The forests and woodlands of our world have always held an allure for us, and have been the wellspring of countless legends and myths over the centuries. Here within these darkened stands of trees it often seem to be a world beyond us, which we are just scratching at the surface of with our senses. There is a sense that something lies beyond it all, thrumming in the background past our understanding, and that looking out at these vistas we are on the cusp of understanding something that dangles past the periphery. On some occasions it seems as if some people have made a rather strange connection with the wilds, phasing through this tenuous unseen veil into some place beyond what we normally see, and often coming back with some very bizarre stories to tell. Here we will look at instances of people seemingly travelling through worlds within the forest, whisked off to another realm to come back with odd tales of missing time, portals, alien landscapes, and other weirdness.
Our first report is from a Reddit poster called “RavenMysteries1331,” who claims that her and her husband came to what can only be described as some sort of portal out in the woods. The location is unspecified, but she says that they were out camping at a place called “Deep Creek Campgrounds,” where there is a dim tunnel through a hill that is supposedly haunted. Thinking it might be kind of cool to go check it out, they made their way to the tunnel one evening, not really taking it seriously and as they went in it was all just a bit of a spooky good time. Things got unusual when they began walking through the murk and just didn’t seem to be able to reach the end. It was taking an inordinate amount of time to make progress through the darkness, a 10-minute walk turning into 30 with no end in sight. Then things would get very bizarre, and the witness describes what happened next:
Were not really panicking but were still not out of this damned tunnel. We’re filming and realizing the time stamp on the camera keep changing, the phone is fairly useless but keeps showing weird times, notifications etc. Finally, we reach the end and I decide there’s no way I’m going back through. Here’s our second mistake. There’s a trail going across the tunnel. My husband wants to go back through then meet us while I and our daughter go over the top to wait. At the top the trail ends, which is unusual but not a big deal as I can see the trail we came up and my husband will be coming up shortly. I take pictures, full panoramas, everything. Never out of sight of the trail. Husband shows up and we start looking around for the next trail or any trail, never going more than 150 feet in any direction solo while one of us stands near the trail.
We decide we can’t find it, well head back down the trail. The trail that is now not where it was. But that’s okay because I took pictures of some unusual trees and things so ill use them as a marker. I open the pictures, all of them are time stamped wrong, the images are different. The entire skyline 100 feet away, mountains etc, is completely different. And now we start to get worried. We look for nearly three hours, how to get down, how to find the trail back, nothing. Finally, we realize were fairly screwed and start planning what we’re going to do. At which point the glitchy phone gets a phone call and we realize it works. We call 911 who puts us through to a Ranger Rescue team. They find us maybe an hour later, mere feet from a trail, and .1 entire miles from the tunnel... At this point we go on our merry way and decide we will never hike again. Which we probably will because well, why not?
What happened here? Did these people get pulled into sort of a parallel dimension, perhaps one that planned to keep them? Similarly we have to story of “LeoLeonidas21,” on the Missing 411 forum, who says by his own admission that he was "Missing 411'd" in the woods of North Carolina, in the United states. At the time he was in the mountains doing fieldwork for a geology assignment at college, looking at rock formations and taking samples. He was with a group of 30 others, and they decided to take a hike down a well-defined trail that started off the Blue Ridge Parkway, and would take them on a 45-minute hike up to a summit. They made it to the top without incident, but on the way back something very strange would happen to the witness. At one point he stopped to tie his boot, and told the others he was with to continue on, that he would catch up to them shortly. Yet, what would normally be a mundane activity would turn into a journey into bizarreness. He explains of what happened:
The point where I stopped to tie my boot was at the bottom of a switchback that ran about 20 feet, vertically, up the slope, getting narrower as you approached the top of that section of the trail; I was facing the direction the group was heading, and had direct visibility for about 200 feet, while the trail behind me was just off to the right of my vision, about 5 feet up the slope -- I had stopped right at the corner of the last turn coming down, and stepped to the inside of the turn to keep the trail clear for the people I could see coming up the trail (the direction of my group) and down the trail (the direction we were headed).
