It is really hard for me to remember the exact time this experience took place. I believe it was during my junior year of high school because I was dating my cousin's friend who would end up being my fiancé a short time later. It was a terrible relationship for a lot of reasons that I don't need to get into here, but I am fairly certain that I was dating him at the very beginning of my junior year because I definitely wasn't at the end of my junior year. My cousin and his family still lived in the apartment he grew up in since he was roughly five or six. My best friend was also here for this experience, and we weren't that close until Eleventh Grade.
I remember there was snow on the ground. There were patches of it, mostly in large piles but there were strips of land that didn't have any snow or ice. It wasn't too cold to be outside at night but it definitely required coats to be worn. I know there wasn't any snow in the trees. That's a detail I remember really well because of what happened.
I took my best friend up to hang out with my family, especially my cousin. She had a little crush on him back then and it was good chance to see my boyfriend at the time. I expected it to be a really nice time for everyone and I'm always excited to go somewhere with my friend. I'm always excited to see family. It was a huge win-win for me.
My cousin has been into the occult for a long time. I'm not entirely sure how into it he is right now, but I'm sure he still has interest in it. He went to a pretty extreme and dark side of it. He wasn't afraid of it and he's still not. Thus he has dabbled with it. I don't but I also feel like it's not my place to judge.
I am also into the paranormal. I feel like I am very open about it and I like to talk about it with people. Part of the reason is that I like it when people open up to me about it. It seems to give people a sense of relief to get to talk about it. Because of that, I already knew my best friend had quite a few experiences with ghosts or spirits and the like. I also knew that she was extremely sensitive to encounters due to what she had told me and what we've experienced together. She actually has a habit of throwing up if a negative presence is too intense. It's been a vomit trigger since I met her and likely before that.
Our mutual interest in the otherworldly meant that my cousin found out that my best friend is sensitive. He didn't completely trust her word on it though, so he devised a test and didn't tell us it was a test until after it was over. That evening's experience is my top go-to story if I'm opening up to someone about a scary spiritual event.
Across from my cousin's old apartment area was another separate apartment area that connected to a little wooded park which surrounded a very small lake. The walking trail started at the apartment's parking lot, led across a bridge, into a playground, and forked towards the lake. The trail was pathed in both directions of the fork and it looped around the lake. There was also a small dirt path that connected the two pathed trails closer to the lake. I think it was there so that joggers and park enthusiasts could do laps around the small lake without having to go up around the children's playground.
One fork led you to a nice little picnic spot that overlooked the lake, the other fork lead you more into the woods to a gazebo and eventually nestled closer to the water the further you got. They were both nice, quiet spaces with a pretty view before you hit the trail that took you all the way around the lake itself.
Tyler and my boyfriend at the time spent a lot of time there. Josh even told us that he saw an apparition that looked just like his grandpa on one of the trails there. Tyler mentioned that he had seen dark shapes, but he didn't really say much, especially when we were walking over to go for a walk around one evening.
I didn't realize how quickly it was going to get dark. I thought we still had some daylight left and I found the park to be fairly peaceful in the past. The playground was a little weird because I rarely saw children at it but it was a nice area. I thought my best friend might like it too and it was a good opportunity to get away from the adults and speak freely.
The four of us went over the bridge, passed the playground, and onto the left fork that led us to the little picnic area. The table that used to be there when I had visited before was gone, but I didn't pay it any mind. We weren't there for lunch and the view was still pretty.
Through the tall grass, you could see a really shallow part of the lake. It had patches of grass jutting up out of it and there were usually birds to be seen in the area. We went down this very narrow foot path down the water to get a closer look at it. To get there you had to go through this little patch of trees and you had to watch where you stepped because the grass had a tendency to hide ledges and shored up spots of water. It was worth it though because you could see little fish and frogs if you got down to the end.
There wasn't any wildlife to be seen when we got down there though. I was fairly disappointed. There was always an abundance of it all the other times we had gone before. The three of them were talking about something while we were there and I don't remember saying much. I remember feeling kind of "done" with the water and I headed back through the trees to the path.
As soon as I was on the path again, I felt a bit better. I was drawn towards the dirt trail that would lead us to the other side of the fork and as soon as the other three followed me out, I started on it ahead of them. I was smiling, blissful. I could hear my friend, cousin and boyfriend saying something behind me in what seemed like an anxious or nervous tone, but I ignored them. What could be so bothersome in such a pretty place that could make you feel so calm and balanced?
I kept a slow pace so that they wouldn't think I was being a jerk. It was starting to get dark and we were just going to follow the other trail home. I could hear my friend saying that she really wanted to head back. We reassured her that we were just taking the scenic way around to the apartment area.
We crested a small hill and on the walk down it, I rejoined them. I was getting a little anxious about the fact that it was already getting fairly dark. The rule at my house was that I should be inside when the street lights came on and I really didn't want to get in trouble. It wasn't like we were going to run home though. We were teenagers and we were basically just across the street from my cousin's apartment.
Lindsay started to feel sick to her stomach on our way down the hill and Josh became more and more distant the further we went. We would have to pause so Lindsay's stomach could settle or because Josh would just stop on the edge of the trail to grasp on to a tree limb and stare off into the darkness. That serene feeling I once had was completely gone. Things felt like they were going south quickly and instead of feeling like we were across the street from home, it felt like we had miles left to go.
