I found this chilling tale on Reddit.com (Willie-Main). Enjoy!
I had a tough time in high school. I didn’t have many friends because my family moved around a lot. The one thing I’ve always loved, however, was camping. And, being in upstate New York, there was plenty of that. My dad had an old pup tent, a gas lantern and a sleeping bag that he gave to me and, every Saturday during the summer, I’d head out to a different spot and set up the tent, build a fire and watch the stars.
Finally, in my junior year of high school I made some friends that shared my love of camping and the outdoors. We were an eclectic bunch– me and one of my friends were huge nerds, another, if he were born about 25 years earlier would have made the perfect Deadhead and the other was actually a pretty big deal on the football team. We did our best to make time for our weekly camping trips and probably went every weekend the summer between junior and senior year. In that time we got really close.
Senior year was a different story, though. The Deadhead started getting really into drugs and drug culture. The football player started hanging out with the popular crowd and my nerd friend and I were kind of left to our own devices. I felt bad about this so, about a week before graduation, I took it upon myself to get our group together for one last camping adventure before we all went off into the world and never saw each other again.
The plan was simple, the Deadhead would score beer from his older brother, I’d provide the camping supplies while my nerd friend got food and the football player used his car for transport. We picked a spot that was a good 15 to 18 mile hike away from the nearest road and set off for the weekend. The Deadhead said he knew the area well. We met at the football player’s house early Saturday morning and set off.
By the time we got to the trail entrance it had started raining pretty hard and, about five miles in, we were all soaked and pissed off. The Deadhead had sworn he’d done the trail before but it proved to be very overgrown, muddy and slippery. We didn’t pass a single other person on the trail but we chalked that up to the weather and it still being early in the season. It took us double the time it normally would have and, in the process of walking, I broke the gas lamp- our only means of light, other than a few crappy flashlights, if we couldn’t get a fire going.
It was early evening by the time we got to our spot and when arrived it became clear that there was no way we were going to make a fire. Setting up was a struggle and, by the time we did it was already dark. Thankfully, there was enough tree coverage to, mostly, keep us out of the rain. With no fire or any real light other than the flashlights we occupied our time with stale trailmix, warm, cheap beer and some crude stories.
At around 10pm the rain really picked up. It was so bad that we had to take our small party into the musty pup tent. It was a decent sized tent, but four pissed and half drunk guys made it pretty cramped. Still, we tried to keep our spirits and downed a few more beers in the dark. It was at that point we first heard the footsteps.
Have you ever had something happen to you that caught you so off guard it felt like your stomach was turning completely inside out? That’s how we felt when we heard hollow footsteps coming up to the tent. I told myself it was the rain and didn’t mention anything but the collected looks shared by all of my friends told me that I wasn’t the only one hearing something odd.
Putting the best foot forward, like I always have, I suggested it was just the rain and everyone agreed but I literally felt sick when we heard the soft laugh.
It sounded like a young girl’s laugh. We immediately went dead silent and the football player unsnapped the tent entrance way and poked his head outside to find nothing. He even went as far to shine the light out into the surrounding woods and call out a friendly, “Hello?”. With the exception of the rain there was nothing. I couldn’t help but notice, when the football player came back in he pulled out his pocket knife and clutched it in his hands.
We did the only thing we could think to do and drank more beer, writing off the whole thing as just a random occurrence and that, perhaps, it was an animal or another hiker giving us a hard time. Eventually we got into a rousing game of “Would you or not” using various girls from our graduating class and finally started feeling like friends again.
After a full day of hiking in the rain and a solid four hours of drinking and laughing we were exhausted and called it a night a bit after midnight and I don’t don’t know what time it was when I head the soft thudding of heavy footsteps again but I got the familiar stomach inside out feeling immediately when I heard a fallen branch CRACK, as if someone or something had stepped on it about 10 feet from the tent.
We all sprung awake and, as much as we could, exchanged uneasy glances. The footsteps started in, closer to the tent, and as I sat in my sleeping bag I could feel the ground shake. The footsteps got heavier as they got closer to the tent and soon we also heard heavy breathing and more of the same childlike, girlish laughter.
We were all scared at this point, at least I’m willing to admit I was. It sounded as if a very large person was walking laps with very heavy feet around out tent, occasionally letting out a heavy sigh or a grating, eerily feminine laugh. Soon, it seemed as if our visitor stretched out its hand started lightly dragging its finger tips across the light plastic material of the tent.
It all seemed to be happening for an hour but, in reality, we’d only been up and experiencing this for about two minutes. Not knowing what else to do, I called out another friendly, yet considerably wavering, “Hello?”.
This, for whatever reason, made our visitor stop the heavy footsteps but continue the heavy breathing in front of our tent. We all froze and listened. The breathing was forced, and rasping- almost wheezing. I had no idea what to do. My nerdy friend, who had an irrationally short fuse and who would eventually go on to join the marines, yelled out, “Get the fuck out of here. We have a gun.”
We all looked at him, it was almost funny but that feeling wore away quickly as the visitor let out a high pitched cackle.
Before we could do anything else the buttons that snapped together to hold the entrance to the tent closed began to move, as if someone was attempting to open them from the outside. I heard the Deadhead whisper, “oh fuck…” and saw the Football player with with lightning speed move to the knife.
This pocket knife had been passed down to him from his uncle and he often boasted that it had seen “heavy action” in Vietnam. I have no idea of this was true but I couldn’t believe it when he stuck it out of the tent opening and rammed it down into the dark.
I didn’t have to be holding the knife to know that he had hit something. The instant he brought it down into the dark of the dirt we heard and exasperated groan come from outside and then scampering away, as if whatever had been out there had run off.
He quickly brought the knife back in and we remained wordless for a moment and listened. In the time that had passed the rain had stopped it was completely silent outside. An eternity seemed to pass before anyone moved again.
After taking a deep breath, the Football player grabbed his flashlight and turned it on, to inspect his knife which was completely clean- not even a speck of dirt present. I took a minute to gather my thoughts and picked up my light and stupidly opened the tent entrance and shined the light out.
The only thing odd about our site was a pair of old boots sitting right in front of us. The right toe had a clean cut from the knife.
We immediately jumped from the tent. I took it down as fast as I could, we threw everything we had into our overnight bags, turned on every flashlight that we had and trudged out in the dark, ignoring every sound that we heard- especially the soft footsteps that seemed to surround us and the occasional child like laugh. It was day break by the time we got to the car and we drove home in silence.
I don’t hang out with my camping friends much anymore but, when we do talk, we never bring up this story.