The last time I was scared out of my mind? Hmm... Well, there are a few occasions I can remember, but I can't remember which was scarier. Since yesterday was Halloween, I want to go with the spookier or creepier stories. Actually, I think one of the most terrifying nights I ever had was when I went camping in Girlscouts, but that's a *really* long story. D: And then there was the time I tried the Bloody Mary trick... I'm afraid of camping now, and I don't think I'll ever try that trick again. o_o||| Alright-- well, I suppose I'll tell the camping story. I'll try to make a shortened version of it, but it will still be lengthy.
NOTE: I kind of failed at trying to keep it short. Sorry. ^^; Also, it might be kind of slow, and there might be a few errors, but since I have other things to do, it took me forever to type. @w@;; Anyway, for those that do somehow read it, have fun. XD;;
One April when I was in Girlscouts, our troop was going to some campgrounds for a weekend to help them prepare it for their summer camps. We were going to help clear away all the clutter from Winter and Fall and generally clean the place up. In addition, we would get to participate in a few activities so we could have fun there as well. We'd all be given free meals and free lodging in return. Many different troops from both the Boyscouts and the Girlscouts were invited. I'm not sure whether it was a first-come-first-serve deal or whether it was that we were all separated by general ages, but I remember for some reason we had to sleep in tents because all the cabins were taken. There was seven of us, including myself and our two troop leaders.
Our area that we were in charge of was called "Trailblazer". It consisted of three sets of tents-- two tents across from each other on a raised wooden platform per set. They kind of formed an arc around the campfire area and picnic tables, with a kitchen shack to store our food completing it opposite the tents. Trees surrounded us everywhere, and dead leaves and sticks from the past Fall littered the ground. Our first task was to clean the camp and remove the tree debris. We followed our two troop leaders through a path in the forest that led to a supply shed where we were to retrieve a wheelbarrow and follow a different and rockier path back to our camp. The troop leaders decided to take the other path back.
It started out really fun. We were taking turns pushing each other in the wheelbarrow. The only annoying thing, really, was their insistence on a ghost story about this camp that one of them told me on the way here that apparently all of them were familiar with. The story was that a long time ago the camp had a hired a groundskeeper with a fake arm in charge of Trailblazer who loved the outdoors so much that he decided to make the farthest tent set from the others his home while he was cleaning the grounds. He was a strange old man, supposedly. It was claimed that he often spoke about mysterious and dark things in the woods, but he WAS out there by himself usually. One day, he complained that things were scratching the walls on the outside of his tent, as if trying to get in. The current people in charge of the camp dismissed it as his imagination. Surely he was just senile.
One day he didn't check in at the main lodge. Being an early riser by nature, this was seen as an unusual occurrence by the other staff. They worried that he wandered off in the night trying to find the illusions his mind had created and had gotten lost. So they went to Trailblazer, and they went to his tent. The flap was open. They entered slowly. What they found horrified them. The groundskeeper was torn up, covered in hundreds of tiny gashes. By his corpse there were three stones; one shaped like the sole of a foot, another shaped like the top-half of a finger, and the third, oddly enough, like the bottom-half of a kidney. His arm had been replaced (or become?) a long branch of about the same length and width, with three thick prongs at the end. Pieces of rope littered the floor and what looked like it had once been a simple animal trap of sorts lay shattered. Underneath was a small pile of dying dandelions. As it seemed, he had tried to capture whatever was clawing each and every night at the tent walls--whatever had done this. As it seemed, he was unsuccessful in his attempts.
Not wanting a huge scene, the staff scattered and hid the items around the area. They disposed of the body. He always said he had no family. No friends. No one who would ever notice he was gone. There would be no investigation.
