Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Personal Horror: The Sheridan Camp Monster

When I was young my mother and I would travel down to middle of Illinois to visit her sisters during the summer. I would always tag along so that I could have fun with my cousins and usually, for about 1 week, we would the night over in my Aunt’s camper. We would go to a local campground in Sheridan. The area was shaped like a crescent moon with a giant lake in the middle. All the campers, all the tents and all the trucks would have to park on the south side of the lake because the north half was covered in trees. Well, during one of those nights, around midnight, my cousin told me about these black tanker train carts that sped by on the railroad behind his house. He was curious because the train track was never used until then.

That night, around 2 or 2:20 in the morning, I was woken up by my cousin, who had a frightened look on his face. He told me that something was outside of the camper and trying to get in. I thought it was a wild animal or something but I remember looking out of my window and seeing a bright aqua colored light coming from outside. See, my cousin and I slept in the back of the camper on bunk beds. I had the top bunk and my cousin had the bottom. I was both scared but curious so I grabbed a metal baseball bat and began walking down the camper hallway towards the front door. I was going to confront it. The light was shining in every window and I was surprised that our parents didn’t see anything. When we both reached the front door, we stepped out into the quiet darkened campground.

The light was originating from behind the camper but when my cousin and I quickly turned to see what it was, the light was gone and replaced by a series of strange tracks. Suddenly, we heard and briefly saw something that darted into the forest behind the camper. When we looked down at the tracks they came from something that had webbed feet but human-like. That morning, my cousin and I decided to do some sleuthing around.

Local legend tells of a ‘monster’ that came from the sky and lived in the woods that the Sheridan campground was built on. Surprisingly, it’s not a Native American myth or anything like. I heard the myth when somebody was telling it at the campground. The guy mentioned that a long time ago (specifically the 60s), the campground was booming with tourists and locals. Well, one night, in the middle of the night, a few people we startled by a loud noise coming from the forest. It was mechanical. What happened afterwards was a disaster. The entire lake began to flood and hills that the campers were parked on began to sink and slide into the river. I don’t know if anybody survived or what but all I knew was that most of the campers were buried under the ground. The story was confirmed by my Aunt who told us to never go to the other side of the lake.

That night we saw the strange light again but this time it was floating around in the forest. My cousin woke me up and we decided to go after it. We equipped ourselves with a gas lantern, two baseball bats and a BB gun. The bright object kept its distance from the campground but we proceeded forward. We were frightened as we came closer and closer to the object; we were staying quiet too, the last thing we wanted was to have a monster chase us through the woods. We were within a yard or two away from the object and I tried to get a close look at it. I didn’t see any type of bodily structure or anything for that matter… it was just a ball of light. Suddenly, a squirrel ran by and it frightened whatever the thing was. We jumped back as it sped away from us. My cousin took out his BB gun and chased after it. I followed him while he followed the footprints it was leaving behind until he stopped in a small clearing and began firing his BB gun up at the trees. The thing disappeared. My cousin told me he saw it jump up into the trees but later on that night, we never saw it. It just vanished.

We didn’t sleep that night. My cousin was anxiously watching the window while I was listening to the radio. When dawn came we decided to venture out to the other side of the campground. It took us forever to get to the other side because we had to walk along side of the water and there were tons of logs, roots, branches and gaps the stood in between. We wanted to get into the forest to see what was there and then my cousin, while climbing up a hill, tripped over a piece of metal and fell. After he gathered himself up we investigated the metal bar; it looked like it was the top of a metal wall or something. We began digging up the metal and soon we realized that it was part of a metal wall. We dug more until we were standing on a giant metal plate with a window opening in the middle. My cousin cracked the widow using a giant stick and there was just a small space between the piles of dirt and the window opening. He stuck his head inside and looked around. We were standing on the roof of a metal camper.

That evening we left the campground… headed back home. Perhaps there really was a flood that took out an entire campground way back when and perhaps we weren’t really chasing anything more than a trick. I don’t know what to make of what I encountered and I know I wasn’t dreaming the entire thing because my cousin and I would talk about it. We don’t know what we chased, we don’t know what happened and we don’t know what made those tracks. All I know is that we felt real horror than and that’s something that never leaves.


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