Forest Horror is often about strange disappearances. It is about survival. People die because they are scared to death. Some stories claim that they are based on true events. But is there a real background? According to many sources, it is and what happens goes sometimes beyond our imagination.
Survival in the forest can mean a couple of different situations. A survival situation develops very quickly. People get lost. People lose orientation or get hurt. People get sick. Wild animals could pose a serious threat, even this is not the wilderness of former days with many bears or mountain lions. (Statistically, the most dangerous animals in our times are ticks as carriers of diseases). Of course, in a tropical forest, there are still deadly snakes. In the Northern hemisphere encounters with bears could still go wrong. Wolf attacks are very rare but they exist too.
Throughout history, there are numberless accounts of alleged supernatural attacks. Are they real? There is probably a very thin line between fear, self-deception and hallucination and real unexplainable events. If we leave civilisation and if we are alone in an unfamiliar environment our mind can easily trick us but sometimes the danger is very real. Several missing person cases lead to disturbing conclusions.
Surviving a supernatural attack means not only physical survival. Dion Fortune described in her book “Psychic Self-Defense” different types of psychic attacks. These attacks do not automatically pose a life-threatening situation. However, people could become sick. Many people have psychological problems. This applies particularly to close encounters. Survival means not to lose your wits. If we look at the mysterious circumstances of some cases of missing persons or people returned and appeared changed, these circumstances suggest some form of psychic attacks.
Lost in the woods
A survival situation is always about real problems in the first place. One of the biggest problems is dehydration. People need water. You can longer survive for some time without food but water is essential (in a warm and dry environment you wouldn’t last more than a few days without water but theoretically three weeks without food). Lucky survivors collected in some cases rainwater.
If you find a stream or a spring it is important to know if the water isn’t polluted. There are ways to get some food: Most of the time of the year there are wild berries and plants in the forest. Knowledge is important since there are numerous poisonous plants like belladonna or yew trees. It happens sometimes even to experienced bushcrafters that they mix something up and get sick. Many plants look very similar.
Exhaustion is another reason why people die in the forest. The sheer experience of losing orientation leads to physical and psychical stress. People wandering around in a panic, desperately seeking a way out. We are used to mobile phones helping us to find a street in the city but what if there is no signal? Using digital maps or GPS needs some experience. Surviving in an unknown forest territory means to have some skills. If the sun is shining it helps to navigate. In a clear night, the stars are helpful if you know how to find for example the North Star. In the northern hemisphere moss mostly grows on the north side of trees. Sometimes you can follow a stream or spruce. With a little sense of orientation, a wanderer will find the way back to civilization.
Even then a situation can get quickly out of control.
Weather conditions can change quickly particularly in mountain forests. Nights are getting very cold. It could rain for days. It doesn’t take much and you are suffering from hypothermia. It requires some experience to find or to build a shelter. The same applies to make fire. Forest terrain often poses dangers because there are ditches, roots or sharp branches. Cuts, broken legs or other injuries have fatal consequences. Dramatic situations not only happen in the vast and endless wilderness of Alaska or Siberia. Accidents in the forest or people getting lost happen everywhere but with significant differences. According to unofficial accounts, about 1600 people have gone missing in the U.S. in national and state parks. There are clusters with more people gone missing. A lot of people getting lost in the woods return safely, but there is a real mystery out there.
It is a mix of missing person behaviour, tragic circumstances (like falling off a cliff or a sudden weather change) and indeed unknown mysterious reasons, which makes us wonder. There is a lot of high-tech available today but there is still this number of unsolved cases.
Getting lost in the woods can happen easily: First you don’t see a trail marker for some time and suddenly the trail thins out. Even experienced hikers get fooled. It is sometimes an intersection of trails, which leads you in the wrong direction or a short moment of disorientation. One reason why tourists or visitors of national parks get lost is probably their inability to distinguish between an urban environment and the wilderness. This is an experience which mountain search and rescue teams in the Austrian or German alps often tell: Hikers get in a dangerous situation because of their ignorance. They don’t understand that this not a playground and that there is a real danger out there. Sometimes a helicopter rescue mission is necessary because people climb a mountain in light summer clothes. When a sudden change in weather surprises them (in the Alps you can have snowfall in August) they are in deep trouble.
Survival depends strongly on the first decisions after getting lost. Indeed, responders find most persons gone missing in the woods within 24 hours. But then, there are types of cases where something terrible must have gone wrong. In some cases, the investigation suggests that people must have vanished immediately and were found later in “phenomenal distances” or in “incredible places” (as David Paulides said in an interview). Nobody can explain how they got there.
There is still a lot of mindboggling cases where either lost persons were never found, or there are unexplainable circumstances like a body appearing at a place where searchers have looked a dozen times. Sometimes a simple explanation occurs by coincidence. But then there are mysteries like the one in the forest dark feature film project, which provoke other ideas. There are many real stories about forest survival. In these stories, the researchers must confront the unknown.
One example is real cases based on fact book series and a documentary called Missing 411 about strange disappearances. They match in an amazing way with ideas expressed in the forest dark feature film project. The writer and researcher David Paulides, a former police detective, did extremely valuable and reliable research about highly unusual cases in North America and beyond. He researched a high number of unsolved cases where victims disappeared in unusual circumstances. In some cases, he found strange commonalities: If a body was found it was in an impossible location which was impossible for the vanished person to reach. K9 dogs or cadaver dogs weren’t able to find any trace. The reason for death is not clear. Sometimes it was declared they were “scared to death”. Interestingly Paulides identified 28 clusters with a high number of cases in the U. S. National parks. There is an interesting tendency that the map shows more cases in territories where water isn’t far as rivers or lakes. This is a very valuable insight even it might sound very strange for some people. However, again and again, in all mysterious forest stories a certain topography plays a vital part. There must be zones, areas, places and sites which are somehow connected to another world.
In interviews, Paulides emphasises that he has no theory about what happened. It looks like he identified a phenomenon which has very strong similarities with previously on this website described phenomena like the “black fire” and close encounters. In an interview, he spoke of an “overreaching intelligence, that is far beyond our comprehension”. This a very good expression since most of the unexplainable experiences in forests point into that direction.
There is a particularly interesting field of research here which deals with the disappearance of hunters. Hunters are usually experienced people and not likely to put themselves in dangers. Instead many of the strange circumstances match the excellent research done by Jacques Vallée in his book “Confrontations”. In South America, there are several cases of sometimes deadly encounters with so-called “Chupas'”: Chupas are objects which emitting strong beams of light. Some hunters were hit by these strange lights near the city of Parnarama in Brasil and five people died. The cause of their death remains a mystery. It even looked like some vampirism was at work here, since the bodies appeared bloodless. This story is similar to the “elf-stroke” in medieval times.
Even in some cases, a mundane explanation seems possible there, is strong evidence for the unknown phenomenon described in previous posts in the forest dark. There is one thing where there is a strong similarity between the Missing 411 cases and the alleged close encounters: People were found in different locations and there is no explanation of how they got there in the first place. We know many UFO-cases where it appears that some sort of “Teleportation” happened. This happened also in Ezechiel’s story.
The long tradition of cases
There is indeed a long tradition for this type of missing person cases and strange forest survival stories. The modern cases have similarities with stories from medieval times where people vanished or were abducted by fairies. A good description of these historical cases was written by Reverend Kirk, The Secret Commonwealth, who became himself a mysterious case in the end.
Forest horror stories deal with survival and unexplainable elements. They are often about the mysterious and the supernatural. If we look at the many real cases it seems there is often a lot of realism in forest horror.