“THERE IS NOWHERE TO RUN IN THE WOODS” – True Stories of Terror in the Wilderness! #WeirdDarkness
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Listen to “WD20230701-ThereIsNowhereToRunInTheWoods” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: People who live and work in remote areas know that sometimes too much quiet can make your mind race. However, some experiences stick with people long after they occur because of the degree of creepiness. On Reddit, plenty of people who live in rural areas or make their livelihood there, share their scary stories for the rest of us to freak out over. We know that often strange people linger around woods, parks, and other desolate areas. And we have all heard plenty of the kind of creepy stories that backpackers experience. However, in this episode, the stories are more than a little unpleasant, because the people who suffered them weren’t just out and about anywhere; they were at their homes, or doing their jobs. Imagine living in the woods, and looking up from your bathtub to see a face looking back at you. Or imagine you are working as a forest ranger and come across a thumb nailed to a tree. Tonight I will share some of the terrifying real-life stories, stories that are the stuff of nightmares.
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“Terrors of People Living In Remote Areas” by Matthew Lavelle: http://bit.ly/2Y5j1r2
“Park Ranger Scares” by Rosa Pasquarella: http://bit.ly/2xNbZZ6
“Horrifying Backpacker Stories” by Jen Lennon: http://bit.ly/2LXcfNs
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(Over time links seen above may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in these show notes immediately. Some links included above may benefit me financially through qualifying purchases.)
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People who live and work in remote areas know that sometimes too much quiet can make your mind race. However, some experiences stick with people long after they occur because of the degree of creepiness. On Reddit, plenty of people who live in rural areas or make their livelihood there, share their scary stories for the rest of us to freak out over. We know that often strange people linger around woods, parks, and other desolate areas. And we have all heard plenty of the kind of creepy stories that backpackers experience. However, in this episode, the stories are more than a little unpleasant, because the people who suffered them weren’t just out and about anywhere – they were at their homes, or doing their jobs. Imagine living in the woods, and looking up from your bathtub to see a face looking back at you. Or imagine you are working as a forest ranger and come across a thumb nailed to a tree. Tonight I will share some of the terrifying real-life stories, stories that are the stuff of nightmares.
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.
Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
Coming up in this episode… true stories of terror in the wilderness!
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: LIVING IN REMOTE PLACES=====
Haunted houses, haunted hotel, haunted roads… perhaps it’s a good idea to move away from the city and suburbs, and live out in the wilderness, breathing in the fresh air, seeing animals scurry in your bushes and deer on your front lawn. The sound of birds chirping in the early morning. To some it might seem like their very own version of paradise… but don’t get too comfortable, because when you are in the wilderness, who will hear you scream, and where will you run when something terrifying happens to you?
From Redditor u/—annon—:
My husband worked nights so I’d be alone on a huge acreage. One night I go into the kitchen to make tea and I look outside to see the moon and there is a face on the other side of the window. I scream and it wakes up my aging husky who starts to howl. Dude bolts. I call the cops and wait forever locked in my pantry.
Next day my husband and I ride on horseback our whole property. We find a small make shift cabin on the northwest corner. We find stuff stolen from our laundry line and canned stuff from our kitchen. He had pinned up selfies in the cabin he had taken while in our bed and sitting at our daughter’s child-sized dinner table.
From Redditor u/KGRanch:
When we first moved in here, I kept thinking I’d hear someone walking in the house while I was alone (it’s a flood zone, so the house is on stilts and you can hear footsteps when anyone walks across the floor). Of course, this is Texas so I’d just grab my handgun and go see if someone had come in (also, my mother in law has a key and when she drops in and leaves things for the family she sometimes won’t relock the door).
I kept feeling like I was going to walk into a room and someone would be there. Just feeling oddly watched all day for a few days. My husband didn’t think anything of it and one night he jumped out of bed, grabbed his handgun, and started going through the house slamming all the doors wide open. He said he heard banging in the kitchen like someone was going through the pantry. He was adamant he had heard someone. Nothing, doors still locked.
My niece got home from her grandmother’s house and a few nights later asked if she could sleep on a cot in our room. She’s a teenager, not a small kid, so I asked her what was wrong. She didn’t want to tell us because we “wouldn’t believe her.” Just that she didn’t want to be alone. She said she heard banging in the kitchen and when she heard that or felt like someone was in the house she would see a man in the window of her room so she basically noped out and came to us.
We let her stay, and the next day we were all a little uneasy. My husband, a notorious nonbeliever in the paranormal, came in looking shaken and said he had closed her door after bringing her laundry into the room and a man had been smiling at him in the window. The windows on the house are almost 20′ in the air because of the stilts the house sits on.
I grew up in the middle of the woods in Louisiana. Our closest neighbor was 20 miles away. Our house was on a hill, and at the bottom was the creek that went through the woods for miles and miles. My grandfather would always tell us there were people living in the woods, crazy, inbred folks, on some “The Hills Have Eyes sh*t”, but I always assumed he was just trying to creep us out.
So one night when I was like eight-years-old, I sat in the living room watching Pearl Harbor. My father comes into the living room and tells me not to move, that he heard footsteps and the back door slam shut on his way to the bathroom. He thinks someone was in the house, and that he scared them off when he walked down the hallway to the bathroom. So he leaves the house, leaving the front door wide open which scared the sh*t outta me.
