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The Dark Woods

By Patricia Briggs

*Second Halloween blog!

Trigger warning: blog mentions darker energies, apparitions, satan & possible manipulations

I became friends with an older couple, A & V. They were interested in and working with the paranormal before it was a thing, like it is today. We would visit different places (in the daylight) to see what we could pick up psychically. One year we decided to visit a location in the backwoods of Pennsylvania that had particular significance to my family history. Of course, all my immediate family, family dog, and some friends decided this was an adventure they did not want to miss!

Family History: My great grandfather was a very religious man and led revival meetings on Sundays. My grandmother used to sing during his revival meetings and was very close to her father. He would share with her things that he didn’t share with the rest of the family. This bit of history was passed to her, and then to us from her. My great grandfather’s job was to walk the oil lines checking that everything was running smoothly. One evening as he was finishing up work, he noticed a small campfire in a gully. It was here at the campfire that he had an encounter that shook him to the core. He believed that he encountered Satan and was very relieved that he managed to escape his clutches that evening. I will share the details of that encounter at another time.

There is more to the story that evolved in later years, but you got the gist of the origin. The intention of our excursion was to try to find the location of my great grandfather’s encounter from years previous. (What can I say, we were stupid. I no longer go looking for stuff, it finds me all on its own!) We had a rough idea in what part of the Black Forest it was located because we had a hand-drawn map reconstructed from memory by my grandmother. Two of the main roads through the area were highway 666 and 13 (another sign!). My grandmother thought we were all crazy for even taking this trip down memory lane.

The area was very desolate. We encountered very few homes or cars on the roads during our adventure. Along the roads, there were multiple stretches of the forest that were dark and menacing even in full sunlight. When we would pass by them, everyone would suddenly just be silent all at the same time. Some even verbalized feeling nauseous. Then once, we were past, conversations would resume like nothing had happened.

We had picked out several places on the map to check out that day. At each place, we would stop, get out of the cars, and let each person feel and express whatever they picked up energetically and spiritually. We took multiple pictures throughout the day, along with some infrared ones. I remember being hypervigilant and aware throughout the day, but very calm. Everyone was calm and enjoying the adventure.

It was obvious when we reached our intended destination. Everyone became suddenly anxious and stopped communicating. This included the family dog. It was late in the afternoon when we stopped. For the first time, we were bothered by black flies and mosquitoes. Where we stopped, the edge of the forest sloped down to a rock cluttered gully that ran parallel to the road. This spot seemed to draw us in.

Brier bushes and prickly things were growing along the edge of the gully. The floor of the gully was carpeted with odd looking ferns that no one recognized. Despite being close to the road, the entire area was in shadows from the tall trees. When I looked up, I was surprised to see that there was not a single leaf on any of the trees where we stood. This was extremely unusual for mid-August.

A & V plowed right through the briers to the center of the gully and stood on top of a huge boulder. The rest of us dispersed around them in a circle, a distance away, probably like twenty to thirty feet away from them. We did this naturally without speaking to each other.

A & V spread salt around themselves in a circle, while reciting some prayer that no one else could hear.

I knew A had brought salt with him but had no idea what he planned to do with it. His circle of salt was about fifteen feet in diameter. A & V stood right in the center. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I would later come to realize he was creating a protection circle around the two of them. Interestingly, the rest of us were all outside his “protection circle.” Usually, you include everyone in your protection circle. In hindsight, this was very odd.

No one felt anything. This was unusual because everyone had been picking up on different images and energy during the whole day. No one was talking except for A & V in the center of the circle. They felt that everyone was being blocked energetically. Even though they were talking, they never did say if they felt they were being blocked too.

The dog was literally running non-stop around the entire group in a circle over and over. He never stopped running and barking. He was panting but he kept running. At one point, he was running so fast, his hind legs slid out from under him and became lodged between two good sized rocks. Oblivious of his predicament he frantically pulled himself forward until he was free. Then he was off and running again. When my dad saw the dog’s behavior, he said, “We are in the right place.” The dog did not stop running in circles until we left the area.

A & V asked my husband to cross through his circle by walking from where he stood to the other side. My husband said that there were too many briers and refused. Then A asked me to do the same, several times, and I refused. I felt like my feet were glued to the ground and I couldn’t move them. I felt very strongly that I should not walk through his circle of salt. I mean VERY STRONGLY! I didn’t budge. Later I would question why he would want us to walk through it? We would have broken his protection circle if we had walked through it. What an odd thing to ask us to do?

When we left the gully and returned to the road, everyone started talking and picked up the conversations from where they had left off before we walked into the gully. A said to everyone, “That was the evilest place I have ever been.”

My brother walked off by himself on the opposite side of the road, where there was a meadow, and thought, “This is where I should camp when I come back on my own.” He hadn’t mentioned to anyone that he was thinking of coming back. He later shared he heard a voice in his head say, “I may have played with them, but I’ll speak to you. Come back, if you dare.” That is his story to tell.

Throughout, I was taking pictures. I was hyper-aware of where each person was standing, what they were wearing, and in which order that I took the pictures. When we got the pictures developed, I had one photo that was supposed to be just a picture of the woods, but it wasn’t.

In the photo is a man crouching down, and possibly floating a few feet above the ground. It is hard to see. The clothing is not recognizable, so I know it is not anyone from our group. I reviewed where in the series of pictures it was taken. I know that I did not see anyone in that frame when I took it. There is also this strange rainbow bubble effect right over the figure in the picture. Could there have been someone we didn’t see in the woods watching us? It’s a possibility but doubtful. Remember we had the dog with us, and he would have known if someone was there. I think more likely, he was someone I could not see with my eyes. I didn’t feel frightened by him in the photo.

In hindsight, I also have got to wonder if we were the ones being protected on the outside of the circle from the two within. I just have this feeling ...that might be the case… Just saying it was very odd!

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