13/21

 

This story takes place in August of 2013, in the mountains of Southern Oregon. I am a USAF Security Forces Airman (military policeman). My girlfriend was at work, and as a swelteringly hot day began to turn into thunderstorms, my buddy Nick (another military cop) and I decided to go explore some back roads and get out of the heat in town.

Southern Oregon is criss-crossed with logging roads, some actively used, and many totally forgotten and grown over. Nick and I spent many of our days off starting on roads that we knew, finding roads we didn’t know, driving for hours into the mountains, eventually navigating back to paved roads. On this particular day, with storm clouds building over the mountains, we set off on a road we had never been on, and began the drive into the mountains.

After driving for around an hour, we hadn’t seen nor heard any signs of other people in the woods. We rounded a bend in the thick fir woods, and emerged in a meadow that was totally surrounded by thick aspen groves. The meadow was perfectly flat, and eerily still. We both noticed the strange stillness almost immediately; no birds, hardly any insect noise, no squirrels, and certainly no other people. On the far side of the meadow, right at the edge of the tree-line, there was a picnic table. The table was very odd, however. It was painted a bright orange, and was much larger than a typical picnic table in a park. Remarking on this, Nick drove through the meadow to get a closer look.

I remember being apprehensive as we approached. The whole scenario was exceptionally strange; the overall silence of the aspen grove was unsettling. Also, it was nearly impossible to see far into the trees as aspens grow extremely close together. When we parked by the table, I hopped out of the passenger seat of the truck to check it out. I’m not very tall, only about 5’5″, regardless, the table was ridiculously oversized and practically unusable. The seats were nearly at chest level, meaning I would have to climb up to even sit on them.

As I was looking at the table, Nick called me over to the truck, and I noticed he was looking back into the aspens. At first, I couldn’t see what he was looking at, but then I noticed a splash of color that was completely out of place in the thick trees. A small one man tent was set back in the trees, about 50 feet from the strange table.

I had an initial feeling of dread, and felt certain that there was someone in the tent, and if we could see the tent, they could see us. There were no campgrounds in this area; no people, no main roads for miles. Surely someone camping so remotely would be, at the very least, a strange person. However, as we observed the tent, we didn’t see any movement or hear any sounds coming from it. Nick suggested I call out; I didn’t want to, but I did. “Hey! Anyone in there?”, I yelled.

No reply. Feeling completely on edge, Nick and I thought about driving away and leaving this strange area. But we began to fear the worst; what if there was a body in the tent? What if somebody had gotten kidnapped? Foolish, I know, but we thought it, all the same.

After some debate, we decided to have Nick turn the truck around to drive away from the camp; should we need to leave in a hurry, he would be waiting behind the wheel. With my heart pounding, I started walking through the trees towards the tent. I was totally keyed up with my senses on full alert. When I reached the “campsite”, several things struck me as odd. Backpacks were scattered all over. No fire had been built, no wood collected. The tent… The tent was literally full of backpacks, and women’s clothing. Full of dread, I turned to leave and tell Nick what I had seen. As I left, I heard Nick start yelling.

“Let’s go! Let’s get the fuck out of here!” Not knowing why he was yelling, I ran back to the truck. When I broke out of the trees, I saw a beat up old Ford Taurus on the road, blocking us from leaving the meadow. I immediately leapt into the passenger seat, and Nick floored the gas pedal. The car was occupied by two men; a third person was laying against the window in the back. As we drove across the meadow, the driver attempted to block us from the road, but Nick drove around them and accelerated the way we had come from. I looked back and saw the car attempting to turn around on the narrow road. Nick drove like a mad man, and though I was honestly terrified that they would catch up, we hit the the highway without seeing the car again. I still do not know if the person in the back was male or female.

I called the State Police, and they promised to send a Trooper out to check out the scene. However, I received a call the next day from a Trooper stating that the campsite, the back packs, and the women’s clothing was all gone, though he could tell people had been in the area. The strange table was still by the thick aspen grove. I have not returned to the area, and do not intend to.

randoliof

14/21

This wasn’t necessarily a LOT of time, but I was in solitude, and it was at sea. When I was 23 I was a dockhand for a boat-rental club. I bought myself a 27ft Catalina sail boat and lived on it at the docks for about a year while I worked for the boat club. I would often get toasted on 101 proof peppermint schnapps and go joy-sailing late at night on the Chesapeake Bay for kicks. My main sail tears, and my atomic 4 engine breaks down.

I drift out of the channel, drop anchor, plug in my back-up batteries for power for my anchor light, and bed-down in my forward berth to wait until morning for one of my co-workers to tow me back in. I’m about a mile offshore, well out of the channel in about 60ft of open water when I hear a rhythmic thudding on my hull beneath me. It was like someone was doing a semi-fast snare-roll with closed fists against my hull. There was nothing in my head that I could figure could make that noise happen besides someone diving under by boat and literally beating on it.

I went topside with my flash light to investigate and couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, and the sound continued on and off for about 15 minutes then stopped. It was a calm night with nearly no wind or waves at this point, and I visually couldn’t see what could have been making the noise. It came from mid-ship so it couldn’t be the motor being weird or something, and I checked my bilges for any anomalies and couldn’t find any.

It left me pretty shaken up because I just couldn’t figure what could make that sound as loudly, and as precisely as it was. I could FEEL the bumps hitting against the fiberglass hull. I eventually got back to sleep and made it back to the docks next morning. I dove on my boat that day to check for anything amiss and didn’t find anything off. Needless to say that was the last time I went out alone at night..

