Forest Spirits

This story is true and occurred in my youth.

The setting is in Fairfax County, Virginia, USA and I was 19 years old. The climax of the events took place in Oct of 1972. Reader beware........ My brother and I were living the typical rebellious life of the times and we had hitched back to the county in August, sharing the front seat of a VW bug as only two guys that are related could do (all the way from Ohio).

Upon arrival we hooked up immediately with two characters in town known locally as the "Jackal" and the "Rat". The Rat had just blown into town from Florida with a car (that had no brakes) and the Jackal was known to have a tent. The four of us moved into an area of woods that lay between Lee Highway and Highway 50. These woods were known to the local kids as a party place. We located on top of a hill that had a flat area with a path that led downhill to a central crossroads of paths. One of the paths led into the deep woods after crossing a small polluted creek.

At first, everything went well and we broke camp every morning and hid our stuff in the underbrush. As time went by we became careless and began to attract attention to our presence (we kind of felt that the woods belonged to us). Nothing out of the ordinary had happened so far.

Sometime in September we had a party and wondered through the dark woods like it was our back yard. Perhaps it was then that we had attracted the attention of something else in the woods.

The Rat was given to long speeches on mystical bulls**t and we stayed up all night talking and smoking cigarettes. At dawn the first event occurred. As the Rat was blabbing on, I looked over his shoulder and saw an enormous thing coming over the crest of the hill from the path that led to the crossroads.

Reader, I will try to describe it for you:

It was 3 to 4 feet in width and it was self contained. I say this because there wasn't any fog but it was whitish and swirled within it self (slowly). It moved its' head (?) as an earthworm moves its' head, seeking from side to side. I had the impression that it was huge and very long yet I couldn't see a tail as it was down the hill and my view was at the crest. I shouted for the Rat to look and it vanished. I ran the 20 feet to the spot and looked down the hill and saw nothing. No sound, no sensation, no fear, just wonder. We should have left then but we were young and foolish.

Our camp was discovered by the police and we moved deeper into the woods, down the hill, across the creek and about 15 feet off of the path in a low area that was hard to spot coming from the crossroads but gave us a clear view of the path coming from the deep woods.

Our life continued as before and we roamed the woods mainly in search of easy firewood and a way to escape if the police came back.

The first thing that I noticed was a sound during the day as if someone was throwing rocks through the tree canopy. I could hear the tearing sound of them passing overhead but none ever came down. Strange but not worrisome. Then we began to hear noises at night. Something walking around us as we sat at our campfire... distant but circling. What really disturbed us was it got closer every night. We scoured the surrounding area for prints but found none. Realizing that it was coming from the deep woods and it made noises, low sounds, and began to break branches that cracked loudly. This bothered us as we knew there were no branches... We had picked them all up for our campfire. The Jackal began to get scared and would scream out at it in the darkness and shine our flashlight into the woods. The Rat true to his nature and name ate the last can of tuna fish, so we kicked him out of our camp. He moved to a site 40 feet away up on a raised area. Close enough that we could hear him playing his harmonica but out of our sight. One night he came screaming down to our tent begging to come in. He was shouting that "Beezlebub" was chasing him. I awoke and was giving him hell and asking if he was drunk. Then something that gives me the chills to this day screamed out and the Rat dove through the tent flaps right into my lap.

I turned to my brother and tried to wake him up. The screaming continued... nothing I have ever heard was like it. The sound was like a wounded animal crazed with pain and rabid. I kept shaking my brother to wake him and couldn't believe that he was still asleep! Then I heard the running of heavy footsteps...two feet running. Now I was scared! I literally shook my brother off the ground and was yelling with the Jackal and the Rat in fear. It came right up to the tent screaming, then thank God it returned to the deep woods running and screaming until it grew fainter but it never stopped screaming. I questioned the Rat about how this thing had begun to chase him. He said that he was asleep in his bag when he heard something walking up to him in the dark. I asked if he saw anything but he said that he only could make out a dark form looming over him grunting. There were small dark things with it and when it screamed he jumped up and the chase was on. He was sure that it was the devil. Reader there is more but I can't write it all in one setting. If you want to read my story I will tell it if there is interest.

Submitted by John Hartman, OK, USA