Sometimes there's more to the forest than meets the eye. People went to Reddit to share their most jaw-dropping, bone-chilling moments in the woods. We scoured through for the best stories and have edited their responses for clarity.
"We have a camp that we visit during the hunting months and about every other weekend in between that. To get to our camp, you have to turn off of a major road onto a gravel road, drive about a mile, then turn onto another gravel road for about a half mile. It’s set between a few other camps, plus some residents that live out there. It’s quiet, for the most part. There are some coyotes and bobcats. Bobcats are the worst due to their terrible scream. It sounds like a woman crying for help. There has also been a black panther and wild dogs. 2013 we were at the camp for Thanksgiving. We hunted, fished, cooked, drank, all that good camp stuff.
One night, we’re sitting around a fire, swapping funny stories and just listening to the silence of the woods.
As we’re talking, we all hear, 'Help me!' At first, we thought it was a bobcat. We listened some more and heard it again. It was a man’s voice yelling 'help me!' repeatedly. Now, our first instinct was to grab our weapons. Second was to go towards the voice, but you never know what you will encounter in the woods. It was dark and cold. The hunters knew the area very well.
We called the police, and explained everything to the responding officers. The weird part was that we never once heard it while the officers were with us. Not once. The officers left and we heard the man again, repeating 'help me!'
About half an hour later, the officers came back and we didn’t hear any call for help. Again, silence. We all decided it was best to go inside our camp for the night. We never did find out anything. I’ve only been back to the camp once since then. Really freaked me out."
"I was camping in northern Ontario not far from Sudbury. Camp was a few hours hike from a gravel road that came off of a road near Tilton Lake.
It was about 15 of us hiking back after 2 days camping when we find ourselves in a clearing and decide to stop for a water break and to let the group catch up.
While waiting we started to hear someone yelling. The didn't say 'help me' but they were screaming 'HELP.' It sounded like a woman screaming for her life. More than half of the group just circled up and while most people where now crying of fear, a few of us pulled out weapons, started a fire, and called Sudbury police over satellite phone with our coordinates. Two of the group continued down the trail to guide the cops to the clearing while we waited and tried to calm those who were crying.
The shrieking stopped after 15 minutes of repeating and suddenly it was just silent. Very creepy. Eventually (maybe an hour later) about 6-8 cops with weapons came down the trail and told us to wait so they can investigate.
All they found was bone fragments and a lot of blood. They took us back to the highway and later in the year they called back the trip leader to let them know the blood they tested came back as not belonging to a human.
We also found on YouTube that deer and similar animals can make a screech for help that sounds like a woman - when they have had a punctured lung.
We all agreed that it was 99% likely that what we heard was a black bear killing a screeching deer and dragging it off before the cops arrived and it got dark.
It haunted me until we found that audio on YouTube and it was unmistakably the same sound we all heard that day in the forest."
"When my dad was in his 20s, he was staying with my mom at a small cabin in the woods of Colorado. It was fairly remote (there was another cabin about a mile away and a camp ground maybe 3 miles down the valley). Late one afternoon, he was out fishing on a nearby river by himself. As the light started fading, he decided to call it a day and head back to the cabin for dinner. As he was walking back through the woods, he got an eerie feeling that he was being watched, but he couldn't see anyone or anything. He kept walking back, and then suddenly he heard a stick break behind him. He stopped, looking back for the source of the sound, but still didn't see anything. He nervously kept walking back, a little quicker, and then heard another stick break, whirls around and still - nothing. This happens like three or four times, but every time he stopped to listen and look, there was total silence and nothing else moving. By the time he finally made it back to the cabin, it was nearly dark. He never did find out what was following him, but whatever it was left him alone after that. His best guess was a mountain lion stalking him or something. Really unsettling though."
