I'm not really sure where to start this.....
I think I've decided to blog about this experience just because it's very fresh in my mind, and just happened a few hours ago, and I can look back on this blog post in later years. I also am sharing a prior personal story I have never told, but maybe two people in my lifetime, one being my ex-wife.
First let me say I am not the type of person who believes in the supernatural really, or ghosts, or anything like that. I am also not scared of the dark. I actually am very nocturnal, and I live much of my life during the mid-night hours.
I will start this by saying when I was around 8yrs old I was growing up on a small horse ranch in West Texas. In the evenings if my dad wasn't home it was my job to do the chores, which was feeding the horses, and gathering all the eggs from the chickens.
I hated doing the chores after dark, as it could be a bit spooky for an eight year old, so, if my Dad wasn't home before it looked like it was going to be dark I would do the chores. If my Dad was home, we often did the chores after dark, but I only had to gather the eggs, and since he was out at the barn with me, it wasn't that scary.
My Dad is 6'4", and is kinda like a John Wayne type ole school Cowboy who has always trained, and put shoes on horses. So, if my Dad was out at the barn with me, I was fine, there was no lighting in the chicken house, so I would run through with my flashlight gather the eggs, and get back over to the horse barn with my Dad,
This particular night, was my favorite kind, it was a beautiful summer night, with a big bright beautiful full moon. It was so bright you didn't even need a flashlight really. I was over at the chicken house gathering the eggs, when that urge hit, and I knew I had to well, pee, so, I finished gathering all the eggs in my bucket, and went around behind the chicken house to do my business. On a normal night I wouldn't have done this, because it would have been way too dark, and spooky. This night though it was so bright outside with the full moon, like I said I didn't even need a flashlight.
So, I get around to the back of the chicken house, set my bucket of eggs down, and proceed to do my business. Just one of those nights were all just seemed right in the world. I didn't have a care in the world. I knew my Mom was back at the house making dinner, and I was looking forward to eating.
I was just kinda day dreaming to myself, when all the sudden I got that eerie sensation someone was watching me. I knew it couldn't be my Dad because I had just heard him whistling over at the hay barn which was a good 35 yards away. I was looking at the wall of the chicken house, and slowly I zipped up my pants, and still I could definitely feel someone was looking right at me.
Finally, thinking if well, maybe it was my little brother, or sister, but I knew they were too little to be out there by themselves, this reality started making the hair stand up on the back of my neck, and I knew I had to turn around, and see if I saw anyone. Finally, after talking myself into turning around, I just turned quickly around, thinking nothing was gonna be there I was just being a scared kid.
So, to my astonishment when I spun quickly around.....out about 50 yards in our field of really tall Hay Grazer....Hay Grazer is a type of hay you plant to bundle hay bales. It usually gets up about 7ft tall, most people would think it's corn.... Way out in the field I could distinctly see the shoulders, and head of someone standing out in the hay grazer. I could see their shoulders, and head. It was too dark to be able to make out facial features, and they were too far away. I completely froze, and just stood there looking at them, as they looked back at me. I waited for them to move...they did not. Then my mind racing, it dawned on me, how tall this person would have to be. I knew my Dad was 6'4", and he was the tallest person I knew, and the hay grazer was well over his head...so, again the hair stood on the back of my neck.
I decided I was just seeing things in the moonlight, so, I just looked away for a quick second, and looked back expecting it, or whatever it was to be gone. I looked back again, still there, looking directly at me. I stood as still as a marble statue, my mind still racing....who, or what could this be?
My mind searching for a logical explanation......then it hit me.....oh, man, my Dad, or uncle must have moved one of our scarecrows. That's it, wow, I am such an idiot. I'm such a fraidy cat...boy, glad I figured it out, so, I didn't have to tell anyone.....but, as I reassured myself of this, my mind was telling me this did not look like a scarecrow. It was a definite silhouette of someone, or something just standing there looking back at me, as I looked at them.
Finally, I reached down for my bucket of eggs, and had now decided to get out of there, and get to the barn as fast as possible where my Dad was. I could not find the handle to my bucket reaching down, so, quickly I glanced down for the handle, and when I looked up, back out into the field for whatever it was, it was GONE!
