I consider this the most unexplainable experience of my life and it’s a story that I’ve told my friends countless times.
Back in the summer of 1993, I was a hot-to-trot sixteen years old, just a month into getting my driver’s license (failed the first time, damn!), and hanging out at my friends’ house doing what all cool sixteen year-olds do and that’s participating in some tabletop role-playing games. Not Dungeons & Dragons mind you, not that that game isn’t awesome, but we were pretending we were spies in a little-remembered game (probably because the rules were much more complicated and silly) called Top Secret: S.I.. It was me, two other guys and two girls and it was a really intense gaming session. Of course, one of the dudes was with his girlfriend, so he was always trying to have his character make out with her character (bad form if you ask me), but the game isn’t the point. That’s why we were hanging out, but the guy whose house it was said that he wanted to take us out into the marsh by his house to show us something. He said he knew of a weird tree that we had to check out.
Alright, well, I’m sixteen years old and someone tells me that they’re going to show me a paranormal tree… of course I agree to it. I was always up for checking out a haunted spot or a place where people said there were weird happenings going on, so I was way into it.
It was pretty late into the evening at this point on a Saturday night, maybe 10pm or so, and we walk down to the entrance to this marsh near my friend’s house. Now this place was rural and there were some horrible things that happened there, but it wasn’t untouched, there was a pathway in and I had been there before in the daytime with other friends. It was a popular hunting and wildlife spot. So we start walking towards this “Demon Tree”. It’s a summer night in Southeastern Wisconsin, about 75 degrees, and it’s a full moon, so it’s pretty easy to see and I don’t need a flashlight.
The group splits into two segments, I’m walking with the two girls and the other two guys are behind us about ten yards or so. We get about a half mile down the path when I see a sign with hunting rules and the regulations of the nature area. And that’s when I stop, because against that sign I see a shape. Looks like a person standing in front of the sign, but there’s no person there. I can read the rest of the sign clearly, but right there in the middle is just the shape of a person, and that shape is not reflecting any light.
I blink a couple of times, thinking that I’m just seeing things and I turn to the girls I’m walking with. They’re both staring at the sign and not saying a word. In a flash, they both run away crying towards the other guys (of course they’re not looking to me for comfort, but I can’t really blame them on that one, ha.) I turn back, it’s still there. Not moving, I get a sense of dread in that moment. I turn away and look again, and it’s gone. By this point, the other guys have caught up, the girls are freaking out, and I don’t know what to think. The girls describe what they saw, and it’s exactly what I did. There was a black human shadow against the sign and now it’s gone. They felt evil there, I didn’t. I’ll freely admit I’m not the world’s most sensitive man. I did feel something, but it could be just that Lovecraftian dread of the unknowable that can blow your mind sometimes.
We investigate around the sign (walking towards it slowly), one of the guys shines a flashlight on the grass below and says it’s matted down like someone was standing there, but I’m thinking, “What does this guy know?” He’s not some tracker or anything (today I’d probably say, “Hey Darryl Dixon, what the Hell do you know?”)
We went back many times after that night. On other trips, people said they had seen something similar, but I never see anything quite like that again. I know I saw something and those other girls saw it too. It is easily my most unexplainable encounter. Well, paranormal encounter at least, romantically, I have a whole slew of mysteries that I can’t quite explain… or defend, that might be a better way of putting it!