In case you haven’t noticed, the world is a very big place. It might not seem like it as we sail through our 21st century “global village” lives, where everything is interconnected and everything is always available anytime we want it. But it’s true. There are still huge areas of planet Earth that remain relatively unexplored. Those parts of the world also remain scary as hell to most of us. When I say these places are scary, I don’t mean they're that way because we don’t know what’s in them. What I actually mean is that we often do know what’s in them, and that makes it worse. I’m talking of course about ghosts, near-mythical beast sightings, tribal witch doctors, and witches themselves, and just about any other paranormal creature or frightening creature you can think of. That definitely includes strange and unsettling people doing their spooky and terrifying thing out there in the untracked wilds where they can’t be judged. Don’t worry; you’ll see what I mean -- I hope you’re ready for it.
But “where are these places?” you ask. Where do you most often find that which is unsettlingly paranormal? Well, there are lots of places on this big old planet of ours where you can go for a good haunting or a proper scare. Ghost towns, the ocean, haunted houses, and cave complexes all come to mind. But the best place to get your freak on is out in the deep dark woods. It’s no accident most horror movies spend some time in the forest -- it’s big, it’s dark, it’s wild, and it’s full of creatures both real and unreal that are waiting for you to encounter them. Here then, are 15 incredibly creepy pictures of those creatures up close.
15 Bearded Ghost
Speaking of found footage, here’s a frightening picture of a ghost in the woods, the entity seeming to have Charles Manson’s beard! Not literally, of course, but boy does it sure look like it from afar. This, in all honesty, is where I want to see this picture from -- as far away from that creature as possible. As if that in and of itself weren’t terrifying enough, there’s also the fact that the ghost appears to have an unnaturally large mouth. Why would a ghost have a huge mouth? Hmm, I don’t think any of us want to know the answer to that. Another thing that freaks me out about this one is that the camera caught this dude in the middle of the day. This is why I avoid the woods as much as possible. These things are out there in broad daylight! They don’t even have the decency to wait until nightfall to come out.
14 Aokigahara Forest
Well, we all came here to read about creepy pictures of the forest, and this one is pretty bad. It’s a picture of an actual suicide in Japan. Everyone knows the Japanese have some very interesting cultural quirks, but this is the first time I’ve heard of anything like this. Apparently, there's a forest in Japan that's quite well known for having had hundreds of suicides occur in it. It’s called the Aokigahara Forest, and it’s located near Mt. Fuji. People have been flocking (yeah, I know that sounds weird in this context) to it since the ‘70s. Why? Well, to commit suicide; that’s why. There are almost 100 suicides a year in these woods. I know that ritual suicide can still be a very powerful force in Japanese life, but that, to me, is just crazy. Why people feel the need to destroy a natural place of beauty with all that death is beyond me. Plus, everyone says it’s now haunted. There’s a shocker.
13 Slender Man
This is one of the newer creepy “urban legend” type stories to come out of more recent times. I’m sure you’ve heard of the whole Slender Man thing. I’m also sure you say you don’t believe in him; you know, that all of these pictures and stories about him are fakes and the product of mass hysteria. Well… maybe so, and maybe not. Slender Man is supposedly just an internet meme, a “fake” legend created in 2009 for an online horror forum. He hangs out in the woods a lot (‘cause why not if you’re a creepy freak?) and likes to abduct children. However, even if all of this is just the stuff of modern horror mythology, there’s a real scary problem with Slender Man’s existence. There have been at least two cases reported of children, usually girls, stabbing their friends or parents because Slender Man “told them to.” I don’t know about you, but that makes me think there’s real evil in the whole idea…
12 “Run Deer, Run!”
So now we’re going to enter the world of trail cameras for a while. Trail cameras have been in use for years to try to track the movements and behaviors of animal populations or to track the movements of more unsavory populations like drug runners, poachers, and other criminal types. What people didn’t realize for some time, though, is that the paranormal can be caught on trail cameras also. This picture, and the next few like it, are supposed to be untouched, 100% real images taken straight from trail cameras. All I know is that this poor deer seems to be in big trouble from the menacing ghostly alien thing behind it. Is it actually laughing with glee about what it’s going to do to the deer? This thing creeps me out. And it’s definitely a thing -- that's not a normal person; no siree, Bob. It’s also definitely not E.T. phoning home. If you met E.T. in the woods, you’d take him back home. If you met this thing in the woods, you’d wish you were back home.
