So here are some important things to know before i get to the meat of this experience, i, along with a small group of friends, like to call ourselves urban explorers. We watch the YouTube videos where the totally not faked creepy stuff happens in abandoned malls an whatnot and decided it could be fun to do it ourselves. We had already went into a school, and two abandoned restaurants before we decided we wanted to hit the zoo, that was an hour and a half from where we lived. However all three of the locations we had been to before had been in broad daylight, the last one being a restaurant where some random redneck took it upon himself to yell at us for trespassing when he saw us from the main road.
Since we didn’t want to have to deal with anymore vigilante justice, and we were feeling a bit braver, we decided to explore this zoo at night. I’m not going to expose the name of this zoo because i don’t want anymore idiots going out there, it’s not worth it. All you need to know is that it’s abandoned and in North America.
There were three of us going since one of our friends didn’t feel comfortable going at night, he was the smart one. For obvious reasons I’m not giving names, so we can call my friends that were there bob, and jack. Between the three of us, we each had two flashlights, just in case we need a backup, a few power bars, various other snacks, and a bunch of water bottles. I brought a survival knife, more for comfort than anything else. We piled ourselves and our supplies into my jeep and went on our way.
It took us two hours to get to the abandoned zoo since we bob decided he ABSOLUTELY NEEDED TO STOP AT ZAXBYS. He is obsessed with the zax sauce, but i can’t blame him because that stuff is pretty damn good. Anyways back to the subject. By the time we get there it is already pitch black outside and we have no idea where anything is in this place since none of us had ever been before. There was even a steel gate blocking off the the drive to get in but since i had a lifted jeep we had no problem just driving around it.
The parking lot was where we started getting bad vibes. We came across another make shift fence, but it was made completely out of light posts and other random zoo exhibit type signs. And there was a stop sign sticking ominously out of the middle. We couldn’t drive around this one because there was a drainage ditch on either side of the barrier and i didn’t want to flip my jeep trying to get through it. So we walked from there.
We get across the parking lot to the admission area. All the kiosks we destroyed and the leftover debris looked like it was arranged to pose yet another obstacle for us to cross before getting in, since on either side of the rubble there were 12 foot fences with posts that ended in sharp, pointy curves. And this wreckage was dangerous, we were operating purely by moonlight and flash light and there were nails and splinters everywhere. This had already become our most dangerous exploration by the time we finally crossed the former ticket booths.
When we finally got in and jack jumped, he said he saw some reflective eyes, like an animal’s so we all froze, but heard nothing. “Just an animal no biggie” we thought as we continued on. We soon confirmed our suspicions that the signs and light posts used to make the fence in front of the parking lot were taken from inside the zoo. There were holes in the ground every where with wires sticking out, as well as sheered metal where signs had apparently been ripped off of cages. These things were done in what seemed to be a hurry since the removal sites looked violent.
Other than that though it was really pretty boring, just cages of varying size. And a reptile house that had the only door in blocked with a wrecked golf kart that had been laid up against it like a skate bored would be laid on a wall, that was pretty weird i guess. Soon though we came upon a fence that said personnel only, and the gate was dead bolted shut. Fortunately or, unfortunately i guess, the deadbolt was so rusted out that we broke it without much protest. There was a steel sheetmetal building that we had to go around but on the other side is where we found it.
On the far side of the building we found what i can only assume were unmarked animal graves, at least 50 of them. And they immediately freaked us out. I’m not usually freaked out by cemeteries but the vibes of this place made it hard to breath. Jack whispered some profanities under his breath and bob stood silently. I said that we need to leave now, this place isn’t right and they didn’t argue at all. We power walked out of the newly broken gate and made our way to the ticket booth area as fast as we could walk. We should have ran.
