5 July 2019

Spooky Stories 1

The world is a big place. We may think we all have it figured out, but sometimes something happens that makes you think twice. From time loops in the middle of the desert to towns that don’t exist on any map, sometimes things just can’t be explained.  I do want to warn you on this one, these stories are legitimately spooky, so try not to scare yourself.

Nothing To See Here, Move Along
Many years ago me and two of my best friends decided to go for a day of mountain biking at Snowshoe in southern West Virginia. Now this was way before the days of GPS, so we were kinda doing this by some half remembered directions and an old map. The point is we got very lost. Sometime along the way we ended up in this very tiny little town and we figured we would ask for directions. It appeared to be absolutely deserted. I’m talking not a single person to be seen anywhere.

We parked the truck and split up looking for anyone we could find. Now this was at around 9-10 a.m. so not exactly early mind you. We went into the post office, nobody, we went into the only bar in town which was unlocked, unattended with music playing, but not a single person present. We went business to business to business and walked the streets and after about 25 min finally found one old guy who just seemed to appear out of nowhere in the middle of town walking alone. The first question we asked him wasn’t even for directions. It was “Where is everyone” to which he replied: “Well I guess folks round here don’t get up much till round noon”. We asked him for directions to Snowshoe and he pointed to the road we came in on and said to go that way about 10 miles and make a right and you will find the interstate. We left quickly. We were all very uneasy about the whole thing.

As we left we were about 5 miles down the road and saw a lady dressed up in a state road uniform standing in the middle of a very long straightaway holding a stop sign. When we approached her she turned the sign from “slow” to “stop”. We asked what was going on. She stated that there was road construction ahead. We told her what just happened and she just kinda laughed and said those people in that town are kinda strange, but let it slide. So we started talking to her waiting for a line of traffic to come by from the opposite direction. We actually ended up talking to her for about 45 min to an hour. Kinda got lost in the convo. Not one single vehicle EVER approached from the other direction or behind us. Eventually, she said: “Well I guess it’s clear now and y’all can go ahead” and slowly turned the sign from stop to slow and motioned for us to go ahead. We went straight ahead; the only direction you could possibly go for the next 30 some odd miles and didn’t see any signs of construction, state road workers, or maintenance going on at all. She had no vehicle we figured she was a flag woman dropped off by some crew up ahead. After the encounter with the town and this woman we had enough and called it quits. We turned on the interstate as soon as we found it and headed north and home. Every single one of us still remembers this whole encounter in vivid detail to this day. I asked my friend about it actually about 3 months ago at his wedding and it still freaks him out to no end.

Now I Want T-Rex Pancakes!
My family has a cabin in Cook’s Forest, Clarion, PA. The cabin was built by my great granddad and has expanded a bit over the years. It has a nice little nook at the bottom of a long dirt road off the main path down a nearby hill. There are a few other properties around, but most are up and off on the dirt road, only one is down the hill and only halfway down at that. It’s not modern by any means; no internet, cell service, the TV still has dials you have to twist to get to watch a DVD. It’s very rustic and I love it.

The property halfway down the hill is visible from the front of our cabin, which is where the kitchen window, parking, porch, and fire pit are. For as long as anyone can remember, it’s been this abandoned lot that had what was once a cabin with a concrete basement. The cabin was built on a hill so half the basement stuck out, but the remaining part was crumbling. It also was at the fork where we would ride our ATVs to get to the firebreak, so even though it’s creepy it was a very common and familiar sight.

One Memorial Day, which is when we opened the cabin after the winter, our family went to the cabin for the long weekend to spend time together. Everyone would usually get there in the early evening, and then all come together for my great granddad’s dinosaur pancakes for breakfast.

So I wake up, expecting to smell pancakes and hear chatter from the older members of my family down in the kitchen, but nothing. I assume I’ve gotten up too early, and go downstairs to use the bathroom and then go back to sleep. Looking back, the whole upstairs was just mattresses with an aisle between them, I should have noticed that most beds were empty.

I get downstairs and see all the adults outside, and I go out to say good morning and demand my T-Rex pancakes. I walk out and see all my family adults in a kind of semicircle facing an older man and a woman I didn’t recognize. I assume this is some adult situation so I go back inside to wake up my cousins, but not before looking at the clock on the microwave and seeing that it’s about 3pm.

Now, I LOVED the cabin. I’d doodle the cabin itself, 4 wheelers, and the area around it for months leading up to Memorial Day weekend. I was usually up at dawn because I was so excited to just be there. Sleeping until 3pm was not in any way normal.

