Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Deadly Pale Humanoid 'Monster' Encountered In Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest

A young man embarks on a right of passage at his father's insistence. The ordeal described may be an embellished account, but an interesting cautious tale nonetheless.

The following account was recently forwarded to me:

"In the early days of February, just before my senior year, I was prompted by my father to undertake a right of passage as he called it. I was to be left alone to fend for myself in a section of Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest for three days and two nights.

I was against the trip from the beginning. Sure, I liked hunting and camping, but this was extreme, too extreme for my tastes. But it was tradition; passed down from father to son in my family for generations. Who was I to break tradition?

So, against my reservations, and against the feeling that this was a stupid idea, I packed up my backpack, grabbed my .30-06 bolt action rifle and climbed into the cab of my dad’s pickup.

It was a long drive. I was a little pissed that my dad was basically forcing this on me, and our uneasy silence only made the hours feel like days. We only stopped once at a gas station about ten miles from our cabin. It was fifteen miles of dirt to my dads’ cabin that his grandfather had left him, which would, in turn, be left to me. It was tradition, after all.

But I wouldn’t be getting the luxury of a cabin, no. We were parking the truck, and my father was driving me up deeper into the woods on a four-wheeler to a random, undisclosed point. I would then have three days to find my way back. If I succeeded, I’d become a man in my dads’ eyes, and we’d also be getting a new swimming pool for the summer. It was bribery, but I would be going into my senior year in August, and having a big pool would cement my popularity. It was vain, and I was doing this for mostly selfish reasons, but I also wanted to make my dad proud.

I stepped out of the toasted truck to the calm, frigid forest air. The cabin was a small two-story log affair, worn from age, but obviously well maintained. A new wooden wraparound porch had been built last summer and was in need of staining that we’d never gotten around to, but otherwise, the cabin was pristine.

It was a tremendously peaceful place, far removed from the troubles of civilization, and I felt like I was intruding on hallowed ground. I brushed off the shiver that clawed down my spine and buttoned my long coat to my neck. Immediately most of the chill went away, and I shook off my unease.

Before I could take a step to the cabin, my dad came around the front of the truck and held out his hand. “Thomas, hand me your bag,” he demanded, in a curt, no-nonsense tone. As he told me to hand him my backpack, I did so without question, and he immediately went inside, telling me to wait on the porch. I marched across the wood and sat in the rocking chair while my dad bustled around inside.

“I loaded everything you’ll need for three days in the bag. You have a couple days of food, but its only for an emergency, I also added a flare gun for an actual emergency.”

He handed me back the bag, and it was stuffed full, a lot had been added to it, so much that string strained against the nylon fabric. I hefted it onto my shoulder, and though it was much heavier than before, it wasn’t cumbersome or unwieldy. I could carry it all day and I didn’t think it would bother me.

After he handed me the pack, we unloaded the four-wheeler from the back of his truck, and we set off up the small walking trail next to the house. From memory, the path went on for dozens of miles and followed the stream as it snaked through the wilderness.

We rode until the dirt road ended and humanity fell away to the deep woods. The ride got bumpy as we wound around trees and over small rocks and for a minute, I was afraid of hazards. My dad was an experienced outdoorsman, though and knew these woods well. A few hours later, we’d apparently reached the destination.

It was a small clearing nestled under a copse, the remains of a previous campsite long since put out rested in the center of the dirt surround by a circle of rocks.

“I was up here scouting a couple weeks ago, so I know the route I’d take to get back,” he said cheekily. “Be careful, son. And call me if there’s an emergency, I’m only a few hours away and I should be able to see the flare if there’s trouble.”

“Yeah, because I’ll be able to get a signal out here,” I replied, holding up my now useless phone.

“Well, there’s always the flare gun, but I’m confident you’ll be fine, and besides, the flares really only there if you decide to give up,” he said, laughing.

With a parting wave, he departed, rolling back down the mountain and leaving me stranded in the woods for three days.

