Dear Sarah, Regarding Your Late Husband...
It is with the greatest of compassion and deepest of sympathy that I send this letter. Few things in life are more difficult to overcome that the loss
of a loved one, and I hope that the past few weeks have brought you some measure of peace amid the great ocean of sorrow and loss. I feel it necessary
to communicate with you one more time since the funeral, and put something to rest regarding your late husband.
I want to say again; Daryl was a good friend and great partner to our law firm, and whatever you need, whether for your children or yourself, I will
personally make sure that you’re in the best of hands always. Per your request, I have overseen the settlement of your life insurance claim myself ,
and you will be financially secure for many years to come. Enclosed is the final documentation pertaining to your claim.
His death has been terribly hard on me as well, and I don’t know when, if ever, I will be able to attend another of our firm’s annual hunting
expeditions. There is another one scheduled for next spring, in that same place in Wyoming, but I don’t believe I’ll be going this time. I wish
that I could take the memories of this last trip away forever, but there is one memory that I definitely must recall: that is the memory of what your
husband said to me in camp that night, before he passed away quietly in his sleep.
He told me that you and your daughters were the most important part of his life, and that everything he had accomplished during his twenty years with
our firm had been for you and the children. With frightening sincerity, he asked me to promise that if anything, anything ever happened to him, I
would relate his feelings to you, and see to it that your family’s needs were taken care of.
I intend on keeping that promise. It comforts me to know that when his heart finally gave out that night, he took that with him. Believe me, if there
ever was a man who lived on this earth worthy of your love and admiration, it was Daryl.
As for me, I know I’ll never get over the shock of discovering his body inside his sleeping bag the next morning, or he horror of having to answer
inquiries from the Sheriff. The fact that Daryl was found with blood on his shirt, which none of us could explain, and our inability to recall much of
anything that happened that evening may have seemed a bit suspicious at first. I must admit, however, that a moderate amount of drinking did occur
that night, and this may have clouded our memories to some degree. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for standing by our side during the
initial investigation. Had it not been for the information provided by Daryl’s cardiologist to Sheriff’s Department, this entire ordeal would have
been much harder to bear.
Now it is time to let go of the pain, get back to work, and carry on with my life. I hope you can find enough strength to do the same. Again, if you
need anything at all, you have my number and my promise. God Bless.
Your Caring Friend,
During these past two weeks I’ve been struggling to accomplish what I said needed to be done: getting over the pain and carrying on. It has been
difficult however, and this is due to more that just the death of my friend and associate. I know in my mind that I must come to terms with the
agonizing memories of the hunting trip, but some unanswered questions still hold me prisoner to that night.
I must tell you what I can’t bring myself to reveal to anyone else, not even Jennifer, my wife. Something else did happen that night, and it’s
significance is a mystery; I can’t understand why it disturbs me the way it does or why it keeps me awake until three a.m. every night.
On that warm spring evening, while the four of us were drinking beer and playing horseshoes next to the fire, and just after I had the conversation
with your late husband which I wrote to you about in my last letter, we all saw something unusual. I’m fairly certain that this occurred sometime
during those two hours about which we were questioned by the Sheriff.
What we saw was a fire. Fred Reynolds was the first to observe it, and called it to the attention of Jack O’Neill, who was slightly intoxicated but
in no way delusional. When Daryl and I turned around, we were alarmed to see a large, red light glowing to the west near the top of the very same
ridge we had been planning to stake out for deer and antelope the next day.
Logic suggests that we should have broken camp and evacuated the area at that moment; with a mobile home park only twenty minutes away, there would
have been sufficient time to alert the park ranger. Curiously however, I distinctly remember the four of us reacting in a decidedly illogical manner.
Daryl, Fred, and I grabbed our coats and immediately set forth up the mountain to investigate the matter ourselves, while Jack fetched his Winchester
rifle and caught up with us after putting out the campfire.
Beyond that, my memories of the evening become quite vague. The next image that comes to my mind is that of Fred and I waking up in the darkness next
to the smoldering remains of our campfire sometime before dawn. I clearly remember feeling quite sick and vomiting, and Fred was saying that his eyes
were burning. At that point I asked Fred where Jack and Daryl were, and I guess we both assumed they were sound asleep in their tents, and that we
were the victims of a wicked hangover. The last thing I seem to remember is the two of us crawling into our tents and falling asleep.
I have no excuse, nor any explanation as to why we didn’t report this occurrence in the morning. Sarah, the only reason I can give you - and I know
it may be difficult to understand(it sure is for me) is that I simply did not remember it the next day. In fact, my own recollection of this incident
did not return until at least two days after the hunting trip, after waking from a nightmare nauseated, shivering, and covered with sweat. These
nightmares continued for at least five days after the trip, and they worried Jennifer terribly. Upon waking, I would often find myself unable to
recall any aspects of these terrible dreams whatsoever - that is, except for the memory of the four of us walking up that mountain as fast as we
could, as if we had put away our senses as surely as we had snuffed out our own campfire.
