I can see the goose-bumps raise the hairs on his arms, Carlos swallows before blurting out, “Them eyes along the road, they… they follow you!”
I’m rather used to my interviewees taking pleasure in building their story up from the ground before getting to the good part. Carlos was different though, he was sure that nature itself was out to get him – as he described himself, he was “a born’n’bred city boy, no shame in it.”
He explained that his father had left his family when he was too young to remember it, and his mother had the insurmountable task of raising him and his four siblings alone in the Detroit slums. Carlos was the youngest of the five children, and when he graduated from high school (he was only the second of his siblings to do so) he moved out of his mother’s home to start his own life. This freed his mother from the burden of dependent children and she soon started to date again.
Carlos’ mother, after dating for several years, announced to the family that she was remarrying. Her widower fiancé was a retiring factory manager, and after their quaint wedding they sold his Detroit home and moved to his second home outside of Barton City – a 4 hour drive from Detroit. The happily married couple invited their children up to the house for Christmas that same year.
“Driving in Michigan in winter ain’t never great,” Carlos said with a frown, “Once ya turn off I-75 it gets worse til about Field of Dreams airport – then the trees get thick, like a roof above ya. Snow ain’t so bad, then.”
Carlos, by this point in his life has been married and already divorced, but he has his daughter with him on this first visit to his mother’s new home for Christmas. His daughter is four and happily chattering away in the backseat, oblivious to her father’s frustration at driving through strange new places in the snow. It was the first time Carlos, in his 27 years had ever left the city.
“First I wondered what kinda’ animal it was,” Carlos described, goose-bumps prickling his flesh once more, “I called my daughter to look out the window and see if she could tell me.”
He left Barton City for the last stretch to his mother’s new home, which he guessed to be another 30 minutes outside of the tiny town. He had just become aware that the tiny country road was lonesome and dark when he saw the first one dart across the road in front of him, just beyond his headlights’ beam.
“Roger – that’s my mother’s new husband – said to watch out for deers and the like, but these didn’t seem like no deers,” Carlos swallowed again, “I know I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout nature, but the reflection of the eyes was more like a cat’s than a deer’s. Was too short for deers, too.”
Carlos slowed the car so he wouldn’t hit what he supposed must be deer, though he had the distinct impression they were not deer. As his car wound its way deeper and deeper into the forest he began to notice the occasional reflection of eyes in the woods off to either side of his car, even ahead of the car once in a while. As these glimpses came more often Carlos noticed that if he looked to either side he could see eyes reflecting light back at him, following him along the road in the woods.
“I drove fast as I thought safe with my girl in the car. She never showed no fear, don’t think she knew I was ‘fraid,” Carlos pauses and licks his lips, “I was goin’ maybe forty and them eyes… them damned eyes was followin’!”
I asked him if he was sure they were following him or if the forest was just full of curious nocturnal creatures. He didn’t even crack a smile, but responded, “Curious… sure. Followin’ me for sure, too. I could look to my left and see the same pair of eyes for a few seconds before the trees got to thick to see ‘em. But they be right back when the trees thinned up some.”
Carlos wasn’t sure how many of the unknown and wickedly fast creatures were following him, but he guessed maybe five or six. The always kept out of direct light, though they seemed to be able to move faster than Carlos was driving, as he’d spot a pair of eyes or two cross the road ahead of him from time to time.
Carlos began to get the feeling he was being toyed with and his nerves were on edge when he finally spotted the first sign of relief: a bright puddle in the road ahead, cast by a street light marking the driveway of someone’s home. It was a brief respite, but passing through that light was the end of the eyes following him. Soon enough he passed through another puddle of street light, and another, and finally he came to the address of his mother’s new home, also marked with a street lamp.
“It was only ‘bout 8:30 when we got there, but winter time and the woods made it dark as midnight when we got there,” Carlos explained, “If my mom and Roger didn’t come out the house to greet us at the car I swear I woulda’ just honked the horn til they came, I was scared bad.”
Carlos hugged his mom and Roger, and hurried everyone inside the warm and Christmas bedecked house, carrying his sleepy 4 year old daughter. Once inside and settled in front of a warm and glowing hearth, Carlos begged the shades to be drawn before asking Roger about the wildlife in the woods.
Roger didn’t seem to think that deer were so brave, nor so fast as to follow the car as Carlos described. He mentioned that moose, elk, deer, foxes, and even wolves filled the woods. Carlos thought it might have been wolves, but Roger laughed at him and said wolves don’t chase cars like dogs. After a brief description of the size of wolves, Carlos didn’t think it was wolves, either. Too small.
“I didn’t think she was payin’ no attention,” Carlos says soberly, “But right then my daughter popped in with, ‘Werewolves chased the car, daddy!’ I was like, ‘Don’t you say werewolves, girl!’ My girl’s a good baby, but she mouthed right off then, ‘But I saw them, daddy! They laughed at us!’ I didn’t know what to say to her. Roger said he was going to drive down and see if he could find tracks or somethin’, wanted me to come with, but that wasn’t gonna’ happen!”
Roger came back half an hour later, shaking his head. He didn’t find any tracks of anything crossing the road except for Carlos’ car. Before Carlos could open his mouth to voice his confusion, Roger admitted to having seen the same thing. Half a dozen pairs of eyes followed him back towards the houses, but disappeared at the first street light. The family was scared, and Roger called the Sheriff.
A patrol car arrived an hour later, reporting no sightings of anything but a dead deer on the side of the road, hit by a plow they assumed. They told Roger and Carlos to take it easy on the Eggnog and Rum and have a Merry Christmas before heading back out towards town.
“That’s the only time I ever saw them things, “Carlos finished, “Mom and Roger still live there, but I make sure when I visit I aint’ on the roads after dark no more.”
What did Roger and Carlos see in the remote woods of Michigan? What animal in the American woods can run fast enough to keep up with a moving car, and surpass it in speed while navigating uneven terrain and trees? Are these simply large wolves with a recovering population or something more sinister? Could they be as Carlos’ daughter claims, werewolves? Perhaps these creatures are simply another form of the mythical Bigfoot that seems to be spotted in remote areas and forests across the world? One way or another, Carlos’ story gave me goose bumps to match his own as he told it. What do you think Carlos saw?
Next Week’s Everyday Paranormal Experiences, Interview #7: “Schoolhouse of Horrors?”
On the Article Series:
I myself am a huge skeptic of all things paranormal or extra-terrestrial and I tend to take most tales of either with a huge grain of salt – sometimes even an entire salt shaker, depending on the tale that’s being weaved. I have even had a couple ghostly and otherworldly experiences myself, which I may relate in later stories – and I’m skeptical of those! Is what I experienced the truth of the experience or is there an empirical explanation that I simply have not yet unlocked? Regardless of my skeptical nature, ghost stories and alien encounters have always fascinated me as they have all of humanity for thousands of years.
It is this fascination that I wish to convey in a unique and different paranormal or alien experience every week – Thursday, to be exact. I will be conducting interviews with everyday people to hear their stories and relate them back to you, the Paranoid Gamers. Perhaps I’ll be interviewing some of you, as well.
Do you have an experience of a haunted item, place, or person? Have you been visited by aliens or heretofore undocumented intelligent life – terrestrial or extra so? If you’d like to share your experience and possibly have your tale published in this series of articles, please contact me and we can relive your experience.