Panic, literally filled my gut, and I knew for certain now, whatever it was, it was not a scarecrow. I kept asking myself, am I really seeing something is my mind playing tricks on me? With my bucket now in hand I started power walking the 30yrds, or so to the barn, and after I got about half way there, I quickly glanced back to see whatever it was had moved up to the edge of the hay grazer almost to the chicken house where I had just been, and again was just staring at me. It was now closer, but still just a silhouette I could make out no features.
That was it, I lost it....only about 100 feet or so to the barn where my Dad was it flashed in my mind...what if my Dad isn't at the barn, and maybe had already returned to the house for some reason. That was it....I dropped my bucket of eggs, and took off sprinting back to the house as fast as my legs would carry me. I knew I was going to be in big trouble for breaking I don't know how many eggs in the bucket, but something was after me, surely my Mom, and Dad would understand.
Upon reaching the house I burst through the back door, to find my Mom still in the kitchen pre-pairing dinner. She immediately looked at me, and said....what is wrong with you? I got quit, and didn't know what to say. I wanted to blurt out...SOMETHING IS OUT THERE! Something is chasing me...but, all I managed was, where's Dad? My Mom answered, he's still out at the barn doing chores. I said he hasn't come back to the house? She said no, he went out there with you.
She asked again if I was alright, and this time I managed a....I don't know...she said why is that? I said I think I saw something. She said, saw something, Like what? I said I don't know what it was, but it was just looking at me, when I was behind the chicken house peeing. She kinda laughed, and smirked, and said, well, what was watching you? I said I don't know. She said well where are the eggs? I said I dropped them when I ran to the house. She was very displeased to hear that, but she said, well, wait until your Father gets back up here, and he will take you out there to see what it was.
So, I waited.....finally my Dad comes in from the barn, and says...oh there you are. I was looking everywhere for you, and I found your bucket of eggs on the ground. What happened? I said I think I saw something, and my Mom, said...oh, yeah he saaaww something, mockingly.
My Dad said, well, what did you see son? I said I don't know, but it was watching me. I then told him exactly what happened. So, he immediately went to the gun case, and got a rifle, and picked up his flashlight, looked at me, and said. OK, well lets go see what it was.
Keep in mind during this time, we were having a lot of cattle mutilations all over our part of the country. Several ranches around us, so, everyone had been on edge.
So, myself, and my Dad set off towards the chicken house with the flashlight which you really didn't need since the big beautiful full moon shined so bright in the summer sky.
Upon reaching the edge of the hay grazer I was looking for the shoulders, and head, but nothing was there, and my Dad asked me, where did you see it, son? I told him, and pointed. It was right out about there, Dad. He said, OK, well lets go have a look.
So, we started through the hay grazer that was well over both of our heads. Reaching the approximate spot I had seen whatever it was I couldn't wait to see the tracks, because if it was an animal my Dad would know exactly what it was by the tracks. I looked around frantically for tracks as my Dad shined the flashlight. There were no tracks....we searched for tracks for at least ten, or fifteen minutes, and I was quite, because I didn't know if maybe I thought I saw something, and something wasn't actually there. Maybe my mind played a trick on me. I just was at a loss. I told my Dad....Dad, I know I saw something. He said I know I believe you son, but there are no tracks, and he was right there wasn't. He also stated the obvious...Son, for someones shoulders, and head to be sticking up over the hay grazer where you can see it, they would have to be at least 3 feet taller than I am, and that would mean they are 9 or 10ft tall. Nobodies that tall son.
We walked quietly back toward the house....I wondered if my Dad really believed me. I was feeling pretty silly, and just told myself, there couldn't have been anything there, it was just my imagination.
I left it at that, but I could not get it out of my head, and go to sleep that night. I just kept seeing it in my mind, exactly over, and over. Replaying it.
My Dad doesn't believe in being scared, so, I knew the next night I would be back out at the barn helping again with chores.
