top of page


Updated: 6 days ago

Exploring America’s National #Forests, from their scenic vistas, diverse wildlife, and historic landmarks, is one of many folks’ most beloved pastime. These outings never fail to create fond memories and unforgettable experiences. Sometimes, though, these experiences are not the kind of unforgettable that was anticipated. Sometimes, these memories make one’s hair stand on end. The Shawnee National Forest, in southern Illinois, is rich with natural beauty and well-suited for outdoor activities. The #Shawnee National Forest is home to the very lovely Rim Rock Recreational Trail as well as the Garden of the Gods. The #Native Americans and early settlers called this part of the state the “Devil's Kitchen” because of weird sightings and noises including (but certainly not limited to) inexplicable balls of light, apparitions, nocturnal cries, and other frightening occurrences. Native Americans revered such places, while newcomers felt them “cursed” or at least as places to be avoided. The area is best known for #Bigfoot and #Thunderbird sightings, lesser known for its baboon sightings and even wild, naked men.

In West Virginia, the abandoned Lake Shawnee Amusement Park is allegedly home to several ghosts – the ghosts of innocent, fun-seeking children whose lives were abruptly ended in accidents at the family park. Or perhaps their identities have been mistaken, as many years earlier, on that very land, landowner Mitchell Clay’s children (Bartley, Tabitha, and Ezekial) had been killed during a Native American ambush and massacre. Ezekial, of which, was taken and then burned at the stake. Jefferson National Forest, Virginia Virginia's woodlands are some of the most beautiful and well-preserved in the state. However, these lonely, densely forested locations can feel spooky, allowing the mind to roam. On the Jefferson National Forest and particularly on Bluff Mountain. This is one of North America's most haunted woodlands. The trek is mild and takes hikers to the mountain where a plaque marks the spot where Ottie Cline Powell was discovered. Ottie's tale is terrible and devastating, and the reason this site is haunted.

Ottie, age 4, ran away from his Amherst County school in 1890. Some say he just disappeared, while others say he was sent out to fetch firewood. When officials realized he was missing, they sent a search team. His corpse was not found until it was too late. Ottie's corpse was found on Bluff Mountain, 7 miles distant from the school. From his look, the youngster was disoriented and had walked through thicket and shrubbery. Seeing the uneaten snack of chestnuts near him, the search group knew he had likely not survived the first night. Yosemite National Park, California Yosemite National Park has some of the most gorgeous and varied landscapes. However, certain parts of the park are reputed to be haunted. Hikers on the Chilnualna Falls Trail report hearing a peculiar dog-like scream. The sound is said to be a drowning boy's wail. His ghost claimed to cry for rescue from hikers, but anybody who enters the lake will be drowned. In another Native American legend, Haunted Falls haunt the Park. A wicked wind, the Miwok thought, enticed individuals to the brink of the falls, then pushed them over. While the vistas are amazing, don't go alone and always take your hiking gear with you. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Crater Lake is a natural marvel of the United States, nestled in the Cascade Mountains in southwest Oregon. The lake is so clean that the sun's rays can be seen from its 1,943-foot depth, giving it a spotless blue look. The lake is beautiful, which may explain some of the strange happenings there. There are many ghost stories, disappearances, and mythical monsters. Forest rangers have described following a dark, stinky thing through the woods until it began tossing pinecones at them. Or the countless reports of campfires in wooded places with no evidence of humans. Add to it the park's history of accidental deaths and murders, and you have an "enchanted" park. Constitution Lakes Park, Georgia Constitution Lakes Park in #Atlanta has wetlands, animals, and eccentric art. The Park was originally home to a brick factory that closed 50 years ago. #DeKalb County purchased the area and began constructing walkways and boardwalks around the ponds.

Doll's Head Hike is a popular trail in the park. In the Park, abandoned doll parts, bricks, and other debris make up the route. A local carpenter constructed the path as an art project, inviting people to add their own discovered art. The park is a playground for snakes that reside in the marshes, in addition to the mutilated doll parts. If you don't mind eerie dolls or snakes, the Doll's Head Trail may be perfect for you. It's near to downtown Atlanta yet away from the city's noise. Fables abound in forests and ancient areas. Some are based on true incidents and dramatized for fun, while others are pure fiction. Hike at your own risk. I'll leave you with this true account of terror in the forest, as told by a reader, Preston W.

"My buddy and I were hiking #Panther Den Trail along Devil's Kitchen Lake in Shawnee back in 2009. It was evening time, and the sun was well on its way down, so we were going at a moderate pace so as not to waste any daylight that was left. Both of us at once came to an abrupt halt because we thought we saw someone on the ground about 10 or more yards on the edge of the path. Neither of us said a word and just stared, not able to make out what we were looking at, then it started to move out of sight, but it was like it was rolling or slithering, and doing it very slowly like it, or they, didn't know we were there. It did not make sense because it looked to be a woman. The build and the long dark hair made us both think it was a female, or at least, a human being. I called out, "Are you okay?" and it gathered speed. Man, I don't know how else to explain it but the thing was using just its hands and feet to move itself. It, or she, or whatever, did not crawl or crouch - she just lay out horizontally and used her wrists and ankles to scurry away towards the trees. And we both ran in the opposite direction without saying a word to one another. There was no looking at each other, no asking each other, "Did you just see that?" We just booked it the hell out of there and did not slow down until we were about out of breath. Nobody that we have had the guts to tell has ever heard of such a thing, and I have never been able to find any similar stories online in all these years. I have also never been back to that area and never will. It has had a lasting effect on my enjoyment of the outdoors, I can promise you that. What is going on in the #Devil's Kitchen? Hell, if I know."

10 views0 comments
bottom of page