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What Lies Within the Hollow Tree

    I recently inherited my grandfather’s rural home. A log cabin buried deep within 100 acres of woodland— a picturesque scene untouched for decades and a perfect dwelling that I am now proud to call my own. I would spend the weekends here as a child. The wooded paths, …

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New England Residents Beware

One night outside Longfield, Massachusetts was all it took to never feel peace again. The little town is not too far from Thoreau’s famed Walden, and curiosity drove me and some like-minded friends to make the trek one hot summer. It’s a little place, and so secluded that you won’t …

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Monster Hunting and Other Inadvisable Behavior

3:30 p.m., 1-September: One three-person party entered the Rio Grande National Forest in Hinsdale County, Colorado. They consisted of Trevor Nyson (37 years old) and Matilda Nyson (33 years old), a married couple, and Benny Nyson (8 years old), their only son. 5:31 p.m., 1-September: Trevor and Matilda, highly distraught, …

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Mission

There’s an old, abandoned mission in the hills west of Tucumcari, New Mexico. It’s about a 3-hour hike from the nearest access point by car. It’s not marked on any map and there’s no clear trail to it, but if you had a day or two to spend searching, you …

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The Shadow in the Lake

It was nothing new. Just a normal trip to the lake. My friends and I had gone to lake Thunderbird many times on weekends, it was our favorite retreat from college and family and everything else that stressed us. I was 19 at the time, fresh into college and fresh …

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Black Sap

We were having another lockdown drill when I found out about Holly Reyes. I was in Social Studies, third period, when Principal Weston’s muffled voice spat at us from the ceiling. We all sighed and ducked under the long tables, limbs shoving aside plastic chairs as we army-crawled into tucked …

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A Loving Ruination

I’m awoken by Rebecca’s sudden lurch upward. The whole bed’s shaking from it. My mind’s jumpstarted awake. Immediately, I’m feeling disorientated. Inactive for many hours, my brain now has to remind me where I am. The information floods in: I’m in my bedroom. In my house. It’s dark. I instinctively …

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White Christmas

Living in lower Alabama, we rarely receive snow. I spent most of my life wishing for a white Christmas, a white Christmas that never came. I have only seen snow twice in my thirty-three years here. I always wanted to share that with my two boys. I just knew that …

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It Wasn’t a Reindeer

“Christ,” I muttered to myself, as the first flakes of snow started to fall.  They gathered in fuzzy clumps over the windshield before my wipers cleared them away.  I’d been waiting for fifteen — no, twenty minutes now — in my sister’s driveway.  Had I chosen to wait inside with …

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A Summer of Wolves

Part I Six years ago, if you’d asked me about the supernatural, I would have told you that it was a pretty entertaining show I’d seen on TV but none of that was or could be true.  I know there are plenty of skeptics out there, that’s fair – witches, …

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Alone

Part 1: Good Will Hunting I’m a producer for Alone, the TV show on History. This story is about a participant we had in season 2, whose footage we had to cut. I’ve never felt comfortable talking about this before, especially because it opens me up for liability. After all, …

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The Man In My Bedroom Window

For as long as I can remember, there has been a man in my bedroom window. It seems strange to say, I know, but it is true. From the earliest, fuzziest memories I have all the way up to now, he’s been there. Looking at me. In my first memories …

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The Watching Woods

The trail was too quiet. I knew she was watching me from somewhere either up the steep slope to my right or from the tangle of undergrowth to my left. I would have welcomed the snap of a twig to alert me to her position but she was the apex …

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Dead Boats

I worked a shrimp boat called the Melissa on the gulf. Hot, sweaty work but all the shrimp you can eat, so there’s that. Captain Mike was my boss, a wizened old salt. Rough around the edges, but a good man and a good boss. I worked with him out …

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Biting At My Heels

I enjoy running quite a bit. It might come off as a bit odd to say, but it really is important to me. I found my love for it back in high school, when I ended up drifting aimlessly onto the cross country track teams. Joining was less of an …

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The Whistlers: Bill’s Account

I’ve got calluses on my hands from burying my brother. If we’re rescued today, I’ll have to explain that to someone. Some search-and-rescue trooper, some forest ranger, will hold my palm to the light of a chopper window and want to know how I managed to rub the heel of my hand raw. I practice, sometimes. I practice what I’ll say to people when we get back home. Dr. Harmon, the department head, will need to know how I got Geoff and Lillian killed doing what was supposed to be straightforward field research. They were both his students, hand-picked for great things, led astray by the man who wrote his dissertation on the Russian Yeti, who taught a cryptozoology class disguised as a folklore survey. I got bumped off the tenure track for that. Harmon talked over me in meetings. Like I wasn’t there.

The Whistlers: Ruth’s Account

The man on the trail is dead and will need to be moved. It is a more difficult task than I would have guessed, and nearly impossible for a 5’ 4” woman with no help and no gurney. I tried to drag him toward camp right after I found him this morning, but only succeeded in pivoting him and twisting his legs around each other horribly. Bodies look so wrong once they stop feeling pain. I never thought I would have so much experience with death, but I haven’t cried over the loss of someone since the lighthouse. This man shit his pants before he died, and moving him made the smell worse. It will bring the animals in. Still no sign of Ira or Bill.

The Wolves of These Frozen Woods

I can’t stand to be back here. This tiny, rural town I grew up in, it makes my skin crawl to see everything around me. I’m well into middle-age now, but it’s like this town has been frozen in time since I was a teenager. And the older I get, …

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Beach

I still dream about the ocean, waves capped with foam, the whispered poetry of high tide, pools filled with brine-crusted treasures. I dream about storms and faces. A roar of thunder wakes me to a cold sweat and an empty room, and I try to fall back asleep. I try …

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