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The Thing By The River


I never really believed in ghosts or anything supernatural before I had this experience with my friends. I have a lot of stories my friends would consider "supernatural". This exact story still scares me to this day, even though it happened months ago; I still think about it all the time.

The fact that we never found out what "The thing" was really bothered me.

Over the summer me, my mom, and a couple friends of mine all went to Sturgis, South Dakota because my mom took an assignment there (she's a traveling nurse). -We originally live in Kansas-. We stayed there the entire summer and a little bit of the school year. My mom rented a house with her roommate, while me and my three friends all lived in a house down the street from my mom's (we were too loud and stayed up all night so they rented out our own separate house for us, how cool is that?) A few months passed and things were pretty good in South Dakota, the people were all nice, the nature was breathtaking, and there were nothing but positive vibes. That all took a very dramatic turn one day when my mom and Michele were eating lunch at The Knuckle Saloon, a world famous bar, and grill located in Sturgis. My friends and I decided to drive 30 minutes to Rapid City to go shopping since we had just gotten our allowances from our parents and one of my friends is old enough to drive. So we drive to Rapid City and go shopping for a few hours until she decides that she's bored and wants to go exploring since that was only our second time in Rapid City. We leave the mall and drive around for an hour or so until we find a beautiful waterfall hidden behind a bunch of trees and huge boulders. So she parks the car, and we all get out to take pictures of the Waterfall.

We end up staying there for more than 15 minutes because we ended up hiking around the waterfall to take more pictures. One of my friends decides that she want's to explore on her own to take her own photos for her Instagram, so she wanders off and we don't think anything of it. My other friend (the one who drove us to the location) and I are still taking pictures with our cameras and are on Snapchat bragging to everybody about our view when all of a sudden we hear a blood-curdling scream coming from the opposite end of the waterfall. We kind of just look at each other completely shook and unsure of what to do, so we run towards the direction of the scream, and we see our other friend in the river confused as to how she got there. So she runs down the hill and runs down to her to see what was wrong, and she didn't say a single word. She just points towards a bunch of trees, so we both look in the direction she's pointing and see a black figure. I couldn't make out what it was, but they swear up and down it wasn't "human" or "alive". It had the body of a little girl, but we couldn't see the face. It was completely black. As soon as I saw the figure I ran down the hill to help them up and over the railing, and we all ran to the car and drove off.

Later that night I decided to ask her what happened and how she managed to fall over the railing, down the hill, and into the river. She told me that she was leaning over the railing to get photos of the river when all of a sudden she feels someone tap her on the back. She thought it was either me or our other friend and doesn't think much of it so she proceeds to take pictures of the river when all of a sudden she felt someone forcefully push her over the railing. She went tumbling down the hill and into the river (thank god it was still or she would have drowned or gotten swept away). She says that she looked up to see what had pushed her, and it was the figure of a little girl, she couldn't see the face or anything because it was completely black. So she stands up and starts screaming at the girl (which I couldn't hear because we were on the other side of the waterfall). These were her exact words "I stood up to ask the thing that pushed me why it did that when all of a sudden it comes flying at my face. LITERALLY flying. I fell back down and starting weeping and crying calling for you guys. I don't know what that thing was, but I definitely know it wasn't human." I brush it off thinking it was a bunch of nonsense and that she was only trying to scare me, until the next day when we drive past the waterfall with my mom to go see Mount Rushmore, and my mom pulls up a news article about a little girl who drowned in the river a year ago. I get the shivers down my back and I immediately get goosebumps. She was telling the truth all along.

What did we see? Was it the little girl or was it just our nerves playing tricks on us? I'll never know what it was, but I have some pretty good ideas as to what it could have been. Would any of you have any idea as to what it was that we saw and attacked my friend? I keep thinking it's the little girl that drowned in the same river, but I have a feeling it isn't. Why would she try to attack my friend? I don't know. Someone help me get some closure on this.

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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, corpseguts, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

Myst (63 posts)
7 years ago (2017-02-28)
elfstone810: Most shapeshifter spirits are said to assume whatever form they want. Specifically, Scottish kelpies are said to assume horse or human shapes. There are probably many others I am not aware of.
elfstone810 (227 posts)
7 years ago (2017-02-28)
Just a random thought here. The thing that pushed your friend into the river looked like a little girl. A little girl was the last person to drown there. (Have there been other drownings, before or since?)

Perhaps there's an entity that takes the form of its victims? I know I've seen such things in fiction but I don't know if there's any basis for them in folklore.

Griff84 (5 stories) (289 posts)
7 years ago (2017-02-27)
Hi Corpseguts. A truly terrifying experience for you and your friends. I don't have a lot to add as to what it could have been, but have you taken the time to study the pictures taken closely? You could have captured something without knowing.

If you do find this, it would be very interesting to see.

Thanks for sharing,
Griff 😊
roylynx (guest)
7 years ago (2017-02-22)
Rookdygin, Ah yes, I thought of Water Babies too but I thought it was nothing like what the OP had described. I got some information that was from ages before the famous lake UMA, the Loch Ness Monster become famous, it is the giant lake crabs, known to be ages old and humongous, many men (mostly fishermen?) had told such stories and were said to be attacked be them... And when "Nessie" became famous, such stories tempt to be lost:-s might be one of those, legends are legends after all stories?

