In The Woods

I don’t talk about my husband in my blog very often, other than the occasional mention of him as just a part of a story or commentary.  He is a very private individual who is uncomfortable with some of the things that I talk about here, so I respect his wishes and try not to shine the spotlight on him.  Besides, most of the times that I really want to talk about him are times when I really shouldn’t say the things I am thinking.  Especially not in writing.

However, we had an experience yesterday that I really feel the need to share because it shows a side of the man that people don’t usually see.

It started with a Trail Cam. This is a motion-activated camera that he got for Christmas a few years ago, ostensibly for use in identifying the best hunting spots on our forty wooded acres.  In theory, he is supposed to hang it in different places on our property for several days at a time so that he can get pictures of deer traffic, day or night.

I say “in theory” because he has used it for so much more.  He set it up to find out what kind of animal was messing with our bird feeders (raccoons) and put it near the mailbox to see who was disturbing our mail.  He has also had far too much fun hiding it in random spots around the house and then showing me pictures of myself in all kinds of unflattering nose-picking or butt-scratching shots.

Yeah, think about that for a moment.  Think about the things you do when you’re alone in your house, and let your mind wander about what kinds of pictures a hidden Trail Cam might get of you.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Creepy, right?

Yesterday, he sent me an interesting email from work.  Apparently, he took the camera’s memory card into work with him and was looking at the pictures on his lunch hour, and he found some pictures that he thought I should see.

I brought my trail cam card to work to look at pictures. There are some crazy things that go on in our woods at night.

Picture one made me go, “well, all right.”  Nice to know there’s at least one nice-looking buck out there.


Then I looked at picture two.


You know those little tiny hairs on the back of the neck?  Mine stood straight on end. Goosebumps started popping up all over the place.

Then I looked at picture three and immediately felt a very strong urge to pee my pants.


That poor baby! Was my first thought.  Was she still out there?  There had been a news story the previous night about a missing two year-old child in Grand Rapids; I wondered if she had somehow been transported to our area.

Then I looked at the date and time on the pictures:  August 22, 4:02 a.m.

My goose bumps gave birth to goose bumps.  My lungs went on strike and utterly refused to take in one more breath.  My eyes started watering.  My teeth chattered.

There is absolutely no way a little girl like that was roaming free in our woods at four in the morning two months ago.  We live in the middle of nowhere and there are coyotes and other wild animals out there that would not have left her unharmed.

Our nearest neighbor is close to a half-mile away.  They are weekend neighbors from Chicago, what the locals refer to as FIPs, and most FIPs are generally too busy looking down their noses at the locals to actually mingle with us.  It is highly doubtful that people of their elevated social status and self-importance would ever allow a child to wander in our dirty woods, day or night.

That left one other option, and my mind absolutely refused to wrap itself around it.

You see, we have a ghost in our house.  This house belonged to her aunt and uncle, and she spent a great deal of time here when she was growing up. Her brief and troubled life was torn apart by drug use and bad relationships, and local rumor says that she had four children taken away from her by Protective Services shortly before she died of an overdose.

I have seen the ghost several times, usually during my pregnancies or when one of my kids has been sick.  She stands over my husband’s side of the bed and gives me a sad smile before she vanishes.  Sometimes, she randomly turns on lights or the TV or some other such mischief.  She never does any harm.  She is just very, very sad and I think she stays at our house because she was happy here during her lifetime.

Looking at the pictures of that tiny girl in our woods, I just knew it was a childhood incarnation of our ghost.  Or perhaps it was one of her children that is no longer among the living, doomed to forever search our woods at night, looking for her mommy.

I was terrified.  Mind-numbing, pants-pissing, teeth-chattering terrified.  There it was, visual confirmation that we have more than one ghost.  After all, the times when I have seen the ghost in our bedroom have been times when I was just waking up, just coming out of a deep sleep; there is always a tiny possibility that those sightings are just very realistic dreams.  But an actual digital photograph of a ghostly little girl was just too much to comprehend.

I sent the pictures to my big sister and to one of my best friends.  And I started feeling less fear and more sadness for that poor baby.  That poor, tiny, lost soul, wandering our woods. I found myself wiping away a few tears as I thought about her.

Hubby and I continued to exchange emails as the day went on.  We exchanged theories about her identity and tried to find ways to explain who she could be and how she could have ended up in the woods, but we always came back to the fact that she just couldn’t have been a real flesh-and-blood little girl.

Near the end of the work day, I asked

You think the FIPs and their kids wander the woods at night, or do you really think it’s a ghost?

His answer?

I think those were tampered with pictures and I am messing with you.  LOL.

I don’t usually like being scared.  I have enough fear in my life, fear of really, really stupid things.  I hate slasher flicks and gore.  Even though the movies are about fictional people, I end up feeling so sad about the lives ending so suddenly at the hands of Freddy or Jason or whoever.

But I have a secret:  I love a good supernatural scare.    I adore movies that make me jump and scream.  I don’t want to watch “The Conjuring” or “Amityville Horror”, but sit down at a Ouija Board with me and just watch me shiver.  I’m talking about that delicious kind of shiver that starts at my gray roots and picks up speed on its way to my toes, only to meet itself coming back up.

I love the kind of scare that can truly be described as the “heebie-jeebies” because I am unable to utter anything other than noises that sound like “heebie” and “jeebie”.

You know, the kind of noises I made yesterday while looking at those pictures and pissing myself.

The best/worst part of this is knowing that my husband got me.  He pranked me good, and I fell for it.  Beneath the flannel and Carrharts, buried deeply under the aw-shucks country boy exterior and let’s-take-care-of-business attitude toward work, there lurks the heart of the world’s best prankster.

He reigns undefeated.

I want revenge.  I want to get back at him.  But really, let’s be honest here. I can’t top this one.  He wins.


Damn it.

Author: A.J. Goode

I am a romance novelist, single mother of three, and a high school lunchlady. To be completely honest, I have no idea which of those jobs is the most rewarding and which is the biggest challenge. I love them all. I write romance novels about the kind of people who might pass me on the street every day. My characters are often hurting in some way, and need to learn to trust others in order to heal themselves. I also blog about trying to focus on writing, and about my day-to-day experiences in small-town America. I write about life. The good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

10 thoughts on “In The Woods”

  1. Dont feel bad he got me to. That was absolutely chilling AJ. I mean like i started reading this and when i got to picture number 3 i had to stop and ask myself if i wanted to finish this or not. I am glad i did, but wow. I never no what to expect when i see one of your posts come down the feed. Thanks for the scare. I dont get them often because it is a house rule that no one is to scare me.


  2. These same pictures were given to a co-worker a couple of weeks ago. He was told they came from his son’s buddys trail cam near Oil City. When he showed them to a couple of us here at work we had the same reactions as you. I contacted a medium here in Michigan who works with her local police. She felt nothing. I also sent them to my mom and she was convinced they were real as well. Until she found your blog. What a relief! Thank you for sharing your incredible story. Let you husband know that his photos have gotten others as well. Job well done!


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