"When I was very little, like five or six, my dad used to take me on all sorts of adventures through nature, especially when we owned a little cottage up in the Scottish Highlands. On this particular occasion, he had decided we were going to go hiking way up into the cliffs. I was quite happy with this development, as it meant a piggy back ride for at least 90% of the difficult bits. He wanted to get to one of the highest bluffs so we could have an amazing 360 degree view of the gorgeous meadows and some sparkling sea. After we reached the top plains, where it's all short, wind whipped grass and the view stretches for miles, he suddenly turned very still and very quiet.
Seeing your Dad look frightened when you're so young is scarier than anything your own mind can come up with, so I was pulling on his arm and going, 'What, what?!'
My mom is epileptic, so I thought he was about to have a seizure. I wouldn't know what to do because we're up on this huge cliff and no one is around. Just as fast as he started it, he snapped out of it, lifted me right up, and just started striding away without a word. Over his shoulder, I could see a big, pale yellow object stuck into the ground like an obelisk. I know now that it was a refrigerator.
When I was older and I asked my dad about it, he stiffened up. He finally told me that when he was a boy in the 50s, he and his friends had found an old style fridge in the woods. Being little boys, they opened it. They had found a body of another child, who by whichever means, had found themselves in the fridge and unable to get out. My Dad has never mentioned a gender, which leads me to believe he either witnessed a very decomposed individual, but I can't ask him. My Dad has seen some gnarly stuff, but for wherever reason, he will not discuss anything further about this dead child in the fridge, only that it happened.
So when I brought up our Highlands hike, I assumed it was the past trauma that triggered my dad. I said, 'Oh Dad, that's awful! So when you saw the fridge up there, it brought up the old memories?'
'No Amy,' he said in a very low tone, 'It was because it was the same fridge.'
"When I was younger, more stupid, and going to college in the north Georgia mountains, my friends and I would go night hiking a lot on the trails near campus. I got pretty familiar with the area, and being out in the wilderness at night in general, which probably made me too confident. One night the full moon was out, and the weather was perfect, so everything was basically washed in dim blue light. I was a little high and feeling adventurous, so I decided to go enjoy a night hike by myself. I took a flashlight, but this was around 2002, so no cell phone. I chose a super mile-long loop in pretty secluded area, but not exactly a national park or anything. I didn't even need my flashlight for most of it––I just hiked in the moonlight.
At some point I started feeling uneasy, and maybe a millisecond later, I heard a man's voice. It was coming from a good distance ahead of me, somewhere off in the woods, maybe from the right side of the trail. He was crying. I'm honestly an empathetic person and 99.9% of the time if I hear someone crying, I want to help them in some way. This time, I felt sick in the stomach, like a dry panic attack, if that makes sense. I remember coming very close to calling out to him, because my brain was trying to tell me he might be hurt, which was the only reason I hesitated. But it was like my body shut my voice down before I could say anything, and I knew I had to stay very quiet.
He was sobbing like he'd just found out a loved one had died, but also gibbering and almost-babbling, like he was less than a person. There was a shrillness under his crying, like he was holding back a scream, as if he'd been doing that all night. I remember it vividly. My spine is tingling like crazy even as I write this. It's hard to explain, but I knew deep down he wasn't right in the head. Nothing good would happen if he realized I was listening.
I went back the way I came. It was like I had tunnel-hearing and the only sound in the world was that crying. I was hyper-aware of everything else around me. I was beyond paranoid that I would snap a branch or snag my boot on something. I worried the man's crying would get louder if I wasn't paying razor sharp attention, getting closer, or turn into an outraged crazy-person scream.
Thankfully, it just faded the further I got from it and I made it back to my car. Still, I was convinced some wild-eyed hermit was going to rush out of the forest and bite me to death, right up to the second I locked my doors and got out of there. I finally had the rest of my panic attack on the drive back. I managed to park back at campus and I just sat in the car and collected myself. Adrenaline is powerful.
I have never felt a shred of guilt about leaving that guy crying out in the woods in the dark. I know I was slightly high, but 'slightly' is the key word there. I'm convinced to this day I was in very real danger that night. Sometimes I get that same sick feeling deep down, whenever I wonder what might have happened if the moon been less bright, or if I'd been more responsible and used my flashlight even once. He'd have seen me for sure."
"One night, my friend and I decided to hike to the top of this small mountain for a meteor shower. There were four of us, all around age 16 at the time. We drove over and started hiking. We took a break about half-way when we noticed there was a guy following us. He was in a business suit. We were weirded out, so we decided to start back up and walk a bit faster. But by the next time we stopped, he was like 10 feet away, so we bit the bullet to see if he’d just walk by. He didn’t.
He stopped and asked if we were there for the meteor shower and if he could walk with us. Super weird that a 30-something year old man in a suit wants to hike with four 16 year olds, but whatever. As we were walking, my friend and I notice he was walking really close to our friend (the only girl in the group), close enough to smell her shampoo. We got to the top, sat down, and he sat down almost right up on our friend. With her reasonably freaked out, I lied about why we had to leave early, and we promptly booked it out of there. We were nearly running the entire way down. When we got back to the car, we thought we ditched the weirdo. But no.
When we were all in the car our, my friend pointed out that this guy is FULL ON SPRINTING down the trail towards our car with a large stick. Being in the car, we just drove out of there very shook up. We chalked it up to some dude on some sort of narcotics. Two days later, we all got a text linking us to a news report about a guy that had strangled his wife and then proceeded to kill another girl later that night while on a hiking trail.
