Forests and wild places have always managed to draw to them the eeriest and often most fantastical stories. These are places that typically hide beyond the human eye, existing out there in their own worlds mostly unimpeded on, and wildernesses have long had legends, myths, and bizarre tales pervading them. Here we will look at cases of people coming across what seem to be strange portals out in the forest, as well as what might be tears in reality itself.
From the U.S. state of Montana we have the case of Reddit user “berlinerben,” who says that in his younger years he and his family lived in a valley he describes as “a place the local Indian tribes had a lot of reverence for,” and furthermore the river that meandered through nearby was traditionally used by these tribes for vision quests. It already certainly sounds like an intriguing place, but one day it would apparently get even more so, on an otherwise calm, clear day as he and his sister took a walk through the forest. The area they passed through is described as being an island at a fork in the river, covered in thick trees and one of their favorite places to explore, a place they had been to many times in the past. On this day things would change, though, as the witness explains:
This particular day, however, was somewhat different. The weather was perfectly beautiful, golden sunshine filtering through the trees. We were calmly walking through the woods, when I felt what I can only describe as a ‘figurative tug’ in the center of my chest. It felt like a fishing line was hooked into my heart, and I had little choice but to walk in the direction I felt it was leading. At this time in my life I was far more open to spiritual / supernatural experiences, so I know I was far more likely to ‘believe’ what I was feeling. My sister noticed the change in my focus and behavior, and asked if I was ok. It was if I could not speak, or think, only follow this feeling in my chest. My sister knew something was up, and followed along. I kept following this feeling, this tug into the cottonwoods, where the trees were closer together. The feeling was so odd, I felt completely captivated. I did not want to feel or follow anything else. As we went further along, I felt that whatever this was, was leading towards an opening between two trees that had grown and arched together over a dry streambed. I know – typical – a natural ‘doorway’. As I walked closer, this feeling of – joy, awe, just…happiness grew and grew.
As my sister and I stepped through the trees into this dry creek bed clearing, the tug stopped. Instead, it was if the light itself became more real. Golden, rich, as if you could now touch and feel it. Outside noise faded away, I felt as if time stopped. It was the same forest, and yet completely not the same. As she and I are standing there, silent and soaking this in, I see something black, two foot tall dash across the clearing. Either this thing came from behind one tree and disappeared behind another, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t look like it came from under one tree, and…dove under another. Either way, I only got the quickest look. But I had never seen anything like it in these woods before (or after for that matter). Shortly after this, both my sister and I noticed that this feeling, this change to the world around us faded away. In a few seconds, it was clear we were standing in the same forest as before, nothing different from the last hundred times we had walked there. We walked home in silence, as we both had felt something profound.
Did these two pass into another realm, if only briefly? The detail of the landscape appearing to change, as if the witness has stepped through some veil between realities, is common in reports like these. In another case we have a witness who says this happened at a state park in Arkansas, during a camping trip with his family in the summer of 2014 as a part of celebrating his graduation from high school. He went out exploring down a path with his two brothers, and at one point he says he was compelled to follow an offshoot that paralleled a clear and inviting stream that led deeper into the woods.
I went about 15 or so minutes in, and that’s where things got funky. Every woods has some type of sound going on, whether it’s water flowing, bugs chirping, animals moving, or wind howling. But things went DEAD SILENT. And I mean just COMPLETELY quiet. The hairs on me stood up and I decided to cut a shortcut to the path where I thought my family would be on the trail by then. I started fast walking towards them, and my shoe was loose. I bent down to tie my shoe real quick, and then looked back up and the lighting had completely changed from daylight to darkness (it was around 5-6 pm when all this happened, and 8:30 on my watch when I came back to ‘reality’), and the normal sounds of the woods were back. I sprinted back to the stream and followed it back up the trail, sprinted down the trail and into the park station (I tried calling them on my phone, but there wasn’t service in the woods). I saw them talking to a park ranger and my mom in tears. Long story short, they were mad. I didn’t tell them because I didn’t want them to think I was crazy and made up that I got lost. They told me they tried looking for me after I was gone a while and then came to file a report when they couldn’t find me.