For the next couple years, or so I was still scared, and terrified to be out at the barn alone, or by myself, or not close to where my Dad was. It took me reaching about the age of 11, or 12 until I was finally able to put it behind me. I remember finally reaching about 12yrs old, and actually going out to the barn alone at night during a full moon looking for it, and challenging it to come out. I never saw whatever it was again...ever, other than that one night. I never forgot though.
Fast forward about 35yrs later, and last night was a full moon. So, I am working on my Moonscape Photographer series which consists of photos I take using only the full moon as a light source with long exposure times.
I only shoot these a cpl days a month when the moon is it's fullest, and brightest. I venture out into the Joshua Tree National Park, which is only about 5 miles from my house. I usually have gear loaded, and head out about 11:30pm.
I go by Subway, and grab a sub, chips, and drink, and head out for the night.
The park is a magical place, especially during a full moon, and this time of year. It's really beautiful, and I am excited to go see what photographs I can get.
So, last night I grabbed my Subway, and hit the park. I drove to the very first rock formation just inside the park maybe 3 miles, or so. They have picnic tables there, and it's a great place just to set alone in this vast park, and just eat my sandwich under the big beautiful bright desert moon.
It was super cloudy when I first hit the park last night with these big beautiful thick clouds. The only problem is they really blocked the moonlight, and completely blocked out my full moon. So, I set and ate, and waited for breaks in the clouds to get a few shots off.
I didn't really plan on spending much time in this area, but, I have been here before, and I knew this large rock formation was pretty easy to climb up. Keep in mind I am climbing with camera attached to a tripod, so, I have to be able to climb up, and back down without dropping my equipment.
I found a good opening, and was able to scale half way up the rocks about a good 25ft or so off the ground, but only about halfway to the top. I got set in the rocks, and took some nice interior rock shots.
I then climbed down, and decided to hike around the entire rock formation which is pretty large. It's about 40ft high, and a good hundred yards, or, so around the entire thing...but it's all big beautiful open desert around it. I started making my way around to the very far end of the rock formation taking photos along the way. The shortest exposure I was doing was 30 seconds. Meaning each photo took the camera at least 30 seconds to take. I finally made it to the very end of the rocks, and started around, but there was some great shots to be taken once I got close to the end, so I was stopping setting up my camera along the way, and shooting.
Keep in mind...I am in the middle of a vast National Park that goes for miles, and miles, and miles. I am out there completely alone, there isn't even any cell service out there. I've done this though on several occasions, and just love it. The moon was just so big, and bright last night, and by the time I got to the end of the rocks the clouds were finally starting to break, and the moonlight was super bright, and I got an amazing shot, that I was very proud of.
Then as I am walking around the very end of the rock I am chimping, or looking at the last few pictures I have taken as I am walking, and I glance up, to see behind the rock facing the silhouette, of head, and shoulders standing looking directly at me, from behind the rocks.
I looked at it, and immediately the hair stood up on the back of my neck....and I just kept looking at it as I kept walking forward...thinking, not knowing exactly what I was thinking. I remember thinking WTF, is that something?
I'm not 8yrs old anymore, so, I immediately started power walking towards the very end of the rock. This thing was looking at me from the other side of the rock formation, as I got about 25yrds away, it turned quick, and moved behind the rocks. I could see the shoulder, and head turn, and duck behind the rocks, as if it were walking away. My mind went in a split second mode. I have to get a picture of this, but then as quickly as I thought that the reality of it still being dark, and my camera setup for long exposure...there wasn't much chance of a photo, but I wanted to see it anyway. So, I power walked to the end of the rocks, made the turn, and nothing was there....
I immediately started searching for tracks. Then looking at at the rock face this thing, whatever it was, was looking over at me. I'm standing in about the same spot it had to of been. There are no tracks, and this wall of rock is a good 15ft tall at least. Nothing is that tall...wtf, man, my mind is just screwing with me. I look back all over the ground for tracks, as this thing was huge, and there would def be some huge impressions made in the earth.