"A few years back (When I was around the age of 14 and my brother was 9), my dad, my little brother, and I all went out deer hunting right before sun down. While we were walking through the woods, before we even got started, my little brother tugged on my arm and asked me if I saw 'that.' I said that it was probably his imagination and he let go of my arm. A few minutes later, I couldn't hear him walking behind us anymore, and turned around to find him gone. I quickly told my dad and we looked for him for at the least half an hour, when he walked over out of nowhere towards the both of us. He was covered in mud like he'd fallen somewhere. I worriedly asked where he'd gone and he just stared at me, telling me that he couldn't remember and thought that he had never left. The only thing that he said he could recall was walking a few steps away from us, after seeing a doe from behind him, and that's it. He told me that he genuinely hadn't remembered walking away from us and acted like no time had passed. He acted normally afterwards just as nothing had happened. I don't know if this is really scary to anyone else, but it shook my entire family, including myself, quite a bit."
"My sister was in Colorado last year and went hiking with her friend. The plan was to hike up the mountain, stop midway and camp, then finish the hike the next morning. They started their hike and stopped for camp midway. She said it started dumping rain that night which meant the top would most likely be snow. The next morning they continued their hike, but it started getting complicated. Her friend only wore Chaco sandals and not proper hiking boots as they didn’t expect the snow. They stopped at a creek and were deciding if they wanted to turn back on account they weren’t prepared properly when they heard a faint 'help me.' They both stood still. They heard it again. They decided to follow up the creek to the woman’s voice. They got to a clearing that was covered in snow and found a woman laying in it in basic athletic clothing (leggings, light pull over jacket, and athletic shoes). My sister said her legs were swollen, discolored and had nasty cuts on them. My sister asked her how long she had been out there and the woman said only a few hours.
My sister was like okay we need to get you down this mountain. The woman was like 'no I need to go up the mountain that’s where my car is parked.' My sister was like, no, there is no driving access at the top of the mountain which was a sign that this woman was confused. They get her down the mountain and my sister just kept saying how confused this woman was. They get to the bottom and they find this woman’s car. My sister couldn’t get cell service to call 911 during this. Anyways, my sister tells this woman she’s going to drive her to the hospital but the woman is standing strong that she would just like to go back to her bed and breakfast. My sister takes her there while driving this woman’s car. Once the woman is at the bed and breakfast she thanks them and goes in.
My sister spoke to the owners and was like you have to call a medic, she is severely confused and not acting normal. They call a medic and transport her to a hospital. Turns out this woman is from Chicago, has low blood pressure and it was her first time ever hiking a mountain - she was also alone. She had passed out during her hike, then it dumped snow on her. She was hypothermic and only thought she’d been out for a few hours - she was out overnight in the dark, cold and alone. I couldn’t imagine the terror she must have felt. Anyways, my sister went and saw her at the hospital and the woman thanked her for saving her life. They still lightly keep in touch."
"When I was 6, my babysitter was this nice middle-aged lady and her equally nice husband. My twin brother and I were always at their house in the summer and we hung out with the couple's 2 grand kids, another boy and girl sibling set of similar ages. This was literally my happy place. This lady had the best movie collection for a 6 year old. It is where I saw The Last Unicorn for the first time, as well as The Little Mermaid, The Great Mouse Detective, the first Land Before Time, and The Brave Little Toaster. And her husband was a phenomenal cook by a kid's standard. Every day was chicken nuggets and pizza day. They had kid size 4-wheelers, a pool, a huge kids playhouse and jungle gym set up in the back yard. And they put on the best 4th of July show in the county for years. 6 year old me was the happiest girl on the freaking planet. They were some of the wealthiest people in our area too. Neither one of them worked so I have no idea where the money came from but I didn't care.
One day, mid-summer, the little girl and I decided to go pick flowers that grew at the edge of the forest. We thought it was baby's breath but it was really just poison hemlock (seriously). Kids, right?
So we are walking along the edge of this dense forest in the middle of banjo country in southern Ohio. This was in 1990 so we weren't worried about stranger danger because we were just so far out in the country. The adults did worry about animals from time to time because the next county over has bears and mountain lions but us 6 year olds were fearless. We ended up walking onto the neighbor's property picking these flowers when we found a break in the tree line. It was an old, well-worn path leading into the woods. For whatever reason (ie., we were dumb), she and I decided to ditch our flowers and take the path in the woods and see what it led to.