The first thing I did was take inventory and catalog my belongings. I undid the pack and carefully emptied its contents onto the ground.

I had a pair of long johns, some extra socks and underwear. A box of matches, a hunting knife and miniature shovel. A Ziplock bag filled with a blend of spices, a canteen of water, two days of vacuum-sealed rations and water pouches, and the flare gun. Along with my hammock and blanket.

I had everything I needed to make camp and survive if my hunting skills proved to be lacking. I had over thirty miles of wilderness to hack through before I hit the main roads and could circle back to the cabin on the main road. Dad told me it should take me at least two days, three if I didn’t get lucky with my hunts.

I had a few hours to kill before nightfall, and I wanted to get some miles in and find my bearings. The best bet, I thought, would be to hike along the stream until it ended. It was somewhat close to the trail, but not on it, as that would be cheating, but it would give me an excellent landmark to keep me oriented. So, with mild hesitation, I packed up and set off through the woods.

I would have to hunt before it got dark if I didn’t want to go hungry, and I only had an hour or two before the light fell enough to make hunting impossible. After searching around for about ten minutes, I found a good spot to set up camp for the evening, and I dropped my bag and grabbed my rifle, chambered a cartridge, and double-checked the safety. My game was rabbit, since I didn’t have the tools needed to string up and gut a deer.

I set off and crept through the brush, looking for signs of a nearby den. Rabbits are most active at dawn or dusk, so it was the perfect time to hunt them. Less than five minutes later, I found signs of rabbit trails in the underbrush a few hundred yards from camp; I leaned against the tree, just waiting.

The rabbit I wanted appeared half an hour later, hopping out of the brush without a care in the world. It was a plump eastern cottontail; It stopped and sniffed, giving me my opening. The crack of my rifle pierced the air and the cottontail dropped dead. I’d hit my mark, taking it in the neck so as to not spoil any of the meat. It was a decent-sized rabbit, more than enough for dinner; I bagged it and went back to camp.

Light was fading as I reached my campsite, which made fire, priority one. When I had light to work by, I cleaned the rabbit, making sure to not perforate the bowels and removed the organs and skin. I walked away from camp and buried the offal and hide in a small hole next to a tree. When the meat was cleaned, I rubbed some spices into the meat to remove some of the taste of game and skewered it with a stick I’d sharpened.

I wasn’t the best cook and didn’t have the right tools and ingredients, so the meat was a little dry and bland, but filled me up nicely, and I washed it down with a swig from my canteen. I even had leftovers. I wrapped them up in cloth and sat them by the fire, ready to be eaten for breakfast in the morning.

With nothing else to do for the evening and night had fallen an hour ago, I decided to turn in for the evening and get an early start in the morning. I had many miles to cover and I would have to hunt again at some point the next day for dinner.

In the morning, I woke up refreshed from one of the best nights sleep I’d ever had and was eager to take on the day. I was in such a good mood that it took me a few minutes to realize something was off.

In the middle of packing up my hammock and gathering my supplies, I couldn’t help but notice that the leftover rabbit was missing from next to the fire. I searched around for it in vain, thinking the wind might have caught it and blown it away from the camp. But there was nothing.

I chalked it up to a wild animal, but that unsettled me. Deer’s didn’t often eat meat, and I didn’t think a deer would get anywhere near my campsite. The smoke from the embers of the fire would have been enough to keep most animals away.

Black bears were common enough in the forest, but they should still be hibernating during this time of year. Right now, there wasn’t anything larger than a deer in these woods, so unless it was a coyote, it had to have been a deer. But there were no tracks anywhere around my campsite, so no answers came to me.

I’d packed up camp, and went to relieve myself when I found something that confused and terrified the hell out of me. I went to piss by the tree where I buried the offal of the rabbit last night, and right where I’d buried them, was a hole. It was rough, with long claw marks gouged deep into the dirt as if something had ripped into the ground to get what I’d buried.