Nothing, I start playing back in my head what I just saw, or think I just saw, and I am just puzzled. I saw it for a split second, but, I actually think I saw it for about 4 seconds, as when I first saw it, my mind just thought it was part of the weird rock formation, and then my mind said...wow, that looks like the shoulders, and head of someone looking at me from over the rocks, and then I then it dawned on me I was actually looking at something, that was looking back at me, and then it actually moved when I got close enough, and turned, and moved behind the taller rock face out of sight. It was a good two minutes at least until I made my way around the end of the rock, where it had been standing, but there was no where for anything that large to go. This is open desert.
So, I am just standing there scratching my head, saying to myself, did I actually see something, or am I just tripping?
I'm just tripping...must have been the wind or moon shadow, or something....anyway, back to work.
This is a photo I went back, and took, so, I could remember where it was I saw it. I drew kinda what I saw, I was still about 3 times this far away from the rock though when I saw it.
I quickly dismissed it as my mind, or just seeing something that actually wasn't there. I turn around, and start walking, and the clouds are gone, and the moon is light like a high beam headlight in the sky. I immediately see, an amazing photo op. Walkout away from the rocks, and setup to shoot a photo of the open desert, lit by the bright moonlight.
I've already dismissed whatever that was, and back on my game. I want to get back to my truck now, and really drive down deep in the park, to some really amazing locations. I have planned to follow a deserted mine, dirt road way out into the interior of the park tonight. So, I need to make the ten minute walk back to my truck, and shoot a few more pictures while on my way.
While walking back to the truck though, that eerie feeling of being watched came flooding back over me. I could feel something, or someone looking right at me, watching everything I was doing. I looked around a little bit, but I didn't see a thing, and I wasn't gonna let my paranoid state stop me from seeing, and composing a few more wonderful photos. So, I just went about my business, but all the time, the entire time, I felt the presence of being watched. After ten, or fifteen minutes walking back to my truck, I reached the truck, and the closer I got the more ominous I felt. Reaching my truck I felt like whoever was watching me was right there very close, but I just could not see them, but they were def watching me.
I actually got the complete heebee jeebees, upon clicking my remote to unlock the doors of my truck. I was parked right beside the huge rock formation, so, I was still right beside the rock. I put my camera in the truck, and climbed in the driver seat, I shut the door quick, and actually reached to hit the button to lock all the doors, and then I just laughed at myself, and went what?
This is stupid....not gonna lock the doors...I did feel safe though, and relieved in my truck...as I had actually felt like the last few minutes something was stalking me, and getting closer, and I got closer to my truck. I had the interior light on in my truck, and I still felt like it was watching me, but I wasn't scared. I wasn't gonna run away. More than likely my mind was just imagining something.
I was in my truck safe now, even if something was there, and I was still super excited to get down deeper into the park, and find that old mine dirt road.
Whatever it was, was about to get left here, because I still had lots of shooting to do, and lots of exploring to do. It was about 3:30am, and I planned to stay in the park until 5:30-6am.
I turned off my interior light, and started my truck....put her in gear. Pressed the gas, and pulled away from the rocks, to turn right, and head into the awesome part of the park. The moon was shining bright, and the clouds were gone...just as I made the right turn onto the road, suddenly my truck sputtered as if it was gonna die, so, I immediately pressed the gas with my foot, to keep it from dying, and so it would take off.
NOTHING!....no response at all from the gas pedal. I pushed it, nothing happend, my truck was just barely moving, and cutting out as if it were gonna die. So, I slowly pulled over onto the shoulder of the road, and kept pushing in the gas pedal, and nothing. The engine didn't respond. I was barely moving about 5mph, so, I said oh, sh**. I better circle back, and head for home instead. I am about nine miles from my house. I have no cell service, and even though I have AAA I could not call anyone with no cell service. I'm now making the circle and moving back exactly where I had just been parked. I passed that area, and instead of turning right this time, I turn left as my truck is just barely going. ..It's almost as if it is flooded.
As I turn left onto the road, it spits, and sputters, and finally pushing the gas pedal gets some response, not a lot, but some, and now I am up to about ten miles an hour. Getting farther away from that rock formation, and the better my truck is responding, and running now.