I pause the movie, and just listen to silence for a couple minutes. And, of course, the guy is still inside. I’m staring out of the doorway to the living room, and see the top of a head peek around the corner. A head with a white sheet over it, cut and tied at the neck. I’m paralyzed, and even if I wanted to run there’d be nowhere to go but towards this creepy ass dude. He just stares at me for what feels like forever before he leaves towards the back of he house. The backdoor slams again. I just sit there and start crying, until my father comes back inside.
My dad tells me that as he rounded the corner to the back of the house, he caught the guy leaving out the back door. The guy sees my dad, and books it down the hill. Then there’s a gunshot. According to father, my grandfather had been sitting on his porch next door, and saw the guy walking toward our house, so he grabbed his gun, got back outside in time to see the guy running down the hill, and shot the dude in the leg. The guy fell, then got back up again before my grandfather could take another shot, and disappeared into the woods.
By the time the cops show up, he is gone. They search but can’t find the guy. They do find a rundown sort of shack a mile or so into the woods, filled with nothing but pots and pans, so that was weird.
From Redditor u/pedazzle:
When I lived way out in the middle of nowhere, Australia, Nothing but desert outside, nearest neighbours were about 10km away. Our place was at the end of a long dirt road with only our house no others, so no one came down there unless they were there specifically to visit us.
I was taking a bath one night, look up and see a man’s face staring at me through the window. Freaked the f*ck out, got out of the bath, robe on, etc., and told SO who said I probably imagined it, especially since that window was so high up no one could reach it from outside (house on stumps).
I made him go look out there and yeh, someone had gone to our shed, which was a good 500metres away from the house, got some wooden pallets, stacked them up and peeped through my window. If it were a random peeper in an easier accessible location like a suburb, it probably would have weirded me out a little but then got over it, but the amount of work this guy had to go to makes me remember him to this day. And wonder how the hell he got out there with no car, did he just live on our property or nearby in the bush somewhere?
From Redditor u/bhsgrad2015:
When I was younger, about five, me and my family lived in a big house that was in the woods. My bedroom was on the first floor, with a window about 15 ft wide and six ft tall. Huge window. It was so oddly large that we could never find curtains or blinds for it, so I just had a bare window, which was fine because like I said, we were in the middle of the woods.
I woke up in the middle of the night with that feeling of being watched, and I saw a man wearing all black, standing at my window, watching me. I screamed, and when I screamed he ran off into the woods.
From Redditor u/itsmekathy:
When I was young, my grandmother lived in a very rural part of Ireland and my brother and I were sent to visit her for a couple of weeks every summer. Frequently my grandmother would send us out to do little jobs for her – bring bread or jam to neighbours, or to collect turf for the fire.
One summer’s day she gave me a loaf of bread and sent me to a house about three or four miles away. The laneway to the house was narrow and lined by thick hedges and as I was walking, I became aware of a man within in the hedges who was watching me and walking the laneway with me. I was extremely frightened and ran the rest of the way. I think the woman of the house knew that something had frightened me when I arrived – she made me tea and sandwiches with my grandmother’s bread and let me stay and play with her dogs until her eldest son got back so he could drive me back to my grandmother’s house. Thanks, Mrs. Staunton!
I still don’t know who it was that was watching and following me or how long they had been doing so before I noticed
From Redditor u/jimbob6886:
My grandparents house is right outside of town – a neighborhood is on one side but on all the other sides everyone has an acre or two they’re sitting on (including my grandparents). So, isolated-ish.
A friend and I were smoking cigarettes in the large enclosed porch one night when no one was home, and in the complete silence we heard a really loud pig squeal like, right next to us. It sounded like it was in the enclosed area with us, it was so loud. Sure, people have horses and chickens around. I didn’t think any neighbors owned pigs though. It also didn’t quite sound like a pig, more like a man making a pig noise (I can’t emphasize this enough, it was one of the weirdest sounds I’ve ever heard).
The scariest thing was how displaced the sound was, I mean even if their next door neighbor had a pig, it would have been far enough away to be a lot quieter. We bolted inside and locked the door immediately.
From Redditor u/JesusLice:
My SO and I lived in a small cabin up in the Appalachian mountains on an isolated 40 acre plot. It was our first week in the cabin. Sometime in the middle of night we heard a bloodcurdling scream right outside of our window.
Not just once, but over and over again, for about a minute.
From Redditor u/0veru5edMemez:
My dad owns a plot of land in south-central Illinois. It consists of crop fields and woods. My dad’s nephew, call him T, and his wife, B, live in a trailer next to an auction barn they own.
One night, B was home alone. They’re porch faces the road, and they have a street light by their circle drive (on their ground, not the road). B saw a silhouette walk across the porch, his shadow visible on the door window. She later heard scratching on the screen of a window. She had enough. She grabbed T’s handgun and opened the door.
There was no car in the circle drive other than her own. She screamed something like, “I got a gun and I’m not afraid to kill you mother**cker!” The scratching stopped.
From Redditor u/bluekc:
When I was about 13 and exploring the woods, I found a pillowcase with a jewelry box, a bunch of cheap kids jewelry, a couple key chains, a school idea for a girl in fourth grade, and a couple other little girl things. I didn’t think much of it at the moment but I couple of days later I went back to get it and it was gone. I still wish I could remember the girl’s name or even the school she went to because I have a feeling something horrible happened.
I grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, 10 miles outside of a “town” that doesn’t even have a stop light just so you guys have a picture of how rural it was. The scariest sound I’ve ever heard is a mountain lion’s scream. You can never get used to that sound.
From Redditor u/MrCurtisLoew:
So I live in a very heavily wooded area. This is a place where the closest town is seven miles away and its only got about 100 people in it. So my family and the few neighbors we have are very secluded.
Anyway, when I was about 12-ish, I was sitting on my front porch eating mac n’ cheese because it was a nice day out. While I’m eating I notice something sorta strange in the woods in front of our house. I had sat on my front porch so many times that I was used to how the view looked so I immediately noticed that the view looked different. Probably about 150 ft in front of our house was a giant black mass. At first I thought it may be a black bear as they are fairly common here. Being the adventurous kid I was I went to investigate.
As I got close to it I could see that it was actually a giant burnt black stump, rootwad and all. It had been totally scorched so the entire thing was pitch black and it was massive; it easily weighed 200 pounds. This was strange as we hadn’t cut down any trees lately and we certainly hadn’t burned any stumps. I showed my mom and she was equally as confused but just kinda brushed it off.
After school the next day I went to check on it again with my dogs but when I got to the spot it was gone. A giant, 200-pound stump had just vanished and there were no drag marks or anything.
From Redditor u/kelce:
I used to live in the middle of nowhere. We had one neighbor whose house we couldn’t even see through the trees and hills. On the other side of us, up another hill there was a dirt road that basically went nowhere. At the beginning of the dirt road there was this old abandoned church which made it automatically creepy.
Anyway, berries used to grow down this dirt road so we’d go pick them. On the way back one day we got an extremely strong scent of cologne. A quick scan didn’t show anyone but every time the wind blew we got another whiff. Still don’t know where the scent was coming from but it creeped me out big time. You don’t think about how no one could hear you scream until you’re forced to.
From Redditor u/4theloveoffiber:
I live out in the country – there are maybe five houses on my long dirt road. Last week my neighbor ask if he could come over to talk to us about something. He didn’t knock, just walked right in and had a loaded gun with him. He started talking a mile-a-minute about a war coming to our road, knowing people who are 300-years-old, vampires walking out of woods, being able to see the matrix code, etc.
He had a hospital bracelet on his wrist, turns out he decided to go off his medication and was in a manic-depressive state.
From Redditor u/pumpmar:
As a kid we had free range of the woods behind my friend’s house. It was out pretty much in the middle of nowhere and we could go out there for hours and never see another soul.
One time one of the younger kids was ran straight into barbed wire and got his whole front cut up because he hadn’t been wearing a shirt. It was really weird because this was just in the middle of the woods, so why was there barbed wire hung at the height a seven-year-old could run into?
From Redditor u/CaptainNemo95:
I live by the Adriatic Coast of Italy. One summer night of 2013 I was with some friends on the beach, having a party, when at around 1:00 AM I climbed the rocks to find a place to p*ss. There was a full moon and I could see very clearly.
I walked away from the beach until I saw a small cove, a small sandy bay, invisible from the inland but easily reachable from the rocks. I thought it was the best spot to relieve my bladder and went there. As I neared, I distinctly saw that there was a man, a fat, very big man in his 50s, sitting in the sand doing absolutely nothing, his head tucked in his arms.
I should have known better, but I moved closer and asked if he needed anything, thinking he might have been feeling unwell. He raised this bull-like head and started screaming madly to get away from him lest he killed me by “cracking your head on the rocks.”
I scrambled and ran like crazy back to my friends. I turned backwards and I was relieved to find that he wasn’t following me. We called the police, who came and discovered that he was a mentally ill person who hadn’t taken his medications and his family had declared missing in the afternoon. They managed to reassure him without resorting to violence and escorted him back to his abitation. It was the only time that I really feared for my life…
People who work in the wilderness are just as apt to have spooky experiences as those who live there, and coming up we’ll hear a few stories from Park Rangers who in many cases were scared stiffer than the trees that surrounded them.
STORY: PARK RANGER SCARES=====
We’ve all been frightened by things that go bump in the night, but imagine hearing those scary sounds isolated in a forest, miles away from mankind and any sort of salvation. That’s the reality for many park rangers. Rangers are often left to venture out and care for parks on their own, often going weeks or months without interacting with another human being. In that quiet time, some pretty creepy things can happen out in the wilderness. We hiked over to Reddit, where we found some of the creepiest things park rangers have seen or experienced. From nature at its roughest to unexplained phenomena, these tales may make you want trade in your tent for good.
From Redditor /u/SenorPuffyPants:
I once led a trip to the top of Mt. Sterling in North Carolina. It’s a tough climb to get to the top, and about six miles from the nearest road. I was leading a group of eight middle school kids and had one co-instructor. We were camping out on top of the mountain, and it was a beautiful night with a full moon. The kids and the other co-instructor went to bed in their tents. I chose to spend the night in a hammock that night. I was really into a book I was reading so I stayed up and read until about 10:30 PM. I turned my headlamp off to settle in for the night.
Everything around me was rather bright from the moon and from the position I was in. I could see down the trail we had hiked to get to the top. I laid there enjoying the scenery and noticed something moving on the trail. Bears are common in the area so I perked up. As it got closer, I could tell it was a person. We were in the middle of nowhere and there was someone hiking up the trail with no headlamp or any gear. I was just frozen, watching this person move closer to our camp.