I’d buried them deep enough to not attract the scent of wild animals, and I’d never seen claw marks like the ones next to the tree. I didn’t know what to make of them; wild animals weren’t that smart, and they were skittish by nature. No animal would risk getting close to a human unless they were starving, and no human had claws like the ones I’d found.

Without hesitation, I grabbed my rifle and racked a cartridge. I was petrified. I walked the camp in a circle, spreading out, searching for any tracks or signs. The only ones I’d found were some deer tracks about a hundred yards from camp that were at least a day old. There was nothing else even remotely resembling the marks I’d found.

There was nothing for me to find, and even though I was freaked out, I still had to hike back to civilization. As the miles wore on, I began to rationalize the experience, thinking it to be nothing more than a hungry animal looking for food and brave enough to sneak into my camp. I just hadn’t buried the offal deep enough and some critter had smelled it. That’s all it was.

I managed to bag another rabbit, purely on coincidence as it scampered out of the tree line. After the rabbit was clean, I wrapped the meat in cloth and stowed it away. I was hungry from the hike, and the fact that my breakfast had been stolen that morning, but I still wanted to put some more miles under my boots before it got dark.

As the sunlight faded from the canopy and my aching feet demanded a break, I found a spot to set up camp. It was a small campsite, nestled up against a rocky mound that stretched skyward for a couple dozen feet with a slanted shelf near the top. I felt comfortable having my back to the wall, and a brace of trees next to the rock ensured I could set up my hammock.

I readied the campsite, built a roaring fire twice as large as the one last night just to scare away any nearby animals, and cooked the rabbit to perfection. I was ravenous and scarfed down the meat with gusto. Despite my hunger, there were still plenty of leftovers again, but this time, I was careful to stow the meat inside my pack, which I kept next to my hammock.

Exhaustion had worn me down from the many miles I’d walked that day, and I was eager to get some sleep. I laid my head on my pillow and was out like a light.

The stillness woke me, like a veil of silence had been draped over the woods. Not a single sound rose from the forest floor other than the rustling of the leaves in the wind. Not even crickets. Animals instinctively go quiet in the presence of predators, but this was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. I lay in my hammock, straining my ears to listen to any sound I could.

The fire had died out, leaving only coals that sparked every time a stiff breeze rolled in. The moon was fat in the sky and gave me ample light to see by as I stared up at the trees. For some reason, I was terrified to get up and look around. My rifle was next to me, resting just by head against the tree. I could grab it in seconds and there was a round in the chamber, but I couldn’t reach for my gun, couldn’t do anything other than stare straight ahead and try not to move an inch. Because I realized something was watching me.

It’s a hard to describe feeling. I knew what it was on a primal level, something instinctual, right alongside the fear of being alone in the dark. I knew that feeling too. The presence persisted for a few minutes and didn’t fade. Sweat poured down my neck as I fought to stay still. Eventually, the silence and fear got to me and I had to do something. I couldn’t take it anymore and leapt from the hammock, hitting the ground hard. I ignored the pain radiating from my arms and scrambled for my rifle, scanning all around me, trying to find whatever it was.

As I spun around, I saw it, perched on the rocks above me. For a single split second, a flash of neon blue eyes stared back at me from an angular, too pale body before it slunk out of sight.

My heart pounded in my chest and my head felt fuzzy. It became hard to breathe and I fought to keep from passing out. I was scared out of my mind because whatever that thing had been, wasn’t human, and it wasn’t an animal. It was a monster.

I didn’t sleep that night, I built up the fire and huddled around it, clutching my rifle till morning. Screw tradition and screw these woods. I was heading back to the cabin at first light and I wasn’t stopping till I reached it.

Nothing else happened through the night, but as dawn broke over the mountains, my nerves were shot to hell and my eyes ached with the strain of keeping them open. I stumbled to my feet, kicked out the fire and slung my backpack over my shoulder. I left the hammock tied where it was and set off towards the stream. I was going to follow it to the trail, and I’d be back at the cabin well before nightfall.

