“I am an avid fisherman. I live way out in Southern Illinois, in the middle of nothing surrounded by nowhere. Because of this, I am afforded the opportunity to fish whenever I want, which is normally every day after work, minus the bitterly cold winter months. I typically fish a strand of remote ponds on Ten Mile Creek.
One afternoon in May 2013, I was at one of my favorite spots. I’d been there about 20 minutes, give or take, when I started to feel unnaturally uneasy. I can’t really put into words the paranoid, gut-wrenching feeling that came over me. Now please keep in mind, I have been doing this type of thing my whole life. I’m often by myself, deep in the woods, and until then I never experienced this urgent need to flee.
I was reeling in my line when I began to hear leaves rustling. Problem was, there was no breeze, and it had been raining the whole day up until an hour before. I immediately assumed it was a deer or a raccoon rustling nearby. However, what I saw absolutely baffled me. I witnessed a single mass of leaves rolling around along the ground. It was just to the right of my position, no more than a hundred yards.
I watched in awe as the unnatural-looking mass began to make its way across the bank. This particular pond was inset, like a bowl in the ground. There was an inlet directly to the south, at the end of the pond, and that’s where I was, basically standing on the handle of a giant ladle. This mass was around 8 ft. x 8 ft. and moving southbound, just east of my location. I was frozen in fear and in absolute disbelief. The uneasy feeling quickly turned into full-blown panic.
I was trying to move, trying to get the hell out of there, but felt held in place by a feeling of utter sadness. It was by far the darkest, coldest, most empty feeling I’ve ever known. I then heard a horrible guttural noise. To this this day, the noise still causes me to wake up in cold sweats. I have nightmares. I tore my gaze away from the mass long enough to snatch an AR-15 from the ATV. Until that time, I had never, ever fired my weapon at something I could not identify. I said ‘God, forgive me’ and then fired 7 rounds at the mass. However, I don’t believe the shots I fired had any effect. The sound of the shots and my adrenaline did rally me enough to jump up and hurry home.
I haven’t been back to the spot, though I have looked down from atop the road a few times. Before that day, I couldn’t imagine anything that would keep me away from my favorite fishing hole, or terrify me that much. I’m still even sure was real. But I’ll never go back there again.”