They arrived at the top of the mountain where we were and just stopped. I watched as what appeared to be a man surveyed our camp. I really could only see the outline of him. He stood there for what seemed like 30 minutes but may have been 10. He then turned and sat down under a tree facing our camp. He was sitting up in a way that I knew he wasn’t trying to sleep. He just sat there staring at our camp. I had no idea what to do. I decided to wait it out. I waited, just staring at the man while he stared at my camp. This went on until about 3:30 AM.
Then, he stood up, took a moment to survey my camp a few minutes longer and then went back down the trail he came up on. I, to this day have no idea what that was all about but it freaked me out. I was paranoid that we were being followed for the rest of the trip.
From Redditor /u/Homeless_Hommie:
[I saw] a human thumb nailed to a tree.
From Redditor /u/GenesisProTech:
There was a group of teens that hadn’t been heard from after their scheduled return time from a camping trip. [A coworker] and I head out in the general direction the teens had set off in. We’d been hiking for most of the day and seen nothing. We’re about 35km into the woods at this point when we start noticing odd things. Sticks carved like spears stuck into the ground, weird carvings in the trees, a child’s stuffed animal hanging from a noose up in a tree. This place was nowhere near any roads, it wasn’t on the regular trails people would go on in the area. The really eerie thing was that everything was freshly-carved. Somebody had been there within a couple of hours of us and made these things. Mind you we’re still looking for these teens.
We kept on hiking and eventually made camp for the night still kind of on edge from what we had seen earlier but we settle down anyway and go to sleep. We get up with the sunrise hoping to cover more ground before it gets to hot. We pack up the gear and get ready to go when I notice a bit of shirt that had caught on a small tree and ripped along with some shoe prints. We were thinking: great maybe we’re close by to the teens, when a radio call comes through.
The teens had just been found 20 kilometers east of us, and they’re calling everybody back. All those weird things we had seen from the day before came flooding back into my mind, and we wasted no time hiking out of those woods.
From Redditor /u/RIPEOTCDXVI:
I’m a ranger at Yellowstone. Couple weeks ago I was exploring the Lamar Valley, about 11 miles from the nearest road and even further to the park boundary.
There, in the middle of the trail, is a perfectly severed deer head. No blood, no raggedness at the severance. Perfectly in tact.
This is weird because I have seen wolf and bear [spoils], and I used to find cougar [prey remains] in SD with radio tracking just after the cougar made them.
This was not any of those things. The head was completely uneaten – eyes, tongue, everything intact. Even the ravens hadn’t touched it yet. No caching, no [droppings]. Right smack in the trail, but again, no blood.
Even a human doing it made no conventional sense. It was a doe so it had no antlers, plus, why leave it in the trail?
Whole thing, even in broad daylight, gave me chills. Just an ocean of waving grass, bison calmly grazing, and a perfectly clean deer head right on the path.
From Redditor /u/TheCopyPasteLife:
Our park lets kids from school in so they can look for animals in the forest and the streams.
One day a kid finds molars. The teeth looked like human molars, but the teacher said they were a deer’s. I dismissed it and completely forgot about it.
Two days later, they found a corpse with a smashed skull and jaw in another part of the park. All its teeth were missing.
A local news paper covered it, but all they had to say was thank the spooky skeletons for good bones and teeth.
From former Redditor:
A shed behind an abandoned house with a steel reinforced door broken off the hinges. The windows of the shed were boarded up from the outside. The only thing inside the shed was a queen size bed with shredded, partly singed white sheets.
From Redditor /u/RogueLeader096:
I found a [deceased] man in a tree… I am a seasonal ranger for my local forest district. The rest of the rangers say we find about one [self-harm victim] a year, so here was the one for the year. When we go around opening parks each day, we drive through to make sure everything is OK. In this instance, I was driving through, and had just lost sight of the road when I saw a man hanging from a tree in a clearing. He had hung himself.
I called the cops […] the [medical examiner] took an hour to show up, and he was the only one with a ladder long enough to cut the guy down…. so I stared at a [deceased] guy in a tree for an hour.
rom Redditor /u/smokeythemarshmallow:
The scariest experience I had as a back-country park ranger in Washington State was being stalked by a cougar for a day and a half. I was hiking up an unpopular trail up to an old shelter and had that creepy ‘being watched’ feeling. I had seen fairly fresh cougar scratches and [droppings] along the trail but that’s pretty common up here so I wasn’t worried at all. That night I camped at the shelter, which only had three walls and a roof. I felt uneasy all night and hardly slept. At one point (chiding myself for being paranoid) I arranged my emergency foil tarp around my sleeping bag so at least I could hopefully hear something if it approached me as I slept.
The next day I found FRESH [droppings] and scratches on the trail I had hiked in on. About a mile past the shelter I found a mostly-eaten deer in some dense brush off the trail. Cougars often keep [deceased prey] stashes throughout their territory for later snacking. Now a cougar won’t usually tangle with a human, but here I am a five foot tall, 100 pound sack of flesh and bones at least 13 miles out from any other humans. I decided to cut short my three-day trip, and hot-footed it out of there. The last two hours of hiking through dusk in a dense forest was the most hair-raising hike I’ve ever had. I didn’t know I was capable of being that hyper-vigilant.