Supposedly, the ghost of the groundskeeper was vengeful and haunted our particular camp. According to my fellow troop members, every now and again, around this time of the year (his supposed life's end), he would select a camper in to torment. Whoever found all three stones, and then his arm, became the target. They would begin to see little pieces of rope lying around the camp, wherever they went. Dead or dying dandelions would appear everywhere. ... Oh, and it had to be a new camper. And wouldn't you know, I was the only new one.
Unfortunately for them, I was having none of this. It was ridiculous. I believe in ghosts and everything, but their story made no sense, really, and it even sounded like they made it up in a few minutes. Surely enough, as we were walking down that road, one of them stopped and pointed out something. They went closer to examine it, and picked it up. They said in what I'm sure they were utterly convinced was pure horror that it was shaped like the sole of a foot. My face turned into this: =A=; They shoved it in my face talking about how it was the first clue. Surprisingly enough, it did happen to look pretty darn close to the bottom of someone's foot. I dismissed this, however, and easily so. The items one needed to find were very random. Two of them were here at the camp before the other three of us arrived, so I was sure they planned it all out ahead of time and just found three oddly shaped rocks and placed them at various places for them to find later and taunt me with. I told them this. They insisted I was going to die with the casualness of asking me "What's up?". We kept on down the road.
Soon enough, another of us stopped and picked up a rock and exclaimed it looked like the top-half of a person's finger. And it did. I was still unconvinced. A little ways down the road, when it was my turn to be in the wheelbarrow, one of them picked up a strangely shaped rock. They claimed it must be the bottom-half-of-a-kidney one. To confirm this with her elementary level scientific genius, one of the other girls said that in her science class they were learning anatomy and just recently learned about kidneys. That, to her trained eye, looked like the bottom half of a kidney. I just called them all names and continued being carried down the road. The final sign that I was the angry spirit's new target was found every five feet or so after that. Little twigs were snapped in half after being called the man's fake arm, and apparently because they broke it I would pay.
After about 20 minutes of walking, we reached the camp. The troop leaders greeted us with brooms in hand and assigned us tasks. I was to help one of them pick up the leaves and sticks and place them in the wheelbarrow. Another would help the troop leaders organize out kitchen shack. The other two would split up the task of cleaning the two tent sets we weren't going to use. I went with my partner and we began working. After a short while, one of them started yelling for my partner. They said they caught a strange animal, and they thought it might be one of the creatures that supposedly killed the man. My partner ignored them and told me to do the same. After awhile though it began to be annoying. They were being persistent. I decided to go over there, if only to tell them to stop their shouting. When I approached the tent though, I heard a box shaking. I quickly grabbed a rake and brought it with me. If she really HAD caught something, I certainly wasn't going to be left defenseless if it escaped. She was surprised that I was the one who showed up when I entered the tent, and then became angry at me for bringing the rake. She was concerned I was going to hurt it and refused to open the now still box until I dropped it. I told her I wouldn't.
We argued for a good 10 minutes before a troop leader came in and broke it up. Conveniently the creature had escaped unnoticed while this was all going on, according to my troop member. The troop leader told her to stop messing around and told me not to bring rakes into the tents, and told us both to go finish our tasks. On my way back to my partner, I spotted something halfway under a pile of leaves and in the midst of cobwebs under the tent. Curiosity getting the better of me, I pulled it out. "It" was a slightly gnarled tree branch and as long and thick as an arm, and with three thick prongs at the end. It was really creepy looking, to be honest. I called my troopmate outside and showed it to her, and she matter-of-factly told me that they already found and broke the real arm (all 50 of them, I pointed out to her), and that the one I had was just some lame branch. She told me to throw it away. I carefully replaced it back to where it was, and then returned to help my partner clean up the leaves and sticks.
We finished shortly after I returned, my partner and I laughing at the others all the way back to our tent. She agreed with me that they were making it up. She said she heard them whispering about it a bit ago. I already knew this. I didn't go with it, either. Yet it continued. When we went inside the tent we were all to share, one of the others was frantically trying to find her stuff. The others taunted her saying it was moved by the ghost. We found it under someone's bed with a piece of note-book paper with "YOU'RE NEXT" written in yellow in it. I dying dandelion was placed on top. Someone picked it up and tried writing with it, and hey, look-- it worked. I was getting really irritated at this point. Something had to be done. I went to one of the troop leaders and explained the situation, and together we came up with a plan.