Since your husband’s death, this memory has troubled me every hour of the day, and I don’t know why. During the last week, the only comfort I
could attain came from allowing myself the possibility that it never really happened. This seemed a plausible explanation, considering the fact that
we had been drinking, as well as the fact that there had never been a report the next morning concerning any kind of forest fire. I had almost
accepted the idea that the incident had been a figment of my imagination - that is, until I called both Jack and Fred last week.
As it turns out, their memories of that night are just as vague as mine, but there are two memories that seem quite similar regarding our
recollections of that evening. Jack said he remembered something about putting out a forest fire, and Fred seems to recall a “big red light”. Jack
also says that he saw an owl sometime during the night, and even tried to shoot it. As to why he would be hunting owls in the middle of the night
during a forest fire, I haven’t a clue. Apparently, neither does he.
In truth, the questions I have are not for you, but for myself. Was there ever a fire in the first place, and why didn’t we report it? Why does the
issue get on my nerves so much, to the point where I’m becoming a complete insomniac? Or am I simply going insane?
I’m sorry if this letter has disturbed you in any way; I’m sure you’ve been through enough misery already. Peace of mind is all that either of
us want - yet I will never be in peace unless I can share these thoughts, and for some reason, you are the only person I feel able to share them with.
You may, if you wish, respond to this letter and grant me further communication; in that case I’ll write back to you as soon as possible. If I
receive nothing from you, then I will assume that I have acted improperly, and will not trouble you with these matters ever again. If the latter is
the case, please accept my sincere and heartfelt apology.
Your Caring Friend,
Thank you for responding to my letter. Words cannot begin to describe how fortunate I am to have a friend that is as caring and understanding as you.
In answer to your question, however, I must tell you that there is nothing you can do to help me deal with this issue - other than, of course, simply
being the patient and valuable confidant that you are.
Lately, my condition has become worse that ever. The memories of the hunting trip have tortured my mind to the point of sheer agony, and I have been
unable to work, or even leave the apartment by myself. Several times during each day I am overcome by a terrifying and indescribable fear - sometimes
these terrors are so strong that I find myself crouching on the floor, paralyzed and crying like a child. The worst part of all this is that I don’t
exactly know what it is that I’m afraid of. For the past few nights, I have had very little sleep, preferring instead to lie on the couch and watch
television rather than waking up screaming from another nightmare. The least I can do is allow Jennifer her sleep.
This cannot continue, and Jennifer has urged me to see a therapist. The other day I contacted a psychiatrist; Dr. Elizabeth Ginsberg, who lives and
works here in Beverly Hills. Although I have an appointment scheduled for this Tuesday, I find the possibility of being diagnosed as some kind of
schizophrenic lunatic unbearable. Nevertheless, I need to find out what’s causing this, and if I am in fact going crazy, at least I’ll know.
Your Caring Friend,
Some remarkable and disturbing events have come to pass since I last wrote to you. Some of the things I am about to reveal may be hard for you to
believe or accept; nevertheless, the developments of the past few days may shed new light on the events surrounding both your husband’s death and my
own terrifying mental condition.
When I met Dr. Ginsberg last week, I was apprehensive about being examined by a psychologist, but I found both her personality and her professional
manner to be reassuring(I later discovered that she was, in fact, quite famous and well-respected within the field of psychology). The first thirty
minutes went fairly well. After a preliminary examination, Dr. Ginsberg was able to conclude that I am not suffering from schizophrenia or any common
form of mental illness. Unfortunately, she was not able to diagnose the cause of my hysteria.
It was then that she suggested what I felt was a rather unusual method of treatment - hypnosis. Although I was, at first, rather uneasy about the
procedure, Dr. Ginsberg felt that this technique would be effective in examining my repressed memories of the hunting trip, within which might lay the
answers to the cause of my condition. After explaining to me how the procedure worked, she placed me into a hypnotic trance for about ten minutes.
This was only a trial run, she later explained, to make me more comfortable with the process.
It worked. To my surprise, the hypnosis was so relaxing that I actually found myself enjoying it, and was disappointed when it ended. Then it came
time to actually explore my hidden memories of the hunting trip. Dr. Ginsberg carefully brought me into a trance state: after this she suggested that
I recall exactly what had happened to me and my companions on the night in question.
What was revealed in the next twenty minutes, however improbable or unbelievable, is, to the best of my knowledge, true and accurate. For what I saw
unfold while sitting with my eyes closed on the couch in Dr. Ginsberg’s office is one of the strangest events I have ever heard of - yet it appears
to have happened to the four of us that night.
