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Where Did They Go?


This story is one of those stories that, had someone told it to me, I'd probably figure they were having me on. If you decide that, I can't stop you. However, this story, as with all my other stories, is true.

It was the summer of '82, and some of my friends and I were camping in the same general area as always. But back then, we camped downstream from the park, rather than upstream, as we did later. Our campsite was right on the riverbank, with the shale cliffs behind us a-ways. The spine of one of the cliffs was about 50 yards behind us. It had a path winding up to the top, with projecting ledges. Some almost as large as a small room, coming off on both sides.

At the top of the cliff was a natural spring, our source of water while out there. We'd take gallon milk jugs, slung on leather straps, three apiece, hike to the top, then bring them down to camp.

This particular trip, it was Dave and my turn to fetch and carry, so we grabbed up a half-dozen empties, and trucked over to the base, then up the path.

When we were about halfway up, we came upon one of these ledges, and found we had company. Two young guys, about in their 20s, were relaxing in chaise lounges on the shelf. They were decked out in t-shirts, cutoffs, sneakers, shades, and ball-caps, and they each were holding a can of Bud. Although it was about one in the afternoon, and quite warm, they had a fire going in the pit, although nothing was cooking. An ice chest full of cubes and cans of beer sat between them, along with a "ghetto-blaster" type cassette player, which was pumping out the Stones.

As we reached the shelf, they greeted us warmly, and invited us for a beer. We demurred, citing the need to fetch the water, but offering to stop back by later. Dave and I continued up the spine.

We reached the spring, and set about filling our jugs. This took us perhaps 10 minutes, as the spring was slow, and we stopped periodically to scoop up drinks of the cold, pure water. We finished, and started back down. And received a shock.

The two young men were gone, as was all their stuff; not a sign or trace of them left, even though it was perhaps 15 minutes since we'd last seen them.

The only remnant of the experience was the firepit, and it was cold, and bone-dry, as if it hadn't been used in ages.

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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.

AshCat (24 posts)
8 years ago (2014-03-26)
In my opinion I believe you experienced a time slip. Very cool!
alandhopewell (28 stories) (145 posts)
9 years ago (2013-03-16)
MEOW3- As I mentioned in the story, about fifteen minutes elapsed between the time we went up and the time we came back-it's doubtful they could've packed up that quickly. Also, again as mentioned, the firepit was cold and dry; depending on how they quenched the fire, the ashes would've been either warm or wet when we came past.
meow3 (23 posts)
9 years ago (2013-03-12)
Could they have possibly taken their stuff and left before you got back, or do you think there wasn't enough time elapsed for them to leave without your seeing? 😕
sonri (2 stories) (91 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-26)
I came back to this story because I just returned from a week spent 60 feet or fewer off train tracks. Did I think of hopping a train? Yes, I did, though consider it is all I could do for a very lovely baby sits upon my hip for variable minutes out of every waking hour. I just wanted to say; I found myself actually walking barefoot along the rails and knowing it. My feet aren't as tough as they used to be, but it brought back memories of my youthiest youth. We picked wildflowers, for no flower from the gardens could finish the bouquet like I knew the black-eyed susans growing across the tracks would. So, we had to cross them.
Were this woman's feet bloodied, or noticeably rust colored? If not, she may have lived quite nearby.
There was I soon noticed glass all along this section of rail, which made the little excursion unexpectedly excitingly precarious. Being of bare feet however did encourage me to maintain balance upon those narrow parallel beams, for the relief of their smoothness inspired more loyalty recently, than perhaps the challenge of maintaining my balance had in my past. My feet have indeed grown softer.
Would I do it again? Yes, and I'm sure I will. I like black-eyed susans, and I like to feel alive, vibrantly valiantly unprepared. Self-reliant.
And maybe, I will hop that train one day, the engineers seem to like me, always wave and smile at us quite vigorously, maybe they won't mind too much or even notice. Someone daring to jump his train would probably make his week, or year, career.
Ah, well, maybe when my children are asleep or grown, perhaps next year. Who knows, but to hop it, or hop off it, I could not be shoeless; now that would be crazy. 😊
sonri (2 stories) (91 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-09)
The barefeet are very very important, particularly on train tracks. That was an awesome memory, I'd forgotten. Just kidding.
One of those moments, that inspires the age-old question
"What if?"- Nothing more haunting than that.
And your other story inspires the questions; "What kind of beer would they have had? Would it have been wet, contained alcohol, provided a buzz?"
I really liked both of your experiences, please, feel free to share more alandhopewell.

alandhopewell (28 stories) (145 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-08)
SONRI- Some of the best moments of life have naught to do with the paranormal; you reminded me of one...