A few minutes of preparation later we called everyone into the tent. I felt really bad, but it was necessary. It had to be someone I knew wasn't planning anything. Once everyone was inside, one of the troopleaders pointed at the victim's bed. She opened up her sleeping bag and screamed. Dropping it on the floor, she stepped back as dandelions poured out of it. The others were dumbfounded. They hadn't done this. The plan had worked. They were nervous. Later, I apologized and explained to my troopmate, and she didn't mind at all.
A little later in the day we got to play some fun detective-work activities. Afterward, we went to a nearby lodge and ate lunch. One of our troopmates wasn't feeling well, so she decided to go back to the camp. A troopleader pointed her in our camp's direction and off she went. We all ate our food, and then hung around on the lodge's back porch admiring the forest. Suddenly, we heard a rustling in the bushes. Out of them appeared our troopmate. She seemed confused as she approached us. Apparently, while back at the camp, she heard us returning. We were all talking about different things we normally talk about, according to her. When she went outside of the tent to greet us, however, no one was there. She thought she heard our voices a little farther away, and began to follow us. No matter how close she got though, we only moved farther away. The troopleaders were immediately concerned, since we hadn't left the area at all and there was no way our voices could have traveled the distance. She felt her forehead, and it was warm. On her hand was a fat tick. One of the troopleaders carefully removed it and treated the cut. We decided to head back to the camp to gather supplies for our next task, and to get some Tylenol along the way. The troopleaders worried she became sick and had hallucinated our presence at the camp before.
We made it back to the camp quickly, and departed at the same pace. That event had been unnerving. The bushes seemed to move a lot more. Dying dandelions seemed to become more numerous, though I tried to think of it as the wind having scattered the discarded ones from my troopmate's sleeping bag while we were gone. We headed over to a decent sized obstacle course. Our job was to clean it the same way we cleaned the camp, and to make sure it was still safe. We tidied the obstacle course, and then all of us attempted to get through it in order to test it. (Playtime is important, too!) When we were finished, we had to walk through a random cornfield to get back to the car, since it was faster than going back through the course. While the troopleaders went and got the car, the five of us sat on a bench. One of them was idly kicking their feet when they noticed something on the ground not too far away. It was a small piece of rope. She brought it back with her and I laughed. Such an elaborate prank! Were they THAT determined? The troopleaders returned with the car, but as it turned out, they had left our wheelbarrow back at the obstacle course. Everyone volunteered me to go and get it. To go back by myself to get it. To go back through the eerie corn field and get it... To go back through the eerie cornfield in the setting sun towards the darkening forest by myself to get it... I told them there was no way I would, so instead we all made the trip there and back together. On the way back to the car was another piece of rope.
The last activity for the day took place, and then finally we got to eat dinner. We dined for a good hour or so on all the good food they had for us. By the time we finished, it had apparently begun to storm outside. Thunder, lightning, heavy rainfall, high winds. It was actually a bit frightening. owo||| The staff of the camp invited all the troops to sleep inside their lodges. Our troop would be sharing the lodge called Dream-catcher with many other troops. It didn't sound so bad, but then the troopleaders said we had to go with them to get our stuff.