From Redditor /u/Tingeoftheging:
I was surveying a remote restoration site near an old trail and I heard someone walking up a nearby path. All the hair on the back of my neck stood on end, so I grabbed all my stuff and started casually walking down the trail like I belonged there. I turned the corner and there was a shirtless guy swinging a crowbar around in circles, and when he saw me he started yelling, ‘I’VE GOT A CROWBAR! I’VE GOT A CROWBAR!’ I think I nodded at him, squeaked something like, ‘Nice crowbar,’ and then ran the mile or so back to my truck.
From Redditor /u/Felicity_Badp*rn:
Camping 80+ miles from any thing resembling civilization. Lying in the tent talking before falling asleep when all of the sudden a [shot] rings out no more than 100 yards away. Then hearing the sound slowly travel away. Then quiet.
From Redditor /u/YYURYYUBICURYY4ME:
US Forest Service here: dog skeleton, still leashed to a tree, bullet hole in skull.
From Redditor /u/NotSoSingleBuck:
The oddest thing (that is, my unsolved mystery), was the abandoned camp next to the trail. Camping outside of designated campsites is a big no-no, and I was surprised as all get-out to walk around the corner one day and find a tent set up directly next to the trail. The trail ran along a nice stream, and was a very tranquil spot. Inside, I found a cloth sleeping bag, some dirty clothes, LOTS of food (big cans of Spaghetti-os, and what looked like some leftovers from a refried beans and rice dinner), and a teddy bear. Everything reeked of cigarette smoke. I was reticent to confiscate everything and leave the individual out there with nothing, but I did take all the food and pack it to a secure food storage box along the way back to my cabin. I left a note explaining where I had taken the food, and that they needed to move camp.
I was unable to return to the tent for two weeks (way too long to leave it sitting there, next to the trail). It was basically untouched when I returned. Some trail crew folks had checked it out and let me know, but that was probably it. I packed up the rest and hauled it out. I spent some time poking around the area, but never saw any other signs of life. It was obviously someone who was not prepared for camping out in the back-country, judging by the food, equipment, and the teddy bear….I just don’t know. Everything: clothing, gear, etc., indicated just one individual.
From Redditor /u/nrages:
[I] have been a ranger in the southern Canadian Rockies for a few years. One Sunday morning, I was doing my daily patrols, saw some smoke from afar, and thought I would check it out. When I arrived on the scene, there was a group of people half-naked (only sexual parts exposed), dressed up as animals all curled up in a ball passed out on the ground. Probably one of the weirdest things I have come across.
From Redditor /u/infinus5:
Were in the middle of nowhere, no other humans for at least 40 kilometers and were hearing this unearthly shrieking sound. We run out into the forest, heading down hill to the lowlands next to the river and watched as a group of maybe six wolves chased down a bull moose.
The animal had a massive gash in its side. It had been gored by yet another predator which was following up from the rear: a full-grown male grizzly bear.
I thought I was watching a movie, like one of those things you only see in nature documentaries. We followed from a distance of maybe 250 metres, while the bull moose desperately tried to cross the river, it didn’t make it.
The wolves descended on their prey, dragging it onto shore while it was still kicking and shrieking in agony. The wolves didn’t get their prize for long as the grizzly was done watching and charged the pack of wolves, which broke up at the first charge, then attacked. The massive bear broke two of the pack against the ground, then the others slinked back into the woods. They didn’t go far from the [prey remains], knowing the bear would have its fill, and they would have theirs sooner or later.
It was a battle that you only hear about from First Nations. That was the moment I realized why we were not the top of the food chain at that moment.
From Redditor /u/Zouea:
[I saw] the remains of a plane that had crashed into a cliff. Found out later that it [went down] a few years before and there had just never been the proper resources to remove the wreckage, but finding a place you know people have [perished] in is weird.
From Redditor /u/shiny_brine:
My scariest wilderness encounter was at about two AM while maintaining fire line on a 300-acre fire caused by a lightning strike. I needed to take [pee] and the rule is you don’t [urinate] on the fire, so I walked over towards a stump outside the fire line. I was about 50 feet away from the stump when it walked away. It was a black bear.
From Redditor /u/radiovstv:
I was out camping in the middle of nowhere, and just before dawn, I heard this huge boom that woke me out of my sleep. I packed up for a hike and set out towards the sound. After about a five kilometer hike, I found the smoldering remains of a what I think was a moonshine still. It could have been a meth lab. There was at least one very [mangled] body, but it looked like one guy got out in one piece.
From Redditor /u/Cal1gula:
While out in full fog, my friend and I figured we were the only people silly enough to go for a hike in the cold rain and fog. There was one other truck in the parking lot when we arrived. Well… after a few miles in, near the top of the mountain we were climbing, we found the guy. He was in his underwear and had a pillow and a walking stick. That was it. I don’t know if we interrupted his nap but he got up and left when we came upon him.
From Redditor /u/BeardsuptheWazoo:
A pickup truck that had been driven off the 1200 road up in the Cascade Mountains above Washougal. It was totaled. I hiked down to it and checked it out. No signs of injury, so maybe it was just pushed down after being stolen. But behind the truck seat was a used pair of women’s panties. I called the cops with its location, don’t know what ever came of it.
From Redditor /u/Bobdylansdog:
Working as a ranger in western Queensland, I saw three wedgetail eagles rounding up some feral goats. It looked like mum and dad were teaching junior how to pick the weak goat – diving down on them and separating the weak young from their parents. Finally the large eagles were picking up the young kid on their fly-through, lifting it up a couple of meters then dropping it. Not supernatural, just strange and cool.
