22 Dec The Thing Eating Tourists in Bear Mountain State Park is NOT a Bear- CreepyPasta
“I’m here about the bear,” I told the woman in the ranger station.
She didn’t react, her eyes not even leaving the computer monitor she was working at. I was about to ask again, a bit louder, when she slowly turned her swivel chair in my direction.
She looked at me for the first time.
“You’re here about the bear?” she asked, looking unconvinced.
“Yeah,” I said, “I’m press.”
She perked up at that, sitting straight and nodding like it was something she’d been expecting. Her demeanor became distinctly more professional.
“You’re late,” she said, “just wait there, they’ll be with you in a second.”
I’m going to be honest, I work for one of those spooky tabloid sites. The name of it is something along the lines of The Dark Herald, and my work mostly involves driving long distances in a shitty car to interview lunatics who claim to have seen the mothman. Provided those lunatics have at least a tangential relationship to the New York City Metropolitan area.
I was sure that no one from my publication had called ahead, but I wasn’t above profiting from a misunderstanding.
So I sat down in one of the cracked plastic chairs and waited. The walls of the waiting room were covered in posters. A colorful one told me what to do if I encountered a black bear, another advertised Hessian Lake as the place where Franklin Delano Roosevelt got polio*,* another had a picture of a man in a baseball cap who’d been missing for three months.
I found the reason I was here smiling out at me from a sheet of freshly printed computer paper. A young woman, Mary Santorelli, had vanished without a trace only a few weeks back. There had reportedly been a tagged bear in the area where she had been last seen. So I was meant to drive out, take some videos, and ask questions exploring the bear-attack angle.
It wasn’t a distinctly supernatural occurrence, but for a killer bear The Herald was apparently willing to bend genres.
I didn’t wait long before the door creaked open and two park rangers walked out, a man and a woman in matching uniforms, with wide-brimmed hats and forest green backpacks. When they saw me, their faces lit up and I felt a little bad. They probably thought I was from The Times or something. They were definitely going to be disappointed.
“Welcome to Bear Mountain,” the man said, “I’m Luke-”
“And I’m Amy,” the woman finished. They laughed, stupid grins on both of their faces. I shook their hands.
“Tom Mills,” I introduced myself, trying not to volunteer any unnecessary information.
Amy gave me an assessing look, “Oh hun,” she said, “that’s not gonna be nearly warm enough once it gets dark out there.”
I looked down at my jeans and light coat and had to agree. In my defense, I had previously had no plans to be ‘out there’ at all, especially not after it had gotten dark. I honestly just walked in to ask a couple questions.
“Sorry,” I said, trying to come up with an excuse that wouldn’t show my hand, but fell back on silence.
“It’s no problem,” Luke said, still smiling, “we have plenty of extra gear you can go ahead and borrow. Just wait right there.”
He disappeared into the back again and Amy started gathering up a stack of papers from the desk.
I took the time to get some footage of the walls. I’d taken establishing shots of the station before coming inside and the backdrop of missing persons flyers would be great B-roll. My eyes trailed across the posters again, coming to rest on the face of Mary Santorelli.
“Sad, huh?” Amy said, catching my gaze, “I don’t know how much I buy into this bear attack business.” She said bear attack like it was as unlikely as an alien abduction, which was funny for a ranger who worked on Bear Mountain.
“A lot of folks just get lost out here. They come from the city thinking they don’t need to know anything about the woods, and then, well, they find out they were wrong.”
The callous way she said it made me wonder if Amy wasn’t the one attacking tourists. I asked her if she would mind repeating the statement on camera, she didn’t. My editor was going to love this.
Luke returned shortly with a coat that looked suspiciously like something he’d found in the lost-and-found.
“This should do it,” he said.
“Thanks,” I said, “I hope it isn’t too much of a-”
“It’s no problem,” he cut me off, joking “just make sure you get my good side.”
They were being very nice and it was making me uncomfortable. I had more than enough for what I came for and this was my last chance to come clean without the deception being obviously intentional, “you guy’s know I’m from The Dark Herald, right?”