When we were about 75 yards from the gate we had just left i began to hear what sounded like a horse galloping on dirt and we all turned around. Pardon my language BUT IT WAS A F****** SILVERBACK GORILLA STAMPEDING TOWARDS US. We all froze. It was easily going 40 miles per hour and it was point less to run. I was in front so it got to my friends first, never breaking stride as it went… through us…
Straight through us, there was no wind, not even the slightest push as it went through us, it did leave me feeling colder than i ever remembered being in my entire life though. I turned around fast to see where it went and to my surprise it was standing right behind me staring into my eyes as i turned. It was pale, and had bloodshot eyes, and even though my flashlight was illuminating it i could tell that it was glowing a little. I reached for my knife, but i had left the damn thing in the jeep, not that it would do me any good. The gorilla suddenly started making fast hand gestures at me then suddenly beat on the ground, it’s chest and screamed an intense gorilla scream, then proceeded to literally fade from existence until there was nothing left but silence.
After a few second of this silence i spin around to see both of my friends still staring at where the ape had come from. They were to scared to turn and see the gorilla like i had, and i don’t blame them. I did however yell “WTF RUN!” Without hesitation, as if they had been waiting for someone to say those very words, we turned face and took off, we were to the ticket booths in under a minute and sprinted over the wreckage without any regard for for safety at this point. Bob’s pant leg got caught on a nail and ripped out a sizable chunk of fabric. I wasn’t as lucky though. As i ran, a large splinter of wood, about six inches long, pierced the side of my tennis shoe and embedded half of its length into my into my foot. I was in pretty good shaped at the time and with the amount of adrenaline in my system at that moment, it didn’t even slow me down.
We hit the parking lot at full tilt and were quickly through the drainage ditch and past the creepy sign fence thing. We practically flung the doors open and dove into the jeep. As i turned the key in the ignition, starting the vehicle, i turned on my light pods and light bar that i had installed on the jeep to get as much visibility of my surroundings as possible. I wish i hadn’t.
The jeep was at an angle that the LEDs were shining light off to the right of the makeshift fence. This meant that we could see past the parking lot and though the 12 food fence that surrounded the zoo itself. And on the other side of the fence, were eyes, at least a hundred reflective eyes. Jack let out a “Oh my…” I’m pretty sure he was gonna say god, but he was cut off when he lurched forward as i put petal to metal in reverse, i popped a curb in reverse, then quickly did a semi doughnut in the grassy dirt that was on the side of the road. The second i hit asphalt again we were gone, like 70 in a 35 mph zone gone.
We were back in town in 50 minutes as apposed to the hour and a half it should have taken. I was in a lot of pain at this point so we had to stop at the E.R. to get my foot cleaned up. My shoe was ruined with hole in the side, and covered in dried blood. My foot could also be described in the exact same way. The nurses and doctor cleaned up my foot and bandaged up with the usually “just stay off it for a while” bs. I was really lucky that the shard of wood hadn’t severed any muscle or tendon though, i am thankful for that. As we were leaving, one of the nurses asked how i had done that to my foot, so i dryly responded with, “i was running from a phantom gorilla and stepped on it”. She let out a nervous giggle as i walked out of the automatic doors without any emotion what so ever.
Me and jack were roommates, so when we reached my apartment at 2:00 in the morning, which is where bob had left his car, we just let bob stay the rest of the night with us. There was something i had to do though so when we got inside. I got my laptop out while the my buddies got on their phones obviously not able to sleep, and trying to distract themselves. I had a specific task in mind though. I was looking up ways to translate sign language. I had a terrible feeling that those weird gestures that the gorilla had shown me weren’t random. And they were burned into my mind. After hours and hours of research, and the other two guys falling asleep, i almost cried as i read the message i had finally translated. The silverback has said,
“You gone, this place, no god”.
We still explore occasionally, but never at night, and never anywhere that is not within running distance of civilization. Nothing this intense has ever happened to us again, and I’m glad. To any other explorers out there, if you haven’t already figured this out, be careful, because you my find whatever it is that you are looking for, and so much more.