Camping Encounters with Monsters and Ghosts

Photo: Hagephoto / Image Source / Getty Images

The unexplained waits out there in the wilderness

THERE ARE MANY things that are immensely enjoyable about camping in the wilderness: the isolation, the solitude, the wilds of nature, the quiet. At the same time, there are things that can be deeply unnerving about camping in the wilderness: the isolation... the solitude... the wilds of nature... the quiet....

In other words, it depends on your experience. Yes, it’s good to get away from the job, the rat race, the nagging responsibilities of everyday life. On the other hand, you don’t know what’s out there in the untamed woods, mountains and deserts. Usually, it’s peace and a recharging of one’s spirit. Occasionally, however, it’s a nightmare that is so deeply terrifying that it changes one’s life.

Consider, for example, these true camping encounters.


In late October, 1995, Tango and his family, including the dog, were searching for a suitable camping spot in the White Mountains of Arizona. The sun was already beginning to disappear behind the mountains and they hadn’t found a spot yet. They were all as growing tired, and the dirt road they were traveling was becoming narrower and darker. As the trees closed in around their car, Tango’s dad, who was at the wheel, realized they weren’t going to find a good spot on this road and decided to turn around.

His dad stopped the car and began to make a three-point turn to go back in the other direction. It was then they saw something quite unexpected. “As we turned our car halfway around, we saw a little girl,” Tango says. “She was in tattered clothes, and she looked up at us. Her eyes grew wide in fear, like she had seen a ghost. My dad rolled down the window and asked, ‘Are you alright?’ The little girl trembled and said, ‘You shouldn't be here. Please go back!’”

Tango’s dad was confused. Did this girl need help? What was she trying to tell them? The little girl just repeated that same phrase. Tango’s was mom was scared and finally said, “Let's go back.” Tango’s day finished turning the car around and headed off in another direction. About 30 minutes later, they finally found a camping spot. Oddly, no one seemed to feel tired anymore. They unloaded the car, set up the tents and built a warm campfire.

As they sat around the fire, they couldn’t help trying to sort out their experience with the strange girl. Suddenly, Tango’s dad said, "Shhhhh!" His mom chuckled because he was always making jokes. But he was serious. His face went white, and it was clear that they were all struck with the feeling that they were being watched. “I looked around the forest, my heart pumping fast,” Tango vividly recalls. “I didn't hear anything, but I was scared.”

A spine-chilling roar came from the woods. What was it? Tango was on the verge of screaming in terror. The bushes rustled and something bolted out of the forest and into the light of the fire. “It had sharp teeth and no fur,” Tango says. “It was the size of a bear, but its eyes were yellow. I was frozen in fear. It stood for ten seconds in the light, then galloped off into the forest. I was horrified. My dog was whimpering and it curled its tail between its legs. This was the most horrifying experience in my life. This creature was extremely skinny, it looked like flesh and bones. This disturbing image of this... ‘thing’ is implanted in my head forever.”

Next page: The Glowing Beast


It’s not uncommon to see wild animals on camping trips, of course – raccoons, deer, and even more exotic creatures, if we’re lucky. But what can account for what Ben saw one summer? He, his sister and a few friends always camped in the same place – a small wooded area surrounded by fields, moors and rock quarries, and they had been there many times.

On this particular night, the group of young adults were sitting around the campfire having a drink and a laugh, when suddenly Ben’s sister screamed, “Oh my god!” and pointed toward the field next to their camp. They all stood to see what she was pointing at. As best they could make out, right there in the center of the field was some kind of animal – a very unusual animal.

“It was white and about the same size as a big dog,” Ben testifies. “It had large red eyes and it was glowing very brightly. It was late at night in a pitch-black field in the middle of nowhere. We had no torches shining on this thing, and yet it still stood out like a sore thumb. It really did glow!”

Bravely, Ben and his friends cautiously began to walk toward the creature. They wanted to try and scare it away because his sister was getting very upset. They got to within about 40 feet of this thing, Ben estimates, when suddenly it began to dart away. It moved so fast it was hard for their eyes to keep up with it.

“In less than a couple of seconds, it ran 30 feet and scaled a 7-foot stone wall, jumping down to the other side,” Ben says. “It then ran another 50 feet to the end of the wall and jumped back up onto it. It then stood on its hind legs watching us! When it stood like that, it was about the same size as a man and looked rather daunting. But we plucked up our courage and carried on toward it. Again, very quickly it jumped down the other side of the wall and ran up and over the hill. I know of other people who have seen the same thing in this area, but no one has any explanation as to what it could be.”


Al tells us he had an encounter with a peculiar creature as well. In the spring of 2003 (April or May, he believes), Al had been night fishing with his girlfriend in a remote part of a nature reserve near where he lived. The lake is surrounded by thick shrubbery and woodland, so they had set up a tent and the fishing equipment at a small clearing at the edge of the water. The jeep was parked a few hundred meters away as it was impossible to get it any closer. The night was dark and clear. Al and his girlfriend were lying in the tent with their heads outside the entry, looking up at the stars. Moonlight illuminated their surroundings.