They looked at me, then at each other, “the what?” Amy asked as Luke said, “I thought you were from the Post.”
I shook my head trying to seem more apologetic than guilty.
“Oh,” he frowned and glanced at the clock, “the reporter from the Post was supposed to be here hours ago.” He didn’t seem angry, more let down. Amy patted his shoulder.
“It’s fine. You’ve gone this long without your 15 minutes, you’ll survive a little more waiting,” she said.
“I wanted to frame the story and give it to my grams,” he lamented, “but I bet they don’t even do print.”
“We can definitely do a print version of this story,” I said, trying to be helpful, “it doesn’t get much circulation, but if you want, we could make you front page.” The print-news department of The Dark Herald was basically just one ancient printing press and a formatter named Gary, I was pretty sure he’d oblige.
Luke was doubtful, “really?”
“Yeah,” I said, “I can even write something up.” I grabbed a pen and a piece of notebook paper from the desk and wrote out:
All rights to the story of the bear attacks in bear mountain park are contingent on a picture of Luke-
“What’s your last name?” I asked.
“Jamison,” Luke said.
-are contingent on a picture of Luke Jamison and Amy-
“No, I don’t want my picture on there,” Amy interrupted.
-a picture of Luke Jamison and Amy being featured on the front cover of the print addition.
“Good?” I asked.
He read over the words again carefully, and nodded.
I wrote ‘on behalf of The Dark Herald’ and signed my name at the bottom before handing the paper to Luke.
He wrote ‘on behalf of Luke Jamison’ and signed his own name. I figured that would work.
We were out in the car before I realized I had no idea where we were going, I informed them of this.
“We’re going to get the bear,” Amy said.
I must have looked as shocked as I felt because she laughed, “don’t worry. One of the traps was triggered up near where the attacks supposedly happened, but Teddy’s GPS tag is acting wacky so it’s probably not even him we caught.”
“Teddy?” I asked.
“It’s what she named the killer bear,” Luke explained.
“You know how rare fatal black black attacks are,” she said to him, “there have been way more disappearances this year than normal, you really think Teddy’s killed over half a dozen people? There’s definitely something else going on.”
Luke was silent at that, and it sunk in that I had very abruptly become part of a bear hunt, I made sure to keep the camera rolling.
“What do you think it could be?” I asked Amy.
She glanced back from the passenger side, “Now I can’t be sure,” she said, looking into the camera seriously, “but I think the evidence points to a serial killer.”
“No way,” Luke scoffed, “they would have found something by now if someone was up here killing people.”
Amy glared, “oh yeah, because it’s much more reasonable to believe that they’ve all been devoured by bears.”
“How many people have gone missing?” I asked.
“Ten people, just this year,” she said, “the most anyone’s ever heard of.”
I felt a pit in my stomach, that was a lot of people. “And they haven’t found anything?”
She shook her head, “Teddy must be damn hungry if he isn’t even leaving clothes behind.”
The rest of the drive passed in relative silence, down a narrow road that wound through the forest like it had been drawn by a six-year-old’s crayon.
They explained that while the trap wasn’t even ten miles out, getting their truck there was a hassle. I didn’t mind the drive, I got some shots of the trees out the window. It was getting late in the day and the way the shadows played across the truck was almost sinister.
We were driving slow on something that could barely be called a road at all when the vehicle jerked and started wobbling.
Luke cursed, it felt like we’d just gotten a flat.
He was trying to pull off the road when we saw it.
Tangled in the plants a couple yards ahead of us was something I can only describe as a metal scrap heap, pieces of it were scattered across the road, one of them had probably been the thing to pop our tire.
“Holy shit,” Luke said. He stopped the car, jumping out to get a better look. I followed with the camera.
“What was it?” I asked. Whatever it was, it looked like it had been crushed like tin-foil.
“It’s the bear trap,” Luke said, “but it looks like whatever got caught in it wanted out real bad.”
I was surprised, “can bears normally break out of bear traps?”
He hesitated, “it’s not unheard of,” he said.
“For polar bears!” Amy exclaimed, “no way a black bear could have done a thing like this. No way.”
