I've always loved a good ghost story. Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps, depending upon your perspective), I don't have many of my own to tell. There is one, however, that happened when I was 16 and living in a northwest suburb of Chicago. Since I have read the stories of so many on this site, who were kind enough to share their accounts of the paranormal, I thought it only fair I now share the only real ghost story I have with you...
I was sixteen years old, it was around 11:00pm on a Friday, and I was at my best friend Jessie's house (she lived about a mile from me). We were just watching movies and eating junk food. There is an old road near us which is supposedly haunted, called "Munger Road." We'd been down it many times before, and although it was creepy, we'd never seen anything particularly paranormal there. It was mostly a twisty, gravelly sort of road, with dense trees and old, scattered homes on both sides. A set of train tracks crosses Munger about halfway down, and local lore has it that decades ago a train had derailed and crashed into a nearby house, killing everyone inside.
This Friday night we thought about heading to Munger once more to search for ghosts, but given our previous unsuccessful attempts to find anything, we began brainstorming for new places to visit. Jessie said she knew a place--a small forest preserve (I'm not sure "forest preserve" is the correct term, "nature preserve" may be more accurate) --just down the street from Munger, that she remembered going to as a kid, and seeing "something weird" there. What, exactly, she had seen as a kid she could not say; she just remembered seeing "something that resembled a body, or several bodies" out in the fields or trees. We decided to go check it out.
We drove to this forest preserve using the same route we'd normally take to get to Munger, parking in a small lot just off the main road. We got out to walk around. There was a lake surrounded by a dense layer of trees; how far back the trees went I'm not sure; it was the kind of place people would go to hike. We were the only ones there. I'm not sure of the time, but it was very dark and very late. We were only out of the car for a few minutes, never losing sight of it, when it just got too creepy--the pitch black night, the stillness, the quiet--we turned around and went back to my car.
As we slid into the front seats, I realized there was something on my windshield--a single shoe print. It was the sort of impression a person's shoe makes in the dirt or sand, except it was on my windshield. It looked as if my windshield had fogged over from the cold of the night, and then someone had walked across it, except there was no fog or condensation on my windshield other than this shoe print. I turned on my windshield wipers, but the print would not wipe away. I wiped at it from the inside of the car with the sleeve of my shirt. It would not go away. Jessie and I got out of the car and wiped at it from the outside with Kleenex. Still, it would not go away.
We got back in the car and I drove off, hoping the impression would disappear by the time we got back to Jessie's house. It did not. We got back to her place, which was maybe 15 minutes from the preserve, and the shoe print was still there, unchanged. I was freaked out and did not want to drive home alone with that print stuck to my car, so we went back inside her house and watched some T.V. About an hour later--I believe it was about 2am--I decided I had better go home. Jessie and I went out to check my car, and the shoe print was still there! I was so scared, and we had no idea what to do. Jessie gave me some lit incense to hold on the way home, hoping it might ward off whatever we attracted at the preserve.
It only took me 5 minutes to drive home. I pulled into the garage, shut the garage door, and took one last look. The shoe print was still there, unchanged from the moment we'd first seen it. I went into the house through a door which connects the garage to the laundry room. My brother's friend was spending the night, and I walked in to find the two of them still awake, watching movies and playing games. I went up to my room, tired but too scared to sleep. I lay awake for an hour or so, watching television and calming down. Around 3 or 4am, I awoke to a lot of commotion coming from downstairs. I went to see what was going on, and as I walked into the kitchen my brother came running up to me:
"Did you just come inside?"
"What?" I asked. "What do you mean?"
"Did you just come in the house?" My brother's friend was now beside him, scared.
"No," I said. "Why?"
"Because someone just came in from the garage!"
My brother and his friend had been watching T.V., finally winding down for the night, when they both heard someone open and close the door in the laundry room which leads to the garage, and come inside. They were certain of it. They BOTH heard it.
I had not told them about my experience earlier that night, nor did I ever. Nothing else happened that night. It took me until the sun came up before I finally fell back to sleep, and when I went out to look at the car later that morning... The shoe print was gone. I've never known what really happened, but I'm convinced Jessie and I attracted something in the forest preserve that night, who decided to follow me home and have a little adventure of their own.