15/21

Where do I start? So I was just about 24 years old, when my cousin Charlie had gotten throat cancer. He wasn’t really my cousin, he was my Dad’s cousin, but for whatever reason I always called him cousin Charlie. Anyways, he and his wife lived up around San Louis Obispo, and when he was finally recovering from cancer, he went to stay in his estate in mainland Hawaii. At one point he needed someone to babysit his house in San Louis, and I volunteered.

Fast forward, I’m staying at his place by myself; we’re talking Satellite Internet and Television slower than a snail. I had found myself enthralled in a Lord of The Rings marathon and proceeded to stay up till around 2:30 am. Changing the channel meant what ever channel I was clicking meant it would choose 4 stations down from my selection so I was hesitant to change the channel.

The marathon ends and I proceed to make some green tea. That’s when I hear it. A distant scream calls across the valley below. I knew it was a human scream but for some reason I just refused to believe it. The thing about houses inland from San Louis is that you have a lot of room between your neighbors; we’re talking about 2 miles apart from each other. If someone played music on the other side of the hill, you had no problem hearing it. I thought maybe they screamed because they were watching a scary film, or perhaps they were playing a board game; I really don’t know I just did my best to imagine it was me over exaggerating.

About 2 minutes had gone by, and I passed it off at this time, getting lost in Infomercials. That’s when I heard something familiar to a fire cracker, but then I heard it multiple times. Something didnt seem right, so I grabbed the nearest blunt object and headed upstairs. My Cousin Charlie has a 360 degree second deck which I proceeded to go and take watch on with a fire poker; like that would do me any good.

I listened, but I could only hear the wind. I would later end up falling asleep in one of the rocking chairs, and then waking up about 40 minutes later.

What I later found out from my Cousin Charlie is that a man had got into a big argument with his wife and shot her as she ran from the house. I also later found out that because I was the only one who had left the outside lights on that she had run towards me, but died from her wounds about 60 percent of the way here.

This still gives me chills.

tastybutter

16/21

I grew up in the arctic.

In the town I lived in, as long as it was a clear night, it was an extremely normal occurrence to see all sorts of strange lights move across the sky. Keep in mind the winter is long in the arctic, which means longer amounts of time being spent under the stars. It’s quite beautiful, as long as you don’t mind the cold so much. Sometimes I would drive a snowmobile a few kilometers out of town, shut it down, and just lay down on the snow looking up at the majesty of it all, the only thing disturbing the silence being the occasional breeze.

The northern lights are also a common occurrence. Doesn’t happen everyday, but often enough that they start getting ignored after a while, as long as they aren’t too spectacular anyway.

On one particular night, without asking my parents (it was their snowmobile), I decided to go on one of my midnight drives out of town. I drove a few kilometers over the hills to find a spot devoid of light pollution from town, shut off the machine, and settled in to a good spot to look up and be introspective.

It wasn’t all that interesting a scene. A few satellites passing here and there, some relatively boring activity affecting the magnetic field, etc. And then I started noticing a clicking noise…

At first I thought it was the sound of the snow machine cooling down, as engine expands and contracts a lot in the cold. But the source of the sound definitely wasn’t coming from that direction. My next thought was there must be an animal nearby in which case I need to get out of there fast (you don’t really want to mess with a wild animal). But, the clicking is far too regular for an animal to produce it. It was fairly mechanical sounding. And again, the source of the sound isn’t coming from anywhere around me laterally. It was coming from up. So naturally I look up determined to ascertain the origin of this strange noise.

I see what I always see: stars, northern lights, a lazy satellite crossing the sky…all normal stuff. But before I dismiss it altogether and begin heading home, I notice something strange in the Aurora Borealis. There were three rather strong points of light. I ignored them at first thinking they were oddly symmetrical stars, but this proved false. They were definitely getting brighter. I kept staring in morbid fascination as they grew stronger and stronger, yet still only remaining single points in the sky. All the while the clicking noise is getting louder and louder and more pronounced, almost like someone started with tapping a pen on a desk to clacking billard balls together inside my head.

Then it stops. The lights are gone, the clicking is not heard, and aside from being a little stiff, cold, and rather petrified, I’m fine.

So I jump back on the snowmobile thinking maybe I’m going crazy. The machine takes a little longer than usual to start up, and I’m beginning to worry, but soon it’s running and I’m heading back to town. As I’m driving back several plausible scenarios as to what occurred are running through my head. I’m thinking it could’ve been a helicopter from the mine, or some strange northern lights behaviour etc. Probably not that big a deal.

I pull up to my house. Lights are all dark. Strange. It wasn’t that late when I left. Open outer door as quietly as possible, remove winter gear, enter inner door. House is quiet. Really quiet. My parents are teachers and are usually up late marking or watching T.V. All I’m thinking is I have to get to bed without anyone noticing. Proves to be easy as I’m soon under my covers. I go to set my alarm for the next day. All of the sudden everything makes sense.

Engine hard to start, stiff, rather chilly, nobody up when I was gone what felt like relatively short period of time…

It was almost 11:00pm when I left, and now it was creeping up on 6:00am. I stood, staring at clicking lights for almost 7 hours.

I never ended up sleeping that night, and I don’t go on late night snow machine rides anymore.

MeaninglessDebateMan

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