I was 8 years old when we moved into that house by the forest. At the time, my parents had doubts about buying a house with a forest in the backyard. They were worried that wild animals might go through the garbage or hurt our dogs. Most of all they were worried that we would get lost in the forest. But the price of the house was very attractive compared to other alternatives.
My father liked quiet places. My mother complained about the location of the house, but she was happy to have a home of her own after so many years. I was not complaining at all, enjoying playing in the large backyard with my siblings.
The first sign that something was wrong was when we realized that our dogs were afraid of the woods. They wouldn’t go into the woods at all. Even when my father threw their favorite toys into the woods, they refused to bring them back. They were very unhappy being in the backyard. Sometimes we would notice the dogs staring at a spot in the woods, sometimes growling and barking, but we could not see anything there.
In the evenings, sometimes sitting in the backyard, we would hear someone(?) walking in the woods, branches and leaves crunching under his feet. When we shouted into the woods, there was no response. It was only when we shone a flashlight into the woods that we would see a human-like figure wandering in the darkness. That’s why my parents forbade us to go into the forest after dark. Even during the day we were not allowed to go out without them.
My sister’s bedroom window overlooked the backyard and the forest that grew behind it. One night, when she looked out of her window, she said she saw someone just at the edge of the backyard. “But there was a problem. The man’s feet seemed to be hovering in the air, not on the ground. He was too tall to be human, and his body was crooked,” she said. And she swore that the man was looking right at her.
My father went to the backyard to find out who the man was. Meanwhile, my sister continued to watch him through the window. As soon as my father shone the flashlight into our backyard, my sister said that the man suddenly disappeared.
After that incident, my sisters and I were afraid to go out in the backyard. Occasionally at night we would hear a knock on the back door. When we opened the door, no one was there. Even though my parents told us that it was the neighborhood youth playing a joke on us, I guessed that they explained it that way so that we wouldn’t be scared.
One night there was a knock on the back door of our house. It was raining heavily outside that night. My mother opened the door, thinking that someone might be outside seeking shelter from the storm. But there was no one at the door and no wet footprints on the porch. The knocking happened often during the time we lived there. Sometimes weeks, sometimes months would pass and then it would start again. My parents finally installed a security camera at the door. But after that the knocking stopped.
I can’t say the camera didn’t help us at all. My brother started sleepwalking about 3 months after we started living there. When he started walking in his sleep, he would always go out the back door and start walking towards the forest. My mother, who was a light sleeper, would hear the door open and run out to get my brother before he went into the woods.
After the 3rd or 4th time, my brother asked to see the camera footage. Because he wanted to see what he looked like when he was sleepwalking. Maybe he thought it would be funny. In the footage, we saw him go out on the porch, then pause as if he was listening to something, shake his head, then walk forward reluctantly as if he was being pulled by something. We were all very moved by this.
One evening my father was drinking his coffee in the backyard. He heard my sister calling to him from the forest. Thinking that my sister had been exploring in the forest and had fallen and hurt herself, my father ran into the forest and started calling her. Since it was dark, he told my sister that he would get his flashlight and come back. When he ran home to get the flashlight, he saw my sister sitting inside.
At that time, my father did not tell us about the incident when he heard my sister’s voice in the woods. So when I was playing outside with the dogs one evening months later and I heard my mother calling me from the woods, I went into the woods without questioning her. My mother told me that “her sweater was caught in the branches and she wanted me to come over and help her.”
Our dogs must have barked as I walked, alerting my father, who went outside and called out to me. When I told my father that I was going to help my mother, he told me that my mother was at home and that I should run into the house.
After this incident, my family built a fence around the backyard and started looking for a new house. In the time between the fence being built and us moving in, the situation got worse. We would hear rattling, as if someone was walking around the house and trying to open every window. We would often hear scratching on the fence and noises coming from beyond.
My brother’s sleepwalking also became more frequent. One night when my brother was sleepwalking, my mother didn’t hear the gate open. My brother was awakened from his sleep by the dogs yelling at the fence. On the last morning we spent there, we saw that the back door was wide open. The security camera footage showed that the door had opened by itself.
Since we moved out of that house, my brother’s sleepwalking has stopped, but he still says that he can’t sleep well at night, that he wakes up with a sudden fear. He called me a couple of nights ago and after a little chat he told me that if we hadn’t left that last night, maybe the thing in the woods would have killed us. And maybe it was… Maybe it wasn’t. But I still get nervous when I go into the woods.