I wake my cousins up and by the time they all mosey downstairs the adults are all back inside. Everyone is pretty silent but then great grandpa fires up the stove and gets us kids excited for dino-cakes, so all seems normal.

I was there with my one of my aunts and my uncle, no parents, and my aunt is pretty close in age to me and was for sure the “cool aunt”. So when I saw her pale as a sheet I went to ask what’s wrong.

She took me outside and pointed at the aforementioned abandoned and crumbling property. In its place was a sprawling cabin-mansion, parking area full of SUVs and the coolest looking 4 wheelers my 13 year old self had ever seen. Aunt tells me that the owners had come to say hi (the couple I saw earlier) and invited us over to hang out with their nieces and nephews, as they were having a Memorial Day get together just like us.

Me, having zero thought besides AWESOME 4 WHEELERS, almost ran to the house but my aunt caught me and rather forcefully reminded me of my dino-cakes. I conceded and ran back inside, to an atmosphere so thick with tension that even my undeveloped brain could detect it. The oldest of the adults were acting normal and playing around with us kids, but something was very off. I finally asked what was up, and my aunt bonked me on the head and asked if I had seen that massive cabin-mansion last night, last year, the year before? We’d come to the cabin every few weeks until December, did I see any construction? Well…no..but they invited us over and they have cool 4 wheelers auntie come on!!

A resounding NO from multiple family members made my emotional girl self almost flee and cry, until my grampie (a 6’7” hulk of a man) got down to my level and explained that he felt there was something weird going on. He said the couple didn’t act right, I assumed that meant they were rude, and that we should just keep to ourselves this weekend. I agreed and we went about our day, all adults keeping us occupied with activities either inside or behind the cabin.

We get ready for bed when I see my great granddad (WWII vet) who had the only bedroom on the first floor loading 3 shotguns, handing one off to my grampie and the other to my uncle/cool aunt’s husband. To my shock and awe, my Gramie pulls out a Glock from her purse. I go to bed with images of my little Gramie taking down a bunch of bad guys with her shiny pistol.

I wake up the next day to the smell of pancakes and the sound of adults chatting downstairs. I’m sad because today is when we have to pack and leave, but things seem back to normal so I’m very glad. I run downstairs, note that the clock says 7:30, but ignore the weirdness and sit in front of a plate of dino-cakes that I dig in to, while asking my aunt what time we have to leave.

“Leave? We don’t leave until tomorrow.” Wait, what day is it? “It’s Saturday, we just got here last night.” I notice just a bit of doubt in my aunt’s eyes that I know something is up, and I run outside. The abandoned lot is back to its decrepit state. I resolve to brush it off and enjoy my ATV riding, and forget about everything pretty quickly.

It wasn’t until I got back to school and was called to the main office where the asked why I wasn’t at school on Monday. I told them that today was Monday, what are they talking about. Nope, it’s Tuesday, and my absence was unexplained despite several calls to my parents.

The Spooky Cave!
By my hometown there was a hiking trail that people went to very infrequently. It was along the side of the Niagara Escarpment so it had some climbable cliffs and some very shallow caves that you could crawl around on.

I went with some friends when I was 19/20 and we were crawling around and found a cave that went pretty deep. We had never been in there or seen it before. So we pushed forward and decided to check it out even though we had no flashlights and this was when cell phones didn’t really have a flashlight function.

We stepped into the cave and it was easily 20-30 degrees cooler than outside. Upon looking around with which light we had we noticed it was really clean inside the cave, as in it didn’t have cans littered everywhere like all the other small caves did. While in there we got a really eerie feeling after being in there shortly… hearing weird and strange things. Feeling like we were being touched, poked and pulled and not having any way to figure out who was doing it because it was too dark. We were just using lighters to see what was around us.

We were convinced one of us was messing with the others. Although anytime we sparked up a lighter, we were all decently far apart.

We decided to high-tail it out of there after only a few minutes, convinced to come back with flashlights. We came out to see that it was now dusk outside, when we entered it was mid-day. Somehow we had lost roughly 3 hours inside of this cave.

But What Is Buffer Night?
This story takes place in the mid 90’s, a time before widely used cell phones and GPS. My two best friends and I freshly able to drive decided we would head out on a Saturday to a water park in Southern Missouri, about a 3 hour drive from our home town in Northwest Arkansas. We had never been before and just used road maps to get there.

We had pretty fantastic time but as the sun started to reach the tree line we thought we ought to head home. It’s about 7 o’clock and we missed a turn but my friend Paul who was navigating said not to worry another turn was coming up that would get us their just as fast. The next turn took us from detoured to completely lost. By 8 o’clock we are on a road that seemed to be lacking in informative road signs and zero lights.