Summer, 1976. I'm in Tennesee, at the Naval Air Station in Millington, to be exact. It's a Friday, just coming up towards dusk. I'm standing near the rear entrance to the base, by the railroad tracks-I can't remember why I was there, but there I was. I'm looking west, toward the rapidly lowering sun.

In the distance, I see someone walking toward me, seemingly out of the sun itself. As the figure gets closer, I can see it's a beautiful young Southern woman, tall, raven hair, about a cross between Nicolette Larson and Alannah Myles. She's wearing a lavender sundress, which reached to her shapely, tanned calves. She was backlit, so her shape was no mystery to me, or anyone else. She strode toward me, barefoot, with a sway that would've gone nicely with a steel guitar and a pair of softly-brushed bongos.

I was twenty at the time, and I was not only transfixed... My HAIR was turned on.

She passed close enough to me that I could catch the vanilla-honeysuckle scent of her. As she came abreast of me, she turned sapphire-blue eyes my way, and gave me a slow smile that seemed to say,

"Yes...I know."

I recall thinking, "Lord, if I gotta go, now wouldn't be a bad time; I don't know if it gets any better."

I watched her sway into the distance, and out of sight.
sonri (2 stories) (91 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-07)
Got carried away as usual. It says comments require fifty characters, I seemed to think it was 500. Didn't mean to blather on so. Excuse me. I'm mildly exciteable, and I like to type.
alandhopewell (28 stories) (145 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-07)
LOU- I dunno; indeed, as Javelina pointed out, when I alluded to this occurrence before, I said it was Nugent... It was a long time ago.
troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-07)
Very good story! I won't go into details as some have on here, but just say that it was very strange indeed. Thanks very much for sharing this.
LouSlips (10 stories) (979 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-06)
Which of the Stones tunes was playing... Maybe it had relevance to this occurrence?
alandhopewell (28 stories) (145 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-06)
LOU- I'm not sure exactly when we heard the music, although I'm sure I didn't hear it from our campsite.

It wasn't a very large spring; it bubbled up a few inches, then trickled down the slope, on the ground... It was kind of like having a drinking fountain.

I'm not very good at estimating distances, but I think the distances I mentioned were at least close.
LouSlips (10 stories) (979 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-06)
At the risk of sounding picky amongst the miriad of compliments; how far from your camp was the location the boys were at? From the story it sounds like it was closer than it was from the boys to the water source... If that indeed is the case, why weren't you able to here their music?
Also, where I come from, water runs downhill. Climbing a mountain to fetch water could be entirely necessary if its eventual descent is on the other side of the mountain, but I would rather walk around a mountain with 30- lbs of water, than down one.

Miracles51031 (39 stories) (4998 posts) mod
10 years ago (2012-06-06)
Sonri - honestly? All I asked was if I missed a paranormal experience in your latest comment 😆. I never said, or suggested, that you couldn't express yourself in sharing a compliment, did I? I've just seen some pretty random things from you lately and wondered why. Now I know. Thank you.
sonri (2 stories) (91 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-06)
I like to encourage positive emotions in people, inspire them to speak from their hearts, laugh at themselves, and not take everything so very seriously; its so easy to not be happy.
When I am happy, I try to pass it around; don't wish to stop either; fine me, ticket me, exclude me; I will chase you down and hug you back and tell you its all right. I have my faults, if you are looking for fault, you've found the right person. I edit myself all day long, when I make time for this, I have very little time, no time to edit. Everything, I type, is all in a moment. The moment passes, and it is gone; I'm not to answer for it the rest of my life am I?
Usually; I'll walk when I wish to run. I'll hum when I want to sing. I'll smile when I want to laugh. I always remember with excruciating detail every put down, every criticism; one complement in a thousand may get through to my socially-enforced self-criticism, self-containment just to be forgotten; I was reminded, so I shared.
I'd give you some of this cookie I'm eating too, but I can't; honestly I'm not eating a cookie just attempting to make a point.
The sweet good things in life, should be shared in whatever forum; not scrutinized, condemned, or contained. So, you didn't like that moment, or feel I'm not controlled enough to be able to contribute a comment.
If I get one smile out of it though, or inspire someone to actually live, to step out of topic, to fall naturally out of step and set their own pace just for a moment, to quit sitting and sprint down that road in the rain if they wish to, barefoot, to feel for a moment their own vitallity; its worth it, so very worth it.
Do it, just do it. Be happy. Allow yourself, and others to be happy, to express happiness.
alandhopewell (28 stories) (145 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-05)
HAV- When I decided to post this, I thought I'd mentioned it before, but I wasn't sure. Actually, I wasn't sure if I'd post it, because I wasn't
exactly sure HOW to categorize it-on another site, it's kind of listed in the "WTF?" category.