My night is over....I'm completely weirded out, and getting the hell out of dodge, and back home. I am gonna miss venturing into the park, and working under the beautiful moon, but, I just had this feeling the Universe was telling me, GO HOME!
So, that's exactly what I did....I came straight home.
Not even being 100yrds from that rock formation, and my truck kicked up, and started running perfect, I almost flipped a bitch, and went back into the park, but, I just didn't want to chance it. I just got the feeling something did not want me there, and so, I left.
Upon getting home, I have practiced shooting at night so much around my house there wasn't anything I wanted to shoot. So, still feeling so creeped out. I decided to shoot some creepy double exposure stuff. Stuff I literally haven't shot in 20yrs when I was playing around on film. Here are a couple of those photos.
As soon as my truck kicked off, and started running right though I was already thinking I was gonna blog this, and also, as I drove, and once I was out of the park, and driving I look over, and see a German Shepard type dog just standing on the edge of the road looking at me as I go by...weird.
As I drove on towards home, the memories from my childhood experience when I was eight came flooding back to me, and how that whatever it was had to of been like 10ft tall, but then this one was so much larger, and would literally had to of been at least 15ft tall.
The shoulder span was huge as well, but the crazy thing it just looked like someone standing behind a wall looking over at me.
What's the conclusion?
I honestly don't know....I can tell you I was perfectly sober, and wasn't smoking anything.
Did I really see something?.....I don't know...all I can say is it sure felt real, it sure felt like I did.
I also just now remembered before this happened I had seen the brightest shooting star that looked so close I could have ran over, and picked it up, but it burned out about 50ft in the air before reaching the ground...but it was so close, and so bright.
I also saw a shooting star like that at my Dads, that scared the beejesus out of me, but it wasn't on the same night I saw the thing in our field.
So, I don't know...I just wanted to write this all down, so, I have it like a journal almost, and actually tell someone this time.
Just in case....in case of what? I have no idea....just in case.
Also, the first thing that popped into my mind, was the Mothman, but I looked up the Mothman as soon as I got home, and it wasn't at all what I saw.
That's if I saw anything at all.
For the record I pulled over, as soon as I got back to town, and killed my truck, and let it sit for a few minutes, and it started right up, and ran fine the rest of the way home.
Maybe I am losing it?
It's been right at 24hrs since I ran into my little friend, or big friend last night in the park. I originally only posted the link to this blog post in the Facebook PhotoJunkie Photography Group, as I have friends there I feel like I can trust, and welcomed their feedback to my story.
After reading this story group member, and Photographer, Eric Karr posted a link about the Lost Horse Mine. read here which I hadn't done any kind of research about the mine, or I knew no details about the mine. I heard of the mine, and I always have seen the road to the mine when I have went to Keys View. It's a dirt road, that has a sign that says mine access, or something to that nature.
The night I actually went and shot my Moonscapes of Keys View I was actually going to go down the dirt road on the way out, and check it out, but I had already been in the park shooting for hours, and the wind had picked up, and it was cold. I turned onto the road, and only drove a short distance before turning around, and calling it a night. It was already almost 5am. I vowed though that I would go back another night, and last night was that night but I never made it.
I also forgot to mention in my first posting, as I kinda just shrugged it off, that my camera kept changing exposure settings on its own last night when I was around the rock, where I saw whatever it was. It was very annoying at the time as I keep my camera settings dialed in, as I know what settings I need to get the look for my photos that I want. I originally thought I must have been hitting the dials on my camera moving the settings when I was hoisting my camera attached to tripod over my shoulder. Looking back now, after what happened I am not so sure.
Anyway other fellow group member, and Photographer, Kristen Urlacher, told me a story of her, and her husband vistiting, Giant Rock, which is a boulder that is 7 stories tall, and sets in the middle of a dry lake bed. It's close to Landers, CA about 15 minutes from my house...so posted this link GIANT ROCK and said she got a super eerie feeling during the day, when she visited. So, now, it's a little after 1:30am, and I am headed to Giant Rock, and maybe back out into Joshua Tree National Park.
This should be interesting.