The path itself was unremarkable. Well-worn but unmaintained as there were tree roots growing up through the path in places. We came upon a little bridge at one point. We were both a little confused about it because we had been told there were no creeks in our area yet here was a bridge. It wasn't a particularly old bridge either. But the creek bed under it was dry as a bone. Weird. We kept going because... why not, I guess?
I'm not sure how far we walked beyond the bridge but we ended up in a clearing with stones all around it in a circle. The clearing was big enough that there was a gap in the trees that allowed the sunlight in. And in the middle of the circle was a massive stone walled well. It was big enough that there were stairs built into the walls in a huge spiral. My little friend was mesmerized by the well. She found a rock and tossed it in. We never heard it hit the bottom. As we were searching for more rocks to throw in, I was rooting around in the brush by the bigger stones and actually looked at the big ones. These were not normal stones. Nope. I was a smart cookie, already reading at a 3rd grade level the summer before 1st grade (something I loved to show off to anyone that would sit still for 3 seconds or more) so I could read the stupid stones. There were names and dates cut into rough hewn stone. We were in a graveyard. In the middle of the woods. Far away from our adults.
I remember getting chills realizing this. Moments later, my little friend got really quiet and poked me. She pointed to the edge of the clearing on the other side of the well. Thankfully, not the side that we had entered the graveyard on. My little heart would have exploded, I think. She was pointing at a dark shape standing just inside the woods facing us. We both stood up very slowly and stared at this dark shape. At some point, the little girl took my hand and tried to get me to leave but I couldn't move. The fear was paralyzing. It didn't move until the clouds covered the sun and our bright, inviting clearing became slightly shadowy. Then, the shape moved. It was an adult shaped/sized thing wearing long dark robes with a hood over its face.
We were stupid kids but we weren't that stupid. We both turned tail and ran as fast as our little legs allowed. My friend was faster than me because I was a chunker so she made it to the bridge first. I wasn't far behind her though. I looked back after we got over the bridge and that figure was standing at the edge of the bridge. Just standing there. I screamed, peed myself, and kept running. I tripped over a tree root in the path, ripping my pants and shredding my knee in the process. I scrambled up and kept running.
We burst out of the trees like our hair was on fire, screaming and crying, and made a beeline for the girl's grandparent's house. Her grandfather was in the backyard planting something and came running when he heard us. We were absolutely hysterical and nothing could calm us down. We spent hours sobbing while the grandma and grandpa got us bathed and in clean clothes and tried to soothe us. The more they said there was no one in the woods, the more hysterical we became.
It took both of us months before we'd even go onto the back deck again. Everyone was convinced we made up the story with our hyperactive imaginations but the adults humored us. The kids, not so much.
The next summer, we were forced into the back yard for the annual 4th of July party. Tons of kids. They all knew our story and one of the teenage boys said he didn't believe us. He bullied us for hours until we told him where the path in the woods was. And then he made us go with him. Cue another incident of me peeing my pants. Yay! To my utter relief, when we got to where she and I both remembered the path being, there was nothing. No path. Just a very heavy growth of hemlock. He tried to wade through it and ended up with chiggers from neck to foot. And he got in a ton of trouble for dragging us kids down there once we got back. So she and I were relieved not to go back but from then on, all those kids thought we were stone cold liars.
Fast forward 15 years later (16 years after this all happened), my mom mentioned that the grandpa passed away a few months prior while I was off to school. I was 22 at that point and had mostly forgotten the events in the woods. I expressed my condolences and asked what happened. I mean, this guy was a friend of my mom's for 20+ years. My mom started being evasive so I got curious and pressed her. She said that he had hung himself in their garage. Jesus. Wow, okay. That sucks.
