The Count’s Bird-cage

I worked a small time park maintenance and upkeep job a few years back for a local park. It’s no Yellowstone, but I grew up there, hiking the hills and exploring the forests. When I got offered a job working there I took it without a second thought, even though it didn’t pay well – just my way of giving back to the park.

I have more than a few stories from my time there, trekking about with a shovel and saw for whole days at a time, but my favorite tale comes from a co-worker of mine, who I knew as Mikhael. Mikhael had a particular nickname among my fellow crewman – The Count. This was, as far as I could tell, in reference to his angular European face and dark black hair. The Count was around 50 or so when I met him, and yet he had such a love for the forest that he stayed in his part time volunteer job.

The Count was a very kind and gentle man – he would help out with anything you asked, was always kind and compassionate. Of all the things I remember about the Count, one thing that’s always stuck was his love of telling tales of adventures in his home county of Poland. His passion for said stories are part of why I log and spread them as much as I do today. The Count told, no pun intended, countless stories, and many of them I can recall somewhat. Only one of them has really stuck with me all these years later, and it was the last one he ever told me.

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Skinwalker in the Pines

(Hey everyone, Spades here – It was really awesome to see one of my stories end up in a video, and I’m hoping to maybe even do that again if I can write that well! Thank you for all the support. )

(This story was told to me by JakobLmao on Reddit, and will be told from his point of view from here forth.)

I’ve had a draft of this story set up for a while before I gained the courage to share it. It made me question… everything. My faith, my eyes, my friends, and worst of all, my sanity. I’ve decided it’s time to let someone else know about this, maybe that will help me move on… at least, that’s what I hope. For my sake, and maybe even yours.

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Weatherman & The Cuyahago Valley Buzzer (National Park)

This story was not told to me by a hiker like most of my others, but rather was witnessed by myself firsthand. This encounter occurred very close to my home woods of Ohio, way up North in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Cuyahoga Valley is a smaller park, one of the few parks in the East Coast area (comparatively), and doesn’t get near as much love as it should. This being said, it’s somewhat of a private heaven for those of us who take the trip into the valley, escaping the more populous of parks.

To lay some basis for this tale, I will describe its characters. Due to the nature of the sites at the Valley, having two to three people per group can be optimal. I had ached for a return to the forest, as it had been a fair amount of time since my last excursion. So, after some convincing, I managed to call up an old friend of the area and convince him to take the hike with me. He wasn’t a camper at all; 90% of what he carried that weekend was gear borrowed from me.

I was excited to take him on the trip with me. For those less experienced in the world of the outdoors, a big tradition and rite of passage for any novice outdoorsman to earn a “trail name,” a unique nickname given by other, more experienced hikers, usually in reference to an event at a camp out or something like that. My trail name is Spades, due to some card game fun on one of my first long hikes. The reason I am explaining all of this is because I had decided to take it upon myself to find an appropriate trailname for my friend. I had assumed it would be something silly, like a friend of mine who’s name was Ramen-bomben, following his creation of an instant ramen – potato – spam creation.

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What was in that House?

This happened at the start of January of 2018, when I was in 6th grade and 11 years old. I was a pretty average kid, I got A’s and B’s, and I had a few friends, one of which was my best friend, we’ll call him Collin. Collin lived about half an hour away from me, so I didn’t go to his house that often. When I did go to his house, we would always play in his woods. He had a good 3 acres of just forest and trees and creeks. There was also a good sized pond that we would go fishing in during the summer months. However, there was an abandoned house by the end of the property. It was a normal house, two floors. It had been abandoned in the 1960s, according to Collin. Since the 1970s teenagers had been partying in it and had trashed it. Collin’s eldest sister, Anna, who was 26 at the time of writing, used to party in it as well, but she stopped sometime before Collin was born for reasons she would not say. The one time we told her we were going, she FREAKED OUT. She told us that we should stay away from that place at all costs and NEVER go inside, especially not in the basement. We just thought she was talking about drugs or alcohol, but we were wrong. So wrong.

I had taken the bus over to Collin’s house on Friday, and I stayed the night, with plans to explore the abandoned house the next morning. When we woke up, we put our orange vests and paintball masks on, so that we would be easy to find. We took a Gator (that kind of pickup truck ATV you see at farms) to the end of the trail, that I noticed eventually began to get paved.

