There's a place of yoga/meditation near my home. Hope is in the name, but I will not divulge more. I believe it is on a ley line because it emits a strange... Power.
One night, I went to visit it with two male friends (I'll call them J and C). C had tragically lost his brother recently and was dealing with some anger problems. I had hoped some meditation/a walk through the labyrinth would calm him some and was going to offer a small cleansing ritual.
When we all got there, though, the two guys became drawn to the woods that lay just beyond the labyrinth. There was a darkness emitting from beyond the tree line and I didn't want to go, but they insisted. I agreed to enter, but only under the condition that C walk the labyrinth. His emotions were so raw and the dark energy was so intense that I wanted him to put up some sort of barrier. After some argument, he did as he was told.
Once he had finished, we headed down a narrow path into the woods. Briars dragged at our clothes and the air was completely still and silent; there were no sounds of wildlife and the summer sun had dulled to twilight. At the end of the path there was a three-way fork and the two guys suddenly bolted in opposite directions. It is at this point that I would like to point out that we were all completely sober.
I followed J first and found him several yards into the woods talking with a tree. His eyes and voice had a dreamy, hypnotized look. He insisted that the tree was covered with eyes and, despite him admitting that the tree felt demonic, he felt a desperate need to hug it. I spent several minutes arguing with J and insisting that he should not touch the tree. It wasn't until I told J that C had disappeared that the trance broke and he followed me.
Once back at the clearing, J and I searched for the path that C had taken, but there was no longer a path. We called out to C, but there was no reply. Panicked, we hiked back up the path aways and found a small path that seemed to lead in C's general direction. After several minutes of searching, we found C staring, unmoving, through the branches of a tree at a brook. He didn't so much as flinch when we walked up behind him and grabbed his shoulder. Just continued to stare...
As I struggled to get C's attention, J once more got entranced by another demon-tree; demanding he hug it. I don't remember how, but I somehow managed to break C's trance and the two of us dragged J back up the path. C remained completely stonefaced and silent as we trekked on, while J continued to babble about trees with eyes.
When we once more reached the labyrinth, the sunlight glinted off of a shadow that had clasped itself onto the back of C. Panicked, I ordered C to go through the labyrinth once more. He did so without comment or complaint. When he had finished, I tossed a line of salt (an object that had previously been meant for the above mentioned cleansing ritual) across the entrance. The shadow was off of C's shoulder, but I could hear banging, like someone trying to break down a door, coming from the labyrinth.
I ushered my friends back to the car and C began to tell his side of the story: when he had first reached the clearing, he had heard a voice coming from his chosen path. Once he had entered the path, all sound that J and I had been making disappeared and there was only silence, silence and the voice. When he reached the place that J and I had found him, he saw a silhouetted figure crouching on a limb of the tree.
He asked the figure, "Are you my brother?" The figure said no.
"Are you my anger?" Again, no.
"Then who are you?"
The figure simply replied, "I am you."
Though nearly 20 minutes had passed since the two guys had split ways, it felt like 2 minutes to C.
Two months passed. Myself, J, C and his girlfriend T went to see a movie. While idling in the parking lot after the film had ended, that night was once more brought up. After expressing some annoyance that she had not been made aware of this expedition, T asked when this had all occurred, and had told her that it had been mid-July. She mentioned a feeling she had had around that time, a demonic sense. T then asked for a piece of paper and a pen.
T proceeded to draw a rough, but completely accurate map of Hope and the wooded area beyond, right down to the barely acknowledged stream, the fork in the path, and the stone heart at the center of the labyrinth. She proceeded to name her map Hope, No Hope, with the words hovering above the fitting spots.
The most disturbing part was the one thing she got wrong. She had drawn an X on one corner of the map, assuming that it was where her boyfriend had been. It wasn't. It was where I had first found J.
We have since returned to that spot a few more times (what can I say, we are masochists), and while we have never experienced anything as intense since, strange things still do occur. The stream has proven to be completely soundproof no matter what you throw in it, and no sound of nature has ever been heard, rustling leaves included.
Whether it is because of or inspite of T's X, it is always J that insists on these visits. What he wants to find, even he does not know, but we know he should not search for it alone.