And then she told me the bad part. His granddaughter (my little friend) was the one that found his body. All around him were notebooks with crazy person writings that he had amassed over a very long time, some dating back to the early 70s apparently, detailing his dealings with demons and spirits and other crazy things. He had left notes for all of his loved ones. The note for his granddaughter was an apology for not protecting her from the demon at the well. And the note for his wife was an apology for leaving her as it was the only way to protect her and the other people he loved. It seems that the explanation for their wealth was deals struck with the demons. After a few decades of these deals, they had started coming to collect on the debts the old man owed and what they wanted was for him to kill his family in payment so he killed himself instead.
It was the craziest thing I had ever heard but it made total sense. Everyone wrote the guy off as having a serious mental health issue; they threw the journals away, buried him, and moved on. No investigations. Nothing.
I can rationalize everything we saw and experienced as some kind of weird psychological reaction to picking hemlock. That wouldn't explain how both of us had the exact same delusion though. I know what I saw was real. I might not remember all the details nearly 30 years after the fact but I remember the fear. And I still have a scar on my knee that had never faded. I'm not afraid of the woods or the dark or anything. But I have a very healthy respect for the dead and I don't mess with demon stuff. In the immortal words of Ducky, Nope, nope, nope."
"I've lived on the high desert for most of my life (6000' above sea level). I was out riding my horse alone in the absolute middle of the Badlands (no trees, and hardly any brush to speak of so sounds carry a long way and there is nowhere to hide for long) when all of a sudden his ears perk up. I feel my skin start to crawl like we're being watched. My normally mellow gelding, starts to panic. I start to feel really dizzy, and my horse stumbles. I black out.
I come to an hour or so later about 3 Miles away from the inciting incident still on my horse. He is frothing with sweat and shaking all over. I'm still not sure what happened. I had plenty of water and snacks. It was 65ish Degrees and breezy, so I don't believe weather or dehydration/hunger were a factor. I have never before or after had a fainting spell, and that was the most reliable, quiet horse I've ever owned."
"My friends and I were high in the woods deep in the Sierra Nevadas in the California back country and decided to travel a few miles off a path to reach a river and shoot at targets with our 22. The path is littered with deer bones and claw marks from bears so we're freaking out a bit but finally make it to where we set up camp.
I notice off in the distance about a half mile upstream the river there are two men walking towards us in the exact direction we are firing our weapon. I yell at my friends for them to stop shooting and we just watch these men, wide-eyed and in their late 20's and early 30's walking quickly alongside the river when suddenly they both decide to jump in.
I should say at this point that the river is moving very quickly and could easily sweep you under and is definitely not safe for a casual swim. We watch as both the men are swept away towards us downstream. One of my friends, we'll call him Mike, decides to be brave and get close to the edge and extend a piece of wood for them to grab as they're about to pass us. Both the men latch on and Mike is the hero pulling them to shore.
When everyone catches their breath we asked the men what they were doing out here as it's super remote and they were at least 3 or 4 miles from the nearest trail and why they both jumped in the deadly river they give us short answers like 'Oh we were just having fun boys' and 'Just free swimming the river!' while they're leering at us.
Immediately the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and every fiber in my body tells me they mean us harm. We tell them we're going to head back to the trail and they say they're coming with us. Given that we're so far off from civilization and these guys are clearly high on something and a danger to themselves we reluctantly agree to allow them to follow us.
It was the most quiet hike of my life. I felt them trying to feel out if they could take us in a fight. There were three of us and two of them and we had a 22 but were young squirrelly adults. I don't know how to explain it but the hike was us constantly positioning against each other with body language without ever directly fighting. They would get close to the weapon and try to both be near it then we would counter by getting between them and the weapon as naturally as possible while hiking up a path that was littered in bear claw marks and dung. We finally make it to the car and they decide we weren't suitable targets and moved on. No idea what two random guys were doing risking their life in a freezing cold raging river in the Sierra Nevadas, or why they felt the need to size up if they could attack three random teens but I'm glad nothing happened that day."
