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The Spectral Footsteps


I have been visiting this site to read everyone's wonderful stories for around two years. I like this site because everyone seems very supportive and gives non-paranormal possible explanations for posters' experiences. This is my first time posting an account of my own. It is not the scariest of stories, but it has definitely made an impression on me.

My story takes place at White Pines Dude Ranch in Oregon, IL. I was ten years old at the time. I was visiting the ranch with my Girl Scout troop. My best friend was also a member of this troop and she was with me during the encounter.

The dude ranch has a bunk house, mess hall and pool. For an added scary effect, there is a graveyard right next to the pool. This was the summer that the original "Poltergeist" movie came out. Almost all of us had seen the movie. In fact, for most of us, it was the first horror movie we had seen in the theatre. Those of us that hadn't seen it were still well aware of the dreaded pool scene from the movie.

The pool is located next to the mess hall. The mess hall is located maybe a quarter mile away from the bunkhouse. A cement walkway leads from the front door of the bunkhouse to the front door of the mess hall. There are grassy fields on either side of the walkway and there are no trees in the fields to block the view. This incident occurred in broad daylight, so we were both able to see clearly.

My friend and I were walking on the walkway from the bunkhouse to the mess hall. We weren't speaking. We were just two little girls walking and enjoying the fresh air. All of a sudden, I heard footsteps behind us. The footsteps were walking in the same direction as were we. This next part is a moment that I will never forget. Without saying a word to my friend, I casually turned to see who was behind us, expecting to see another one of our friends. My friend turned around at the exact same moment, presumably with the same intention as myself. To my shock and dismay, the sound of footsteps could still be very clearly heard advancing toward us, yet no one was there! I slowly turned to face my friend as she did the same. We still had not said one word to each other. What I saw in her face was a reflection of what I could feel my own face doing. Her eyes got wide, she turned to look at the road again (as did I), looked back at me as her jaw dropped. We both screamed at the same time and started running for our lives.

As we reached the mess hall, two of our friends jumped out from behind two barrels while shouting, "Boo!" We both screamed so loud that our friends actually looked at each other quizzically. Next, we began to laugh hysterically with relief and we asked them how on earth they were able to produce those footsteps so far up the road. Our friends then asked us, "Footsteps? What footsteps?" It turned out that jumping out at us had been the extent of their prank.

We told them what had transpired on the path and they were immediately intrigued and asked to be taken to that spot. We took them there straight away, but we were unable to hear the footsteps anymore. So, being typical ten year old girls, we decided that we would wait until lights out that night to return to the spot and see if we could hear them then.

Once everyone else was asleep, we four did sneak out, yet did not hear the footsteps. We were all disappointed, especially my best friend and I, because we wanted the others to hear it to validate our experience. And of course, because it would have been more fun.

Anyway, this was not my first paranormal experience, but it was the first one that I shared with another person. When something happens to one alone, even if one is a child, it is easy to chalk up the experience to an overactive imagination. When someone else is there to witness the event, it becomes a little harder to explain away.

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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, LoveOfAbundance, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

LoveOfAbundance (2 stories) (27 posts)
7 years ago (2015-05-21)
Thank you Miracles for your nice comments and for this great website!
Miracles51031 (39 stories) (4998 posts) mod
7 years ago (2015-05-21)
LoveOfAbundance - thank you for the additional information 😊 I quite enjoyed this story so I'd like to thank you for sharing it with us.
LoveOfAbundance (2 stories) (27 posts)
7 years ago (2015-05-21)
I was able to find out a little bit more. First, I would like to note that I was living in a suburb next to the city of Chicago when I visited this area as a child. When I was in my early twenties, my family and I ended up moving to Oregon, IL. So, I am quite familiar with this area. Imagine my surprise the day I took a drive and realized that I now lived right by the dude ranch!

Anyway, it seems that the Coddingtons were one of the founding families of Pine Creek Township, which I have learned is the official name of the area in which the cemetary is located. I lived in Oregon, IL for at least three years and have never even heard of this township, which is apparently right next door. The dude ranch is addressed as being in Oregon. This is an incredibly rural area, and all of the small towns seem to blend into one another.

From what I've been able to gather, both Coddington farm and the cemetary were well-established by the time the bodies were moved. I don't know why they were moved. I do know that Coddingtons are buried in that graveyard, so I don't think they would have callously desecrated any resting spots, but I don't know.

I also found an obituary for a woman who was buried in Mt. Zion in April, 2015. So, the cemetary is still in use.
LoveOfAbundance (2 stories) (27 posts)
7 years ago (2015-05-21)
Thank you for your kind comments Wish-Not! Yes, it was perfect timing for our friends to jump out. The looks on their faces when we absolutely freaked out are something that I will always remember.

I looked up the ranch on the internet and was able to get this information. The plot of land was purchased in 1955. The owners opened it as a summer camp in 1968. They built the mess hall, which I learned is actually called the ranch house, in 1970. The bunkhouse was built in 1975.

The ranch truly is a labor of love for the couple that founded and still own it. It is not just a summer camp, but a year round Outdoor Education facility. In fact, I visited the ranch a second time with my entire sixth grade class. All of the girls from my troop were present on this trip as well, but it passed without incident.

When I researched the cemetary, I learned it is called Mt. Zion and was established in the 1870's. There used to be a church, but it is now gone. Apparently, several graves were moved from the cemetary to make land for the living. I guess the pool isn't the only similarity with "Poltergeist." Lol! I will try to find out more.
Wish-Not (16 stories) (534 posts)
7 years ago (2015-05-21)
L-O-A, Very well written story. Was able to get a great visual from the detail. Isn't it cool timing for your other friends to choose that time to scare you. The two of you were in prime time for it.

Do know the age of the ranch when you would have been there? Curious if it's would not have been something residual that the two of you experienced.

Thanks for sharing.

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