Robert Frost once wrote, "Whose woods these are I think I know." That's all fine and good for poets, but the rest of us usually don't know what's in the woods, which is why such an ecosystem is inherently scary.
Sure, the forest is filled with majestic trees, pine-y scents, and cute deer and squirrels - along with darkness, toxic mushrooms, and bears. And sometimes, the forest is home to things we cannot explain, like strange people who stare, or trees with unnatural objects pinned to them, such as Elmo dolls.
People on Reddit who've been emotionally scarred by creepy adventures into timberland shared tales of the frightening things they saw, heard, or felt in a forest. Frost also lyricized that "the woods are lovely, dark and deep" - these Redditors certainly emphasized the "dark and deep."
From Redditor /u/XxhungryyxX:
I was solo camping and on a hike to my favorite spot. I saw what looked like a man holding a massive rock in one hand and a knife in the other, facing me. This was pretty weird, but other bushcrafters have been known to camp there, too, so I gave the standard "Hey man!" shout and wave.
I got a bit closer, and it looked like it was just a rock. I laughed it off and turned around, staring to walk away. A rock whizzed by my right ear, fast enough and big enough to really hurt me if it hit me. I turned around to where the rock had come from, and the figure I'd seen wasn't there anymore.
From Redditor /u/Meltopher:
A bunch of Elmo dolls stapled to a tree miles from any road.
From a former Redditor:
When I was younger, we would go camping at a place called Bear Creek in [Tennessee]. The campsite we got was always the best, as my grandfather was best friends with the owner of the place where you could camp. The place backed up into nothing but miles of woods, with your nearest neighbor like two to three miles away...
[At] our campground, we had a big... creek with a bridge overhead. Well, on the third day we were there, I remember everyone being around the fire and me [wandering] off to the bridge. There on the other side were a group of black-robed people staring back at me. They just stared, no faces being shown.
One had a knife of some kind, while another motioned for me to come over with them. When they started over the bridge toward me I ran back, and my family grabbed their [side arms] and started to point at them. They calmly went back over the bridge and [we] never saw them again.
From Redditor /u/WendigoHeart:
My husband and I were hiking up a mountain in the Pacific Northwest. It's perpetually muddy due to a large number of waterfalls along the sides of the trail, so there's no way you can avoid getting at least a little dirty.
Around an hour and a half up the trail, we passed two men wearing black suits, black hats, black glasses, holding black leather briefcases, and wearing black dress shoes - completely clean dress shoes, and immaculately clean, pressed pants. Not a spot of dirt or a wrinkle on either of their clothes.
As we passed each other, one of them whispered something in German. I looked back at them and they were both standing still and looking back at us, staring. It was all so surreal.