in the area. So the two drove up the mouth of the canyon, got out of their cars and started hiking under just the light of the stars.
At some point, he starts getting a “bad feeling,” since the pathway ahead, which would pass under some trees, would be dark, and because it was getting to be quite late. He ignores the feeling and presses on. In later tellings of the story, the mom would say that she had felt the same feeling at what was probably the same time, though she didn’t know the trail like he did. A minute later, the feeling came back to the dad. He ignored it again, and started walking a bit of the way into the trees when his foot hit something “soft” in the middle of the path. Under the trees, it was too dark to see just what this soft thing was, and the feeling came back stronger than ever. Instead of finding out what his foot had bumped into, he and the mom both agreed to hightail it out of there…
Years later, after being married for some time, they were watching an interview with the serial killer, Ted Bundy. In response to a question asking him to describe the time that he felt the closest to being caught, he explained about the night that he lured a girl into Provo Canyon, and had just killed her when he heard some people coming up the trail. He explained how he hid in the trees just in time, only to watch some guy walk right into the body, and for some reason, just turn around and walk away.
4. Was it Snoring?
My dad used to be a tour guide in Namibia in the Etosha pan. One day he took the couple out for a couple of days. They would just sleep outside in sleeping bags. One night he wakes up and thinks my goodness this guy is snoring loudly. The next morning he wakes up to find fresh leopard tracks next to his head…
5. Beware of Surroundings
While camping when I was a kid I went to use the toilet at the lake we were camped at. The rocks were crunching under my feet and I thought nothing of it until I came out and the light had finally kicked on for the night. I was surrounded by a carpet of wolf spiders stretching twenty yards in every direction….I walked through it to get there.
6. That Hovering Light
This ended up being funny but at the time freaked me out at first. My wife and I were camping in one of the National Forests in the mountains in NC. We were in a campground but not a lot of people there and the spots were semi-private because of trees and foliage. So we had just settled down in the tent and I was just falling asleep when through my eyelids, the whole tent lights up. I jump up and go out of the tent thinking someone is messing around. Not a soul or any noise, nothing.
I go back and lay down, and was just falling asleep again when it happens a second time. Same routine – jump up check and nothing.
So this time, I lay down but stay awake and have the tent unzipped ready to jump out and catch whoever is shining a light on the tent when it all lights up again. And I saw what was doing it right away. Fireflies were landing en masse on the tent and then they would all light up at once. I guess when I would jump up, they would fly off, then settle down again after I got quiet.
I had a good chuckle over that one in the end.
I was on a road trip with a friend, and we hiked into a trail in Colorado one evening to camp so we wouldn’t have to pay for a campsite. We found a little clearing by a stream, my friend set up a tent while I decided to sleep under the stars. Right as we were getting ready to go to sleep, another woman showed up and pitched her tent in the clearing as well.
I hadn’t been feeling well that day plus we had the hike in with all our stuff so when I slept, I slept hard. I woke up to a ranger shaking me and asking if I saw where the bear went. Bear? What bear?
Then I look up and see the woman’s tent just shredded. Turns out she had left her food in her tent that night (we hung ours from a tree), and a curious bear came by at 4 in the morning to have a snack. In tearing into her tent, it ended up raking its claws across her forehead as well. She decided to leave, though why she didn’t bother waking either me or my friend up to let us know about this very hungry bear nearby, I don’t know.
Anyway, pretty freaky thing to wake up to.
8. That Little Figure
When I was a kid, about 12 or so, my dad would always wake me up in the middle of the night to go hunting. I hate hunting.
A few weeks prior to this night I saw an episode of Are You Afraid Of The Dark about the Jersey Devil. I was on edge because I knew my dad would make me go hunting soon and we sometimes hunt in Jersey.
Sure as heck, he wakes me up one morning at 3am and we are off to the woods in Jersey in pitch black darkness so that he could be there and all set up before the deer come out.
I’m up in the stand, starting to calm down, when I see a little figure on the ground. It’s human, with a face I can barely make out since it’s a bit far in the distance, but I know it’s human, and it’s like 2-3 feet tall.
I’m losing my crap but don’t want to say anything because I know my dad will just tell me to suck it up.
I stare at this creature for at least 4 hours until we get down from the stand and walk towards it to leave.
It’s a freaking lawn gnome. Miles and miles into the deep woods. There are no roads for a looooong while and certainly no houses. How the heck did a gnome get there? The stand we were in wasn’t even a permanent stand. It was one we put up when we got there.