“Hey, Collin?” I asked

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The People of the Forest

The natural world that lives around us is one that we all exist within, yet the amount of which some are connected to it are far beyond others. Some of us walk paths made of pavement; and some of us choose ones of dirt and debris. When man evolved away from his home in the forest, he unknowingly opened the domain to the world of the unknown, the impossible, and the terrifying.
These days, most of us no longer dwell within the forest. However, the same majority of us find a brief return to the wild, in the form of camping or perhaps a backpacking trip, and may even regularly do so. The modern outdoor recreation community is a vibrant, welcoming one, and is by far one of the more upbeat groups on the internet. But, for those of us who live or spend a larger amount of time in the world of the wild know the dark, hidden away parts of the woods that exist within the scary stories told by experienced hikers and seasoned campers around the campfires – not the ones that may make you giggle, or the ones that seem to be fabricated on the spot, but the ones that shake you so deep that you feel rattled to the core as you desperately try to sleep in your tent that night, terrified of any shadow or twig snap you may hear.
This story was told to me at a small, backwoods public campsite in Kentucky, by a tall, handsome man by the trail name of Blackhorn. Blackhorn shared a laugh with us nearly the entire time I was in his presence at the campsite. He had a prowess for the backpacker’s classic card game, B.S., and gave genuine kind-hearted advice on anything he could. This made his story all the more shocking.
When I, Blackhorn and the few other hikers at the site gathered around the fire as the shadows grew longer, the tradition of the scary stories commenced. I retrieved my notebook that I use to mark down any truly horrifying stories, and sat back, not expecting much. I, unbeknownst to myself at the time, was wrong.
As another woman finished up her story of being chased around the trail by some sleezy guy, Blackhorn stretched his legs and yawned. He soon chipped in with his story, laying a log on the fire that sent a splash of sparks into the pure black night.
“Ok, so, this one happened a couple years ago… and… I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been the same since. I was hiking a relatively easy trail, maybe a 2-3 day length. The whole trail ran along the steep upper banks of a wide river, with the trails cut into the side of the incline and the campsites either cut the same or on a rare flat area. It was day three of my hike, the last leg for me. I hiked much faster than many of my group counterparts on the trail, and had spent one day day-hiking and relaxing at a particularly beautiful area in the park. One group of about three had camped with me and left earlier than I, meaning I would probably pass them again on the last bit of trail. They were nice, real nice people, and…” Blackhorn trailed off here, and his demeanor of a bright, fun-loving joker began to shatter. All of us noticed, but didn’t want to stop him. “Ach. Sorry, I just…” He continued, obviously a little upset. “When I started trekking again the next afternoon, I had a great day. I’ve been on plenty of trips, and I’m pretty good at navigation and pacing… I’d never gotten stuck out at night. It didn’t make any damn sense that I did that day, either, because everything was going to easy. On way bigger trails, I could knock out 20 or more miles a day, so the last 4 miles in six hours was a literal cakewalk. It’s like the trail just keep going and going, way longer than it should have. It wasn’t like I took a wrong trail either. It seemed like it just kept looping, the same landmarks kept passing by. It got dark fast. I had started panicking, I guess, because I found my self walking very, very fast. I started noticing this one tree that was on a small section overlooking the river,
and every time I passed it, a thought maybe I heard a small, faint splash. When I had passed it, and walked for a while, I heard a huge splash – like someone had driven a car right into the river. For some reason, this just made me snap. I ran, pack bouncing around, until I reached the tree again. But this time… Oh, god…” He choked up. We all knew that this story really meant something to Blackhorn. “…There were… packs. On the shore, the were all messed up and… the beach… scuffed… I recognized the bags. They were from… the people, the group I stayed with before.” He seemed like he was about to explode, and the memories tormented him. We reassured Blackhorn, told him he didn’t have to go on if he didn’t want, but he insisted he get it out. When he recooperated, he started talking again, quickly as if he wanted to get it over with. “I looked over into the river. That was my worst mistake. The thing was… roundish. It had long, protruding… things. It almost looked like one of things from Halo, yknow…” He laughed to himself in a sad, upset way. “And it had all of them just kinda attached to them. The things on its back were dragging these three…shapes in the water. I knew what they were… and it just took off up the river. I don’t know if I could have helped them, or if they were already dead. I don’t like to think about it. I just started walking again, crying a little. For some dumb reason… about half an hour later if slow walking, maybe only a mile, I reached the trail end. It was pitch black. I didn’t have a car there, and was shaking way too hard to try and set up a tent, not to mention exhausted. I just kind of balled up with my sleeping bag on a bench and blacked out.” He stopped there. I had a desire to know more, but Blackhorn didn’t seem interested in finishing. He said thanks to us for sitting with him, and said he’d head back to his tent.
When I awoke the next morning around five AM, I had found Blackhorn’s tent gone, nearly packed up and his campsite vacant. It seemed he packed it real early that day. I didn’t run into Blackhorn on the rest of the trail and haven’t since, but campers ahead of me said they had, and he seemed shaken and out of it.
The rest of my hike out was uneventful, without too many more stories. The trail was very nice, and I enjoyed myself for most of the hike – but you can bet your boots I sure as hell kept away from any water the rest of my trek.

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Please Be a Black Bear….

This is the first time I have ever shared this story.. or well I should say a series of experiences that happened to me between the years of 2004-2005 in Bessemer and the area near Ironwood Michigan. To start, at the time I was 13 and in middle school, a pretty normal girl all things considered. My mother after a lot of thought finally let me go to a summer camp. I was really excited since it was a horse camp and was taught by a very famous equestrian couple. It would also be my first time away from my home and family by myself.