A perhaps even more harrowing possible portal encounter comes from the Missing 411 Reddit forum from a poster who claims to have had a surreal and very frightening experience in the woods when he was 8 years old on a family camping trip. He says that he was out with his older brother, 11 at the time, and that they were out on one particular trail right next to the camp ground that went around a small lake in a perfect circle, with no offshoots or branching trails, which they went out along to go fishing. On the other side of the campground was what he calls a “wilderness trail” that they had never used and which was off limits. On this day they went out fishing as they had many times already, but this time things would unfold into a strange and scary incident. The witness says:
The lake was in a deep gully with high ridge lines that surrounded it so going off the trail was nearly impossible. It was small and our parents allowed us to use the trail to go fishing of which we had done all week. The wilderness trail was about 100 yards away from the entrance of our loop and on the opposite side of the campground. So, we went fishing and after taking this same trip many times before it started getting dark and we headed back to the campground. We ended up getting lost (we never went off the trail) for the remainder of the night and at first light we appeared at the entrance of the wilderness trail 100 yards away.
Our parents were flipped out, the entire county had been searching for us and neither of us remembered anything other than walking up to the trail head in near dark, but we had lost time because to us it never got completely 100% dark at all and felt like dusk the entire time we were lost trying to find our way back. It only only felt like a couple hours. It was dawn when we were found. We estimated that we were gone for 10-11 hours or so. My brother claims to remember some details like falling down a cliff running from someone or something literally dragging me as he ran through cobwebs, etc. Ever since he’s had bad dreams of bright lights in the woods, a cave, shivering, rushing loud water or engine sounds, etc. I haven’t had any memories from it. We were camping at Deam Wilderness Area and there is a well-known cave a few miles away. We recently went back to the area to go fishing together and decided to take a look around where we were at the campground almost 30 years later. We then realized it would have nearly been impossible for us to end up on the other trail as the cliffs and ravines were just too high, there was too much distance between the two trails and we would have had to make it through impossible odds to end up back at the entrance to the opposite trail waking in thick untouched forest.
How did they manage to disappear for so long on that closed trail to shift over that distance and why was it dusk the whole time? Did these two briefly step into another dimension? Finally we have a strange case from Reddit user “Hazeunix,” who at the time of his weird experience was out at Wells State Park, Sturbridge MA, on a beautiful clear day, when he decided to take trail that seems to have perhaps brought him past a rift in reality. He says:
I decided that I would take a trail that I wouldn’t see many other people on. about 30 minutes into the walk, the forest seemed off. Despite the clear, pretty day I couldn’t help but feel this ominous energy around me, it was a feeling of being overwhelmed. The forest was incredibly alive, birds were chirping back and forth boisterously and I spotted hawks flying low at least 7 times, as well as squirrels screaming back and forth at one another in very close proximity to me.
Further into the trail, it kept pursuing and got increasingly louder before stopping in a few fading calls. At this point I was able to record a video of it that I will link at the end of the post. I made the decision to get out of there when the noise stopped and take the trail to carpenter’s rock, a popular cliff close to the exit of the park. At this point it was silent, I couldn’t hear anything but my steps and a few planes flying overhead, then suddenly, almost everything screamed, it was a short burst of animal calls of all kinds and it was loud and simultaneous. Like everything in a good mile around me sounded like it got stabbed in the gut, I hightailed it away and after 15 minutes I ended up back at the parking lot and I talked to a couple other hikers about it. At least 5 other people heard it as well and booked it like I did.
What are these strange little excursions off the beaten path and what could they mean? What might we be dealing with here? Are these little rifts or tears within the fabric of reality itself, popping up in these wild places to draw people in, only to blink back out of existence again? Where do they lead and what happens when one does not return from them? Could phenomena such as these possibly be behind the numerous missing people who have seemingly vanished into thin air within the wilderness? There is really no way to know, but reports like this continue to come up of something very unusual happening out in the forests away from civilization. Whatever such cases may represent, they certainly put a strange spin on the outdoors, and may be something to keep an eye out for the next time you are taking a scenic, quiet hike.