9. Not The Wind But…
I was camping with two friends in Australia. It was the middle of the night, all 3 of us inside of a square dome tent, just chilling out, chatting, lights are on. One side of the wall begins to cave inward, as if there’s strong wind or something/someone pushing on the side of the tent. Everyone is freaking, but I assume wind.
“Chill the heck out guys!”
I proceed to jump up and punch the tent wall and connect with something/someone -the feeling of punching flesh is unmistakeable. Now I freak the heck out, what/who did I just punch through the tent wall?! I convince friends it’s smartest to have a look outside the tent, but it’s 15 minutes later by the time they agree, and there’s nothing there.
If I were to speculate I think it would most likely have been possum, feral cat, or drongo.
10. Honky Tank Badonka Donk
I was staying in Fort Desoto in one of the beach front sites. We are sitting around our little fire. I start to hear the slightest sound coming from across the water. It’s slow and haunting like someone is moaning/singing. The fact that it sounds like it’s coming straight towards us and there’s no land that way and only the huge bay we got a bit spooked before it got loud enough for us to hear the words.
“Hoonnnkkkkyyyyy toonnnkkkk beeeedooonnnnkaaa dooooonnnnk.”
Two guys in a canoe completely wasted absolutely lost in the pitch black on the bay. The guy in front is paddling like a maniac now that he sees the shore but the one in back is stretching backwards head hanging off over the edge of the canoe singing honky tank badonka donk as loud as he can but also as slowly as he can.
We were crying laughing and I wanted to invite them up but my brother-in-law shot it down real quick.
11. Almost A Horror Flick
When I was about 18, me and some friends took a road trip about 7 hours or so down to the Apilachicola National Forest near Tallahassee FL. We were going to do a little car camping and drink a few drinks…you know, 18-year-old stuff. As such, we didn’t want to be bothered by any park rangers so we drove waaaay deep into the woods.
We got there, set up camp, had said drinks, and me and a guy decided to do a little exploring, so we walked about 100 yards from our site back to the main road, saw another path directly across from us, and started walking. Immediately we started seeing signs that someone had lived there for a while. Big bags of trash, stuff like that. Should have been a huge red flag to turn around. But you know. 18. Nothing could hurt us.
So we get to this camp site of an older guy living out of his van. Clothes lines strung up, coolers places around it, and a big dog. We tried to back out, but he sees us and starts talking. He’s friendly enough, asks us where we’re from, tells us about some cool spots to check out in the park, we end up chatting for ten minutes and going on our way. I kept thinking to myself how odd it was that he gave directions in steps, not yards or miles. Guy always seemed to be off balance. Not stumbling drunk, but like he was walking on a balance beam, swaying side to side. Oh and he was SUPER excited to talk about national parks and forests where we were from.
Ok. Camping part over. We went back to our tents. Fast forward two months, same buddy calls me late at night and tells me to turn on TV to the news, I oblige. I see an old dude with a van. You see where this is headed but I didn’t, so I get pissed at my friend for waking me up. “No, WATCH.” And then I see the golden retriever and it all clicks. What the heck. That man’s name was Gary Michael Hilton, convicted of at least four murders. He kidnapped and murdered a girl on Blood Mtn GA, an older couple in the Pisgah NC, and a girl in the Apilachicola at that camp site not long after we left. Yes, the very same places he had been talking to us about.
Obviously we call the cops, they put us in touch with the FBI, and we get flown down to take investigators to the camp site. Point out every spot we saw anything, tell them exactly what he told us, and show them the places he described to us. I didn’t find out until after the trial, but apparently they found what appear to be partially destroyed human finger bones in an area near the site. Had to fly down again to testify.
12. A ‘Beary’ Tough Situation
I was camping with family/friends up in the mountains. Sharing a tent with my brother (call him Luke) and another friend (call him Evan). Luke, Evan, and I weren’t tired when everyone retreated to their tents for the night, but the fire was dimming out and we were bored so we went inside our tent to watch Adventure Time on my laptop till it died. We all passed out after a few episodes and I woke up sometime during the night into an episode of sleep paralysis.
I have weird sleep habits and experience sleep paralysis every few months or so. For those who haven’t had it, basically you’re awake but you cannot move, and sometimes experience auditory and visual hallucinations. I was aware of this so I didn’t have a full on heart attack when I started hearing shuffling noises outside my tent, which continued and got louder and closer until the fabric of the tent itself was being touched by something.
My computer hadn’t yet died so I could see my surroundings in the dim light of the screen. I watched the fabric compress as something pushed against it sporadically about four feet off the ground, then moved around the tent towards me. I watched three distinct impressions follow this ‘creature’ around the side of the tent. It looked like a claw. I was terrified and filled with adrenaline but another part of me remained calm, assuring my body it was all a dream.