Glad you enjoyed it.
Andrea22 (5 stories) (65 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-05)
You're story sounds believable to me because I've heard other people tell similar things... Where people seem to be doing a normal activity and then bam... They vanish without a trace.That's especially weird in camping.I've been camping quite a few times and I know it takes a while to get all that stuff back to the car and put out the fire.Creepy!
Miracles51031 (39 stories) (4998 posts) mod
10 years ago (2012-06-05)
Sonri - not that we don't all get off track every now and then because we do. I'm just as guilty as the next person. But I just have to ask because sometimes I miss things and this might be one of them. Was there a paranormal experience in the comment you made, or were you just sharing with us the best compliment you've ever received? It's early and I'm still on my first cup of coffee. I just want to make sure I'm not overlooking anything.
shellzy (8 stories) (218 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-05)
Hi alandhopewell

Do you ever wonder what would have happened if you had have stopped and had a chat and a drink with these two fellas? I have to admit it would be something I would be thinking about for a long time! Very curious indeed... 😊
sonri (2 stories) (91 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-05)
A fire-pit cold enough to send shivers up your spine.
Also, reminded me of one of the greatest complements;you know the kind you actually believe...
I was with some of my family along "the bluffs"in TN, looking for a place to jump; as I liked to jump. I have to this day a passion, or thrill, for jumping and diving into water.
He came from nowhere, a nice-looking older (33?) man, actually we came upon him while descending. I was 20. He had with him, a nice-looking woman. He dropped his jaw, and said to me in the most flabberghasted caught-off-guard- way, "you are beautiful". He looked stunned, like I'd shined him with a light; my sister immediately shooed him away with her negative energy, told me he had been smoking pot; it was sweet, she liked to watch out for me.
Now, she is far away, and I miss her very very much.
But, I'll never forget his face. You know, I actually believe he meant what he said, because he didn't expect to say it, it just bursted out of him.
I live in relatively flat lands now. I wish, now, under this intoxicatingly-full moon, I could look out from cliffs or bluffs over water and go for it. One of the most exciting experiences in my life has been falling into water, particularly at night. If you've got the chance, if its known to be pretty-well safe, go for it. Take that jump, belly-flop, or dive, in all things, my advise is try not to risk Regret.

Make great memories,
Thanks for sharing yours
Sonr I 😊
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-05)
Hi Alan,
I recall where I first heard you tell of this experience. It was last July, in a comment you had posted on your experience titled "The Spectral Flatboat".
One little difference though...
"There was an ice chest, filled with ice and cans of beer; next to that was a boom box, belting out Ted Nugent, as I recall".
Makes no difference to me if it was Nugent or the Stones. It is still cool.

Jav 😊
zzsgranny (18 stories) (3327 posts) mod
10 years ago (2012-06-05)
alan: Curious indeed... Although all the stuff ie: cooler, beer and chairs, could have been packed up and stowed pretty quickly, and the fire extinguished most likely within ten to fifteen minutes, the fire pit would have still been warm, if not wet, from extinguishing the fire (Fires can quickly be extinguished with dirt, but the pit would have been warm)...You don't mention any powdery substance so a chemical extinguisher is out, too...

Wow, pretty cool, mister!...Thanks for posting ❤
rookdygin (24 stories) (4458 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-05)

Curious, curious indeed...

Loved the detail about the fire pit... That was a very 'telling' detail. The fact it was cold and dry from not being used was a very telling detail indeed.

I want to ask about the chaise lounges... What 'style were they? Pool side Plastic? Wicker? Perhaps they were the old 'outdoor' woven plastic strips... A chaise lounge, of any style, seems a bit impractical for use by two guys with a cooler full of beer and a 'boom box' on a remote rock shelf in a camp ground. I mean kicking back with a camp chairs, a good friend or two and a cooler full of cold brew sounds great... But there is something 'odd' about this, something 'odd' indeed.


ghost28 (3 stories) (7 posts)
10 years ago (2012-06-04)
Wow. Thats crazy! I do believe you! Has there ever been suicides or even a car accident that could have happened there?

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