About twenty minutes after the sun had fallen below the western ridge, Jack had won his third game against Fred and was opening his second bottle of
beer for the evening, while the portable radio we had brought with us was playing “Proud Mary” by Credence. Suddenly, the music from the radio
turned to static - then fell silent. That was when Fred pointed to the western horizon and told us he thought a plane had just crashed. Daryl and Jack
both looked immediately to the top of the mountain, with me turning to look so quickly I almost spilled my coffee. All four of us stared at a bright
orange glow which radiated from a dense stand of pine trees almost a mile up the hillside. Wondering what to do, I turned to Daryl and found him
already digging his flashlight out of his duffel bag, and before I could protest, he and Fred began walking up the hill, both of them telling me to
hurry up. Jack started to put out the campfire, and quickly suggested that I go on ahead while he loaded his gun. I was about to suggest and entirely
different course of action - that we get into the Suburban and drive to the nearest phone, but seeing that Daryl and Fred were already disappearing up
the hill, I decided to follow after them.
Daryl was clearly excited, and Fred was acting as if he were so sort of fireman responding to an emergency, but none of us seemed the least bit
afraid. By the time Jack had caught up with us, we were hiking at such a rapid pace that we were nearly out of breath. The only one who spoke at all
was Daryl, stating that we should attempt to push our way through a thick stand of bushes directly ahead, instead of trying to go up the far northern
slope, which was mostly open and covered only by grass. This would save us some time, he said, and suddenly we were fighting our way through a jungle
of thorny bushes, to emerge scratched and dirty on the other side into a thick forest of Lodgepole pines. From here we could still see the glow making
its way through the trees, and we estimated it was no more than a hundred yards ahead.
As we made our way through the forest, something happened which made all of us stop dead in our tracks. The orange light which had been guiding our
way through the pines suddenly vanished, and we were left standing in almost complete darkness, as the reddish sky of dusk had by now turned to night,
and hundreds of stars could be seen winking overhead.
Clearly the leader of the expedition, Daryl activated his flashlight(he was the only one of us so called “experienced woodsmen” who had the good
sense to bring one up the mountain) and we began to follow him in what we assumed was the right direction to find the forest fire, or plane crash, or
whatever it was that had drawn us away from our comfortable campsite. After only a few minutes of hiking, Fred told Daryl that he thought this was
probably where the light had come from, but Daryl wasn’t sure, arguing that he wanted to continue further into the trees.
Thinking this was good time to air my own concerns, I told them both that I thought we should stop right where we were before getting lost. I informed
them that I wasn’t even sure which direction we were going in; this was because we had reached a part of the mountain where the ground leveled off,
and through the thick pine trees it was impossible to tell which way led up the mountain and which way went down toward camp.
As he stepped toward me, clearly agitated and ready to argue his point of view, Daryl suddenly lost his grip on the flashlight. Hitting a rock on the
ground, we all heard the lens shatter as the light blinked out. Lost in darkness and total confusion, the four of us stood there in silence for about
In the darkness the forest was quiet - too quiet. Having experienced the noises of nocturnal activity from insects, owls, and coyotes the night
before, the absolute silence of this part of the woods made the hairs on the back of my neck rise. What was at first a sense of urgency and curiosity
about the source of the light slowly turned into a feeling of deep uneasiness and apprehension, and in a few seconds I realized that the chill I felt
creeping into my body on that cold night was actually fear. If you’ve ever been lost in the wilderness after nightfall without a flashlight, you
know what I mean. I sensed that the others were getting a little jumpy as well, and then I heard Daryl say my name.
Before he could begin to finish his sentence, the lights exploded into view before our eyes.
There were three of them, I think, and each one projected a brilliant beam of white light which illuminated the woods like the mid-day sun. All four
of us shielded our eyes, yet the intense light didn’t seem to hurt at all. Still, with the focus of the beams set squarely in our direction, it was
impossible to make out any sort of structure which the lights may have been mounted on. I estimated that they were placed about fifty yards away, as
part of the light was obscured in front of us by several large trees. Jack and I took a few cautious steps toward it, but stopped as we both seemed to
realize that what was happening was very strange.
Suddenly, I heard Fred whisper “What in God’s name is that?”, and I turned my head to the left, in the direction he was pointing. Something was
moving in the trees about a hundred feet away, and I thought I could make out the eyes of some type of animal. Jack saw it too, and immediately raised
his loaded Winchester, taking aim and adjusting his stance. Just then he stopped, and lowered the rifle just a bit as he stared with the rest of us in
At first, my mind simply would not accept what I was witnessing under the pine branches in the ghostly illumination of those woods. It’s shape was
human, although at least a foot and a half shorter that a full-grown adult. With the slight, spindly arms and legs of a five year old child, it’s
large head seemed hugely out of proportion with the rest of it’s diminutive body. The skin was an ashen white color, and it seemed to be wearing
some sort of tight-fitting black coverall suit. But what stood out most clearly about this strange figure were the eyes - those large black,
freakishly inhuman eyes which reminded me of the eyes that a reptile has, only they didn’t blink. It was those eyes which took precedence over all
other features; the creature’s mouth was nothing but a slim line, and I couldn’t make out a nose at all. Altogether, the creature’s appearance
was beyond strange - it was alien.