I couldn’t do anything anyway, so my fear was pointless. But as I continued to observe it my sleep paralysis began to fade, and I realized I could move. No longer so convinced I was dreaming, I reached over and shoved Luke awake. I tried to get him to look and see if there was really something there but I must have sounded like I was sleep talking because he just rolled over and went back to sleep, waving me off. Eventually the rustling stopped and I was tired and groggy enough that I quickly fell back asleep.
In the morning I’d completely forgotten about it, that is, until my brother-in-law (who was in the other tent, call him Dean) said to us: “It’s a good thing we put the dog in the car last night. There was a bear here while we were sleeping.” Dean pointed out the tree where we’d strung up our trash (so animals wouldn’t get into it) and the fresh, gaping claw marks about nine feet up the trunk. It hit me like a truck. I had seen the bear and calmly watched it test the fabric of my tent 12 inches from my face.
I’m an archaeologist.
A few years back we were doing a massive survey in the middle of nowhere in the interior of BC. All the crew had gone home and it was just my boss and myself left for a few days to follow up and confirm some coordinates and finish some mapping.
We head out from the motel an hour or so into the bush. Middle of nowhere along deactivated logging roads. Closest town is miles and miles away. We hike out to this one area where we had found a site a few weeks previously. For some reason the whole area just felt…off.
So, we get down to business and about 15 mins after being hunched over mapping, there is this WEIRD deafening “WOMP” sound. Like, I could feel pressure in my ears. I immediately looked at my boss about 20 feet away and he is white as a ghost staring back at me. Standing, it freaking happens again “WOMP!” ear pressure and chest pressure like I was just squeezed. Chills all over my body and every hair is standing on end. My boss just looks at me and says, “Let’s go!”
We grab all of our stuff and speed hike back to the truck. We never discussed it.
No clue what it was but I have never been so freaked out in my life. Ten years later, I still get the chills.
14. No one believes me
I wasn’t in the woods but what I saw came out of the woods behind my house. I saw an alien. No joke. To this day I still wonder if I was somehow tripping on something I ate by accident or something.
I was about 10 years old and was playing in my room by myself. It was about 11pm. I had a sliding glass door in my room and the blinds were pulled back. Out of nowhere the automatic spotlight behind my house turned on. I looked to the sliding glass door and a figure started approaching.
At first I thought it was my neighbor, who was older than me and about the same height, but as it got closer I realized it was something else. I remember it approaching the door slowly. It stopped at the sliding glass door for a few seconds and just started staring at me. It felt like an eternity passed by.
I remember specifically how long it felt when in reality it was probably only a few seconds. I remember it was dark black. It had a rounded head just like you see in the movies and was about 6 feet tall. Two arms two legs. Really skinny. The thing about it is that it was so close to me right on the other side of the glass that there is no way I could have mistaken it for a human. I know what I saw.
After a few seconds of staring at me it just turned to the side and walked away. Long strides. It went out of my view and I immediately ran out of my room and screamed for my mom. She didn’t believe me. I had to sleep in my room that night knowing I had seen a legitimate alien a few feet away from me earlier. I’m 23 now and to this day I still get chills when I think about it. My eyes always start watering when I think about it. I know it wasn’t a dream. I know what I saw. No one believes me.
The thing that creeps me out the most was its demeanor. I remember it coming slowly up to me and walking slowly away. That’s what scares me the most. There was no rush to it. It was just watching me. I believe in aliens but I don’t really believe in aliens visiting earth so it’s been hard to cope with. I think what I saw (if it really was and alien) is what some people call a “grey”. Crap. I’m not sleeping tonight.
15. Save The Dog!!!
My family used to camp in Algonquin Park in Ontario when I was a kid. We used to do a lot of the day hikes with our dog.
The dog was an incredible runner, and would run up and down the trail, back and forth between my parents and my brother and me.
This one trail ended at a lookout. My brother and I stopped to take in the view, and my dog arrived, seconds later, travelling at full speed.
He attempted to apply the brakes, but the momentum carried him right over the edge.
We freaked out. Our dog had just gone over a cliff, and it was a good 50 or 60 foot drop.
I ventured over to the edge to look. My dog had somehow landed on the one ledge that sat about 10 feet down.
Crap. Now what? Any movement, and my dog would fall the rest of the way down. It was a shear face, and no way to get down.