You don’t have to live or work in the wilderness to have a terrifying experience – simply visiting there to experience the nature can turn creepy, as many backpackers have found out. We’ll share some of their stories up next.
Everyone loves scary stories, right? Especially when they’re purported to be real. And the desolation of backpacking just lends itself so well to weird occurrences. These creepy backpacking tales will make you question if you really need to do a solo trip through Europe to find yourself – watching The Travel Channel might be a safer route to take. Some of the people in these stories were exploring new countries. Other were just exploring nature for a few days. But these backpackers have some truly terrifying stories to tell.
Reddit user cmvr2256 told a terrifying story about backpacking in the Alabama wilderness with his brother. He was 12 at the time; his brother was 26. They were on their third night in the woods when two strangers wandered into their camp, asking if they had seen any wild hogs. In fact, he and his brother had seen some, because wild hogs were common in the area, and they told the strangers where they had last seen the animals. The two guys hung around a bit longer, then left. They gave cmvr2256 a weird vibe, but neither he nor his brother thought much of it.
He and his brother went to sleep in their tent. Sometime near midnight, cmvr2256 was woken up by the sound of shouting and dogs barking. The sounds were close, only about 100 yards away. His brother heard the dogs too, but said it was probably the guys from before. It’s common to use dogs to hold hogs down when hunting. Hunting for hogs at night is definitely strange, but at least it’s a somewhat rational explanation, right?
*****Fast forward what was probably another three hours, around 2 am. I had managed to sleep pretty well after first hearing the hog hunters when I woke up to my brother squeezing my shoulder firmly, saying, “Wake up, put your shoes on quick and follow me, be as quiet as you can.”*****
They climbed up a hill overlooking their campsite and hid in some bushes, watching.
*****The group of hunters had been steadily approaching our camp and by this time (30 or so minutes) had reached it. There were five of them and like three or four dogs. They all looked relatively young, but two had either rifles or shotguns, and the dogs were going crazy, obviously having smelled our scent. We laid there for awhile longer when out of nowhere they started screaming “WHERE Y’ALL AT?!?!” and firing into the woods at random. My brother dragged me back behind the crest of the hill and threw himself on top of me. Thankfully in our position on top of the hill we were protected from any gunfire. They shot maybe five or six more times and then started walking back the direction they had come. They got maybe 100 yards away when I heard a blaring siren and saw emergency lights flashing through the woods. Turns out my brother had called the Forest Service Office on a satellite phone my family has for emergencies while I was asleep and they had sent out Forest Service officers and game wardens to our area of the wilderness.*****
They never found out if the hunters were caught.
LadyEmry was backpacking through Asia. She was supposed to take a plane from Malaysia to Singapore to start the next leg of her trip, but missed her flight and had to take a bus instead. It was dirty and covered in cockroaches, but she figured she could deal with it for a few hours.
*****The man next to me was Asian, around late thirties to early forties. He was very interested in me, asking me many questions about where I was going (I told him Singapore), was I alone, where I would be staying, how old I was, did I have a boyfriend… I made awkward but polite small talk with him, making up a fictional boyfriend. Eventually it got late and we both tried to get some sleep. Fear of the cockroaches kept me awake though, so I spent an hour or so just lying there with my eyes closed attempting sleep when I felt a hand brush against my left thigh. I ignored it, since maybe it was an accident. Maybe his hand had just slipped from the armrest? I felt it again, squeezing my leg, then the hand moved to my right thigh. Ah. Not an accident.*****
She told him to stop touching her. Thankfully, he did.
*****I managed to get a tiny bit of sleep, then awoke at 6.30 am when the bus stopped. The man shook my shoulder and told me “C’mon! Get out! It’s Singapore!” The time seemed right so, groggy, I hopped off the bus and went up to the bus conductor to get my luggage. Luckily for me, he remembered I was traveling to Singapore, as he told me to get back on the bus – this was still Malaysia, we hadn’t crossed the border yet. Singapore was the next stop. I turned around to see the man staring at me from a large group of men clustering around the bus and very quickly boarded the bus again. As we drove away I wondered if he’d done that deliberately- then I remembered that I had told him Singapore was my destination the night before, and he knew this wasn’t Singapore.*****
That story almost ended with, “And no one ever saw LadyEmry again.”
MacintoshEddie shared a weird tale from July 2015:
*****I was just camping last weekend, and when I woke up the next morning someone had unzipped my rain fly the wrong way. It seems kind of unlikely that I woke up in the night, unzipped the tent, unzipped the rain fly, then re-zipped the tent and fell back asleep without noticing it. I would blame the dog, but he was sleeping in the camper. Not sure if the conservation officers would ever be unzipping things at night. *****
Okay, then! Don’t know why someone would want to try and soak a backpacker, their tent, and all their belongings, but also don’t really want to find out…
Sometimes, a friend of a friend can be even creepier than a total stranger. In this case, belovelife and her boyfriend arranged to spend a night with a relative of one of her friends while backpacking through Germany.
