First let me tell you a few things about me. I am a Man of God although when this story took place I wasn’t a Christian. I have also spent twenty four years in the outdoors, hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. I am twenty eight so that’s a lot of time in the wilderness. I’m the guy everyone says that when the zombies come it’s my house they are going too. I know how to live off the land and know how to survive disasters that could happen. Part of being in the outdoors for as long as I have been is you see a lot of things most people don’t get to. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises from being an avid fisherman and hunter.
However you also see things at the opposite end of that spectrum. I’ve witnessed predators hunting, people get hurt, and the downright scary. Growing up my whole life in Northwestern PA it was interesting to say the least. When you throw outdoorsman into the mix you get a brand new mix. I’ve seen a lot that Science refuses to admit is real. From the monster of Lake Eire to my favorite catfish hole being a UFO hotspot. Now with all that while creepy, the events of one July evening at Geneva Swamp take the cake.
About three or four years ago I had a few days off work. So my buddy Tyler and I had made a plan to do an all day fishing trip to Geneva. We had it set, bait, snacks, and drinks. We had our poles and tackle boxes packed up the night before. The weather called for warm and sunny day with a light wind. Any fisherman knows it’s a good day for fishing. Not to hot, cause if it is the fish won’t bite. If it’s too cold the fish are harder to catch because they are sluggish and not to mention very uncomfortable for you no matter if it’s hot or cold.
We arrived at Custards Bridge, for everyone who isn’t familiar with the area, it used to be an old steel bridge. It’s on a small back road called Mercer Pike. It’s an outflow to one of the small rivers in the county called French Creek. Geneva Swamp itself is the largest in Crawford county. It spans from Conneaut Lake PA all the way to Mercer Pike. Just about 5-10 miles. The swamp itself is beyond mysterious. There are three bridges that go over it. I-79 is one of the main highways in PA. There is also Snake Road bridge. These two bridges are floating bridges. The story goes that when they were building the interstate over the swamp they couldn’t find the bottom. They dropped cars, a railroad car, and a crane at full extension into the swamp. Never once did any of them reach the bottom.
Within the past few years a barrel was spat back out by the swamp. It was an old pickle barrel. It was about a hundred and twenty years old. When it was opened there was a skeleton in it with a lone bullet hole in the head. The swamp holds onto what it’s given for a very long time. There are many stories concerning that swamp, all of which are creepy. My friend and I are adding to that list.
After nearly fishing all day Tyler and I had three full stringers. One was covered in pan fish which are frail compared to the others we had so we had to give them their own stringer. On another we had several Bowfin. They are ugly as sin and many natives of the area hate them. They kill them and throw them onto the bank. Tyler and I fall into the small percentile that actually eat these prehistoric fish. They are on par with catfish let me tell you that. On our final stringer we had Pike and bass. Overall it was a good day’s haul. We had enough that the next day we were going to have a fish fry.
As dusk approached we moved to the other side of the bridge where we could fish the open swamp. That was our first mistake. We dipped the fish into the water, rigged up our bait, got situated in our chairs, and cast our rods. We caught several more bowfin. There was a man on the other side of the outflow from us. He stuck around to watch the sunset. Once it was done he left. Tyler and I were the only ones left at that fishing hole. An hour or two into the darkness and we only caught two more fish. Then the weirdness started.
As I mentioned before there was little to no wind that day. So we were both taken by surprise when a mist just appeared around us. There was no moon that night so the mist made it even harder to see. Part of being in the outdoors your whole life is your senses are heightened in the dark. However this mist made my outdoors training non effective. The mist around us was thick but behind us we could see. It was like the mist was focused only in that one spot, the spot we were fishing. That’s when I heard it, a woman’s scream.
It was about a hundred yards or so away from us. Over by his car. I turned to Tyler. “Dude did you hear that?” I asked looking at him.
“What?” He asked looking at me.
“I swear I heard a woman scream” I said looking back in the direction of the scream.
“You sure it wasn’t an animal?” He asked looking at me.
I looked back at him. “In all my years in the outdoors I’ve never heard an animal make a perfect human scream” I said.
Both of us started to develop a feeling of being watched. We were looking around, expecting to see something or someone come out of the mist. I had my hunting knife with me and he had a filet knife. I felt uneasy not having a gun with me like I do during hunting season. I could feel eyes on me, I just couldn’t pinpoint where exactly.
“Clayton, look” Tyler said making me look to him. He pointed behind us and I turned to look. In a wooded lot on the other side of the road we saw a flash. There were bright flashes moving through the woods. Never in the same place twice. They were moving in our direction. I looked back to Tyler who looked at me.
“I think we caught enough fish don’t you?” I asked with a nervous chuckle.
“Yup” he said, both of us getting up quickly.
We reeled our rods up quickly, grabbed our equipment and chairs. We moved quickly up a hill and jumped the guardrail. Once on the road Tyler started moving quickly. I paused, looking towards the flashes. That was another mistake cause I heard the scream again. This time it was close. I white knuckled my knife as I started moving quickly towards his car. I felt a heavy presence nearby making me stop once I got to the car. Once I did I noticed two things. One there was no sounds, no frogs, owls, nighthawks, geese, or even crickets. Two the mist was around the bridge that was it. One large ball of mist. In the mist I saw a female figure, just the outline and shadow. She was looking at us. I saw her and watched as the mist was swept away by an unseen force. Once it was gone so was the figure and with it the swamp came to life with the creatures of the night.
To this day both Tyler and I won’t fish Geneva Swamp after dark. We’ll stick around and watch the sun go down but once it does we pack up and we’re gone. I talked to a friend of ours who has lived around that swamp his whole life. He’s seen similar events, he thinks it might have something to do with a woman who might have been killed out there and her body was never found. I think it might be a demon, one trying to hide itself with the local lore of the area. One thing is sure God was looking out for us that day. That and Geneva Swamp is out of the question when the sun goes down for now on.