It was pouring rain outside. Lightning flashed and thunder roared. It was pitch black, but we got into the van and we drove carefully along the forest trails back to our camp, almost hitting a tree several times along the way. Finally the campgrounds appeared in the headlights, the sign with its name greeting us as the van pulled up. The troop leaders needed to get our food from the kitchen shack so animals didn't break in and take it during the night. They opened up the back door of the van behind us, told us not to let the monsters get us, and then walked off to get the food. The forest was dark and ominous and we were trying our best not to look through the open door at it. We just huddled together very much not appreciating the joke our troop leaders thought was funny. After what seemed an eternity, they left the kitchen area and put the food in the back, closed the door, and drove us back to the lodge just as perilously. (It seemed like we were in Jurassic Park or something. >w>)
Things were much cheerful back at the lodge. Everyone got some dessert in the eating area, and our troop made some s'mores with a microwave. All the people sleeping in the lodge (anyone who was supposed to sleep in a tent that night) were to sleep in the main lobby. We finished our snacks and set up our sleeping bags against the walls and floor-length windows. I lay down in my sleeping bag, enjoying just listening to the surrounding conversations going on and occasionally contributing to them when I could or wanted to. I was feeling pretty good at the time. To be honest, my troopmates had been so persistent all day, and after finding the pieces of rope and dandelions around the camp and that weird stick, I had begun to grow nervous. The rest of the story said that once all the items were found and the signs given, the ghost has chosen its target. During the night, the target would begin to hear scratching noises on the walls of their tent. It was the old man trying to claw his way in, my troop-mates told me, completely ignoring the nonsense of it. He would torment you with the scratching until he finally found his way in. Then he would kill you. I felt better though, being in the lodge. I wasn't in a tent! No tent walls, no scratching. I laughed and told my friends this jokingly and they laughed too. It was very bright and loud in the lodge, the exit signs quietly reminding us where they were.
It was dark in the lodge, and quiet. The exit signs made the room glow red. The night was a dark and stormy one even still. (How cliche, I thought.) I was confused. A minute ago everyone was awake, talking. People were walking around. Now they all lay sleeping and I was the only one awake. Had I fallen asleep? What time was it? I wasn't tired anymore. In fact, I felt wide-awake--more awake than I felt all day. I didn't like being awake all by myself, in such a creepy ambiance. I rolled over on my side and closed my eyes. That's when I heard it.
I heard a heavy step followed by a scraping sound, like if someone wearing boots was limping around dragging their foot. It was a repetitive sound. It wouldn't go away except for a handful of seconds every now and then. I rolled back onto my back, pulled the sleeping bag the rest of the way over my head and closing it, and lay perfectly still, listening. Was it getting closer? I couldn't really tell. My first guess was that it was the trees outside hitting the walls and windows in the wind and scratching them. That option was out though when I noticed it sounded nothing like that, and remembered that the walls were too far back under the roof for even the closest tree branch to reach. Was it one of my troopmates then, pushing their joke to the max? I unzipped my sleeping bag and quietly glanced around the room. Everyone was in their sleeping bags. I could see all my troopmates, heads poking out of their own sleeping bags. It wasn't them. Had they asked one of the staff to do this for them? Even the thought of that seemed stupid the moment it appeared in my mind. Why would an adult wake up in the middle of the night to help some kids with their prank?
A door opened, and closed. It was the door that led from outside into the kitchen. I panicked. Didn't they lock doors? I knew I had heard the heavy wooden doors swing open and closed. It was them. And the dragging footsteps resumed. They came from a new direction--the direction the door was in. I closed the bag up and froze. I barely breathed if I could help it. What time was it? When was day? Didn't anyone else hear this? I couldn't tell if the footsteps were getting closer or not, but they were taking an eternity to reach me. I peeked my head out of the sleeping bag. Nothing was there. I turned over carefully to one of my troopmates next to me. They were sound asleep. Peaceful! I shook them a little, but got no response. I shook them harder, but only got mumbling. Finally I jumped straight to incessant poking and shaking and tugging of hair until she snapped her eyes open (angrily) and asked me (just as angrily) what I wanted. I asked her if she didn't hear the footsteps. Her eyes closed. She asked me what footsteps. Well, if she hadn't kept talking, then she could've heard them. I told her this. She grew silent for a moment, ears straining. Finally, she yawned, said she heard nothing but the storm, and said she was going back to sleep. I shook her more. I wanted her to stay awake. I didn't want to keep being awake by myself, listening to the horrible noise. She yelled at me, saying that if I kept trying to keep her up that she'd tell on me in the morning. I asked her if she seriously couldn't hear the noise I had described to her. She really couldn't. Only I could hear it? No, she just wasn't trying. She went back to sleep. I was by myself again.
