We had the good fortune to be invited to an early sneak peek into the Haunted Forest in our home town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. M and I jumped at the chance and planned on heading into those cursed woods early in the day. As fate would have it, those plans did not work out and we found ourselves heading into the woods LATE in the day...when the sun was low in the sky and the shadows lay long on the ground. We were told that we would be met by a couple of guides and they would leave the gates open for us.
When we arrived, the Huge Metal Gates did stand open but when we tried to enter into Raven Manor itself, we found it locked tight with a sign saying, "closed for funeral" hanging on the door. The clear sounds of a woman crying could be heard coming from within. While it was odd, we decided to skirt around the sprawling manor and head deeper into the woods.
I am sure you have all heard about all these creepy clowns lurking in the woods all over the eastern part of the US. There were already rumors around town that clowns had been seen coming and going all throughout the woods here. I was glad we were still walking in the light of day when we came upon the first signs of a clown presence.
The old stories always spoke of a lost group of traveling circus folk that had the bad luck to stay overnight in the Haunted Forest...and never come out.
These bizarre signs all over the first "shack" we encountered would tell the tale of some kind of freak show.
No doubt about it. There were clowns here in the forest. This must be where they hid out during their late night roaming.
Someone or something had taken great lengths to turn the delightful into the demented.
The bones looked fresh..as in there were still wisps of hair and flesh clinging to them.
There was a smell in the air...of death and the dying....and strangely enough...cotton candy.
The once majestic and fun filled ride had been painstakingly converted into a twisted mockery of it's former self. M and I were both thankful it was still daylight out and moved on deeper into the clown's domain deep in the woods.
As we entered the clown tent, things only became worse. The smell of burning hair, baby powder, and caramel corn was thick in the air. The whole place was covered in dolls...I use the term "dolls" very loosely here. The dolls were morbidly deformed, burned, scratched, even mutilated in some form or another. Some of them talked in broken recorded doll voices, some stared blankly at us with dead doll eyes...all of them left us with a feeling of dread.
While taking this picture, I swear her head turned to look away!
I can only describe this as the nursery from hell. Some of these dolls looked really life like...I hoped I was wrong.
Some twisted freak had been attempting to feed this doll. The really horrible thing is, it looks like she had been eating!
Tiny voices whispering for us to play with them....feed them....carry them....it was just too much to deal with!
It was apparent that clowns had been all over this area...thankfully we did not see any. Since the light was quickly fading, we headed out quickly to find out guides so we could get out of this hellish maze.
Whatever dark curse that hovers over this forest, it is constantly changing the landscape. You will never walk the same path twice in this wicked woods. We found ourselves completely lost in the forest with no clue to an exit, or our missing guides. Soon we stumbled upon a new structure.
When I call it new, I mean I had never seen it. The structure itself clearly had been here for a very, very long time. I was not very fond of it's signage at all. I never did understand if this was a place that corpses ate...or a place where you could eat corpses...either way...not on my list of top 10 places to eat in Big Stone Gap. We kept hearing the most unnerving sound of pigs...hogs if you would, eating and squealing...very unsettling.
We soon found our guides. At least, I think they were our guides. They would not talk to us...just grunting and....oinking... and beckoning for us to enter the "cafe".
They were wearing the heads of pigs, like masks....at least I hoped they were!
With the possibility of clowns following us from behind, we did as instructed and entered the cafe.
I do not think I will be seeing any awards for cleanliness here. The "chicken pot pie" was fresh at least...the chicken feet were still moving.
our guides offered us several items to try. We both declined to eat anything after M found a finger in her water.
The cook never spoke to us...just kept stirring her pot of stew as she occasionally threw pieces of meat in it. I couldn't help but notice one particularly large chunk of meat had a tattoo on it.
When it was apparent that neither M or myself were going to order, the guides escorted us through the back deeper into the woods. We soon came upon a stock yard. The animal pens were all empty but signs of animals were everywhere.
Our guides became extemely excited once we entered the stockyards.... they kept us moving past the bloody pens to the slaughter house.
Inside the slaughter house it was freezing cold. We could see our breath as our guides threw a heavy chain on the door behind us....I assume it was to keep clowns out...but it could have been to keep us in. Even in the bitter cold we could still smell the coppery sweet smell of blood and meat in the air.
We discovered this poor soul chained to the wall to slowly bleed out. It was part goat for sure...what the other parts of it were, we can only image but it stood on two very human like legs.
Our worst fears were realized upon seeing the variety of meats being butchered. Pigs, cows, horses, and goats were thrown in with the human arms and legs.
At this point, I question whether these were our guides or not. They became very sullen and serious as we roamed through the freezer. With the icy fog inside, I could barely keep up with them, hiding in the background...waiting and watching.
The meats of man mingled with that of beasts....
No amount of baking soda can freshen this fridge!
Not sure exactly what was in this trash can...but some of it was trying to desperately crawl out.
Again one of our guides offered me a "snack" again I refused.
It was at this point we realized we had overstayed our welcome...we made a mad dash for the back door. As luck would have it, the door was not chained shut and we made it out just as we heard the sound of chainsaws and the horrible squeal of pigs!
After running down the hillside for what seemed like 20 minutes, the sound of chainsaws and angry pigs had drifted away into nothing. We were thankful to be out of the Haunted Forest and headed to the safety of the college.
As the last glimmers of daylight slipped away into the sky, the unmistakable sound of a merry-go-round and the giggles of clowns could clearly be heard coming from the forest! I am not sure I will return this year....or ever!
A look at last years Haunted Forest!