Often a trip into the Wilderness is considered a disconnect from the hustle and bustle of urban life, to give ourselves a taste of nature to calm our nerves.
However, sometimes the mysterious wilderness has a surprise for us, often peaceful but occasionally unpleasant. Woodlands have a character of deception that can lure one into its beauty to an extent that one is left stranded without food and water for weeks to die in the woods never to be found again.
Following is a short list of some mysterious occurrences and shocking incidents that took place in the wilderness.
Keith Reinhard’s Disappearance
Living the busy life of a Sportswriter for the Daily Herald in the busy city of Chicago, Keith never exhibited any eccentric symptoms and lived a happy life. All that changed in 1988, when the 49-year-old Keith decided to have a short leave holiday for a unique trip to Silver Plume. After moving to the town, Keith Reinhard heard about the mysterious disappearance of bookshop owner Tom Young.
The locals told Reinhard that Young went to the forest with his beloved dog never to be returned again. Reinhard decided to run Young’s bookstore and started writing about Young’s disappearance. Soon after that, Young’s body was discovered along with the remains of his dog next to a gun. Police concluded that Young had committed suicide after killing his dog, but Reinhard did not buy the story.
A few weeks later he was seen leaving for the forest in the late afternoon without proper clothing and any equipment; he was never seen again. The rescue plane that went to look for Reinhard crashed, and the pilot died. Ever since these bizarre set of events, a number of speculations have risen but no conclusive link was ever developed; Reinhard’s body was never found and is still considered a missing person.
The Axeman of the Cline Falls State Park
In 1977, two friends and Yale Undergraduates Avra Goldman and Terri Jentz made a plan for a cross-country cycling trip. On July 22, the pair decided to make a stop at Cline Falls State Park which is a remote area in Oregon to camp and spend the night.
In the middle of the night, both women were suddenly awakened when a truck came rushing towards them and crashed in their tent. First, they thought it was a freak accident, however, to their shock a man quickly came out of the vehicle with a massive axe and viciously attacked the two women and left shortly after leaving the two friends badly injured. Jentz managed to run to the road despite her deep wounds and waved a car to stop, a couple came out of the car and rushed to help the injured women.
The truck returned a few minutes later only to halt briefly and then return back. Two friends were quickly rushed to the hospital, and an official inquiry was launched into the matter. Despite making a few arrests the authorities were unable to determine the motive of the attack and most importantly the culprit.
The Disappearance of Derrick Engebreston
On a cold night of December, 5, 1998 an eight-year-old boy Derrick from Bonanza, Oregon, went with his father and grandfather on a trip to Winema National Forest. Soon after they reached the heart of the forest a massive sand storm hit them; during the storm, Derrick got separated from his father and went missing in the forest.
When the storm abated, Derrick’s father looked for him but he could not fond Derrick, soon after that authorities were notified. The authorities searched the area and concluded that it could be a case of a forced abduction after finding derrick’s belongings not far from where he was last seen with his father. A local witness told the police that he saw a strange man struggling with a young boy in the forest while he passed them in his car. Despite the elaborate search in the area, Derrick was never found.
Four years later in 2002 an inmate came forward with a news that he heard another inmate – a child rapist Frank J. Milligan – bragging about abducting Derrick and later murdering him. Milligan at the time was serving a 36-year prison sentence for rape and murder of a young boy and sexually abusing another. Upon questioning Milligan revealed that he had indeed found Derrick who made it out of the woods and then later he murdered him and buried him in a secret location.
Nothing was found on the location Milligan told and without any solid evidence to connect Milligan to the murder of Derrick Engebreston he was never charged, he also recanted his confession statement; hence the disappearance of Derrick remains unsolved.
UFO Encounter at The Falcon Lake
The UFO sighting is a real phenomenon triggered by the Roosevelt UFO crash and then perpetuated by a number of TV shows especially 90’s hit The X Files. There have been thousands of reports of UFO encounters recorded all over the world.
Though it is very hard to test all the claims scientifically due to the lack of evidence but the frequency of the sightings often suggests the presence of some kind of unknown and unexplained phenomenon nevertheless. One of the most intriguing UFO encounters took place at The Falcon Lake involving a 51-year-old Polish man Stephen Michalak.
The resident of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada decided to visit the Lake on May 20, 1967, and had an experience that changed his life. He reported seeing two glowing silver objects hovering right above him, one of which flew away after a few seconds while the other landed on rock formation not from him. Michalak was curious, so he decided to approach the object, the door opened, and a bright light emerged from inside along with some muffled voices. When he tried to touch the door, it suddenly closed knocking Michalak over and putting his shirt on fire.
Soon after the object left Michalak got nauseous, and it took him more than 9 hours to get out of woods. When he reached at the hospital, he had multiple first-degree burns on his body including his abdomen that gave a sulfuric stench. After a few weeks Michalak returned to the site where the shiny object had landed, he was accompanied by some experts who tested the samples from the rock formation and found traces of radiation.
The burn marks on Michalak’s stomach stayed with Michalak for rest of his life; the incident at The Falcon Lake remains a mystery despite Michalak’s testimony and evidence of the presence of a strange non-lethal radiation in the middle of the woodland.