Al had set up a device on his fishing rod that beeps when there’s a bite. Suddenly, it started beeping like crazy. Al jumped up and grabbed the rod – and whatever was on the other end of the line was powerful. Al wrestled with the strike so violently that his rod snapped! He was disappointed that he lost what might have been an amazing fish, but decided to let it go and just enjoy the camp out.

At around 4 a.m., Al was awakened by the noise of splashing. With dawn slowly breaking, he thought it was fishermen loading boats in the water. He opened the flap of the tent and was terrified at what he saw. He stepped out to get a better look. “About 100 or so meters away in the lake was a humanoid-looking creature,” Al says. “It was a dark green color with red, glowing eyes. It looked like it was standing on the water. I rushed back in to wake my girlfriend, and when she came out to look, the creature was now about 50 meters away from us. It was literally walking on the water! Not giving a second thought, we ran through the woodland back to the jeep.”

As they sped off, Al looked in the read-view mirror and saw the creature standing in the road behind them. He figures he must have sped out of there at a good 90 mph. “I told friends, who thought I was crazy, but persuaded four of them to come with me to gather my equipment that I had left behind,” he says. “Armed with an aluminum baseball bat and tire iron, we returned at around one in the afternoon. We eventually found where I had been camping, and as I came across the clearing, my tent had been completely ripped apart and the fishing equipment had been thrown into the lake. My friends said it was probably teenagers who destroyed it, but I have a feeling it was the creature.”

Next page: The Silver Lady


It’s not just bizarre creatures who lurk out there on the campgrounds; ghosts have been encountered, too. London tells us about her experience, which took place when she was 15 years old during her family’s annual Christmas holiday in 2003 at a beachfront caravan park near Killala Beach, New South Wales, Australia. This is no isolated wilderness spot, but an ordinary family camping ground with all the amenities: general store, pool, restaurant and kids club. And at the front is a row of 20 or so luxury villas suitable for a family with 1-3 children. “I hate camping,” London says. “I hate it with a passion, so my family – dad, mum and younger brother and sister – stayed in one of these villas. Our villa was facing the sea, but we couldn't immediately see the beach as there was a row of pine trees blocking the view.”

This being Australia, kangaroos freely hopped around the caravan park in search of food. On the third or fourth night of their stay, London says she went out into the front deck of their villa to hang her bikini on the railing to dry in the warm night air. It was about 10 p.m. The rest of the family was asleep, but she was doing her usual pre-bedtime cleanup.

“I flicked the deck light on because I heard what I thought was a kangaroo,” she says. “I turned my head to the pine trees and almost died of shock because of the lady standing there. She was standing there, staring at me. She glowed silver and was very illuminated. She had flowing clothing that was waving in the wind. She looked beautiful, but I was frozen in fear. I stood glued to the spot for a few seconds... then she was gone.”

The next morning, London ventured outside to the tree where the woman had been standing. There in the bark of the white ash was a burn mark in the shape of an L that was crossed on the top. She doesn’t know if this has anything to do with the apparition she saw or not, and if it’s a symbol, she doesn’t know what it might mean. About the ghost she says, “I never saw her again, and I never want to.”


David was one of those people who never believed in ghosts... until he met one face to face. It was September, 2001 when David and his girlfriend were camping along an unpaved forest road in the Manzano Mountains in northern New Mexico. “It was a place I had hiked before and was told that there were homesteaders there in the old days who were unsuccessful in their attempts to survive,” David says.

On this night, the sky was clear with just a bit of light from the moon. At about 2 a.m., David was awakened by a single, distant coyote howl. He listened to it for awhile and thought it was strange there was only one coyote howling. Suddenly, wild barking, howling erupted from what sounded like just ten feet outside his tent.

“I turned over to see if my girlfriend was listening, and I thought I saw her leaning up from her sleeping bag on one elbow with her head tilted upward, looking toward the roof of the tent,” David says. “She had a terrified expression on her face. I was about to laugh and ask her why she was so afraid of a coyote when I realized it was not her, but some sort of strange, dark figure with a distorted, translucent face. The figure was right above my girlfriend's body.”

David sensed that it was a spirit of some kind, but felt strangely calm. Since he didn't have his glasses on, he leaned forward to get a better look at the entity. As he drew closer, the spirit's eyes became very vivid and clear, and he sensed that it was female. “It seemed that she had reddish hair and was wearing a black cloak with a hood,” David remembers. “In my mind I wondered: Why are you so scared? I tried to get the spirit to look in my eyes, but it looked past me into the distance. I couldn't make eye contact. Soon the figure dissolved into thin air and I could then see the top of my girlfriend's head as she was lying in her sleeping bag. The howling coyote was gone as well.”

At first, David didn’t tell his girlfriend about the apparition, and perhaps he should have stuck with that instinct. When he did tell her, she freaked out, wondering why the ghost had been floating over her body. “Our relationship crumbled soon afterward,” he says. “I had a strong feeling that I had to move back home to Illinois from New Mexico. Within a few months after seeing the ghost, my sister called and told me that my mom was diagnosed with a deadly form of lymphoma and she had a 50/50 chance to survive. I often wondered if the ghost had been a premonition. I moved back into my parent's home to help take care of my mother. She passed away a year after I moved back. I found it interesting that I had met my future wife during this time, who has red hair. Also, my mother had red highlights in her hair when she was younger. It made me think about the ghost I had seen.”