Anyhow, there are many possibilities for such things... And... Perhaps it will be better if there will be evidence like a photo or some "left overs", if it is possible to collect of course. I am not sure what kind of wild life could there be in that location but it worth doing a research. Thank you for sharing!

rookdygin (24 stories) (4458 posts)
7 years ago (2017-02-21)
It was just a though I had. I am not as knowledgeable about Native America Spirits and Folklore as I would like. Skin walkers and Windigo's I have studied... A bit...

I have read a wee something about what many different tribes called Water Babies... But these were mostly infant sized spirits...

Heck it may have even been a Nymph or an Undine. But the 'shove/push' towards or into the water makes me wonder... Not to mention both of these types of fey tend to 'attack/show affection' towards men.


roylynx (guest)
7 years ago (2017-02-21)
Rookdygin, I am interested, which spirit could that be?

rookdygin (24 stories) (4458 posts)
7 years ago (2017-02-21)
Anyone consider Native American Folklore/Spirits?

Just a thought.


KikiGirl (8 stories) (207 posts)
7 years ago (2017-02-21)
corpseguts, what an interesting and scary story!

I think the others covered a few of my suspicions:

* It was not the little girl. Maybe, being that sort of area where people are always bringing their family and kids around, it sees this as a suitable or "believable" form to take, when conducting contact with people or teenagers. It could have also been responsible for the death of the little girl, even moreso would make it "familiar" to her shape or form?
* There was more to the little girls death. Maybe, it was malicious or intentional, and because of this "something" dark was cooked-up? Maybe, a spirit trapped there by such a horrific and untimely death filled with vengeance and menace or ill-intent?

I also believe that spirits can appear in what ever form or look like anything! A demon, an Angel, a lost little girl, a fox? And, so on... So, there is a chance that you are trying to identify something which is actually, fiction or not real; made-up by your mind or friends, or by the creature. Why would the creature "hide" its identity or how it truly looks? Well, in this case, the spirit first tapped your friend on her back to get her attention. This means that its original intention MIGHT have been to approach your friend without her being afraid, scared or horrified? So, it took on the "appropriate" form of a little girl, but, it is still a little bit disfigured because it is an unnatural force! Sometimes, the creature does not have the ability to completely change or "mask" its appearance. That is how it happens that you see what looks like a little girls body... With a head or face that does not belong on it! However, when your friend "ignored" it, she aggravated and offended or "displeased" it. At which point, the creature became infuriated and exasperated with getting your friends attention and simply, through her down the hill. Whether the creature KNEW that she would land in the water and be safe? I don't know... Was its intention for her to die? Or, just, in a frustrated and bittered reaction, decided to do that to her...

Which ever the case, the ghost or spirit was mean, ill-spirited, resentful or angry. And, maybe the creature or spirit looks exactly as it appeared to you or maybe, it looks completely different?

I also wonder, why did it choose to target your one friend, particularly? Was it just, because she was alone? So, getting her attention or doing its evil-little-deed would go much smoother? Was she in the "right" area where the spirit/creature regularly visits or its home, and so naturally they stumbled upon one another?

Or, is it for another reason? Was there something about her that "made" her a target? Was she "sensitive" or maybe, in-tune / part-psychic? Or, was it because she carried around with her something that it related to - a secret, an event in her life, pain, a death or something else?
corpseguts (1 stories) (3 posts)
7 years ago (2017-02-20)
Hello! Yes I actually have tried to look up what the creature or entity might have been, but the only thing I could find was shadow people. I don't know much about mythical creatures, but I know this was not a shadow person. And my friend is doing better, she's terrified of rivers and lakes now, but she's better!
Enlightened1959 (8 stories) (118 posts)
7 years ago (2017-02-19)

Have you considered the thought that the black looking demon thing could have been responsible for the little girl drowning?

Evil lurks all over this earth, even out near rivers and in the woods!

This is a truly creepy story! It actually gave me chills reading it.

Thanks for sharing!
Zaruje (15 stories) (182 posts)
7 years ago (2017-02-18)
Hello corpseguts! I honestly have no idea what it was. Did you try searching in the web for that creature? Maybe it's some kind of demon or spirit residing there and it was alarmed because your friend is taking pictures of it's home? Anyway I hope your friend is okay now.

RCRuskin (9 stories) (815 posts)
7 years ago (2017-02-18)
Unfinished business is the most annoying thing in the world. (And just wait until you get into a fight and then come up with a perfect come back 2 or 3 days later.)

My gut tells me it isn't the ghost of the little girl. Why would she be so violent? And here, I'm disregarding the 'wanting company' idea.

I suspect there is more to the little girl's drowning than was reported, that it was not an accidental event but an intentional, malicious act that summoned something. It's also possible that there's more in your friend's life than she has told you.

If you're still in touch with these friends, the best explanation of what happened will come from them.

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