OUT OF THE BLUE, from the trail behind, appears a hiker WITH FULL CLIMBING GEAR. Algonquin is not an area known for a lot of climbing. I’ve never seen anyone before or since with gear on that trail.
This guy belayed down, rescued my dog, packed up and left. He didn’t even stick around long enough to get his name. He just returned to the trail and vanished.
16. X- Files
We were hiking down a very steep slope to get to an area of a creek that had been dammed up by beavers, hoping to catch some big trout. I had climbed out on a rock ledge and was looking for a way down when I saw the stock and action of an old rusty rifle sticking out of a tree (where the tree had grown around the barrel years before) about 10′ above the ground.
Dad and I climbed down to check it out and we found a small cave at the base of the rock formation, only about 12′ deep, which would make a nice natural shelter but a really terrible place to set up a long-term camp. Inside we found a bunch of really old stuff; three heavy gauge unopened cans of food, an old cast iron pot that had holes rusted all the way through it, a crusty old saddle and bridle set, and a very deteriorated heavy wool blanket rolled up and tied with a leather belt.
When we unwrapped the blanket we found several personal items including a rusty old cap and ball black powder revolver, a leather satchel with lead pistol shot, a powder horn with no black powder in it, tarnished old cartridges (presumably for the rifle in the tree), a straight razor, and most unsettling was a shirt with holes in it and over half of it stained with dried blood. As we stood there thinking about what all of this meant it occurred to me how remote this place was even at that time (it was July of 1985) and the fact that whoever owned that shirt had been very seriously injured, stuck on a steep slope in the middle of absolutely nowhere I got serious chills down my spine.
The only thing that somewhat dated this fateful campsite was the pistol and the rifle, both of which were made sometime in the 1870’s according to my father. There’s no way to ever know what happened to the man who owned all this stuff but the fact that he or someone he knew was obviously shot twice with either a gun or arrows and all his belongings were sitting right where he left them possibly 100 years later, it was highly unlikely he left that area alive. Discovering what amounts to a 100-year-old crime scene in the very remote wilderness kinda gave me the creeps. But mostly, it just made me sad to know how hopeless and alone this guy must have felt when he died.
17. Stalked Through The Woods
I was climbing up in Canada with a friend. We left the climbing area we were at and were trekking back to the car. The dog was walking in between us, on leash, the dog kind of lurched into my buddy, causing him to stumble, I turned around and there’s a full grown mountain lion RIGHT there about 2 feet away, kicking distance, it just tried to nab the dog off the leash and had already sat back on its haunches and was hissing.
I freeze, my buddy turns around, screams and starts running. I should note, his dog had been hit by a car some years before so it walked with a limp (probably why the cat went for the kill). I yell, loud, at my buddy to stop running or it will kill you.
Instantly my friend skids to a halt, turns around, throws up his hands and starts screaming and charging the now in pursuit cat, I still haven’t actually moved. The cat jumps 90 degrees into the woods. So we start walking back again talking fast about what just happened, my friend is walking fast, too fast. I tell him, “Dude, you are almost running, stop doing that, if it’s still around we have to be calm and keep heads on a swivel.”
On that statement, I turn around. Mountain lion is RIGHT on my heels again, even closer this time! I didn’t even have a moment to react. My buddy already had rocks in hand and was winging them at the lion. One of the rocks lands and went bowling past the lion, the lion sees this and goes cat style…chasing after it and batting it down the trail like it’s a ball of yarn. The last mile or so back to camp was stressful to say the least, turning around every 5 feet to see if the lion was still following, never saw it again. Suffice it to say, the cat eventually nabbed a dog off the leash nearby.
18. What if the man saw him?
My father used to have a business in maintaining the woods. It is a thing in my country. It basically means cutting down dead trees and hauling them out of the area. This meant that he was out in the woods all day and he was allowed in places normal citizens couldn’t come because of rules by the Forestry Commission.
My dad was working in the early morning when he suddenly noticed a car in the middle of the woods. It drove through a small path normally only used by the forester. It wasn’t a car from the Commission, so he thought it was very weird that it was there. However, dad was alone and it was the 80’s. No mobile phones to contact anyone. Since it was in the middle of nowhere, he decided to ignore it. He kept on hauling wood through the woods with his horse when he suddenly heard men speaking. Now, my dad is a brave man and strong as a bear, so he decided to just take a quick peak to see what the hell those folks were doing. My dad looked around some thick brushes making sure he could see the men.
They were digging a hole.