It took an hour of walking, stumbling over uneven terrain until I found the stream, and from there I found the worn trail. I followed it for hours as the sun rose high in the sky. I was so tired, but the fear of death and that monster were the only things that kept me putting one foot in front of the other.

I was hungry, thirsty and beyond everything else, utterly exhausted. But I kept pushing forward, no matter how slow and tired I was. I still had the rabbit tied up in my pack, but I couldn’t stop and eat. As the day wore on, I began to recognize parts of the terrain and I knew I was close to the cabin.

I was so elated that I didn’t pay attention to where I was walking and rolled my ankle on a small rock that jutted out from the side of the trail. I lost my balance and careened off and hit my head on a nearby tree branch. Everything went black.

I awoke to dusk. I’d been out for a couple of hours, whether from the blow to the head or the exhaustion, whichever it was, I was still in the woods, and night was coming quickly.

The monsters never appeared during the daytime, so I thought I was safe in the light. But light was running out and I still had a mile or so till I reached the cabin. I picked myself off the ground and dusted the dirt off. I grabbed my rifle, checked that it was still loaded, and I flicked the safety off. My finger stood a millimeter from the trigger and I kept my head on a swivel as I hastily jogged the trail back to the cabin.

Relief swept through me when I saw the wraparound porch come into view. I had made it back. “Dad!” I yelled as I ran up on the porch. “Dad, we gotta go!”

I ran around to the front door and stood stock still as my blood ran cold.

The door to the cabin was open, and my dad was lying halfway inside and halfway on the porch. He’d been mauled. His body was nothing but ribbons and scraps of flesh that only half resembled what a human should look like.

I stared in silence, my mind not comprehending what I was seeing. He’d been wearing the red and black checked flannel shirt I’d gotten him for his birthday, it was the only way I could tell it was my dad. His face had been ripped from his skull; too white bone peeked out from his empty eye sockets.

The stench was ungodly, a mixture of fresh meat and the iron tang of blood filled the air. I clutched at my stomach and hurled bile on the wooden floorboards, sinking to my knees as my throat burned raw as I heaved my guts out.

Absolute panic gripped my sanity and took it for a joyride as I tried and failed to come to terms with the fact that my father was dead, had been ripped to pieces by whatever was outside, stalking me in the dark.

I had to leave, had to get as far away from that place as I could, or else, I’d be next. I screamed wordlessly and backed away from the porch. I turned and ran to the truck; it was my only avenue of escape and I had to hurry. Night had already fallen.

I scrambled the driver side of the pickup and yanked on the handle hard enough to break it, but it held and opened the door after a second of sticking. I climbed into the cab and threw down the vizor, where my dad usually kept the keys, but they weren’t there. The only other place they could be was in the pocket of my dad’s jeans. And I would have to get them.

Steeling myself for the inevitable, I clutched my rifle tight and exited the vehicle. I knew I had to be fast, knew I needed to already be far away from the woods, but my feet wouldn’t carry me any further. I stared at the mutilated remains of my father and tried not to throw up again or break down in madness.

I squinted through my eyelashes and patted my dad’s pants. The keys were in his left pocket, so as quickly as I could, I stepped to the side and dug through them. My hands clutched around the metal key and I yanked my prize free, nearly stumbling from the force. With the key in my hand, I bolted from the porch back to the truck.

As I reached the open cab, something thudded against wood and I turned, searching for the sound. Movement from above me drew my gaze and I finally got a good look at what had been chasing me through these godforsaken woods.

It was on the roof of the cabin, clinging to the side of the slanted roof with ease. The monster was humanoid, but it crawled on all fours like an animal. Its skin was pale white like paper and thick and rough, leathery almost. But what marked it as being something inhuman was its head. It bore ethereal blue eyes that lit up the night, and a large, angular face that tapered to a point near its mouth. Its mouth which opened, revealing thousands of minuscule, needlepoint, silver teeth in rows stretching down its throat.

