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Daylight Phantom Hiker


My friends and I used to go hiking and camping every spring and summer, in an area known as the Bacon Woods. We had a number of odd events happen over the years there.

This particular time, about June of '88, Dave and I had gone out for a day hike; we'd decided to hike up to our usual campsite, and see what if any fixing up the fire pit and such might need. We'd brought Doag, Daves' large mixed breed dog, with us.

We parked at Mill Hollow; metro parks situated north of Bacon Woods, and were soon briskly walking down a trail running parallel to the Vermilion River. It was a beautiful, warm early summer day.

Around noon, we'd reached a large clearing, about fifteen feet or so across, midway to our destination, so we decided to break for lunch. We built a small fire, and soon had water heating for coffee, to wash down our sandwiches. We fed Doag, who stretched out for a nap after his meal.

After eating, Dave and I were sitting on logs, finishing our coffee and having cigarettes, when Doag suddenly rolled over and sat up, staring down the path in the direction we'd come from. I looked down the path, and through the brush and branches I could see a man headed our way. He appeared to be tall, a bit taller than Dave, who is 6' 1", dressed in woods camo from his hat to his trousers.

I didn't think anything of it, as we often ran into people out for a hike, just like us, or fishing. The figure got to the edge of the clearing, and...Vanished.

We both jumped up, and went over to the edge of the clearing, looking for the fellow, who seemed to have just disappeared. Doag, meanwhile, sat there, as if bored by it all.

We never saw the man, or whatever, again.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, alandhopewell, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

alandhopewell (28 stories) (145 posts)
11 years ago (2012-01-04)
Deer are protected, as are all wildlife in the parks, but no, we didn't report it; the land we were on is private and, to be honest, we were tresspassing.
Vanessanda (3 stories) (226 posts)
11 years ago (2012-01-03)
Sounds to me as though you are a nature lover, in which case, you would have been extremely disturbed by the deer carcass. Am I right? As a nature lover, or as a concerned citizen, did you report this very strange incident to the park ranger or to the authorities? Are deer a protected specis there?
aya22 (guest)
11 years ago (2011-03-23)
I really enjoyed reading this one; and your account of finding the strange deer carcass sounds incredibly spooky. Would've sent chills up my spine for sure! I love me some good ghost stories while sitting around a campfire, sounds like you have a lot of interesting tales to tell. 😉 Thanks for sharing.
PestilentPixie (4 stories) (52 posts)
11 years ago (2011-03-23)
Well, I personally enjoyed this story along with the wonderful comments of you and your readers. I am a bit dark and twisty by nature so the semi-graphic depictions of the deer doesn't offend me. It's a great story. I would love to read any other stories you have. Thank you for sharing. 😊
alandhopewell (28 stories) (145 posts)
11 years ago (2011-03-23)
I'm not certain if a "plausible" explanation exists, although, as I've said before, I believe most paranormal phenomena to be demonic, if real.
BadJuuJuu (guest)
11 years ago (2011-03-22)
The story itself, I very much enjoyed. I could just picture Doag acting bored by the event, and I could picture my dogs reacting the same way lol.
I will admit though that your mention of the stripped deer carcass, I didn't enjoy so much. Very unpleasant description. I'm sitting here, trying to think what could strip a deer without leaving some mark on the bones. Nothing comes to mind. I think I would have been right with Doag, refusing to go near it. I don't believe I would have gone to that part of the woods again for a long while lol.
JamesRobiscoe (419 posts)
11 years ago (2011-03-22)
alandhopewell--Good story to remember at future campfires, but your post script story of the deer wigged me out. Have you guys ever imagined a plausible explanation?
alandhopewell (28 stories) (145 posts)
11 years ago (2011-03-22)
That particular area has had, as I've mentioned before, a reputation for odd occurrences; we were witness to a number of them.

One time Doag WAS scared out there, as were we...

Dave, my cousin Pat, and I had been out target shooting with Doag, in the same area, and we decided to take an alternate route back to where we were parked. We followed a path that ran along the top of a clay bank.

As we rounded a bend, we saw the carcass of a deer stretched across the path ahead. When we got closer, we noticed something strange. The deer was whole from the head to the neck. Past that, it looked as if something had stripped the hide and flesh from the animal in one motion, as one would shuck corn. There was no blood or offal on the ground, and no tracks or drag marks in the clay.

I knelt next to the deer for a closer look. The bones had only the myelin sheath covering them in spots, and the connective tissue, no meat. There were no tooth, claw, or tool marks on the bones that I could see.

Being understandably creeped out by this, we started past the remains to continue our trip. Doag, whom Dave had on a lead, plunked down, and refused to come near the carcass- Dave had to carry him until we were a bit away from the spot.
lynrinth (guest)
11 years ago (2011-03-21)
Ha ha! I liked Doag reaction the best. Cool! Obvious he knows nothing to be scared of.
Snowy23 (2 stories) (22 posts)
11 years ago (2011-03-21)
Interesting. Sounds similar to a story my friend told me about going camping. You should go back out there wita camera and see if the activity repeats itself. It may be a spirit that's trapped going through hhr same thing again. Anyway thanks for sharing! 😁

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