The man on the mountain

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https://darknessprevails.org/the-man-on-the-mountain/

I wouldn’t say that I believe in the paranormal. Sure I’ve had my fair share of unexplained occurrences in my life, but I have always been able to come up with explanations that satisfy me. That was all true until I found myself in the most horrific experience of my life so far. Now I don’t know what to believe.
It was the early summer of my Senior year of highschool. I had just turned 17 and my girlfriend, Julie and I had planned a camping trip with some of our friends to celebrate. We were going to be spending the night on Silver Star Mountain, a short drive north of where we all lived. We started the day by packing all of the food and cooking materials into my girlfriend’s minivan and drove over to pick up the four friends we were taking along with us, James, Marco, Ferris, and Sophia. They all pushed there large backpacks into the van and we were on our way.
After about an hour drive on the highway and another 45 mins on a narrow dirt road, we made it to the remote trailhead. At this point it was in the mid afternoon which was much later than we had intended to arrive, due to a much needed river swim we had taken on the drive up. We quickly started our ascend and soon realized this hike was going to be much harder than we anticipated. We were all very experienced hikers (as are most people in the NorthWest), but we hadn’t prepared for how steep the trail was going to be. No matter, we pushed on and after two hours of straight uphill we came to a juncture on the trail that was not on our map. After some deliberation it was decided that I would run up one of the trails and attempt to decipher if it was the right path. I dropped my pack and started a jog up the trail, watching my friends slowly disappear behind me.
A few more minutes and I came to the conclusion that this trail was the wrong way, because it had come to a dead end. I had stopped in a small clearing with tall bushes looming above me. I stopped to catch my breath and noticed that a spot in the grass had been flattened, likely made by a large deer or mountain goat. Just then I heard a rustling to the right of my in the foliage and heard the movement of some reasonably large animal running off into the woods. Suddenly I felt and incredibly uneasy feeling, like the feeling you get when you hear a creak in your empty house late at night. I then noticed how silent and still the whole forest felt, and decided that it was time to head back to my friends. I ran back down the trail, forgetting my unusual experience immediately once I saw my smiling girlfriend. We all picked up our bags and resumed our hike, eventually making it to the top of the mountain around 6 PM. For an avid hiker, I can say I have seen some extremely beautiful views, but the top of this mountain was the most impressive. It had a 360 degree view of the horizon around us with forest stretching on far as the eye could see.
The place where we were setting up camp was on the peak of the mountain surrounded by sheer rocky dropoffs. Since we saw the sun slowly creeping towards the horizon we put up our tents and hammocks and after a long period of time were able to build a fire in the stinging cold wind. We ate dinner and then James, Sophia, Ferris, and Marco went off to smoke a joint on the cliff edge. Julie and I had decided to stay sober the whole trip because we wanted to fully experience everything. The sun finally set, allowing us to see the most beautiful sunset of my life and James, Sophia, Ferris, and Marco crawled into their hammocks which were about 100 feet from the tent that Julie and I were sharing. After a while of shivering in the cold I drifted off to sleep with my girlfriend in my arms.
Suddenly I awoke and looked to my phone which said it was 3 in the morning. I nestled back into my sleeping bag and closed my eyes when I realized why I had woken up. I heard a faint crying off in the distance. At first I thought it was a woman’s cry, but soon realized that it was a man’s whimpering somewhere outside of the tent. I immediately assumed it was James because it was only his second time smoking weed and for some reason I thought he was having a weird experience. Without thinking, I left Julie in the tent to go help James out and make sure he was okay. I followed the soft crying to the edge of one of the surrounding cliffs and looked down over the edge. I saw a figure crouched into an outcropping on the cliff face, he was weeping. I yelled “James” “James”, for some reason still assuming it was him, but there was no reply.
Then I decided to do something that I wish I never did, I slowly started to descend the cliff to help him. After about 30 seconds of shuffling down the cliff I looked again down towards the figure. I noticed that James was completely naked, something I had somehow not noticed before. I continued to crawl down towards him when he slowly looked up towards me. I was filled with a thickening dread that sunk into the core of my being when I noticed it was not James, but a naked skinny man huddled into a ball. Tears were flowing down his face and there was a large rock being held in his hands. I watched in horror as he raised the rock with his right hand and quickly brought it down onto his left hand, smashing his fingers. He then let out a deeply pained groan from his throat and brought down the rock again, destroying his hand. I watched as he lifted up his mutilated appendage as if to show me what he had done. It was at this moment that froze up, completely terrified of the man 10 feet in front of me. He took a short crouched step towards me still with his bleeding broken hand up, and I began to climb back up the cliff, kicking rocks and dirt down behind me. I heard another painful groan and looked back to see the man who was now uninterested in me continue to smash his hand to bits with his rock. With that I reached the top of the cliff and yelled loud enough to wake everyone up. I ran towards where everyone was and told them that there was some crazy man on the mountain with us and that we need to leave right now. They must have seen the look in my eye because they knew I was not joking. We all started to quickly pack up our stuff when we started hearing animalistic screams of pain along with the sound of rocks tumbling down the mountain. With that we grabbed our bags and ran down the trail, leaving our hammocks and tent behind. No one spoke on the hike down and every so often we would hear the cries off in the distance as we descended down the steep trail. After an hour we could no longer here the cries, but still no one spoke. Eventually we got to our van and discovered the left rear window had been completely shattered, with bits of glass hanging off. We quickly got into the car and drove off, where I recounted to all of them what had happened on the cliff. Despite how disturbed we all were we all felt lucky to be alive, and eventually started making some jokes about how ridiculous this all was.
Once we got into cell service I called the police and told them everything that happened, which to my surprise they took very seriously. Unfortunately they never found the man on the mountain, but did find a great deal of blood on the cliff face that I had seen the man on. It is now two years later and we all are planning on camping up on the mountain again to prove that we can do it. Despite the excitement that is going along with it, I can’t help but feel as if this is a very very bad idea.

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