*****So we arrive at his house and knock on the door and a scary old lady opens up looking puzzled. We explain that we spoke with her husband and we are friends with his relative. She leads us in. The whole situation is strange and scary. After a couple of minutes, her husband arrives and we sit with him and talk a bit over tea. When nighttime arrives, he leads us to the basement, we go down the stairs and he explains where everything is, then he goes up the stairs and locks the door behind him. That was my scariest night EVER. We didn’t sleep at all that night thinking horrible thoughts of what might be, but when morning came and we heard the door unlock we jumped up and ran out of the house never looking back.*****
Seasicksquid was kidnapped while backpacking through Africa. Yes, KIDNAPPED.
*****I was stranded in Zimbabwe with no money, working my way across the country. I made some friends and we went out one night to a bar… I was the only white person, and one of very few females there. Had a blast though. My friends were watching out for me while I was in the bathroom, but as I was coming out, some other guys grabbed me and threw me into the trunk of a car and knock me out. I woke up later to find myself locked in a dark room…voices outside, not in English. A couple hours pass, who knows how long… a guy comes in with a gun screaming at me in Shona. Mind you, I have NO clue what the hell is going on… he grabs me, still waving that freaking gun in my face, and throws me outside. My friends are there, apparently negotiating my release. I get butted by the gun, and wake up at my friend’s house. No clue WTF happened. Still to this day. My friends won’t tell me, to this day, what exactly was going on.*****
WaffleHump calls this story “Lakeside Lunatic,” and it’s not hard to understand why. He and a buddy were backpacking through the Adirondacks when they had an encounter with someone. “Creeper” doesn’t even begin to describe this guy.
*****We hiked about five miles into a small lake and set up camp on a small beach. This was not a heavily trafficked area, and we did not expect to run into anyone. Our first night there, as we were sitting around the fire, we saw a flashlight moving on the other side of the lake around 10:30. This was fairly unusual, however, we did not think too much of it. But, as time went on, this flashlight kept moving around the lake, getting closer to our campsite… Once it was clear that the person (or people) were heading for our campsite, we moved off into the woods nearby to see who wandered up. Now, the moment of truth: the flashlight comes near the light of our fire and it is one man. He has a beard and is probably in his mid-40s. The scary part was, he was carrying what turned out to be a pump-action shotgun. He walked around the campsite a few times, and then proceeded to enter our tent. After rummaging around for a minute or so, he came out and started yelling “I know you’re out there, why don’t you come and say hello?” My friend and I remained motionless under a hemlock tree about 50 yards away. That is when the man proceeded to fire his shotgun into the woods (not too far from where we were). He also swung his flashlight around several times. After what felt like hours, he grabbed my friend’s backpack and a few articles of clothing we had drying off near the fire and threw them in to burn. Thankfully the man moved off from where he had come after a little while. We waited until his flashlight was on the other side of the lake, ran out, grabbed everything we could fit in my pack and took off (it was now around 2 or 3 am) … We immediately went to the police department and reported it, where we also spoke with some forest rangers. That was it, I haven’t heard anything back from the police.*****
A few years ago, Noahcarr went on a solo backpacking trip for five days and hiked more than sixty miles.
*****I had brought a Kodak Disposable Camera with me on the trip, and I wanted to get my pictures developed as soon as I could, because I was eager to show my friends and family the wildlife and gorgeous views I had seen. After a couple of days, I got a call from Costco, where my pictures were being developed, that I could come and pick them up. I didn’t have the patience to wait to see all of the pictures, so I opened the package up as soon as I got into my car. They had come out wonderfully, and then I got to the last set of pictures. There were 10 pictures I didn’t remember taking. The pictures were of me. Sleeping. In my tent. Somebody was in my tent.*****
In February 2015, arrojafuera found a notebook at a hostel while backpacking through Peru. It was a collection of travelers’s stories, and the first entry asked each person who wrote in the notebook to hold onto it for no more than two weeks, then pass it along to another traveler. The first five entries were normal backpacking stories. The sixth, though, was different.
The sixth entry in the book was written on Valentine’s Day 2016. The narrator wrote that he had grown up on a farm in Nebraska, dropped out of high school, and gotten a job at a slaughterhouse to pass the time. His father was an alcoholic, and his mother had taken off a few years before. Then a new family moved in next door.
*****So, this family moves into the next farm over, maybe a half-dozen acres away. There was Daddy Gendlin – Tom, I think – his fat wife Leslie, and the two daughters, Marilyn and Martha… The whole clan moved in with a half-dozen dogs. Two of ’em were enormous animals; black-lab-mastiff crosses with heads the size of propane tanks. Scary, loud animals. But like I told you, I was working a lot and didn’t get a chance to meet them, really.*****
The girls were about six and ten years old. And the dogs? As our narrator discovered, they were loud. The first night after the Gendlins moved in, they wouldn’t stop barking. So Papa Gendlin comes over to the narrator’s farm, and talks to the narrator’s dad. Gendlin says the dogs only bark when they’re threatened and he doesn’t know what was up with them last night, but it won’t happen again.
*****The next night, the dogs are barking again. Papa Gendlin comes over the next morning, says he found blood on his property line. His dogs were fine, but he couldn’t figure out what they tore into. There was no carcass, no trace of what had left the blood. He asked if there were any local dogs that might have wandered onto his farm.*****
The narrator’s dad says no, there are no other dogs around. Papa Gendlin moves on. The narrator goes to work, comes home, and sleeps through the night. No dogs barking. The next day, all his coworkers are talking about the Gendlins. Someone had broken into their house overnight and slaughtered them all. The youngest girl wasn’t found until months later, her body mostly disintegrated in a corn field.
