Friday, February 26, 2021

'Iridescent Eyes' Staring At Me From The Shadows - Gila National Forest, NM

Another strange and scary encounter by a camper in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico. This time, an unfamiliar set of iridescent eyes stares at the witness.

The following account was forwarded to me in reference to my previous post referencing the Gila National Forest:

"This incident occurred in 2007 in the wilderness of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. I am from New Mexico and was raised in Roswell, so this is an area I have visited several times prior without issue.

On this trip I was with a group of about 10 other people. We were two days into our trek with several more to go. For those who aren’t familiar with the Gila, it’s a stunningly beautiful area with trails that follow a winding river that carves through a canyon. There are high cliff sides jutting up hundreds of feet through some parts of the canyon and dense brush. Overall it is very isolated and has an odd vibe to it in certain places. I’ve always associated that with the fact that it’s an area with ancient Native American history dating back to at least 9,600 BC that I know of (or maybe further). Lots of crazy stuff has happened there over the years to be sure. It has a compelling history.

On this particular night we were camped in an area where the river makes a U-shape as it wraps through the canyon. It was a fun day, and I had even managed to catch some trout that I ate for dinner. Right around dusk I needed to relieve myself, so I wandered away from our camp into what I would describe as a ravine, or an arroyo where flood waters drain into the river. There was dense brush and high sloping banks on either side. All in all it seemed a good place to go to do my business at the time. I made my way up the ravine and thinking back on it, I walked an unreasonable distance from the camp which I find strange. As if I kept walking almost absentmindedly or was drawn further in, which is not my norm.

As a preface, there is something I think many here are familiar with that is known colloquially as ‘The Silence.’ Typically this phenomenon occurs in nature when there is a large predator in the area. Anyways, I noticed it was eerily quiet, and I knew that something was very wrong. When I say quiet I mean the silence was deafening, if that makes sense. By this time it’s nearly completely dark, and I am out of earshot of my camp. Alarm bells intensely started blaring in my head and gut, my hair stood on end. I noticed a strange change in my perception (likely caused by the twilight phase change), but the light around me seemed to become shrouded in shadow quite suddenly. It was almost like someone had one of those sliding dimming switches for a lightbulb.

You know that feeling you get when you are sitting somewhere public and just feel someone else looking at you? That’s what happened suddenly and intensely. A few moments later I heard a loud and distinct CRACK and odd rustling from about 30 feet away, above me in the bush. It sounded like a person walking where no person should be. It sounded like human footsteps cracking twigs. I was petrified to make a move, but finished my business and stood as confidently as I could muster facing the direction of the sound. I was unarmed, and knowing what I know about predators, I didn’t want to make myself appear any more vulnerable than a kid alone in a ditch and in the dark. I’ve had encounters with bears, mountain lions, etc. But this felt so much different. I did not have the high ground, figuratively and literally.

I called out loudly, “Hello?”

A few seconds passed and the rustling continued in the distance.

Silence.

With no response back after a few moments at this point I felt beyond vulnerable and terrified. Unreasonably terrified. In hindsight and after researching I often wonder if infrasound played a role.

With my hair standing on end I took a few steps backward and that’s when I noticed the eyes. About 20 feet away above the bank of the ditch was a pair staring directly at me. I was in shock for a moment as it was near where I heard the crack - slightly iridescent looking eyes high above me on the bank. High enough that they had to either be a massive creature, or a large creature in a tree branch. The silhouette didn’t make sense, but shadows play tricks on the eyes and mind. I can’t be sure it wasn’t a large owl or something like that, but the circumstances and general feeling make me believe otherwise. The silence and heaviness in the air was totally wrong, but it’s hard to explain.

Instinctively I backed up as slowly as I could facing those eyes, and that’s when I heard another crack above me to my right. This made me lose my sh*t, as that noise was MUCH closer. At this point my fight or flight kicked in and I turned and sprinted as fast as I could. Breathless, I made it back to camp and told my friends I thought there was possibly a large predator in the area and we should make sure we bear bag and take precautions.

Thinking back on it, I think it very well could have been a mountain lion or a bear. Who knows? One thing I know for certain is that I felt like I was in absolute danger, and all of my alarm bells were screaming to get the fuck out of there. Still freaks me out all these years later, the shade of that memory is always in the back of my mind whenever I’m out in the woods alone. All in all, I’m just glad I’m not another backwoods missing person statistic." BB


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