There were noises in the trees that we couldn't pinpoint and all of us saw at least one shadowy figure on our slow advance forward. The one I saw at that point of the trip was in my peripheral vision. It just darted passed me while we were waiting for Josh to move again.
When we started to head up the second hill we would need to get over to get back to the pathed trail, Josh stopped to cling to a tree and stare out towards the lake. I heard him kind of whisper something about his grandfather. Lindsay had a killer headache and her stomach was in knots. She did not look like she was in good shape at all. Tyler and I looked at each other and I just knew that we couldn't keep moving like we were. It was too slow and too clumsy. Lindsay needed out of the park and someone was going to have to babysit Josh. I was dating the knucklehead, so I opted to stay with him.
I told Tyler to take Lindsay out of the park. As I was saying that, Josh started walking off the trail entirely. Tyler didn't even argue with me. He looked worried and when he had a direction, he took it. He led Lindsay out while I went to Josh's aid. He stopped a couple paces off the edge of the dirt trail and held onto a branch while he stared off into the distance. I waited there with him, but the wind was starting to pick up the longer we stood there. I was uneasy and very worried about my friend but I am not one to be all that assertive. I figured he would move when he was ready and I could just prompt him to keep going after we got started.
While I was waiting, I decided that I would try to speed things along by trying to push energy out there towards what was causing all the commotion. If I could distract it long enough to convince him to leave the park, I was all for it. It seemed like a good plan. I closed my eyes to relax and to focus my energy outwards. Immediately I felt like I was pulled from my body.
I have astral projected before. I did it once on accident and once on purpose prior to this incident. This felt different. I felt myself leave my body, but it was like I had a tether cord attached behind me. I went hurdling through the air like there was a rope around my center and something was pulling me towards it. I could see tree branches with patches of snow on them as I passed and I remembered that none of the trees around us at the time had snow on them.
Through it all, I heard this horrible, pig-like laughing. It was a cruel laugh and teetered on the edge of insanity. It was the worst sound I had ever heard in my life and I knew it was laughing at me as I pulled forward without any control over what was happening.
The motion stopped directly in front of an oak tree with a black monkey curled up defensively on a limb. This monkey had a small pig nose and very sharp teeth. Even though it was crouched in the tree like it was scared, the look on its face was entirely malicious. I had just enough time to burn that full image into my brain before I was yanked right back into my body where I belong.
My eyes snapped open. My heart was hammering and I was sweating despite the cold. I know I was shaking all over from fear but in that moment I was also a little angry. I was annoyed that the group had to split up because Josh couldn't get his act together and I was even more annoyed that Josh wasn't coming to his senses the entire time we had been standing out there alone.
I grabbed his hand and his wrist and started to pull him back to the trail. We were leaving. I was not standing there a moment longer. I happened to glance up the hill we had come from to check our surroundings and what I saw stopped me in my tracks for a couple seconds. At the very top of the slope, I saw the silhouette of a man next to what I thought looked like a bench. The bench was facing the lake but the man was definitely facing us. He was watching us. I don't know how I knew it, but I knew he was connected to that pig-monkey I had just seen in that forced astral projection.
It gave me a chill down my spine to see him and I remember getting very cold. It took me a moment, but I realized that there wasn't any benches on the part of the trail we were on. I also knew that while it was dark out, I should still be able to see more detail to this person than what I was seeing. He was a solid shadow standing above me.
Josh pulled lightly against my grip. He was looking out towards the lake. He didn't want to go back to the trail but I hauled him to our course and dragged him along all the way to the pathed part that we were trying to get to all along. When we were finally walking on cement, he started acting more like himself. His steps went from resistant to almost happy-go-lucky. He started smiling and talking. I released my grip on him and he was happy to walk at a quick pace without making any stops.
When we were pretty close to the playground, I heard my best friend throw up somewhere outside the park. Tyler met us before just before we reached the playground and he took us to the apartment building that was closest to the head of the trail. He had Lindsay sit in inside the building while he went back for us.
He disclosed that he was hoping we would see something. It was a test for Lindsay to see if she was really sensitive. We went back to his apartment and we eventually talked to my aunt about the experience. She was worried the boys stirred something up out there because she said the park was always very nice before.
The next day we went back. There weren't a lot of places to hang out in the area and the boys really wanted to show us the gazebo. They talked Lindsay and me into it and I knew Lindsay really didn't want to go back. We would only go while it was still light out with plenty of time to head in before it got dark. They showed us this infamous gazebo, which had a picnic table anchored in the center. On the table, there were pentagrams and other things scratched into the surface. Tyler owned up to the deepest pentagram carving, which was blackened and unfinished.
To this day, Lindsay still hates that she was tested like that. It was very unpleasant for her and the idea that my cousin tricked us into being around something bad really steams her up. I really didn't think anything like that would happen on an innocent walk in the park.
My aunt and cousins moved away from there not long after that. Josh and I broke up before the move. Lindsay eventually got over her crush on my cousin. Things changed, but I'm not sure the park has. I don't think I'd feel safe going back there again.