The camp was organized pretty simply. We were brought to the camp every morning for barn chores, rode, ate lunch, rode again, and then were brought back “home” to sleep. The Farm itself was normal and very modern, nothing spooky happened there… the chalets where we stayed on the other hand… well… lets just say I’m not going back any time soon…

For reference, the chalets were part of the Blackjack Mountain ski resort that the camp rented for the week during June when the camp ran. They were older style wooden buildings consisting of a split level design. The ground floor with a bedroom or two and an upstairs area with living room, kitchen, balcony overlooking the mountainside, and loft bedroom. Both years, my bedroom was the ground level room to the right of the entryway with an exterior window. This came to be important later…

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Creepy encounter in the middle of a forest

I live in a small town in Canada. The area is relatively safe, and I’m comfortable around it, having lived there all my life. This particular incident happened about a year ago.

It was late December, and the ground was littered with fallen leaves and snow continuously fell throughout the day.

Our town is incredibly forested and has a few trails running near streams as well as a large river, and since I was out of school for the holidays, I decided to kick myself out of bed early in the morning and take a hike and look for fossils and other interesting rocks along the trials.

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Strange encounter in the Forest

This actually happened this year in January. We went this new year to my grandparent´s house to see some relatives and to visit them because we are barely able to normally. They live in a small village with around 300 other People. Most of them are around my Grandparent´s age. Beside a very old playground, there is a small shrine circa 1 kilometer away from the village. To reach it we always have to walk through a forest. I know it sounds kind of like a cliché but it´s quite dark in there even when it´s still daytime.

We arrived around 4 pm, so it was already quite late and we still had to wait for most of our relatives to arrive. My brother, let´s call him Ryun for now, suggest that we should visit the shrine with the children that are already here so that they don’t get too bored because honestly there isn´t really much to do in my grandparent´s house. We asked around if anyone wants to come with us and in the end, we were six people in total.

Ryun, my girlfriend and I were the oldest so we kept an eye on the children who were walking with us. Ryun walked a bit behind the group and my girlfriend and I were walking ahead. The reason why Ryun walked behind us was that in this area are a lot of stray dogs and we wanted to make sure that the kids were safe because the oldest one was our ten-year-old sister and she is only 4 foot 4. If a stray dog would approach them they wouldn´t be able to defend themselves and we would probably too far away. So to prevent any incidents we always walked like this.

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Forest Expedition

This happened in late October of 2017 in Southern California. After viewing a few forest stories here on YouTube I casually brought up some of the more interesting subjects discussed here with a friend from a gaming group. I knew he worked at the nearby forest but wasn’t sure of his actual job. He asked what I was really after and with some hesitation he agreed to share a few stories with me. I will try and keep things detailed when needed but brief because I was asked not to reveal the specifics of certain things.

I will call this friend Chris, a National Park Service Ranger. After a few face to face chats after gaming sessions and some text conversations on Instagram we met up on a cool Saturday morning by a trail head for a day’s worth of hiking and stories. Chris had brought a pack for me filled with food, water and a sleeping bag. We had previously discussed that I wouldn’t be able to take my phone with me for his fear of recording. I still brought it with me but had it turned off and handed it over to Chris for safe keeping in case of an emergency. I was fine with this in the hopes of hearing some good stories or seeing something unusual. I wasn’t let down.

As he strolled down the trail Chris immediately started into his story telling. Chris was a real no nonsense guy, he cut to the chase. “You know almost all that stuff is connected, right” Chris started. “I had my theories but figured it was something along those lines.” I said as I tried to keep up with him. I wasn’t sure what exactly he was talking about though. We had discussed everything from Bigfoot, UFOs, Strange Disappearances and even the ominous Stairs in the Woods. “Out here in nature, things are different from the city.” Chris said as he looked in my direction. I hadn’t really spent a lot of time outdoors so I had to rely on Chris’ experience here. He spoke again. “There’s a different kind of energy out here that kinda messes with people, ya know. In the city, all that concrete and metal blocks the energy from the earth.” Ok, now I started getting nervous. I had never heard Chris speak like this before. It was strange, it was like he was trying to explain some kind of religion to me.

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My Sasquatch Encounter

This was god knows how many years ago. All I know is that I was very young. I can’t remember a lot, but I do remember… it.

My friends and I were playing a game in the middle of the woods called “Camouflage”. It’s sort of like Hide and Seek. Basically, The person who is “it” stands in one place. The hiders then hide all around that person, but you have to be able to see the seeker. You then have to try and sneak undetected to a designated safe zone, and the game ends when either everyone either has been caught or makes it to the safe zone.

My strategy for this game is mostly hiding rather than sneaking. I would usually hide a ways away, but to the point that I could still see the seeker. I was a little far, which in turn made the game harder for me to survive, but I never minded. I always liked being alone. But the woods can always be a little nerve wrecking. You never really know what could reside there. It can really make the imagination run wild. Plus you kind of always feel like something is watching you.

It was about 2 o clock, and it was really nice out that day. The forest trees hid some of the sunshine, but only a bit. There was still sunlight finding its way through the trees, and made the area we were at look really scenic and beautiful.

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