I started getting close-ups of the wreckage. It was incredible, in some places the solid metal sheets were squashed, torn apart like tissue paper.
“Oh, so what? Did we catch a serial killer that can go hulk and break out of bear cages?”
I noticed something about the curvature of the metal. It looked like it had been punched in.
“Guys,” I said, “I don’t think anything broke out of the cage,” it was hard to see in the dimming light and tall grass, but the ground around it was coated in something black, “I think something got Teddy.”
They stopped fighting to look at me like I was crazy-
but then something moved.
I can’t describe the sound exactly, or maybe it wasn’t even a sound, but a vibration in the ground.
The instinctual sense that something very large and alive was nearby. We all froze, going silent.
Maybe it was because they were park rangers and I had some experience with the supernatural, but nobody screamed, no one cried out in disbelief, we all just cowered. Our eyes snapping in the direction of the thing and back at each other with the animalistic dread of prey.
We were ballet dancers, silently prancing backwards on the balls of our feet. Gracefully, moving as if our fear made the air syrupy thick.
We made it to the truck. My hand was about to land on the door handle when Luke unlached his own.
The thing in the woods noticed.
I couldn’t see it, not really, but as it stalked the forest around us I could make out its size. Lither than a bear, but several times larger.
The dance ended. The thing came at us just as Luke started the engine.
There was definitely screaming then.
Metal crunched as the tailgate was ripped clear off of the truck.
“Go faster!” Amy cried.
Luke cursed, “the tire’s fucking flat! I go any faster, this thing stops going at all!”
“You go any slower, we’re all dead!” She yelled. She was messing around on her phone, I assume trying to get reception.
“The cab isn’t going to keep that thing out,” I said, “how far can we make it?”
I couldn’t see where it was, but I knew it wasn’t gone. Amy was taking deep breaths, “not far enough to be useful,” she said, “there’s a turn right here, it’ll take us to Doodletown-”
“Doodletown,” I repeated, she had to be joking.
“-it’s just some old foundations but-” she cut off, her voice almost a sob, “but I can’t think of anything else. There’s reception there. We can call for help.”
Luke was very focused on driving the crippled truck, but declared “we can make it to Doodletown,” like his willpower alone could keep the tire spinning. He made a hard left, I assume towards Doodletown.
Ahead of us the forest exploded. The creature dove from the cover of the trees, impossibly fast. Landing hard enough that I could feel its weight.
If we had continued straight, it would have been on top of us. I caught a glimpse of slick black fur and coiled legs as it slunk back into the trees.
We all screamed again, plunging down the dirt road.
I don’t know how much time passed before we blew past the Doodletown sign, leaving a trail of chaos and the smell of burning rubber.
I saw it moving.
“Stop!” I screamed, lunging forward and grabbing the wheel. Luke hit the breaks and my panicked twisting of the wheel somehow led the back to drift forward.
The creature sunk its claws in, appearing from nowhere and tearing the truck apart in a rage. I was weightless, pitched through the air, seatbelt still attached, like some kind of morbid carnival ride.
I landed almost ten feet away and barely registered how bad I’d fucked up my arm. I’d like to say that I ran back to help the others, or that I even considered doing so, but at this point something else took over, something inside me that didn’t care about anything other than survival.
I bolted into the foundation graveyard that I guess made up Doodletown. I tripped through the overgrown stone buildings, listening for the sound of the creature behind me, trying desperately to find somewhere to hide.
I found it behind a Warning: Structurally Unsound sign at the opening of an old stone basement. I dove down the steps, only then realizing I should call for help.
I took out my phone and realized the problem. I was in a basement.
Then I thought about Amy and Luke for the first time, and god did I feel like a piece of shit. I needed to do something, I needed to see if they were still alive.
Creeping back up the stairs, I stuck my head out past the sign and I saw something horrible.
Amy was about twenty yards off, something sticking out of her side. She was sitting against an old crumbling wall and the creature was on the other side. I could hear the wet sounds of ripping flesh. It was eating.
She wouldn’t last long. Hell, I probably wouldn’t either, but I had reception. I called 9-11, but I don’t know what they said because I muted the call.
