That night in the Pennsylvania woods
I am new to this site and I do have many stories to share about ghosts and other paranormal activity. Many of my friends don’t believe the experiences I have had; however, there are some that do, specifically the friends that were with me that night in the woods in 1981 near our weekend house in Paupack, PA.
My parents didn’t have a ton of money though we always dreamt of having a weekend home. After saving enough money, my parents decided it was time to finally buy a weekend place and they searched for cheap houses about two hours from where we lived in the city. My parents didn’t spend much time looking and eventually settled on getting a house in Paupack since it was near a big lake and had a smaller lake in its community. The house they purchased was not too far from the main road and was situated in a very wooded area. In fact, we were totally surrounded by woods with just a few homes in our community.
The house built in the late 60’s and was partially furnished. It was a typical A frame house with an unfinished basement, a large living area, three bedrooms and a loft. The house also had a large deck wrapping most of the house and this is where I would spend most of my time. You would often see me sitting on the deck since I was bored as there were no other kids my age to be seen.
One afternoon while sitting on the deck I saw another kid about my age on a motocross bike and he noticed me. He waved and I walked over to say hello to introduce myself. His name was Mike and he too would come up on weekends with his family. Mike rode his motor bike to kill time as he would say since there was not much else to do other than split wood.
Mike had been coming up to his weekend house since he was very young and he happened to know some of the other kids our age in our community from which I thought was cool. Later that day, Mike would introduce me to them and we all hit it off and became instant friends. Weekends became fun and us kids were always having a good time together. Even my folks were excited for me as I now had friends at our weekend place and that I wouldn’t be so bored.
During our days Mike, my new friends and I would walk to the lake to spend hours swimming and usually following with an adventure hike in the neighboring woods. Every weekend we would try to hike a different way to see what we could find, pretending to be Indiana Jones. In fact, we created the term “Indiana Jonsing”.
On one of our adventures we decided to head in new direction that would take us a bit deeper into one section of the woods that we had never been to before. It was an area where the tree canopy seemed higher than most and even on the sunny days, it was always darker than the neighboring woods, seemingly with a layer of low mist at your ankles. We never entered this area before since one of the kids we would play with regularly said that there was a haunted house deep in that part of the woods. Naturally we were all curious and me I was a bit afraid to go there. Mike though, he wasn’t afraid and he would say all the time that “ghosts are for sissies”. Anyhow, Mike convinced a few of us including me to go hike in that direction to find this house. It was about 5pm in late August and we knew that we had about 3 hours before it got dark. Given that this area of woods was already dark meant we might have had about 2 hours at most to find the house and back to the main road in order to get home without it being pitch black out.
Our group consisted of 4 boys, Mike, Tommy, Ralph and me. The 5th boy who’s name I forget decided to head home and was too afraid to come with us. As we excitedly made way to find this house, deep down we were all a bit afraid on what we would find when we got there. Thoughts ran through my head and I would openly share some of these thoughts with the other boys. Mike of course would be dismissive and say, that is just crazy. Mike didn’t believe in ghosts or evil spirits.
As we hiked, the woods started to get darker and darker due to the high tree canopy. It was difficult to even make out that the sun was still out though you knew it was since you could still make out where you were going. As I walked, one thing caught my attention and the hair on my neck raised up and I had this eerie feeling.
What I noticed was that there were no sounds of wildlife. No birds, no bugs or even hearing the occasional plane overhead. There was literally NO noise other than the rustling of our feet against the dead leaves as we walked.
I walked up to Mike and told him that we should head back and he of course was not having it. The other kids in the group felt we made it this far, why not just go all the way. Part of me was curious to find this house too though, I was really sensing that we should turn back now and get out of these woods before some happened to us. We continued to walk together as we didn’t want to break the group up and it would be safer if we sticked together. Mike would say over and over that we had to worry more about bears and coyotes than anything else and that had us as scared as seeing ghosts or demons.
About two hours passed and we finally saw a house by a small pond and we were all excited to finally have found this place. The sun shining on the pond since the tree canopy wasn’t covering it, though looking towards the house over the pond, we all noticed that the myst we were walking through was thicker and higher. Mike dismissed it as humidity explaining to us that the cooler ground temperature did this. Mike then started to run towards the house and we all started to run towards it too.
The house didn’t look all that old though clearly it was. It was beaten up, abandoned with a creepy dark color and wooden shingles that were coming off the roof. The house had two floors with cracked windows and wooden fence that once surrounds a front yard that is now overgrown with weeds and tall grass. I was ready to leave though Mike wanted to go into the house to explore more. The time now was after 7 and I kept telling this to Mike and the others. We all decided to just go in and get it over with.
Inside the house was noticeably worse than the outside, parts of the floor were entirely missing with wide wooden planks that would squeak as we walked on them. It felt like these planks would give in if too many of us stood in one place for long, so we kept walking.
We proceeded up to the 2nd floor to where the bedrooms were. The rooms were covered in webs and it was so dusty that as you walked it made it difficult to see and breath. The bedrooms still had bedding, though stained and really dirty. I wanted to leave so bad. Mike then found the master bedroom and called us to all go in there. The room still had dressers filled with stuff, clothing, papers, necklaces, and in the room stood an old lamp and a large mirror. Mike then started to make faces at the mirror since it was sort of making him look shorter and wider than he really was. All of us started to laugh then we all saw something in the mirror. Like a shadow that then glowed. Immediately our hearts sank and we were all terrified. As we looked passed the mirror to the window, we noticed that outside of the house had immediately became very dark. We then decided it was time to go.
There was a loud bang as we exited out of the room as if a door was slamming and then other sounds coming from the other rooms as we were trying to leave the house
When we got to the front door, it was closed shut and we couldn’t get out. We were trapped and scared! I then noticed that the window in the living areas was still open, however, it was jammed and not open enough to escape through the window. The window was next to impossible to get through. The banging in the house got louder and louder.
Tommy and I ran to the other room were we knew the window had been broken and I yelled for the other kids to come to that room to get out the window. One by one we crawled out the window, terrified! We needed to get out of that house and away from it. We ran away from the house as fast as we could, not sure if were even headed in the right direction.
We all made it out scared and our hearts racing. None of us were sure what had happened and we knew still we had to make it back home in the dark through woods we didn’t know. Now the mist was becoming very thick and all of us were terrified that whatever this thing was in that house, was coming after us.
Mike decided that we should all walk as closely together as possible to stick together and to not lose one another. All of us paid attention to the lack of noise other than our rustling of leaves from walking. We then heard rustling from behind us that was not ours. We thought this things was coming to get us and it was quickly approaching. We then decided it was time to run as fast as we could. So we did.
We ran and ran, tripping over stumps, logs and rocks along the way and eventually we found the road that would take us home. We were so happy; really in fact that we got away and vowed to never go back to that area again ever.
Tommy said we should all go to my house to hang out in the loft and I was OK with this. We thought it was still early enough maybe shortly after 8pm though certainly earlier than our curfew of 9:30. When we got to my house all of my friends parents were over my place. They apparently were worried about us and we were not sure why. They were happy to see us and we were happy to see them though confused as to why they would be so worried. Then they explained to us that we were gone for hours and it was now sometime after 1 in the morning. We all looked at each other in shock. Where did time go? What happened in those woods that made us think we were there for less time than we were? What was in that house and why was it there?
We never could never fully understand what happened that night and to this day, it still haunts me. Mike’s parents at the end of the summer would sell their house we never talked again.