Jan 24

The distress call from the woods

A listener writes “It happened to me in April of 2018 in northern Michigan. I had purchased a new ATV earlier that year and I had decided to take it out the first chance that I had.

I had gone to a campsite outside a town called West Branch (about a 3 hour drive north of Detroit). This campsite is located about 6 or so miles off the main road in the forest. At the time the leaves had not begun to grow back on the trees and when I arrived that night there was still a bit of snow on the ground and except for a few snowmobile tracks it didn’t look like anyone had been through there in quite some time. As a side note this campground is frequented heavily in the summer time as it connects directly to a popular ORV trail.

I arrived there around 7pm,the area was flooded out with snowmelt and honestly it was a waste of a trip due to poor trail conditions. The firewood that I bought in town was damp,so I was not able to get a fire going,at this point it was around 8pm and I already had my tent set up so I decided to just stay there for the night and leave in the morning. During this time I was also hearing things falling into the lake, I wrote it off as tree branches falling but there was no wind aside from a light breeze.
I always wear a watch when I go camping and I had a heavy sleeping bag with me, it was getting down around 28F at night so I was bundled up. I went to bed around 9pm.

At 1:15am I woke up from a dead sleep. The campground sits on a lake that runs northwest to southeast. I heard howling (like a wolf) coming from the south end of the lake, what was strange about it was that the call that I heard was a considerable distance away but I felt it in my chest. My hair stood up and I was frozen in place. A few seconds later I heard another call coming from the north end of the lake it also sounded very much like a k-9 but sounded much “bigger” with more bass, once again it was like I could feel the vibration in my chest from it, but this call came from much further away than the first. For a few seconds after the second call it was dead silent, what happened next is by far the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in the woods.

After the silence, every squirrel,raccoon,bird,mouse,every single animal in those woods started making distressed calls and it was so loud but it only lasted about 20 seconds. It was almost like being at a baseball game and the whole crowd cheers at once and then goes completely silent again. After a minute or so of silence I heard footsteps, very heavy,came walking through the camp ground no more than 60 feet away from my tent,they came up from the north end of that lake and were heading south. I kept hearing the sound of things hitting the water but now it sounded like it was a good distance from the shore, to far for a tree branch to be falling. The footsteps eventually tapered off into the woods and this whole time I was frozen in fear and the only thing I could think to do was stay quiet and don’t move, specifically because I did not want to give away my position. I sat wide awake until sunrise.

I got out of my tent around 6am, I tried looking for footprints or any signs of what could have caused the noises or the disturbance with the wildlife but I never found anything. The fear that I felt is tough for me to describe, it was like every survival instinct in me was telling me not to move and that I didn’t want whatever that was to know my exact location, to the point where I was holding my breath and taking breathes as slowly as I could to avoid making any noise. The whole thing only lasted about 5 minutes, I’ll never claim that I saw anything (I was in a tent and it was dark) but I know I heard something very strange.”

6 Responses to “The distress call from the woods”

  1. Mark R

    Many people don’t realize the amount of unpopulated or lightly populated wild in Michigan. Of course I have no idea what you heard but I have seen a wolf in the lower peninsula. I would consider a wolf encounter in the lower peninsula as impressive as a bigfoot encounter.

  2. Steve R

    Classic account – forest falling silent. Wondering what the dropping or splashing sounds from the lake may have been. Interesting that he could find no footprints, although recently the idea of Sasquatch spider-walking may be a contributing factor.

  3. Linda B

    You were brave to get up and look for footprints. I would have gotten up and grabbed my stuff and high tailed it out of there. I can’t imagine what that must have sounded like when the entire wooded area filled with distressed animal sounds and then quiet and then footsteps. Something like that would be like a horror movie. Thanks for sharing your encounter with us. Thank you Wes.

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