“Doodletown,” I whispered as I crept away from the basement, “send help to Doodletown,” I unmuted it for just a second to make sure there was a person on the line.
“Sir? Can you hear me,” the voice said and I muted it again, “I’m Tom Mills, I’m in Doodletown in Bear mountain park with a park ranger named Amy and- and Luke Jamison. He’s dead.”
I didn’t try to listen to a response, I hung up the phone and threw it as far as I could manage, hoping that my otterbox was fucking worth it.
I crept towards Amy. She was still sitting against the wall, her face bloodless and her eyes glazed over. There was an empty look on her face as she listened to it tear pieces out of her partner.
The thing sticking out of her side was a long piece of metal shrapnel. When she saw me she opened her mouth, like she was going to say something but she cut off when I frantically held a finger to my lips, she seemed to pale even further.
As quietly as I could, I whispered, “can I borrow your phone.”
She looked at me like she could barely process the request, but then nodded to the pocket of her jacket.
“I need you to get ready to move,” I said.
“I- I can’t-” she gasped, looking at her legs.
“I’ll help, but you need to move,” I said. She nodded, a hard look in her eye.
I dialed my number, and from across the foundations the iphone opening ringtone blared out, seeming as loud as a foghorn.
The creature froze. Bloody maw snapping shut, unable to completely hide the rows of its jagged teeth. It turned toward the ringing phone, slinking off to investigate.
I hoisted Amy’s arm around my shoulder and together we hobbled towards the basement. Halfway there, almost-
The thing roared, an awful and strangely high-pitched noise, and when I looked towards it, I met its eye.
It came at us then, its almost ferret-like body no longer keeping up the pretense of stalking prey, this was an outright attack.
“Go, go, go, go,” I chanted at the ridiculously slow Amy, Jesus, how was she so fucking slow.
We got into the basement just as the creature reached us.
Its claws came in first, grasping at us and clattering together like bones.
It retracted, then began to ram its body through the opening. Again and again, the building began to rumble with the sound of shifting stone.
I thought that was it, I was about to die in a hole in the ground, in a place called Doodletown. I would never find proof of the Jersey Devil. I would never see Mothman.
The building collapsed. The last thing I remember was the look on Amy’s face, then darkness.
I came to to the sound of frantic yelling and flashing lights. I was dazed, something was lifting me from beneath the stones. I was on a stretcher.
I glanced back towards the basement and saw it was completely destroyed.
“Someone else,” I said to the floating heads above me, “Amy.” They seemed to understand.
The next time I woke up it was to the steady beat of a heart monitor. Still a little panicked, I tried to sit up, which started off a louder alarm that made me a little more panicked.
A nurse rushed in, saying stuff in her nice nurse voice, and eventually I calmed down enough to ask what the hell was going on. You have to understand that it took some time for all these memories to come back. At first it was just flashes of primal terror and falling rocks.
“You were in an accident,” she explained.
The way the night was explained to me went like this:
I went out in a truck and somehow, the driver lost control of the vehicle. Then I took shelter in a basement to await help, only to become trapped and sustain a traumatic brain injury when a minor localized earthquake caused the structure to collapse.
“What?” I said.
The nurse shrugged, upped my drugs and left.
The next time I woke up, Amy was there. She was sitting in a wheelchair looking terrible. When she saw that I was awake, she wheeled towards me.
“You need to tell them what happened!” She yelled, too loud. “They think I’m crazy, you need to tell them about the monster!”
I was stunned, too high to comprehend exactly what she was saying. At this point, her yelling attracted the attention of a nurse who, when she walked in on Amy waving a hand in my face and snapping, promptly wheeled her out of the room. I didn’t see Amy again, not for a long time.
When I called my work, they were more disappointed that I lost my camera than worried about my absence and hospitalization, “just hurry back,” they said, “some guy in Great Kills saw a kraken.”
The memories returned slowly, but all I can say is this: Whatever got those tourists, it wasn’t natural, and with the amount of Cryptid sightings that have been rolling into our newsroom, maybe now isn’t a great time to go camping.