As a teenager I was always into Halloween and all the fun that surrounds that occasion. In High school I had a group of friends that I always had such a great time hanging out with. We lived in Amherstburg Ontario Canada. (It's a small historic town just 20mins south of Windsor/Detroit) The town is a very popular hot spot for all sorts of paranormal and other odd activities. We had a lot of fun exploring these known places. Because of the wars and the history of the area it is almost impossible to walk aground and not be standing in either an old battle field or ancient Indian graveyard. After a series of bad events that scared the wits out of us, we all stopped. It has been a long time since then and I am enjoying the opportunity to tell our stories of what happened to us.
In this event we were actually not looking for any trouble or even remotely investigating any paranormal activity. We had a recent bad brush with a Ouija board and all the scary stuff was off the itinerary. (for those of you who have read about my Ouija board experience. This was just after our first séance in the basement and our first scare.)
During the fall the lake was ideal for swimming in. Believe it or not Lake Erie was clean at that time. To have fun we would often go to a nearby beach and party. This particular beach is about 8 minutes south of Amherstburg and is at the transition point where Detroit River dumps out into Lake Erie. The land cuts into a shallow bay and the water is only about 6 ft deep for as far out as 100-150 feet.
This area is a wooded area that is a land dam between the inland swamps and Lake Erie. It consists of a wall of dirt with a path on top. To the north is a large flood plain / forest and swamp. To the south is an old forest with a sandy floor that leads to the beach.
The actual beach was narrow, only about 40-60 feet wide at its widest point and in some areas the forest would end right at the surf. This area is famous for its shifting sandbars and its changing tide. Twice a year the tide will pull out leaving a 60 to 100 foot exposed shoreline. Then the surf will come rushing in and in a matter of minutes return to the original level.
The beach/forest area was about a mile long and broken into 4 separated areas by large stone jetties. This made several smaller alcoves along the shoreline where you would have isolated beaches. It was on these beaches that we would have our parties. It was the perfect place, it was very isolated and for me a modern day Eden. The trees were large and had low hanging branches and the forest had a bounty of wild raspberries, strawberries and grapes. I had been going to this place for years without any kind of paranormal trouble. But this place had a very significant history.
This beach has always been the Washout area for anything floating downstream in the Detroit river. As a kid each year there would be 2 or 3 bodies that would wash ashore just after winter thaw. We had many things wash ashore there; some of my favourites were clusters of giant trees that broke free and created floating islands of roots, some were very large and could be tied off to a land tree and played with as your own floating tree fort or swimming platform. Once after a great storm a large 35ft wooden yacht got caught in the shallows between a sandbar and the shore. It was a marvellous ghost ship. (no ghosts on board just looked like one) It was made from wood and probably from the 40s or 50s. It had a tug boat look with a top cabin and captain's deck on top. (If you have ever watched the original movie Jaws you will know what it looks like. It was almost identical to the boat at the end)
This boat had been sunk many years ago and had been under water for a long time. It was full of zebra mussels and the paint was flaking off the wood. The recent storm and currents must have moved the boat into the shallows and then it popped back up. (I am not a nautical man but I have been told that old wooden boats have been known to rise from the bottom of the lake to the surface and take on float again under the right conditions) The boat stayed for about a week and was gone again in the next storm. Needless to say that beach area was a place where in the past that many ships were washed up onto. Very close to this area is a rock shoal in the lake that is famous for sinking maritime ships. Local lore has it that the dead bodies find themselves washed up on the beach and their spirits never leave.
This particular event happened in the early fall. We had buried our alcohol stash in the surf to keep it cool and returned later at night to party. We had a small fire and "camp area" and all had a blast. But this night was different than others. It was a very dark night and the normal forest sounds of birds and crickets were silent. Even the moon was orangey and dim. We started off with 6 of us and we were listening to music. After awhile we all set out to find areas appropriate for a ladies room, and another for the men. This is when we had our first indication that something was wrong. Finding a discrete place for the washroom required us to journey into the forest a little deeper than typical. The forest ground was mostly sand and walking in it produced a very soft sound. Only on occasion would you step on a dry leaf or brush a low hanging bush and actually make a sound. The forest was fairly thick but did not have much underbrush so it was easy to navigate. Once you moved away from the beach the gentle sound of the night surf disappeared. This is also where the forest would feel very surreal. The air was fresher and crisper and the moonlight filtered through the tree tops producing a candle light atmosphere. This was a very romantic place normally... (funny how most of the elements that make a place romantic also can also make it so scary)
This night the area was also full of dark shadowed areas where this dim moon light would not penetrate. There were 3 of us guys navigating the night forest. We were all fairly stout boys that had all had backgrounds in scouts and camping (and for the most part very sensible) We were not easily bothered by the "spookiness" of being in a forest at night. But I remember a few comments about the how eerie the night was under the odd moon and how the girls must be very scared. (being that they were also alone in another part of the forest) I remember we did have a brief chuckle over the idea of scaring them... But we knew that would not lead to a "good night" so we behaved.