When I knelt down, I told the guys I was with that I'd catch up after tying my boot. The people coming up the slope were about 200 feet ahead of me, walking in my direction but still coming around the turn at the end of the straightaway. Up the hill and off to my side (but technically behind me on the trail), about 10 linear feet away, was another 2 or 3 people coming down the trail as well -- about 2 turns up the switchback. I did my business and then stood up -- I am going to make a note here and emphasize it, I DID NOT CHANGE THE DIRECTION I WAS FACING AT ANY POINT UNTIL I STOOD UP.
When I stood up, I noticed a couple of things: the very obvious trail was gone and replaced with grass, fallen branches, and brush, and more eerily: there were no people ahead of me or beside me, there was no switchback going uphill (it was all vaguely level though uneven), and there was no. sound. No birds, no wind, no squirrels, no forest noises. This was very odd, but I, at first, chalked it up to possibly turning when I stood up without realizing it. And then it happened: the sensation. That I was being watched. That something was coming towards me. I started panicking and looking around more fervently to get my bearings, but nothing looked familiar. The feeling of being watched grew into a feeling that whatever was watching me wished to cause me harm and was radiating extreme feelings of hate, violence, and general evil towards me. And the sensation that it was approaching grew, as if it had gone from creeping along, to slowly walking, to full on running at me. Not knowing what else to do, I took off at the fastest sprint my terrified body could muster in the direction, all while racking my brain to figure out what had happened.
Eventually, I busted out of the treeline and onto the trail right in the middle of my group of classmates. Of particular note was that they were now within 30 feet of the trail head, and you could clearly see the highway and the parking lot on the opposite side of it. Like I said, this was another 20 to 25 minutes down the trail from where I stopped to tie my shoes, but the whole experience seemed to take no more than five minutes in total. Everyone asked what happened, and I merely stated that I lost the trail after tripping and thought I was lost. I didn't know how else to explain or describe what happened, and I still don't know what it was. To this day, I won't go into the woods by myself -- not even past the treeline on my parents' land, despite being in view of the house and the neighbor's houses.
The sensation of missing time features in a good many such reports, as if these people have entered a zone where time passes at a different rate than the one they have left, or perhaps they have lost some memory of what they have been through. In our next account Missing 411 commenter “spiral venom” says he was in Rocky Mountain National Park, in the United States. On this occasion he was hiking along a trail called Tonahutu Creek alone when he noticed that the forest around him had gone completely silent, with all sounds and even smells gone, and as he tried to figure this all out, he claims a strange fog began to roll in. After this, things would turn into a bizarre series of strange events and time loss, of which he says:
I was walking South East when suddenly the area went completely silent. No wind, no animals, not even the smell of the outdoors. It's like I walked into a bubble where nothing existed, or where everything was muted. I took out my phone to check the time, and it was just after 3:45. Though it seemed there was a weird fog around me. I kept walking. The silence still there, the odd feeling, too.
I walked for another good 10-15 minutes when I turned my attention to the sky. The clouds seemed to be moving rapidly, as if a storm was coming. The forecast did not call for any rain, or snow that day - it was odd to see low hanging clouds that were moving so rapidly - almost as if I was viewing a time lapse video. I heard a rumble that came from the ground, it was emanating from what I assume was deep below, a large crack that sounded like thunder ended the rumble. The clouds stopped moving quickly but had a very light pink/purple tinge to them. At this point I was speed walking, trying to get out. My fight or flight response seemed to kick in and my adrenaline was pumping. The odd feeling in my gut turned to complete terror, yet there was nothing around me that would evoke such feeling. No wildlife, no bears, no mountain lions.
Another crack and a flash of light later everything seemed to be completely normal. Wind returned, the birds that filled the air with sound was now replaced with the sound of crickets. The only strange thing now was the time, it was 6:30PM. I was already on my way back to the truck before this all happened, but it should not have taken me that long to get back to the trailhead. It only seemed like 15 minutes had passed, and yet more than 4 hours had elapsed. I have no recollection of what happened in that time, besides what I have written here today. I have only told a few people this. Some said I was abducted, others said I entered a time slip.