11 Umm, Your Guess Is As Good As Mine
Here’s another one from the annals of trail cameras, supposedly taken on the side of a state park access road. I say "supposedly" because you might have actually seen this one or been in an argument over it. It’s a pretty famous image, with a lot of people accepting that it’s real and evidence of some sort of alien or supernatural life while others say it’s a huge hoax like Slender Man. I’ll let you make your own call on this creature’s relative realness. Here’s what I find interesting, though: if this thing is real, it’s not that scary. Creepy, yes, but not scary, if that makes any sense. I mean, how would it actually chase you down? If you had any speed at all, I think you could out-crawl it, let alone outrun it. Am I right, or am I right? It might be the one creature on this list I’m not actually afraid of. I still don’t want to meet it, though.
OK, OK, I think I’ve had enough with these trail cameras -- the images they pick up are seriously starting to freak me out, even if a big part of me believes they're all the products of setups. This bad-looking character is the “Goatman” of Lake Worth, Texas. He's seriously unsettling, even if he does look sort of fake. But his demonic aspect kind of takes care of that, doesn’t it? Well, that and the fact that I’m pretty sure he’s crouched over a body on the trail there. I think if I lived in Lake Worth, I wouldn't be going out at night, especially not alone. Or into the woods. Or anywhere that Goatmen like to hang out. Actually, since I don’t know any Goatmen, I don’t know if they like to hang out in the suburbs, too. For all I know, there might be a couple of them scrounging around in the dumpster behind the 7-Eleven down the street. There’s a reassuring thought. I kinda wish I had stuck with the whole forest idea here…
9 I Want You!
This is seriously getting to be too much for me. I mean, look at this picture! This little girl is so freaky it’s not even funny. And she’s pointing right at the camera. This is supposedly a ghost caught on -- what else? -- a trail cam. But what’s really freaky about this photo is, of course, the fact that there’s a wolf standing right there with her (or maybe a coyote -- I’m not sure; as I already said, I try to avoid nature). Anyway, how does a ghost girl relate to a real wolf? Is the wolf like her guide from the spirit world to ours? Is the wolf also a ghost? Or does the wolf even know that there's a monumentally creepy ghost standing right in front of it? Maybe wolves don’t know or don’t care about ghosts. I do know about ghosts, and I would care not to meet one as creepy as her, thank you very much.
8 Another Fun Evening
Well, this one certainly looks really weird and unsettling at first glance. There are even other weirder pics caught on the same police camera -- pics I can’t show you if I want to keep my job. But it actually is the funniest of the whole list. You see, there were a bunch of reports of cougar (or mountain lion) sightings in a town named Gardner in Kansas. So the local police department set up a couple of cameras in the woods on the edge of town. However, what they got on film was most decidedly not what they were expecting. No, those aren’t supernatural demons or aliens or anything like that in this photo. It’s local crazy people with too much time on their hands having a little fun at the cops’ expense. Who dresses up as a gorilla to frolic in front of a security camera in the woods in the middle of the night? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way -- please don’t send me any “personal” answers.
We’ve made it to the end of our list, so we might as well finish strong. Bigfoot, of course, is the all-time classic creature of the forest that may or may not be real. People have argued about his existence for decades, if not centuries. Personally, I think it’s all a crock. The pictures clearly show that Bigfoot is just a gorilla that figured out how to walk upright. Am I right, or am I right? Yeah, yeah, you say, but there aren’t any wild gorillas in the good old U.S. of A. I guess you have a point. I don’t have a clue whether Bigfoot is real or not -- and I probably never will. I do know there are lots and lots of images out there purporting to be of Bigfoot and lots and lots of people who believe in him very strongly indeed. What that means to me is that, if he does actually exist, then he’s either a very fast mover or has an awful lot of relatives -- which might be the most unsettling thought of them all.