The creature’s eyes never left mine and glinted with malicious intelligence. It upturned its too many teeth into a gruesome smile. I didn’t think, didn’t panic, I just reacted. I raised my rifle and fired.

The bullet whizzed past its head and took it in the shoulder. Bright white blood spurted from the wound and splashed across the roof of the cabin to drip down the shingles. It let out a high-pitched shriek of pain and recoiled from the shock, it slid down the roof and into the tree line faster than I could line up a second shot. When it broke from my line of sight, I sprinted to the truck, tossed in my bag and rifle, and slid into the driver’s seat.

Thankfully, the truck started on the first try and the engine roared to life. I flicked on the high beams, threw the truck in reverse and spun around as fast as I could. I was driving recklessly, taking curves too sharply and doing everything in my power not to fishtail into a tree when a thud landed on the roof of the truck, crumpling the aging metal.

I screeched, panicked and jerked the wheel, trying to throw it off. I spun the wheel too much and clipped an overgrown tree in the process. I tried to overcorrect myself but only ended up slamming the side of the truck into the tree line.

The truck crunched to a halt, the passenger side crumpling like a bent can as tree branches snapped, sounding wooden gunshots through the forest. Whatever was on the truck was flung to the side as we crashed. It flew off the hood and hit a tree further into the forest. Bones cracked and when it fell to the dirt, it left a smear of white blood across the bark. I tried to start the truck again, but it just groaned and wouldn’t turn over.

With a half growl, half groan, the creature picked its bleeding body off the ground and glared at me, its neon eyes glowing even brighter as it shrieked and crawled toward me.

I grabbed my rifle and left the truck. I could follow the monster by its eyes alone and I perched my rifle on the hood of the truck and took aim.

It was slow as it crept toward me, giving me plenty of time to line up the perfect shot. I had my crosshairs centered right between its eyes and I rested my finger on the trigger, a split second away from firing. The creature let out another scream, much higher in pitch than the others and my body jerked on its own accord. My hands spasmed and I squeezed the trigger. My shot went wide, flying off into the woods and thudding into an old tree.

That had been my last bullet. My rifle only held four shots and I hadn’t brought any extra ammo. I squeezed the trigger, again and again. Terror gripped me as it slunk along the earth, leaving a milk-white trail of blood behind it. I threw the gun at it and ran for the truck, for the knife in my bag.

I wasn’t going to let it get me, I wasn’t going to end up as food, as a mutilated corpse like my dad. I was going to kill it or myself if that failed. I wouldn’t let it eat me.

The thing was on me before I reached the cab. It slammed into the side of the door, pinning me as I was halfway in the door. I lunged for my bag as the monster opened its jaws wide and bit through the metal door like it was cardboard. It ripped a chunk free and spat it on the ground as it eyed me with rage and hunger.

My hand closed around my bag and I tore the strings, grabbing the knife that was at the top of the bag. I slid it from its sheath as the creature was poised to bite. I jammed the knife to the hilt in the side of its face, just below its glowing blue eye.

It reared back in pain, sending a mind pounding shriek of pain splitting through my psyche. It stopped my heartbeat for a second as it jumped away from the truck and tried to dislodge the knife stuck in its skull.

I thought then that I’d landed a lucky blow and it was going to leave, that I’d be able to get back in the truck and escape the forest, but more howls joined the first and two more of the monsters slunk from out of the shadows.

This is where I die. It was the only thought running through my head. I couldn’t run from them, couldn’t fight them. I was going to die. But I wasn’t going to make it easy for them.

I grabbed my torn bag and I ran into the woods as fast as I could. I was desperate to escape, but the howls and thuds of too many legs padding through the dirt behind me told me I wouldn’t escape.

They were close at my heels, and the only thing that saved my life that night was gravity and my own clumsiness.