What happened here? It is interesting to note the loss of time, coupled with the sudden and complete silence, which is also a hallmark of these kinds of cases. Are these people somehow wandering through a portal of some sort? Next we have poster “projectpittsburg,” who was camping in Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania, when he had his brush with the weird. He says that as he was hiking he passed a couple go the other way with their dog, which seems normal enough, but would soon prove to be anything but. He explains:
My feet were still facing the direction I was walking and as the passed by me with the dog I was looking over my shoulder to say goodbye (NEVER MOVED THE DIRECTION OF MY FEET). Then once I turned forward, the trail had turned perpendicular on me and was completely clear of bushes. It was a wide open, very straight stretch of nothing but grass and small rocks. I was confused by the fact that it seemed like I was in another part of the Forest. I pulled out my map and compass and the compass was telling me that I wasn’t facing the direction of the trail. And by the looks of the terrain it wasn’t even on the map. It was like I was in a whole other part of the Forest I was not familiar with!
I was VERY confused at this point and just started walking forward off the straight path into the tree line. Once I got off, I walked through a small area of trees, I was probably walking for 30-45 seconds and not one time did I hear a single noise beside the noises of my own footsteps. This was very strange. After the 45 seconds I was met by a group of 4 people that were talking and cooking. Now I definitely should have heard them talking and laughing like I had heard the other two hikers with the dog I had just previously met which is why I was concerned. At this point my experience was over. Now the whole eerie feeling lasted about 30-45 seconds, but a whole hour had passed and the campers told me I could set up camp with them and hangout with them for the night since it was getting too late.
Very strange, indeed. In another case of what seems to have been a trip into some pocket dimension we have poster “Winzron” and his childhood experience. At the time he lived with a foster family on a wooded property, with a clear trail that he and his foster brother often hiked together. They knew the area very well, and on this day they went for a walk along it on a bright summer’s day. Little did they know that they were headed for a trip to the land of the weird. He says of the trail and his unsettling experience:
To clarify a bit while walking on the trail you could clear as day see the lake and huge clearing/camping area where people would park their campers, I would say a mile away at the most. My brother and I frequented the trail alot because we liked catching bugs/frogs and the sort. There was one day it was bright sunny in middle of July; this is in the Midwest U.S so muggy and hot. Me and him are walking the trail and I hear what started out be a faint clicking sound. To this day I have yet to hear a sound like it. It progressively got louder to the point that you would have to be deaf to not hear it, the weird part was my brother did not hear a thing. It started to startle me on how loud it was. My brother decided to start carving into tree (which he did frequently), but I urged him that we should leave because I was scared.
Once he started something, he had to finish it, so I had to wait for him to finish so I stepped no more that 15-20 paces from him and my foot felt like it fell through something so I stumbled a bit looking down. When I looked up nothing looked familiar and it seemed like I was dropped in the middle of a forest with no end to it. It was really cold and absolutely no sound. My brother was nowhere to be found and I felt extremely terrified so I took off yelling a screaming. I ran for a good distance and I had the same sensation where I felt like I missed a step and stumbled forward. When I looked up everything was normal and could hear my family calling my name. When I approached them, they looked frantic and said they had been looking for me for a couple of hrs. No one ever believed me.
Oddly, the witness says that he had a smell of burning rubber that seemed to follow him around and could not be washed off for several days after this. How do we explain the strange details on these cases, such as the sudden silence, the missing time, and most obviously the completely altered landscapes these people often find themselves in? It almost seems as if they might be stepping through some veil between this reality and another, perhaps lingering in some limbo realm between the two, and it is enough to make one wonder what would have happened if they had stepped all the way through. Would they have vanished off the face of the earth or simply come back with an even weirder story to tell? Such accounts hint at mysteries lurking out in the wild places of our world, past the periphery of civilization and away from our city lights, where nature goes about its business and perhaps things beyond nature do as well. Perhaps when we enter these wilderness realms we enter a place where anything can possibly happen, and where realities converge. Perhaps the old legends of the forests have some basis to them after all, and just maybe there are things here we were not meant to fully understand.