For some background information, I really love the Summertime (mostly because I’m able to do a lot more outdoor-related activities comfortably like hiking, outdoor swimming, and especially camping). So when the Summer had arrived in 2005, I was already starting to plan a little overnight camping trip in a national forest a couple towns away from where Iive. It’s also important to mention that I do these types of things solo and that this was my first time going to that specific national forest.
I guess with this trip I was unprepared, because while getting there, I had realized that I forgot to bring a ground cover for my tent (since I didn’t use a tent with a built-in ground ground cover at the time) plus I forgot some other small things. But I was already more than halfway to the national forest, so I said “fuck it” and kept on going anyways since it was just going to be an overnight-er. Things didn’t seem better when there was also a lot of traffic on the highway throwing me couple hours off schedule.
On my way there, I kept on glancing at the sky and looking the sunset, it was already getting dark. After around 20 minutes of driving from the exit, I got to the mountains and there was nothing but trees on either side of the road, so I thought that I was already in the park. I did think to myself for a split moment how it was weird that I never saw any entrance signs for the national forest though, but my main focus was trying to find a good spot, any spot to camp for the night.
After around 20 more minutes of driving through pure forest, the road turned to gravel and I thought to myself “this had to be some sort of camping area, right?”. Looking back, I should’ve turned around there, but I was exhausted and a little stubborn by that point, so I was still deadset on finding some spot to camp.
I finally settled on parking near a clearing on a dirt path and set camp up there. When I got out of my truck, things had seemed pretty normal. The only thing that seemed out of place at the time that there were no other sounds except for the crickets and the sound of me setting up camp. No wind, no frogs, owls, not even the howl of a wolf, just the crickets and me. It was already getting late by that point (it was a little past 9) so I had dinner, sat around the campfire for a little bit, and then went into the tent to sleep.
I found myself woken up. I checked my watch, a quarter past 11. I thought I had woken up because my back was stiff due to me sleeping on the bare ground, but my back seemed fine. I came to the conclusion that I just woken myself up randomly and tried to go back to bed. But soon after closing my eyes again, I heard what sounded like a deep, raspy “rrrrRREEEEWWWww” far, but not too far in the distance. That was presumably what had woken me up initially.
I sat up immediately. “Now what in the Hell was that?”, I murmured to myself since this didn’t seem like the howl or growl of any animals I knew about. I went back down in my sleeping bag, desperately thinking to myself a logical explanation as to what made that sound. “Maybe it was an owl being killed by a wolf or something” was what I concluded.
After around 2 minutes of trying to fall back asleep, I was immediately jolted straight awake by that same shrieking sound, right next to the wall of my tent.
In pure shock, I immediately jolted up, bust out the front of my tent and ran straight in the opposite direction of where the thing was, not looking back and also not even catching a catch a glimpse of what it was.
I was running for only a couple seconds when I slipped down a hill (keep in mind that I was barefoot and also in pajamas). I tumbled for a couple seconds and then, once I stopped, I tried to keep as still as possible. “Maybe the thing didn’t see me fall” I thought, I didn’t want to give away where I was.
Then I listened. Nothing. I waited a little longer, still nothing. I peeked over the hill, trying to see as much as my campsite as I could in the pitch darkness. I didn’t see any of it. While, doing this, I also happened to noticed how there were no crickets chirping anymore. Pure silence. I didn’t hear any leaves crunching either which (to me) seemed to be the all clear that I can make a beeline for my tent, grab by pack-bag which had some miscellaneous stuff and my wallet in it, but most importantly my keys.
I knew I had to make this quick, so I tried to get to my car as quick as possible with making the least amount of sound, I cringed every time I stepped on a leaf or twig that cracked to loudly.
I successfully had gotten the bag and started opening it ever so slightly to get my keys. Once I had gotten the keys, I went over to the car, unlocked it, and turned the car on. Once I did this, I started to floor it out of there. I knew I shouldn’t have done what I was going to do next, but I took one look back at the tent.
Crouching down right beside the tent, was the thing. Even in the darkness, I could make out its features. It’s eyes were completely black, body covered with short white hair, and the overall body structure was barely that of a human.
I knew it saw me, because once I saw it, the creature let out the horrific screech that I’m all too familiar with now: “rrrrRREEEEWWWww”.
I punched the gas pedal on my car and never stopped until I got to a hotel a good distance away from that neck of the forest. I must’ve looked like a backwoods insane person or something when I came into the lobby all dirty and in my pajamas, but still got a room and immediately collapsed onto the bed, exhausted.
I actually had a nightmare that night where I was looking at myself in the 3rd person, sleeping in my hotel room and then, the creature appeared at my window slowly and let out that horrific screech. I jolted awake to the sound of nothing but my own heavy breathing and the crickets outside.
Now this next part could’ve just been paranoia, but I think, sitting in the hotel room trying to fall asleep again, I heard that discernible screech off in the distance.