I tripped on a branch and tumbled to the ground as one of them sailed over me, mouth wide as the thousand needles closed around empty air. It hit the ground a few feet away and turned, eying me up. I backpedaled but hit a tree as it lunged a second time.

With nothing else in my hands, I brought my bag up as it clamped down, throwing me to the forest floor. Its teeth closed around my bag, ripping the nylon to shreds, but my mini shovel got lodged in its throat and it couldn’t close its mouth all the way. Clothing and food poured out of its jaws, and I scrambled out from under it.

My hand hit something plastic as I crawled away from the creature and even in the dark of the woods, I couldn’t fail to make out the bright orange handle of the flare gun.

It was a long shot, but it was the last weapon I had, and I clung to it as I stood up and ran away. I didn’t get far as the monster chomped through the metal shovel like it was a toothpick and spat out the remains of my backpack. It howled in rage and ran for me. Knowing I only had one shot, I stopped running, dropped to my knees and fired.

Daylight split the night as my eyesight was obliterated by the burning red flare as it streaked through the air and hit the monster in the face. Like it’d been doused in kerosene, the creature went up in a gulf of flames. Its flesh sizzled and popped like grease in a pan as it cracked and blackened in seconds. It howled in agony, screaming such a high pitch sound that my ears bled, and I fell to my knees as my consciousness waned.

By the time I rose to my feet and wiped the blood from my ears, it was dead. It was now nothing but a charred carcass burning under the crackling fire. The flare still burned, illuminating the night. And showing me the other two creatures that had crept up on us.

I was out of weapons and out of hope, but they stayed back, just at the tree line, watching me and the flaming carcass of their friend. Fire was their weakness it seemed, and even though I had no more flares, I bluffed them. It was the most reckless thing I could’ve done, but I had no other options left. I raised the empty flare gun, and they flinched. They took a step back and stayed low to the ground, like they were ready to bolt.

I pressed my luck and took a step forward. They turned and ran as fast as they could, deeper into the forest, howling as they did so.

As soon as they were out of sight, I ran myself. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me, not caring about the scrapes and scratches from the branches whipping at my face. I only cared about my own survival.

I hit the road leading to the highway and ran for hours. There were too many miles between me and the highway, but I didn’t care. I just kept running.

By the time I hit the pavement, it was daybreak and I knew I could stop running, but I kept on. Because I had nothing else but the run. If I stopped, it would mean accepting what just happened, and I didn’t think my mind would survive.

I ran until I hit the gas station, we’d stopped at only three days ago, what felt like a lifetime ago. The gas station attendant took one look at me, out of breath, with bloody, torn clothing, and called the police.

He was kind enough to give me all the water I wanted while we waited for the police. I drank it in silence while I sat huddled in on myself, trying to calm my racing heart and not to think.

It took the cops nearly an hour to arrive from the nearest town, and when they did, I finally had to tell them my story.

They didn’t believe me, because of course they wouldn’t. I sounded insane, raving about monsters with glowing blue eyes and white blood like a madman. However, the officer was patient and kind, taking down my statement word for word, despite the skepticism on his face

I told them where to find the cabin, the truck, everything.

They found it all right where I told them it would be, but there was no sign of the creature I’d killed, not even ashes. My dad’s body was also gone. The only sign it had been there at all were the bloodstains.

The police chalked it up to a wild animal attack, attributing my story to be just that, a story by a scared teenager who witnessed an animal kill his father. The reporters, the kids at school, hell, even my mother, they didn’t believe me.

But I know the truth. I’m not crazy. There’s something evil in that forest.

Whatever it was.

There’s more than one of them, and they burn just fine.

If you camp out in the Tennessee forests at night, be careful, learn from my story. And for the love of God, carry a fire source." EU

NOTE: The author swears that this is a true account, though it seems to be fiction. Regardless, it's an interesting read and an profound tale of caution. Lon


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