My father decided that is was something that he really wouldn’t want to interrupt and he kept working throughout the day like nothing ever happened. He made sure to keep some distance between him and the digging site. The men apparently never noticed my dad. Possibly because his equipment wasn’t located in the direction the men came from and my father worked with horses, so there weren’t any loud machines. It was the 80’s after all. At the end of the day my father got to the local Commission office and reported it. They called the police.
There was a body of a young woman buried there.
It still irks my dad to this day. He was out alone there. What if the man saw him? What if he decided to check the burial ground out himself. Scary stuff.
19. Too dark to see anything.
Camping one night on the Yorkshire Dales.
2am, heard a scratching sound. Instantly wide awake.
Scratching gets louder. Too dark to see anything.
Side of tent starts bulging inwards. Now a loud scraping sound. Side of tent almost touching the floor, pointy object pushing into the tent.
Leaped up, freaking out, unzipped tent door, expecting a serial killer.
A freaking sheep had fallen asleep on the tent.
20. Extra Terrestrials!!!
I was maybe 13, and at a camp where we all would sleep in platform tents. There was one night where I woke up standing barefoot in the middle of the freaking forest. I realized after a few minutes that I had been sleepwalking. After the panic of “WTH just happened???” I managed to see some lights off in the distance and get back to my tent. But who knows, it still could have been aliens.
Might seem a little mild, but my friend and I were maybe eleven or twelve . So we’re In the woods being dumb boys, when we start to pee. By this time it was getting dark, and I feel like somebody’s watching us, so I looked to my right and saw some dude staring at us. I told my friend but he didn’t believe me, so when I pointed at him he tried hiding more. So, we noped the heck out.
I was stalked for almost 15 kms by a black bear with mange on the Mattagami river in Northern Ontario. It really made a mess of my usually pretty level head. Being in a pretty significant state of exhaustion by that point in the trip my brain saw a giant chupacabra and it took a while for me to calm down and figure out what the heck that was.
23. So He Was Just Shooting It For Fun…?
Once when I was camping with my family we heard gunshots. We ran back to the tent to find it practically shredded with bullets.
P.S. It was a “no hunting” area.
We went to the police station when we got home, they looked into it and couldn’t find anything, said some guy was probably just fooling around with a gun and didn’t know we were there. However two months later we heard that somebody was abducted at gunpoint around 5km away from where we were camping, so yeah…
24. Who took the shot?
About 18 years ago I was backpacking alone in Desolation Wilderness in Tahoe. When I got back to civilization and had my photos developed, there was a picture of me sleeping.
25. Scary AF
Woke up to find a bear literally standing over me. I’m English, I’d never seen a bear before. I was ‘cowboy’ camping in just a sleeping bag in lake Tahoe. I froze, then closed my eyes and feigned sleep, and it wandered off.
26. Solo Camping
Back when I was a counsellor in training, we had to do a one night ‘solo’ where you basically survive on your own for a night.
I had borrowed a hammock from a friend in preparation.
Everything was fine for most of the day, went to bed in the hammock when it got dark.
Woke up at some point in the middle of the night because I heard a sound. Something was right next to me. I had no flash light or tools of any kind and the nearest person was maybe 3 km away.
I lay there in silence for what felt like a year.
Then, all of a sudden I hear this shriek right next to my hammock and I swear my heart almost exploded out of my chest.
It was a wild turkey.
27. Follow That Truck
Some buddies and I went camping by the lake one night. About 1:30 AM, we heard some rustling in the bushes and just figured it was a rabbit or something. Went over to check it out, found nothing. About 1:35 AM, a huge pickup truck that was lifted and blaring loud music drove by (on a dirt road) really, really slowly, shining a huge police-grade spotlight on me and my friends. The truck burned out and kept driving.
So my best friend and I decide to drive up the road and see if we spot anything unusual about the truck. We get to the main road, and there are probably seven or eight cop cars, lights flashing, and two or three ambulances. We stop to turn around and (I swear, like I damn horror film) a cop pecks on my window with his flashlight out of nowhere. He asks what we’re doing, we told him we were camping and told him about the truck. He says, “Well, you boys might want to camp somewhere else. We had a homicide here and haven’t located the suspect.” Friend says, “so should we be scared?” like a damn idiot, and the cop says, and I quote, “Well I’m not scared, but there are twenty officers here and we all have guns.” I said yes sir, and tore off back down to the camp site.
Best friend called the rest of our buddies and told them to pack up the gear, not to ask questions, and that we had to get out. We literally threw two fully pitched tents in the back of one of our trucks and got the hell out of there. The cops located the killer about thirty minutes later… at our camp site.
Found out later it was a triple homicide.