We finally see a gas station and are relieved to get some directions as well as some gas. My one friend and I go inside while my other friend pumps the gas. We come inside and a very friendly old man in his early 60s who gives us a very large grin and says “Weeeeell Hello there” it was very foghorn leghorn-esk. Looked like he was from the country but very pleasant.

We explained that we were needing gas and wanted to fill up. He explained that he was about to shut down for the night but would be happy to oblige us. He then said something I’ll never forget, “You have to make haste though… tonight is buffer night.” My friend and I looked at each other and shared an awkward look. We asked him if he could point out our location on the road map.

While he was finding it two people entered the shop from the back and called out for the old man. He said he was up front. The two approached us, A man and a woman, and at first looked confused then as though hit with an epiphany they smiled. They asked the old man “Are these the guests tonight?” He shot them a look and said “No these are some lost children.”

The way he said “Children” caused the hairs on my neck to stand up. Not sure why. They looked at us and said “The three of you should make haste, because tonight is buffer night.” Two things scared me right then. The first being how did they know about my other friend pumping gas out front when they came from the back and the second being that they repeated the old man verbatim.

We clarified the directions to get back on a main highway and paid for the gas without waiting for change. My friend and I booked it out of the gas station to find my other friend already in the passenger seat. When we got into the car we were nearly airborne from the speed we took off. Before we could say anything, my friend in the passenger seat told us about how three men from across the street stood under a tree just watching him. He waved but they didn’t move a muscle.

We just drove as fast as we could until we got back to the highway. To this day I will still have a nightmare every so often about that gas station and what my imagination has twisted “Buffer night” into being.

Know Your Horror Movie Tropes, It Could Save Your Life!
Driving in rural areas in New England, near the borders of Vermont and Mass, so I am not sure which one I was in. It was late… Well OK, so late it was actually early. And there was fog, dense dense fog. Like Silent Hill levels of fog. And like the guy who loses his life in the opening scene of a horror movie, I am driving on back roads. First my headlight just up and goes out, cannot use high beams because of fog. I am in the middle of nowhere, I haven’t seen a house or town in a long time. Car starts making noise, check engine light comes on. So I pull over nothing much around field and fog and dark. I gamely look at the engine, I can fix electronics, not engines. I tighten all the things I know.

Car now won’t start. So I am in the dark, in the middle of nowhere, on the side of the road. Because of the natural rules of how things work, my cell phone has no service as well. It is like one big cliche. But I am not dumb enough to go wandering the roads right now. So I recline my seat and decide to take a nap for a couple hours until the sun comes up.

I wake up, the sun is coming up, the fog is going away… and I am on the main street of a tiny town, parked in front of what looks like the Bates Motel house. Houses everywhere. It was the the creepiest feeling. I was sure I was off in the woods. There was not a light on in any house all night? There was a service station 50 yards up the road, I walked up to it, talked to the guy (who looked perfectly normal), he walked over to look at the car, asked me to try to start it…. and it did. Turned over right away. And… BOTH headlights were working.

I drove on, never got the name of the little village, and I couldn’t find it on a map. I always felt like I was in this big set up for a horror movie that just didn’t pan out.

Maybe He Did Get Raptured
My good friend and I decided to take a trip up to the North Shore of Mass one spring and arrived to our motel late, around 11pm. We were both all keyed up from driving for 8 hours and too much caffeine, so as soon as we checked in, we left the motel to find the closest beach.

We found a little town beach a few towns over and put our bare feet in the ocean, took a walk on the shoreline, took a bunch of pics, and just goofed around. The streets surrounding the shoreline were residential and all oddly still and quiet. As we were hanging at the beach for about an hour, we noticed this really thick fog rolling in. The beach had those older streetlights with yellowish/orangish bulbs and it created this eerie effect – everything had a kind of otherworldly golden glow. At that point we started noticing what a weird visual effect the fog was having and started taking pics to capture it. The fog was so thick that with the camera flash we could see these seemingly-huge drops of mist/water vapor hanging in the air. The fog was insulating and our voices seemed to carry only a foot or two before being absorbed by the mist.

Suddenly we see blue and red flashing lights, which were startlingly close before we noticed them. We got freaked out and started running back to our car and just took off. Although the beach was closed after dark, we probably wouldn’t have gotten in any trouble, but our adrenaline was already kinda pumping because of the surroundings.