"We lived on the Hopi/Navajo reservation growing up. My mom and I were feeding the horses very early in the morning before I went to school- it was still almost completely dark out- when we hear this low, dim humming noise. The horses start acting really nervous, ours included. Sweating, pacing, nostrils flared, eyes showing white- the works. We feed them and walk out from the barn/shack trying to figure out what’s happened. We look up after scanning the horizon for anything (squinting as best as we could) and there is a black triangle like thing hovering right over us. It was almost completely silent. It was perfectly over us so you couldn’t see it unless you looked straight up and it felt like it was so close I could touch it. It was pretty large too- like a long triangle. Smooth and black. Thinking back, it was actually quite impressive and beautiful.
Mom mom grabbed me and ran back into the shed. This was before cellphones were really a thing so she just clutched me and told me not to make a sound. We waited for what felt like ages but was probably only 2-3 more minutes. The horses weren’t even eating, they just paced the shed inside back and forth. Finally the horses started settling down to eat and my mom went outside. It was gone.
We felt like we had the flu the rest of the day and I stayed home. We never told my dad. I think it was some sort of military aircraft since around the reservation there are quiet, secret military set ups but who knows."
"I live in south Spain, near some really ancient forest called Los Alcornocales, which has a kind of trees that are almost extinct and only grow here and in another couple of places.
It's a bit of a rocky terrain, and if you ever are walking on the forest and try to climb some rocks, you should be really careful, because usually you can have caves and hollow spaces under your feet and you can fall easily.
So, my father and his friends usually go hiking on Thursdays so they don't find anyone on the woods, besides maybe a shepherd or a forest worker, and on this day they decided to climb a really large and rocky hill. My uncle Frank remembered that when he was young he slept in a little cave when he went hunting and got lost, and he wanted to try to find that cave.
After a few hours, they find the cave. It was covered in moss and grime but It was surely the same cave. One of my father's friend, John, tried to get as far as possible into the cave, because he was in a really good shape and wanted to see all of it. The rest of them waited outside.
Suddenly, John started screaming and calling for my father. He went inside and turned on his torch. Inside of the cave was a really weird shrine or something like that, with candles, two apples, bones, pieces of coal and ashes on the ground, a pair of gloves, a pot and a pan, etc. Everything looked really old and dusty and it was clear it hadn't been touched in a long time.
My father went to the shrine and it had a little bowl, and when he looked inside, there was something that looked like human teeth.
When they got out, they packed up all their things and got out of there really fast. My father refuses to hike around there anymore, and they started hiking on the other side of the hill and into the woods.
I don't know anything about voodoo, but my father said it looked like some voodoo shrine or something like that."
"I was hiking through the remnants of a remote, long-abandoned town and the surrounding area. To get to as far into the woods as I was, you had to cross fallen trees over a creek three times. I had just crossed the third "bridge" and was about five miles in and something blue caught my eye just ahead of me.
There was a man, in his sixties at least, wearing blue satin pajamas, sitting in a tree. The closer I got to him the louder he laughed; it wasn't a maniacal laugh, but it set off all the alarms in my head nevertheless. He also wasn't wearing any shoes and looked well-groomed/cleaned.
I gave him a friendly nod as I passed and he just kept laughing. Then it stopped. I turned and he was gone. There was no branch cracking, plants rustling, nothing... He was just gone.
Still rubs me the wrong way. The area I was in was a pretty rough hike, very secluded. Not very many people venture as deep as I was that day. No idea what was going on there."
"I come from a big country family. We live on a farm, we raise our own food and meat animals, and we hunt and process. My dad’s first cousin is even a licensed taxidermist. So we get a lot of hunting in.
So hunting season (deer) is going on, and my Pops, his brother (Uncle K), and the cousin we live with (Uncle V) are all getting ready to go hunting. Some of us kids decide to tag along: me (12), my sister S (15), and my cousin A (14). We go out further into the woods than we normally do, set up camp, etc.