6 Creepy Doll Forest
We start our forest adventure into the paranormal with a small island in Mexico called Isla de las Muñecas. The island is so small that only one person has ever lived there, even though it’s quite close to Mexico City, where over 20 million people live. Most of those people, as well as you and I, should be quite freaked out by the island, though. You see, over 50 years ago, the lone inhabitant, one Don Julian Santana, found the body of a dead girl in the island’s canal. Her doll was floating on the surface of the water nearby. He hung the doll on a tree in tribute to her. Then he went nuts and hung hundreds, if not thousands of more dolls until he died -- by drowning in the same canal. Talk about creepy! Everyone who's ever been there believes the dolls are haunted. I’m pretty sure I do, too -- just look at them!
5 The Blair Witch Is Real
Yup -- it’s true. Everybody has heard of the Blair Witch Project movies. The original movie came out almost 20 years ago and scared the hell out of everyone who saw it. The remake came out last year and probably had more people going back to see the first one than had done so in years. And it’s all real. Well, sort of… As anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows, the whole Blair Witch story was made up for the movie -- it was the first horror movie to use the whole “found footage” concept, and the filmmakers even put up a fake website claiming the Blair Witch incidents were real. But there really was a witch in the woods that inspired the whole thing. That was the Bell Witch, a “witch poltergeist” that stalked the Bell family for four years until the father died of mysterious causes. The witch went after this family, who lived in the forest outside of Adams, Tennessee starting back in the 1817 and got progressively more evil -- threatening the family, speaking in spooky whispers and pulling clothing off of the children. It only stopped after the dad died. So you see, there really are real witches in the woods.
4 Forest Pig-People
Alright, this one is definitely not of the supernatural or paranormal, but it still shows how freaky people can get when let loose in the forest. I know that the whole photo is staged, and I know it’s probably just some art students who are also vegans (or anti-industrialists or something) making a “statement,” but this picture totally creeps me out -- a lot. The last thing I want to do if I go for a walk in the woods is run into a bunch of axe-wielding pig people who've been waiting for their revenge for years. That would so not be relaxing. It’s like being set in the middle of a very, very unsettling Deliverance remake. And that movie was unsettling enough without adding angry pig-men. Anyway, I’m totally ready to move on from this pic if you are. It’s just a little bit too striking, if you know what I mean.
3 Ghost In A Suit?
I found this picture when I did a search for “haunted forests.” Yeah, I know; I just gave away a huge trade secret. That’s right: I have to do at least some research for these lists! But I digress. Every source that I looked into for this photo swore that it was real. Supposedly, one day, there was nothing in this section of the woods, and the next day, there was this suit jacket just hanging there. It looks like it must be hanging on a branch or something, but there is no branch. You can’t see any wire holding it up either. All I know for certain is that if I were taking a stroll through the local woods, and this suddenly appeared, I would be pretty freaked out. I do know one more thing, actually. I know for an absolute stone-cold fact that I would not be walking up to that jacket and opening it up to see what was inside. No way, no how.
2 Murder Forest
Remember that forest in Japan with all of the suicides? Well, this forest in England has a slightly different chill of death around it. It’s called Epping Forest, and it's notorious for turning up dead bodies. That’s right; bad guys all over England must plan their holidays to the forest because it’s crawling with unmarked graves and rotting corpses. Even better, it’s supposed to be totally haunted, but not because of all of those murder victims, mind you. Rather, it seems that centuries ago, highwaymen (you know, the guys who commit murder and mayhem) often hid out in it, and now, their ghosts haunt the trees from which they were hung. Take a look at those trees -- they're plenty creepy enough on their own without adding any ghostly apparitions “hanging” out around them. You do see what I just did there, don’t you? Yeah, I’m good.
1 Woods WTF Creature
Yup, I’m pretty sure those would quite literally be the first words out of my mouth if I ran into this dude while out on a midnight saunter. Very closely followed by “run!” I don’t know why I would ever actually be out in the woods at night, but you never can tell. I can tell you that this guy seems perfectly appropriate for his nighttime surroundings. He probably has some nasty lair hidden deep in an old rotten log or something -- one that he drags his victims back to after first scaring the sh*t out of them and then biting off their noses or something else equally horrible. The scariest part of this photo is that it's supposedly real, according to ghost hunters and paranormal investigators (granted, that may not be the most reliable segment of the population). Apparently, it was taken by a deer-hunting guy who was getting into position in the middle of the night. So I just found another good reason not to hunt deer.
Sources: bbc, cntraveler, thesun