The trail disappeared behind us

The Paranormal | August 16, 2023

The trail disappeared behind us

My girlfriend and I live in a small town in New Jersey right by the Delaware River. We have many trails around here in the woods, and the one we went to last night is in a small state park right by the river. We had gone to this spot once before during winter, and all of the vegetation was gone this first time. The trail was quite clear, and had only a very thin strip of woods separating the road from the river bank. However, this second time, it was different.

Now that it was summer, there was thick brush everywhere in that spot. We parked the car around 6:30pm in a small space right out of the road where the trail starts. It was clearly visible, beckoning us in despite the thick brush. Thinking back, it was almost unnatural how beaten down the narrow slice of trail was in contrast to the thick brush surrounding it.

We start on the trail, and easily make it to our spot by the river in 6 minutes. There was one area where the trail lead us to a small ditch filled with plant life, but both ends of the trail were clearly visible from this area. After passing through, we passed a big tree with thick roots coming out from the ground, and made it to our spot by the river.

When we got to our spot, we saw the river was quite high, but we found a spot to sit down. We sat for about an hour, talking about the tragic fire that recently happened in Hawaii. At around 7:30pm, we figured it would be a good idea to head back, before it got dark.

When we passed the big tree right at the start of the trail, and got down in the ditch, something felt off immediately. I couldn't tell you what, but I felt terrified of the vegetation. It was so thick and suffocating.

Standing in this ditch, the two of us tried to come back on the same trail we came through. But when we went in that direction, we noticed the brush had completely swallowed it up. It wasn't even dark at this point. It was just gone.

We looked everywhere in that ditch for our trail - we even brute forced our way in the direction of the trail. But we never found a trace of it. No narrow slice of clear ground - everywhere was covered in green. We wandered for about half an hour, coming upon a second, smaller tree with its roots above ground. Here, we saw what looked like part of the trail we were on - but the entire path was completely blocked by stinging nettles, which we hadn't seen any of on our way in. This tree was a landmark we remembered from our first time coming here, we even have a video of it at that time.

We searched and searched, and like I said, this was not a very large trail - we should have stumbled upon it. We were scared of the coyote pack and bear that call these woods home. My girlfriend was panicking, and I was not much better. At this point, it was completely dark, and we only had our phone flashlights.

We ended up having to brute force our way through the brush to the road, and it took far longer than it should have. It felt like we were running for hours. We weren't walking, we were RUNNING - and it took us almost an hour to get back to our car at around 8:50pm. Again, it was only a 6 minute walk on the windy trail, but when we were running almost perfectly straight towards the road, it took us almost 10 times that. We also ended up farther down the road, in the opposite direction of the trail - which should have been impossible, because my girlfriend had her maps app up, tracking our distance to the road, and we were going straight towards it. When we finally got back to the car, we noticed the trail was totally blocked - no trace of the spot where we entered, the plants completely undisturbed like we were never there. That’s honestly one of the scariest parts of the whole experience.

We were so relieved - but on the way back home, my girlfriend brought up something from the first time that I had forgotten about. She found a tattered rope on the ground, right off to the side of the trail under a tree. It was, unmistakably and tragically, a noose. It had been cut cleanly on the end that would be tied to the tree. It was very dirty and had clearly been exposed to the elements for some time. Not wanting anyone walking the trail to have to see that, she kicked it to the river. Her heart was in the right place, but seemingly a foolish mistake in hindsight.

Now, unlike my girlfriend, I am not a very spiritual person. But, when she said that, both of our bodies shuddered, and I felt, momentarily, that same anxiety and dread I felt in the woods. I knew how lonely whoever tied that noose had to be. I feel almost completely certain that they were behind the events of the night, that they wanted us to stay and keep them company, though I don’t think they meant us harm.

Tonight, we went back to the trail because my girlfriend wanted to perform a ritual for the spirit. She wanted to make right with it and bring it peace for the night. She set up a handful of witchy type items and spoke a few words to the spirit. She brought flowers, placing them on the posts marking the still fully blocked entrance, and lit a black candle, adorning the posts with just a little bit of melted wax. She said a few words, and explained how we meant no harm, apologizing for kicking the rope into the river.

As she poured this wax, I saw something that I still doubt, but I feel like it's worth mentioning. Below the arching plants to the immediate left of the first post, I saw an amorphous blob of some kind. It did not seem like a trick of the light, as it was dark; we only had one small lantern and the candle illuminating the area. It seemed to reach out to her - not in a violent or negative way, but in a longing and desperate manner. Still, I was terrified something would grab and take her deeper into the brush. She was incredibly calm though, and upon pouring the wax and stepping away, the presence disappeared.

We sat down in front of the posts, and kept the candle lit. It was the calmest candle I have ever seen. The flame slowly drifted, unflickering, back and forth between my girlfriend and I, as if looking at us and checking us out. As we waited longer, the candle would grow calmer. Finally, as the stick of incense we were burning began to reach its end, the candle flame began to drift slowly away from us and pointed towards the woods.

"Are you ready to return home?" I asked. The candle flame then began to flicker slightly, swinging side to side, then settling calmly centered, as if to say, “okay, I’m ready.” When the incense finished burning, we blew out the candle, and got back in our car. We then tossed our last couple flowers into the river at a dock upstream, so they would make it to the trail. We both felt tired and relaxed after this whole experience, and my girlfriend says that we made peace with the spirit.

We want to go back someday. Only during the day, and only in fall and winter, when the brush has cleared, and we can’t become trapped by it. But I’m hoping we can keep it company.

Nothing in this story has been fabricated at all. It is all true. We visited this place on August 14th, 2023, just a day ago (technically two days, as it is 12:28 AM on the 16th as I'm finishing this post). Feel free to believe or disbelieve, but leave your thoughts in the comments.

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