Spooky Season Part One: Into The Woods

I always say I'm going to blog more and well, it's painfully obvious by the months and months that go by between posts that I'm not good at keeping that promise. But here I am now, making an attempt. Warning, seriously spooky things ahead. Well, sort of spooky, but if you scare easily, this is your warning.

This is Sally, guardian of the gates of heckin' frightful things.
Pass her at your own risk.

You see, it's October, which for me is the one month out of the year that I allow myself to indulge my creepy side. I'll spend the whole month binge reading creepy pasta, urban legends, paranormal accounts, and a whole bunch of other supernatural silliness. And since I've got a few creepy tales of my own, I've decided that for the whole month, I'll do one post a week. 

This first one was inspired by, of all things, the Jenna and Julien podcast. This week they were getting in the spirit of creep by reading some creepy stories off Reddit, most of which were from a writer claiming to be a Search and Rescue officer and featured creepy things happening in the woods. Of course, these stories are made up, but there was a couple of stories about staircases out in the woods that had people commenting that these are real. This of course led me down a rabbit hole of stories of people coming across stairs in the woods and I was fascinated. 

This particular set of stairs is not creepy.
They're in St. Louis, which can be creepy.

Logically, the stairs people find are most likely part of a structure that no longer exits. Or they could have been built to facilitate travel through the woods.When I was a kid, we lived on a steep hill and there was a wooded area at the top. I recall stairs made of treated lumber that had been put there by someone as a means of making the walk easier. Seems like no reason to be alarmed, right?

Well, that's where the creepy stories begin to diverge from reality. People claim that the stairs they find give them an eerie sense of foreboding. Personally, the stairs I used in the woods never gave me any spooky feelings, but that was likely due to the fact that I was a preteen kid walking through the woods alone in the darkest part of early morning after completing my paper route, so my foreboding receptors were already at max.

But this did get me thinking about some of the other creepy and unexplained things I'd come across in the wild and I realized there is in fact something that I have absolutely no explanation for. Back in my late teens and twenties, I spent a lot of time hanging around Ithaca, NY. If you know anything about the area, you'll know that Ithaca is home to an insanely high number of waterfalls, creeks, and gorges (allowing them the slightly cheesy slogan of "Ithaca is Gorges"). The biggest are in state parks or on the Cornell campus, but you can find paths down to creek beds in nearly any neighborhood. 

In one such neighborhood, there was a small turn out for parking with a path that led to a pretty impressive little waterfall. I had a couple of friends who lived nearby, so I  would frequent that particular spot regularly, mainly to chill, write, or just hang out with my friends. But on one occasion, when we went down into the creek bed, something was there. Someone had built a small building, complete with a door and window, about six by six feet across, and maybe four feet tall. 

This had been made by meticulously stacking stones from the creek, one on the other, and I'm not talking big stones. Most were probably about the size of my palm. Clearly, this had to have taken a long time. Not only that, but the roof of the structure was a solid slab of stone that had to weigh several hundred pounds on its own. If I had to guess, I'd say it was several people working together to create the structure because it hadn't been there the week before and it was pretty damned intricate. 

I can't remember who I was with at the time, but I know we went in and found something like a small altar with some twigs fastened together with twine (this was several years before The Blair Witch Project came out and Ithaca had a bunch of new age pagans and Wiccans, so this part wasn't particularly creepy. In fact, what made me duck back outside out of fear was the idea of a huge rock over my head that was being held up by tiny stones.). I'm pretty sure we explored a little more, went for a hike, left, and promptly forgot about the structure.

Except here's where my story gets weird. The next day, I went back to the same creek. The structure was gone. I might have assumed it washed away, but not only would that have required a huge rainfall that we hadn't had, but I would imaging the large stone should have still been nearby, even if all the other stones were scattered. There was nothing to even indicate that it had been there. Weirder yet, I recall mentioning it to the folks I was with and they seemed completely unconcerned that this super huge and complex stone structure had literally vanished overnight.

I'm sure there could be a logical explanation. It could have definitely been created by a large group for a religious rite. With enough hands, it is possible that it both went up and was torn down in a matter of hours rather than days. I'll never know, but it was certainly odd.

So what about you? Have you ever come across any random or inexplicable structures out in the wild? Got any theories as to what my structure was used for? Ever run across a stairway in the woods? If so, did it give you a sense of foreboding? Let me know!

And stay tuned for next week's installment, in which I'll talk about a strange reoccurring car crash that happened outside my window every night for an entire summer.


  1. That many waterfalls in one place probably does a number on the space time continuum.

  2. Your other parental unit wanted me to remind you of the witch's House on Decatur Street that you had to walk by every morning around 6 a.m. to deliver your newspapers in the dark. now that was a structure nobody could explain or and nobody could remember who had ever live there
    said parental unit said it was even scary when he was a boy it was there and nobody knew who has lived there and it still stands today
    love your stories and look forward to hearing more maybe a little book in the future?


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