I'm not sure what I believe, only what I cannot explain. That being said- the following is a true story that took place on a nature reserve, after dark, on a land that was once used by confederate soldiers. I cannot say whether or not a battle was fought on this land, but there is evidence of soldiers being present on it to this day. The land was also used by native Americans at one time and I have heard rumors of burial grounds nearby.
It started out of boredom. My good friend and I would go down to this reserve/animal sanctuary late at night since it is within walking distance of his parent's house and they left town frequently. We were probably around 20 years of age at the time. The area houses owls, wolves, a bald eagle, hawks, a bobcat, raccoon, and other animals that had been injured at one time or turned in by irresponsible owners that thought things like bobcats would make good pets.
Both occurrences happened at or around midnight.
We were quite far from the animal cages when all of them- all at once -made as much noise as possible, simultaneously. Every one of them. I would not doubt it if even the snakes were doing their best. The noise itself was possibly more terrifying than what happened after. By the time we got to the cages they had already stopped and started again. As we stood staring in wonder we heard a splashing noise in the creek behind us. The noise got closer until whatever was making it made it to shore. Twigs cracked and leaves crunched as it got closer and closer until it should have been almost in sight. My friend turned to run- more afraid than curious -but I wanted to investigate. He plead for me not to, and as I approached the noise it made its final "step" not six feet away from me in the darkness. It sounded heavy, not unlike bricks landing in the underbrush, but the creek was far too deep and wide for anyone to throw such a thing with any accuracy, let alone cross the water to continue harassing us. That last "step" was all I needed to persuade me in joining my already fleeing friend.
To this day I am not sure what had disturbed the animals that night or approached us in the darkness.
The second occurrence happened at the same location some months later. On this reserve there is a boardwalk that goes out over a swamp and connects to a tree-house of sorts. We had clambered out to this tree-house late one night and were enjoying the solitude the area can provide after closing (I admit- we weren't supposed to be there).
There is a stable near the area that provides horse tours. All of the horses are confined at night in a barn on the far side of the property or in a fenced in area. As we sat we suddenly heard approaching hoof-beats. Slowly they started up the boardwalk towards where we were sitting. After a few minutes of silence, they turned around and went back toward the parking lot. This happened at least twice within an hour's time. We speculated that someone had heard us or a horse had gotten out and was walking a path it was accustomed to. When we were on our way home we once again heard the hoof-beats, this time coming towards us around a bend in the road. Wanting to see what it was I opted to wait in the darkness for it to cross under a streetlamp ahead. The hoof-beats rounded the corner and continued past us, under the light of the streetlamp, and off into the darkness. We should have seen what was making the noise but there was nothing there -but- the noise. To this day neither of us can explain that. Coupled with the other event that took place in the same area I don't think there is any logical explanation to any of it.
Any thoughts would be appreciated. I've searched for similar stories to no avail. If anyone knows other such accounts then please send them my way.