It was the guy. The same dude at the same hiking trail. We never told our parents about the incident and never went back there. EVER."
"I was out taking my dog to go to the bathroom. She was a rescue and terrified of everything, so getting her outside was always a task. It was 4am and she was whining at me. I figured she needed to go to the bathroom, so I put on some shoes and took her outside. It was a warm night, as it was July in Missouri. I’m walking down the street from my apartment complex and I see a figure standing under a streetlight, not moving. Thinking it was just a guy out for an early morning run, I kept walking. That’s when this figure started to move towards me in a weird fashion. He wasn’t jogging or walking. It looked like skipping.
I stopped walking. That’s when my dog started growling from behind my legs. I’d had her almost six months and had never heard her growl or bark. I turned around and walked back into my complex. I looked over my shoulder, and this dude is standing at the entrance to my apartment complex, head to toe in black clothing, grinning from ear to ear. I was fully in fight-or-flight mode and walked further back into the complex, while checking to make sure Smiles wasn’t following me. I started to walk towards my entrance and he turned and slipped away into the night.
I went and talked to my landlord the next day and she told me they’d had multiple reports of this guy skipping around the complex late at night, but whenever the cops showed up he was gone."
"I was walking home from a get-together very late at night. Suddenly, I notice a man walking about a block behind me. Two blocks later, he's getting closer. So I cross the street. What a coincidence. His route needs him to cross too. Half a block later I cross back. Oh, no. That's right, he crossed back too. About two or three blocks ahead, I see a homeless person pushing a shopping cart. I start jogging towards them and call out, 'Excuse me!? EXCUSE ME!? I'm so sorry, but do you mind if I walk with you a bit? Because this LUNATIC doesn't think I notice him FOLLOWING ME!'
The homeless person turns out to be elderly lady. She doesn't miss a trick, pulls out this huge Bowie knife from her cart, and waves it at the man in the lamplight so he can see. 'WHAT YOU GONNA DO!? YOU WANNA PLAY! GO HOME!'
This guy gets lost really fast. She was astounded that I approached 'someone like her', especially since it was not immediately obvious she was female from a distance in the dark. I was like, 'I knew he was trouble. I figured even if you were a man, you would be my best chance of survival.'
She walked with me for a bit more and we chatted about stuff in the moonlight. Nice lady."
"I was walking home after work one night. I normally got off around 7pm, and my nature walks home were uneventful. On this night, I covered a half shift for someone and worked until 11pm. There was a trail behind some train tracks I would take home, to avoid walking beside all the traffic. I came to realize that night how those trails were a lot different at 11pm than they were at 7pm.
I happened across a guy who was laying by his bike, moaning in pain. It didn't sound like real moaning, more like a kid's fake 'I have a tummy ache and can't go to school' moan. I also noticed his bike was standing up on its kickstand. It didn't make sense to me he would set his bike up properly, only to fall to the ground in pain. He saw me and called out to me for help, but I kept walking and turned to make my way back up towards the street. As I turn, I suddenly hear some shuffling around, and the previously 'hurt' gentleman yells at me, 'I'm gonna kill you!'
He hops on his bike and starts rushing towards me.
At this point, I'm most of the way up the incline going towards the railroad tracks that ran parallel to the street. As I get over the tracks, my would-be assailant proceeds to hit the tracks with his front tire and flips over his handlebars, hitting the ground hard. He is now moaning in pain for real and makes genuine calls for help. I used a pay phone at a gas station to call the cops and explain what happened. They get there and the officer explains to me this guy's a village idiot who does this nonsense to rob people. It was not the first time they've had to pick his butt up after he biffed on a bike trying to rob someone.
I told the officer he threatened to kill me and he laughed. This dude wasn't even armed. Apparently he has had his butt kicked more times than he can count using that little expression of his."
"I was walking around this little pond near my house alone, enjoying a wooded area full of trees, a bench, and a rope swing that went out over the water. I sat down on the bench to look at the stars, and I heard some rustling off to my right, towards the trees. Bears were not uncommon where I'm from, so I took out my flashlight and shone it around over there. I didn't see anything. It freaked me out, so I kept my flashlight on and my senses aware. I don't know why I stayed on the bench, because that's typical horror movie behavior.
A few minutes pass and I near nothing more, so I lean back into the bench and start to relax a bit. That's when I notice something in the tree in my peripheral vision. I couldn't tell what it was, but the branch was swaying slightly, and the rustling noise was back too. I don't think I've ever been that scared. I remember my heart was beating so fast. I stared at it for what seemed like forever, and the branch slowly stopped moving. The shape was still there. Bears do climb trees sometimes, so I was hesitant to run away in case that's what it was. After a while, I mustered up enough courage to shine my light at the tree.
It was a man. An actual man. In the tree. Crouched like some silent monkey. He had no expression on his face, but his eyes were open really, really wide. When my light landed on him, he started to move like he was going to come down, but I didn't stick around to see it happen. I jumped the bench and ran for the hills. I ran to the back door of my house and locked myself inside, without looking back once. I went around and made sure every window and door was locked. I even checked the attic.
I never go out alone anymore. I did call the cops, but they didn't find him and nothing came from it. I was paranoid for months after that and started carrying weapons and pepper spray whenever I went out at night, even if I wasn't alone. Be safe, my dudes."