Camping can be a great way to relax in nature on the weekend, or get away from the hustle and bustle with a mini vacation. But sometimes the time or place is just a little off, and eerie things transpire. These are campers' most unsettling experiences from their time in the woods.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
I didn't have a knife or any sort of weapon and started freaking out. I carefully woke my wife up to get her ready, and we listened together. Then suddenly we heard it; it sounded like a cat cleaning itself (we have cats).
There was more walking around in circles around the tent. Then the sound of a large cat lapping up water just feet from our tent. Then walking back to the tent, immediately beside me.
I heard it flop down on the ground. Cat owners know how a relaxed cat flops over. It was like that but WAY bigger. I was trying to control my breathing as carefully as I could so it wouldn't hear me, but I was panicked so it was difficult.
It hung around for what seemed like a long time. I really had to pee, but I wasn't ready to move or breathe, let alone go out there. The scariest part is that the whole time, it was so quiet that if you didn't concentrate you couldn't be sure that it was even there. It may have left way before or after I thought it did, I'm not sure.
Eventually I was sure that it was gone, so I very cautiously poked my head out. Didn't see anything, did my business, and went back to bed.
The next morning we get up, and there are massive paw prints in our campsite. Looked just like a cats paw print, but like 8 inches across.
Later, after getting home, I called the park ranger to let them know in case they're monitoring encounters with dangerous animals or something. They told me it must have been a mountain lion, and how lucky I was to have an encounter with one and live to tell the tale.
When I think about my wife telling me that someone was in our campsite 12 hours earlier, it creeps me out to think that we might have been stalked by a mountain lion for some time."
"A friend and I were backpacking from London to Estonia, and at one point we went through the Czech Republic. There are some good waterfalls in the wooded mountains up north by the Polish border. We had half a tent because my mate was an idiot, and the poles were broken, so we just kept the upper tarp and the groundsheet.
We took a train as close as we could, far too late in the day. We made friends with a guy on the way, and he offered to let us eat and sleep at his place for the night so we could set off properly the next morning. Everything is lovely, and in the morning he gives us a flask of his homemade 'herbal tea' and a map before we get going.
Eight hours later, we are truly lost in the thick bohemian woods. We start to pitch our half tent (a tarp slung over a branch and a groundsheet) and lay out our sleeping bags to establish a base and build a fire while we get our bearings. It's surprisingly comfortable, and it's a warm summer day, so we settle in for the night, unwilling to resort to the GPS just yet.
The hours pass, and we take some slugs from our hip flasks. Quite a few. Then we want to hydrate, so we hit the tea. That tea. God, I should've known from the taste.
We were both queasy as heck, and there was some puking. Then night falls, hard. Our fire flickers, and we both start hallucinating. The visions I had that night haunt me to this day. I was never the same, and my friend credits that night as responsible for a lifetime of panic attacks.
I don't know how many of you have ever been lost in the woods at night in a strange country, but it is infinitely scarier when you're watching impossible, stripped flesh monsters descend the trees, and hearing them howl as they attack each other. It was terrifying."
"I'm a safari guide in Africa. One morning I woke up with something very warm and rather soft on my back. I was against the canvas of the tent, and realized that it was an animal. It was a really cold winter night, and temperatures drop close to zero in the region I live.
As I moved a bit, I heard my buddy's voice coming from his tent. He spoke a bit hushed, and with a definite tremble in his voice, 'Hey, are you awake?' Stupid me replied with a strong voice, 'Yes!' The animal next to me got up, and luckily ran away. It was a big male lion."
"My family went camping every summer when I was growing up. We usually bounced between Virginia Beach, Assateague, and this awful place called Westmoreland. One trip, we were in Assateague, near the beach, and we had two tents set up in different parts of the site.
Some time in the middle of the night my mom woke up, which woke me. She was sitting up straight but completely still, and I looked over at what she was staring at. In the moonlight there was the silhouette of what looked like an old woman looking into our tent. Long wiry hair and everything.