If you go to a haunted house, you expect to jump. If you watch a paranormal show, you expect some sounds that can easily be mis-explained as paranormal. When we intentionally place ourselves in a scary situation for the sake of being scared, we kind of know it’s our imagination fueling the fear.
We’re looking for It and so we find It.
But what happens when we find It but weren’t looking for It.
The scariest things are real and familiar things that are either out of place or just … off … a bit in appearance, like the human features of a clown that don’t look quite human with all the make-up and don’t act like a normal person. All the jokes and slapstick in the world can’t overcome that feeling of … weirdness and unease.
(Nod to Stephen King there)
Someone on Reddit.com started a thread with the question, “For you Redditors who spend a lot of time in seclusion, what are some of your strange experiences.”
As if just waiting for the question to be asked, there were a ton of responses. And in typical Reddit fashion, they completely ignored the qualifier of spending “a lot of time in seclusion” and just shared some really weird experiences. I’ve selected a few to share.
Nothing here can be verified as true. These are just narratives without explanation.
In the following vignettes, the fear comes from imagining yourself suddenly and unexpectedly thrust into a tangible threat that defies explanation. It’s unnerving that such moments can happen. What would you do?
Maybe you’ve already been there.
“I was in the UP Michigan about twenty minutes outside Escanaba with my gf at the time and her family. On the way to her grandparents we’d pass by this loooong abandoned house. I wanted to stop and get a picture and explore.
“She wanted nothing to do with it so I went in alone. I spent maybe fifteen minutes rummaging around the fossils of someones life and then poked my head out the top window. She snapped a photo and said, “Can we [get out] of here now?”
“I went downstairs and I noticed a door I missed earlier. I opened it and the dim ambient light spilled down the first two steps into the cellar. Everything else wasnt black exactly but more like the complete absence of everything.
“My hair stood up and every cell in my body screamed at me to gently close the door, leave, and never come back there again.
“And I haven’t. But Im here typing this and my eyes are watering and I have goosebumps everywhere.”
“I spend a lot of time out in the Canadian north. One thing that happens that I will never get used to is when the forest stops.
“Late at night you often hear things running around and making lots of noise, these are small animals trying to act big and scary at a defensive tactic. Sometimes the noise just stops and everything is silent, no wind, animals, birds, or trees moving. At this time you know a top predator is near and is on the hunt. That’s one feeling I will never get used to.”
“Sorry for a “not me but someone else’s story” story, but here it is anyway: I used to work for the US Forest Service and sometimes worked with an older gentleman that had lots of interesting stories from his many years of life. But by far the most chilling tale was from when he was working in a very secluded area of wilderness and was walking through the forest when a thunderstorm hit. He had seen a opening in the hill a little while back and headed to it to take shelter. Once inside he shined his flashlight to check he wasn’t going to wake up a bear or something and found the skeleton of a man, sitting in a lawn chair, with a rifle rigged up so he had been able to shoot himself. The skeleton was still wearing jeans and a flannel shirt.”
“I was never really in seclusion, but I was a US Navy submariner. One time through the periscope, I saw a potted plant on a plank floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, several hundred miles from the nearest land.
“So out where I live it’s just outside of a town nestled at the bottom of mountains (FYI I live in Australia) and it’s not too secluded since I live with my family and you’ll generally come across someone’s property every 500 metres but there are some stretches where you won’t see a house for a km. One night my mum and I are coming home pretty late at night and we we’re just talking and listening to the radio.
“We come around a corner and we both saw this [expletive] creature that I still don’t know what it is till this day. But it had the body the size of a medium dog, mangy looking black fur, an almost abnormally large head, big green eyes (which was the first thing I noticed) but most weirdly an almost impossibly long and thin neck, like it shouldn’t be able to support the large head.
“My mother and I are [expletive] cussing like sailors at this point and make a u-turn around to get a better look at it, and within 10 seconds there was no trace of it. Normally I’d brush this off as probably a wild dog but the body just didn’t look like a dig and it was too big for a cat, even a wild one.
“The real scary part is that my family and I have seen that maybe two to three times now almost exclusively late at night. However my SO’s father has said that he’s also seen it twice, once at night and once at daytime and I get the feeling we’re not the only people in town to have seen it.
“Edit: I don’t live in Tasmania, so it’s pretty much impossible or damn near impossible to be a Tasmanian devil or thylacine.”
“Driving through the middle of Montana one night, going about 100mph, passed something on the side of the interstate that looks like a mangled body. Turned around at the next pass, came back. Definitely a body. Put my lights on it and tried to call 911 on my cell. No reception. Got [out of] the car to see if i could pick up cell reception (lights were still on)…nothing there but the blood splatters. Drove away QUICK!”
“More mysterious than creepy. We were camping in Montana near Yellowstone park in a small campground. It was the off season and there were maybe 5 other people there, including a couple 3-4 spots down who had a large dog with them in their RV. I walked by and the dog was friendly so I petted it and talked to it and went on my way.
“Later that night I am sitting watching the sun set and reading on my Kindle when a cold nose bumps up under my arm, like dog does when it wants attention. I figured it was the dog and started scratching its head. Before i could look around, my friend came around the corner and froze with a look of fright on his face. I was scratching the head of a pretty big grey wolf. I had no idea what to do, I didnt want to keep touching it but I didnt want to stop and piss it off either. I scratched for maybe 5-10 more seconds and it just looked at me like “Thanks, bro” and walked off into the woods. We went to a hotel that night…”
“I live in the only house down a country road, everything else is pasture land and National Forest for several miles.
“About 3am, my three large dogs go absolutely nuts barking, which sends my husband and i flying out of bed to check on our livestock, assuming coyotes were in the yard.
“Before we could even get our shoes on, we hear muttering on our front porch. He grabs his rifle and whoever it is starts knocking on the door, with no real urgency but more like a casual visitor. I had my cellphone already dialing the cops, and my husband slid up to the peephole. A woman right around her late 20s-early 30s was standing outside, patiently waiting a few minutes and gently knocking on the door, not fidgeting or nervous, not being aggressive.
“My husband said, “Ma’am, the cops are on the way. If you need help, they’ll be here in just a few minutes and you’re welcome to sit on the swing right there and wait on them, but if there’s anyone with you, we are armed in here and will not hesitate to shoot if anyone tries getting into this house.”
“He said she kind of smiled, not creepy but like she was glad her knocking woke someone up. “That’s okay, sir-i just wanted to let you know the thing in the woods is coming, and he’ll be here soon. Good luck.”
“He said she turned around and walked down the driveway like she hadn’t a care in the world. The cops looked all over the place and couldn’t find her. It’s a ten minute drive to our driveway from the main road, with no houses until you get into town, another 20 minutes away. Freaked me out for weeks.”
You can read more by Doug at intothewilderness.net