Being guys we found our bathroom fairly quickly... As any bush would do. I think we actually made the effort to find a discreet location really only because the girls seemed offended by the gesture of us taking a leak in the surf or on nearby bush. So we pretended to be civilized and found our location. After completing our business we started to return to the camp site. On the way back to the beach we all thought we heard footsteps close behind us. We immediately suspected the girls of the same prank idea that we entertained earlier. But with a little investigation we could not find anyone. Then the footsteps seemed to follow us to the camp area. One of my friends called out to the girls to see where they were. They were of course still occupied and their voices came from the other side of the forest. They were all shouting because they were issuing us warnings not to come looking for them. So we could account for all the girls and we knew it was not them behind us in the bush. Immediately I thought that it was another kid from the neighbourhood or some prankster or worse some misfit looking for trouble. So we all grabbed a thick branch and took a quick walk to flush out anyone in the area. After a few minutes we did not find anything and even the sand showed no traces of another person's foot prints. So we returned to the fire and started drinking. The Girls eventually arrived back at the campfire and we all started to drink again. All was going to return to normal, but one of the girls asked if we had anyone follow us in the forest. The girls agreed that someone had followed them too.
This was too weird and too coincidental to happen to all of us. So the party was off and we were set to find our mystery person who was lurking in the woods. In our alcohol induced genius we figured we use the girls as bait... We left one of my guy friends there to complete the picture and I and my other friend quietly slipped into the forest and circled around to ensnare our would-be stalker. Well it took some time and eventually I got in behind the campfire area and settled myself in the dark shadows. I was actually behind a very large willow tree and could see the campfire glow through the trees in front of me. I could hear the girls and guy talking. I scanned the forest in front of me looking for an outline of our stalker. But nobody was there.
Now standing out in the dark forest alone looking for a mysterious person gets one to thinking... Who is hunting who? I started to second guess the plan... Perhaps the stalker was on to our plan and had noticed us sneaking off in the woods and was now behind me watching me looking for him. (hope that makes sense)
Well let's just say alcohol and logic do not mix well. (thinking back I was a brave but stupid kid. Who knows what animals a person would run into in a night forest or even some kind of sicko... Who knows!)
Well not knowing if our stalker was in front or behind me I decided to brake from the plan and lay down and creep along the forest floor on my belly very slowly to relocate to a "better" hiding spot. I moved into the deepest dark area and noticed that the ground was holding a small whiff of fog in among the trees. I figured I was as deep as it gets, any further and I would be moving into the swamps to the north. I settled in for a few silent moments. After a while there was just nothing there, so I decided to go back to the campsite. As I stood up and set myself to walk towards the camp area; a dark face appeared looking straight into my face. I stumbled back to see a shadowy figure hanging down from the tree I was sat under. He was watching me. He was crawling down the tree but not moving... He had noticed that I saw him and was not moving. I remember I could see him as clear as the tree. For a second I was frozen... I knew what I was looking at but I could not convince my body to react like I wanted to. I wanted to run but I could not move. After the longest second I was able to move my legs and start moving off towards the camp. I quickly moved into the brightest areas of the forest that would make a path back to the beach. As a moved I tried to keep the shadow in view, but he quickly disappeared. But I soon started to see him looking out from behind other trees and I soon realized that there was more than one shadow in that forest. As I made it into the discreet areas I was in pretty much a full run. I hadn't realized but the beach and camp area was silent. My friends were not making any sounds. Suddenly the girls started to scream. The campfire was put out. The forest became darker. I ran towards where I remembered the campfire light to be. I caught the image of my other friend who had been scouting in the forest as he bolted past the brush and into the open beach. We both looked around and could not see the others. We quickly found them, as they were all some distance down the shoreline. They were waving to us to catch up. (Which we did) They were yelling that they could all see shadows moving in the forest and that we needed to get out of there.
To leave this beach would require us to walk back through the forest to the land dam and then along it to the road. None of us could bring ourselves to go back into the forest; especially now that the fog was moving in quickly from the trees. Even the lake had fog moving in from it. We knew we were going to be trapped in the fog if we did not get out quickly. But we were not going to go into the forest.
We were all very scared and made a semi desperate break for the water. The water was not deep, but it was very cool. We moved along the waterfront until we passed the forest and came to the shore line in front of the first house on the street. We climbed up the rock wall and ran across their yard and back to our cars parked at the road. Even as we left the car's headlights light up the fog and we could see things moving in the fog.
I think we all really wanted to contribute this event to the alcohol... Even though we did not consume very much at the time.
We considered this a 7 on our scary shiat meter. (Making it one of the scariest things we had seen up until that point) We did not think it at the time but I am sure it was connected to the Ouija board incident we had. (The Ouija board from Hell broke the scary meter rankings and stopped all of our investigations.)