Then I noticed there were at least four more creatures, each one looked the same as the first. The only thought in my mind at that point was to get as
far away from there as I could; in fact I didn’t even want to look at those awful things, but for some unexplainable reason my legs wouldn’t, or
couldn’t, move an inch. With the horrifying feeling of being a trapped animal, I found myself completely paralyzed and unable to speak. The only
part of my body that was under my control was my neck, and as I turned my head to look at my three companions, I saw all three of them just standing
there, terrified and unable to move. Jack displayed a look of absolute fear, his eyes wide with horror, and had lost his grip on the rifle, which now
hung uselessly from his shoulder. Daryl was looking at the five creatures with an expression that I will never forget...he appeared to be screaming in
terror, his eyes were wide and his lips were moving, but not a sound came forth.
I turned my head again to the creatures under the trees - they were still there, staring at us in silence, and all I wanted to do was run. Even though
I couldn’t talk, my mind was clearly saying these words - “Just don’t come any closer, no closer, God please don’t let them come any
closer!” Suddenly, without any warning, one of the creatures came rushing in my direction. Not walking, not running, but it seemed to glide straight
toward me like it was on some kind of invisible conveyor belt. My mind was now wild with sheer terror, screaming “Stay away!, Stay away!, Jesus
Christ no...please no...DON’T TOUCH ME!”
The creature reached out and grabbed my arm...
At that point I heard my own voice shrieking those same words in absolute panic. “GET AWAY!, LET ME GO!, OH GOD WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING!”
Someone was standing in front of me, and I continued to scream at the top of my lungs for at least a couple of minutes before I realized that the
person was actually Dr. Ginsberg - she was trying to calm me down, telling me to relax and that everything was going to be all right. Speaking in a
calm but firm voice, she told me that I was not in the woods but safe in her office, and that as she counted from one to ten I was to focus on
relaxing and remembering where I was.
She began to slowly count from one to ten, and by the time she was done I had stopped screaming and found myself fully aware of my surroundings: the
soft comfortable sofa that I was lying on, the lamp sitting on the table nearby, the rest of the office with the curtains drawn, and Dr. Ginsberg
projecting a reassuring smile as she said “Good, I think you’re out of it now.” Even though I knew exactly where I was now, I was still filled
with an overpowering sense of fear and panic because, even thought the hypnotic suggestion was over, the paralysis in my arms and legs remained.
Sensing that I was genuinely terrified, Dr. Ginsberg quickly reassured me that this was not unusual, and that the paralysis would probably pass in a
She was right, and after several minutes of breathing some much needed fresh air on the balcony outside her office, I went back inside in the hope
that she could provide some kind of explanation for this bizarre experience. Although I was still trembling like I had stepped off an E-ticket ride at
an amusement park, Dr. Ginsberg began outlining her experience in dealing with other victims of apparent “alien abductions”. I listened in
astonishment and disbelief when she informed me that the loss of time and memory, the paralysis, and appearance of the “small grey creatures” were
all commonly reported details of this phenomena. In any other circumstances, I would have dismissed her claims as some kind of absurd fantasy, called
her a lunatic quack, and left her office in a fit of laughter; but the terrifying experience I had just been through felt as real as the chair I was
sitting in, so for the moment I kept an open mind and listened intently.
She explained that, whether I believed in the reality of the experience or not, exploring the hidden memories can, and usually does, relieve the type
of anxiety and day-to-day terror I had been struggling with. She also said that it would be helpful to undergo the hypnosis at least one more time and
try to discover what happened after my encounter with the beings in the woods. Reluctantly, I set up an appointment for the following week, and went
home that evening with a feeling that everything I knew and understood of the world was about to be shaken apart.
Sarah, I want you to know that this has been the strangest event in the history of my life, and I hope you don’t think I’m a nut. I know how
unbelievable this whole story is, but having some kind of explanation for what happened that night has been helpful, at least a little. Please don’t
tell anyone else about this. As for Dr. Ginsberg, I still have another appointment scheduled for next week, but I don’t know if I can actually bring
myself to go through with that again. Either way, I’ll write to you again in a couple of weeks. Take care.
Your Caring Friend,
To be continued in Part 2...
[edit on 23-3-2006 by Flatwoods]