Important fact: during the time we’re setting up, my pops and uncles are being quiet, while the three of us kids talk. My voice hasn’t changed (I am a boy). This is important.
Us kids keep chattering away, while the adults are just letting us get our energy out while they check the survival equipment, make sure the weapons are clean and working, etc. Strong silent Southern types.
There’s a rustling in the thick brush around us, and suddenly three creepy looking guys enter the clearing. They stop dead. One of them has a hand on his weapon on his belt. They are clearly belligerent. They keep looking between A and S and my pops and uncles, like they're debating something.
My pops and uncles stand up. Last bit of backstory: every guy in my family is huge. I'm 19 now, and I'm 6'5". My dad is the biggest at 6’10”, 280. Just deeply intimidating man, and so are Uncles V and K. The guys laugh nervously as my Uncle V picks up one of the freshly cleaned weapons and points it at them. These dudes start running out the clearing like the devil was after them.
My Pops immediately says we’re clearing out. My uncles don’t even question it, and neither do us kids. We’re freaking out, and we totally take things down sloppy but my pops doesn’t say anything about us messing up his camping equipment. We get back into cell service and my dad calls the cops about seeing those guys but the cops don’t seem to think it’s serious since nothing happened.
It’s at that moment I realized: A, S, and me with my unchanged voice were the only ones these guys could hear talking. They thought they’d come across a camp of three girls by themselves.
I don’t want to even think about what would have happened if my dad and uncles hadn’t been there."
"I was out hunting with my older brother and his best friend a few years back, want to say 2016.
We had been walking along a trail for a good 5kms at least. On one side of this trail is a decent drop and then a river and on the other side is a decent uphill section and a huge pine forest. It was about 1am by this point and we were just sort of quietly talking to each other when a horrific noise split the air. We all froze and looked at each other with the expression on our faces doing all the work. 'What the heck was that.' We knew it came from up in the pine forest and where we are there aren’t any big predators or really anything out there that we should be 'scared' of. So we shouldered our weapons and headed up to find out exactly what made this sound.
I wish we hadn’t. We got to a clearing and the trees were thinning out and my brother flicked on his spotlight. Big bright light, excellent range. Way up ahead of us was the strangest looking figure I’ve ever seen. Like the general shape of a wolf but just... off. It was just stopped on the edge of another tree line further up the hill looking right at us. Pacing side to side. My brothers friend and I had our weapons trained on it trying to get a good look. We couldn’t count out the fact it was another hunters dog that was lost so we (against my gut feeling) went after it. As we went up it it became increasingly obvious this thing was watching us very intently. The closer we got, the more we realized this was definitely not a hunters dog. It was big. Really big. Just the way it moved and its entire demeanor was just so unsettling. We kept two weapons on it and one the opposite direction, slowly made our way back down and haven’t been back there since."
"I used to work as a fire spotter in a remote tower deep in the woods, on any given day I would be the only human being for miles around.
For a couple of weeks every time it approached sunset when I’d finish for the day, everything would go eerily quiet, almost like clockwork, it stood out as it wasn’t normal, there’s usually more noise around that time of day, along with this every time I left the cabin to climb down there was the unnerving feeling of being watched, but for a while it was only while climbing down.
After that i started getting the same feeling while on the ground, and it somehow felt much closer and more menacing, can only liken it to knowing you’re being hunted/stalked. Not overly great when it’s a 100 meter walk back to the car with nothing to put between you and whatever else might have been out there.
This continued on for another few weeks, but started hearing sort of chirps & calls. They stood out as everything was dead quiet, then one day walking back across the clearing to the car there was a long, low guttural growling somewhere behind me, and I got the heck out as fast as I could, and afterwards started parking the car at the base of the ladder, because forget walking on open ground with angry sounding probably bitey things lurking about.
A few days later I was driving back out and spotted a movement on the upside of the road, looked again as it disappeared into the treeline, large, long & dark, it seemed to hang around until the end of the fire season as the quietness and eerie feelings were gone at the start of the next."