Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
There is a town in the Deep South that is spoken of in whispers around campfires and by drunks in bars. No one knows its exact location, as those who have been there can’t agree on where they were when they arrived. Its location has been speculated to be in dozens of different counties throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The only thing any of the visitors can agree on is that each of them were lost when they drove past the aged wooden sign proclaiming; “Welcome To Sandalwood”. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, no one has ever found Sandalwood on purpose.
Many attempts have been made to find or research Sandalwood. None of the three states mentioned have any records of it ever paying taxes or just existing in general. The federal government has no documents pertaining to it. That being said, there is still some notary evidence that there was a place called Sandalwood.
A young librarian found a private journal in a library in New Orleans in which the writer (A Mr. Jean-Claude Beliveau) mentions Sandalwood in an entry.
July 9th, 1951
My recent trip to Sandalwood has yielded a great bounty for me. The items I acquired in the tunnels sold for a very handsome profit on the voodoo market.
There’s no way to tell what those items might have been and none of Sandalwood’s visitors to date have reported anything about tunnels.
A letter was found in the old desk of one of Alabama’s governors in which the writer makes a list of demands, including a mention of Sandalwood.
“And furthermore, sir, the people I represent wish you to address the problem of the town of Sandalwood refusing to clear out some of the swampland surrounding it. They are chock-full of alligators and venomous snakes and pose a threat to the health of surrounding communities.”
It is unknown where in Alabama the letter came from.
The Lost Visitors
Everyone who visits Sandalwood and tells about it was lost when they happened upon it (Or at least so they claim). Mostly it’s couples or college students or just lone thrill seekers wanting to explore the unique culture of the South without actually taking time to research where this culture might be found. Very few natives of the three states where Sandalwood can supposedly be found have ever been there, though many of seem to know something about it.
All the visitors report that Sandalwood is a ghost town, completely devoid of life. They describe the town’s layout thusly; to the north and east there is nothing but swampland. There is a road running out of the swamp to the east that leads through Sandalwood and this is the road most people arrive by. There is also a road to the north but it appears to be mostly submerged in bogs. The center of town is a smattering of several hundred houses, barns and public buildings, all abandoned.
A road that branches off from the main street leads south to a large hill that a sign identifies as Cemetery Hill. The hill is covered with hundreds, if not thousands of graves which are positioned on multiple terraces cut into the hill. Those brave enough to explore claim that each terrace is dotted with human bones. Some of the graves appear to be partially dug up. Several of the visitors have claimed to hear shuffling and scratching from beneath the graves, as though something large was moving underneath the ground.
Beyond Cemetery Hill is a remarkably complex series of buildings and facilities that appear to have served as a campus. A sign at the entrance identifies the area as Sandalwood University. There appear to be no students but the visitors report that the campus is very modern, even having computers and vending machines, and appears to be well kept and clean. It goes without saying, of course, that no record of any such college exists.
The main road continues west and leads out of Sandalwood. There appears to be nothing along this road except abandoned farms and empty fields.
Of the several hundred known visitors of Sandalwood, seventeen have disappeared. One man lost his wife, claiming that he was exploring Cemetery Hill while she remained with the car. When he came back, it was empty. A group of six college students lost one of their friends while camping out in a barn in Sandalwood to escape a large storm (Strangely, it cannot be determined which storm this was). They slept together but woke up to their friend missing. A detail that was left out of the police report but circulated through word of mouth was that the friends had seen strange shapes moving through the rain but that it was too dark to make them out completely. Some appeared humanoid, others did not.
The residents of the three states have their fair share of Sandalwood stories as well. A runaway child case involved a troubled teenager telling her parents that she was “going to live in Sandalwood”. She was never found.
A man committed to a psychiatric hospital in Louisiana claimed that he once lived in Sandalwood. He was able to describe the physical details of the town perfectly but most assume that he heard them through stories of their visitors. He committed suicide via ingested glass several weeks after his committal.
A farmer’s dog ran away for two weeks and returned with a postcard in his mouth that shows a picture of a woman holding apple pie next to the “Welcome To Sandalwood” sign and smiling. Similarly, a postmaster in Mississippi took a picture of a stamp he found on a letter with no return address that has a picture of the Sandalwood sign on it. He refused to reveal who the letter was addressed to.
A young man in his freshman year at Mississippi State University saved a screenshot of an e-mail he received from Sandalwood University, offering him a full scholarship to attend.
Sandalwood remains very mysterious but recently has been gaining national attention after a prominent Congressman’s son disappeared on a trip to Alabama. His last correspondence to his father was a text message that read:
“I’m lost. Stopping in Sandalwood for directions.”
Attempts to triangulate his cellphone revealed it to be in a fish market in Africa.
Sandalwood also was the subject of a series of online short stories published on various websites dealing in creepypasta, a type of online horror story. Most of them are instructions on what to do in Sandalwood for supernatural gain (Ritual pastas) but some are stories dealing with cursed items from the town (Artifact pastas) and the lost visitors. The author has not been tracked down but is wanted for questioning, as one of his stories deals with the graphic murder of a child by an unknown assailant. The child in question is missing from his home state of Ohio and the author revealed details about him in his story that he couldn’t possibly have known.
With all the newfound attention, hundreds of people across the country have pledged to find Sandalwood and reveal its secrets. The states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have seen big tourist boosts in recent months.
Thus far, no disappearances have been reported… yet.
(This is a work of fiction by Jacob Mielke, author of A Lack of Empathy)
Credit To – Jacob Mielke