All I did for a very long time was lay paralyzed from fear in my sleeping bag, not moving, barely breathing, eyes wide. When would it be daytime? I really wanted it to be daytime soon. Hours seemed to pass by. What time had I woken up, anyway? What time was it now? Was the sun starting to rise yet? What was going on? What or who was causing that noise? What was going to happen? I used every bit of my strength to peel back the sleeping bag the tiniest bit. Still nothing. Was I even in danger? Should I just do my best to ignore it? No. I wasn't going to risk anything. I was going to take this seriously, just in case. But I needed to be somewhere I felt safe. Not by my troopmates. I slowly got up. Nothing was around me. I ran over to one of the troopleaders and asked if I could sleep next to them, because I had a nightmare and was scared. They let me, so I placed my sleeping bag there and got back inside it. Morning should be soon, right? I needed to find a way to ignore the footsteps. I wanted to go to sleep. Even if it was a horrible ghost-monster, I didn't want to be awake listening to it.
I shut my eyes tight and thought of all the ways I normally got myself to sleep at night. The first thing that came to me was that I would play my gameboy until the screen tired my eyes and I could fall asleep. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to bring electronics with us to the camp, so my Gameboy wasn't with me. Another thing I thought of was my cat stuffed animal I slept with every night, but I had left it at home. The awful dragging footsteps continued, echoing from somewhere inside the lodge. I thought hard. The other day my brother and I had watched Poke'mon: Heroes at least 10-15 times in a row. I knew the movie by heart, every scene and sound. As silly as it sounded, my plan became to replay the entire movie from start to finish, in my mind.
I got about half-way through the movie when I noticed the footsteps get quieter. They were fading. Then I heard birds chirpring. I was so happy I almost cried, I think. The sounds got quieter and quieter--they became further and further apart--and then they stopped altogether. All I heard was birds chirping their early-morning songs. Finally, I felt myself falling asleep. I yawned and drank in the sound of the birdsongs. Morning was here.
What felt like only moments later I was being woken up by one of the troopleaders. The room was bustling with people packing their things. The smell of breakfast wafted in from the kitchen. Everyone went to the eating area, and we all ate breakfast. My troopmate complained about my waking her up and I apologized to her. The troopleaders just found it amusing that for all my stubbornness earlier I had let their story get to me after all. I laughed with them, too, telling them that it was a good one-- making all those sounds during the night. They asked me if that was what my nightmare I mentioned was. I stared at them for a minute, and then just nodded, telling them it was. People were finishing eating and returning to the room to collect their things and pack them into their vans and cars, including some of my own troop. Suddenly, the troopmate who had told me to ignore the others the whole day before shouted for me to come into the lobby quickly. I hd already finished eating, so I left my plate to b cleaned up and ran to where she was. She pointed to the curtain on the window above where I and my other troopmate had slept. Around it was a piece of rope, tied tight. They had to use a knife to cut it off, the knot was so strong and the rope tied so tight. They all swore they hadn't done it. The troopleaders just found it odd and tossed out the piece of rope. Then, we went back to the campgrounds and got the rest of our things and went back home. It was like nothing had even happened. I decided I would probably never go camping again, and certianly not to THAT camp. Regardless of what had happened, it terrified me. I was just glad it was daytime.
So that's the story of when I went camping for girlscouts. I don't know what it was. It could have been a prank. It could have been my imagination. Could it have even been real? No matter what though, there were few times I've ever been as scared as I was then.