So then we are on the road, of course no cops are following us or anything, but we just want to get back to the motel at this point. It was supposed to be like a 10-12 minute drive away. We are joking around about how weird the night has been and following the GPS when all of a sudden we realized that we were driving on an interchange we had just driven. I remember that the GPS said we were supposed to follow signs for 1N. So we take the exit and stop talking and pay more attention to our surroundings. The fog is so thick that we can barely see 30ft in front of us. We take the exit for 1N, take a few turns as directed by the GPS, and suddenly we are back on a highway or highway exchange again – the same exact one we had just been on 4-5 mins earlier. The same sign pointing out the exit for 1N sat in front of us. We flip on our flashers and slow down to about 15mph and take the same exit once again.

A minute or two later, we both realize that the route we are driving is the same one we just drove a few minutes ago. At this point we are both having major creepy deja vu. There doesn’t seem to be any other cars on the roads at all. All the businesses we pass are closed. Houses are mostly dark with no signs of life inside. The whole world is cast in this weird thick orange air. We are completely freaked out… I didn’t mention that this was the night when the rapture was predicted to occur on May 21st, 2011.

So we drove around a bunch more, trying to find an alternate route back to the hotel. I swear we went through the same onramp/offramp we had earlier 2 or 3 more times. Somehow we made it back to the motel – approaching from the opposite direction we should have – at 3:30am. We had gotten lost for 3 hours in this string of identical, small, sleepy towns on the coastline north of Boston. Either that, or we crossed into a parallel universe for a few hours and eventually seamlessly resurfaced in our usual reality – that’s pretty much what it felt like. It’s one of those memories I’ll never forget. I still look at the pictures we took that night every once in a while and reminisce.

This Guy Drove Through A David Lynch Film
I was relocating across Texas and, as I normally do, was driving through the night to skip traffic and because it’s more serene that way. I was driving straight through central Texas going northwest, so seeing the hill country change to desert in the full moon was super cool. Anyways, I was driving with my (now ex) wife and we were running low on gas. Luckily, we were pulling into a tiny no-name town and we could see an old gas station come around the bend. This encounter happened at about 2am.

Now, this town only has one road, and this station was right at the edge of town at the end of it. When I say old, I mean very old; the type that you have no option of prepaying, you simply flip up the handle on the machine and you hear the pump inside start struggling to get the gas from the reservoir. It had the old style tick readers too, not a thing electrical on it.

I, being the young man I was, had never seen one before, so I walked into the store to buy the gas before I pumped. The store only had one light in the far back on, and I almost thought it was closed since it was barely brighter inside than it was out in the moonlight. Upon entering, I saw the place was deserted; no customers, no workers, nothing. However, there was an odd tune playing on someone’s radio that I couldn’t place. An old sounding, upbeat piano piece was playing somewhere around the corner inside, and I heard shuffling once I walked closer to the source.

This place made me feel scared. Not the “Woah this is creepy” scared, but the “All hairs are on end, something is seriously wrong here but I can’t figure it out” scared. As I turned the corner, I saw a young man standing next to a large radio and… dancing. His dancing, though, was extremely off-putting and seriously didn’t match the tune at all.

Though the radio was cranking out what sounding like ragtime, this guy was running his hands up and down his body with his eyes closed in what looked like bliss. He was going far slower than the music and definitely wasn’t on tempo. For some reason, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even move. I was in a trance as every part of me screamed to turn and leave.

Finally, I said “Excuse me, I just need some gas.”

The guy kept dancing.

I said it a little louder, and he finally slowed down a bit and opened his eyes, and focused on me. But it was like he was looking at a finely cooked steak. He was looking almost through me, and silently walked to the register, not saying anything. I said “Uh, just $20 please.” He, again, didn’t say anything and just stood behind the ancient register, so I just figured maybe he didn’t speak the language or was embarrassed I caught him dancing, so I laid the money on the counter and went outside hoping he’d turn on the pump.

I filled up, told my wife about the weird scene in there, and turned off the pump to kill the horrible grinding noise from the interior pump fighting against gravity to get the gas up.

Weird thing is, when we were leaving, I looked back in the window and the guy was still standing there behind the counter. This may sound fine, but my money was still on the counter in front of him. It was like he was a robot who just turned off once I left.

This is where it gets super weird. A couple months later, I was driving back to San Antonio to visit family, and we figured we’d stop at that old gas station to see it in the daytime since it had become somewhat of a running joke between us. We pulled into this tiny town, and… the thing was gone. The lot it sat on at the end of the road wasn’t even there. It was just grass. No rubble, no old pump, no lighting, nothing. It was like somebody picked it up and moved it. It looked like nothing had been there for years.

Still get freaked out thinking about it.


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