*****The cops came and talked to me and Dad about it a few times. They made a big deal about Daddy Gendlin’s visits. They stopped coming around after a while, though. They didn´t arrest anyone on account of the killings – the cops, I mean. They kept asking the dumbest question, too. They thought it was so strange that the dogs would make all that noise for the first two days and just sit quiet the night of the killings. They were all fine, by the way – the dogs, I mean, not a scratch on ’em. Personally I don’t trust dogs much in matters of personal security. Anyone can make friends with ’em. All you need is a little meat.*****
What happened to the horse orilykid found while backpacking through Yellowstone National Park? We can only guess.
*****I was backpacking in Yellowstone above the tree line at about 10,500 feet. We were hiking on a ridge above a lake when all of a sudden we came across a horse skull. No body, just the skull, pretty cool-looking. We get to our campsite not too far away from the lake near where we found the horse skull. When we climb down to the lake, we find the body of the horse rotting on the edge of the lake with negative film strips floating in the water and laying around the shore near the body.*****
Lycaon_guy backpacked across China and came home with a story he’ll never forget.
*****I was backpacking in western China and ran across a military rocket, cached at an abandoned campsite in an area with a fairly large anti-Chinese (terror-oriented) nomadic population. I noped out of there as fast as I could.*****
NocturneLark was backpacking through eastern Washington and found a cave, which can accurately be described as being full of nightmares.
*****A few years ago I was backpacking in eastern Washington with some friends of mine. I don’t know how well you guys know eastern Washington, but its pretty much dust, sagebrush, and dirt. We decided to hike up onto the top of this canyon, and from up there you could see miles and miles of straight nothing. After a few hours of traversing the top of the cliff, we eventually found a little crevasse that kind of took us a little ways underground, into a pretty decent-sized cave. The cave was filled with little bones, like mice and bats. In one of the corners of the cave, there was a rock fixture that jutted up from the ground and almost made a separate “room,” so to speak. In the room, we found lots of scratches on the walls, photographs, and three bottles with notes in them. While this was kind of off-putting on its own, we figured it was just some sort of joke and we’d find silly S.O.S. notes in the bottles. The scariest part about it all was the photographs were super ordinary, of families and normal people, and two of the notes in the bottles made no sense at all. While it was English, it was pretty much straight gibberish, none of the words made sense in context with the other words. The third bottle had a super ordinary letter talking about what they’ve been up to – something you’d send to a fairly distant relative after not talking with them for a while. I don’t really know what to think of it all, I feel like it could easily have been someone just joking around but it was almost too strange for that.*****
Apparently, SquidwardsFriend doesn’t find Care Bears comforting. Though in this instance, it makes sense why they’d be so scared of a children’s toy.
*****It was just me and a buddy backpacking. After hiking all day, we found a good spot next to the creek to set up the tent before it got dark. We got everything set up, made a fire, cooked some food, then sat around and talked before going to sleep (my point here is that we’d spent a good amount of time in the area and should’ve seen anything weird laying around). I was first to wake up and leave the tent in the morning (we set it up with the door facing the creek). First thing I saw when I unzipped the door was a blue, dirty stuffed bear (it looked like an old Care Bear) sitting on a rock next to the creek. It was positioned sitting up and facing our tent. Obviously, at that point I was freaked the fuck out. I woke my buddy up, who was equally as freaked out when he saw it. No way my friend did it either since I was last asleep and first awake, and he was just as creeped out as I was. We never heard anything weird that night, no one bothered us, and none of our stuff was messed with. We cut the trip two days short and headed back to the car (another reason I’m sure he didn’t do it). Best explanation I have is that a creeper was watching us from back in the treeline and we had absolutely no clue, which is a pretty sobering thought.*****
GreenEggsConHam seems a little flippant about their mother nearly being assaulted while on a solo backpacking trip.
*****My mom in her 20s was a huge hiker and backpacker. On one solo hike at a local mountain, after hiking a few miles, to the point where there’s not many people and it’s fairly secluded, she heard a voice from off the trail. Something like “Come herrrreeeee, pretty mama.” A older man in a dirty, baggy jacket, with no pants or underwear, came sprinting out of the bushes after her. She turn, ran, and got away fine. Sure makes hell of a story to tell though.*****
TheNumberX had a great time backpacking across America.
*****I backpacked from California to New York. I saw enough weird stuff to fill a bucket. On my second day out, I was hiking through some bushes, looking for a place to camp, and I found a compound. Two trailers – both beat up and worn down to the point of questionable livability, numerous junked vehicles, and a shed. On the shed it said, in huge spray painted letters: STEAL FROM ME AND (crudely drawn skull and crossbones). I…found somewhere else to camp.*****
A Reddit user told a truly terrifying story about their friend who was backpacking deep in the woods.
*****A good friend of mine was backpacking about 10 years ago when he found a cell phone deep in the woods that was still powered on with half a battery. There was nothing else around it or anyone nearby that it could have belonged to. He found it just far enough off of a trail that it very likely could have been thrown there… the last number dialed on it was 911. He turned it into police but nothing ever came of it that I can recall.*****
Thanks for listening. If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find all of my social media, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, visit the store for Weird Darkness t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases, and more merchandise, sign up for monthly contests, find other podcasts that I host, and find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise) and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.
WeirdDarkness® – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright, Weird Darkness.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:12-13
And a final thought… “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” – Mother Teresa
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.