Visions in the Fog

Cliff was finally upon the small Louisiana town of Crescent Falls that he had sought out. It was an unassuming, run down town that normally wouldn’t attract anyone. But Cliff was not just passing through, and he wasn’t your average traveler. Cliff had a penchant for seeking out urban legends and myths, and he felt he had hit the jackpot. It was such a compelling legend that Cliff had decided to drive to Louisiana from his home in Arkansas.

Cliff had gone to several so-called haunted locations, with little to show for them. He always managed to capture some odd image or sound on his camcorder, but it was nothing of any significance. Cliff hoped he would find something worthwhile this time. He had stumbled upon the legend of a bog dubbed by the locals as Suicide Bog several months ago. After further researching the topic he decided it had some credibility, enough to warrant a trip.

He had read tales of ghostly figures, eerie whispers and past deaths in the bog, which had been both hallowed and feared by the local Native Americans. The townspeople of Crescent Falls had set their eyes upon the woods for various reasons, which culminated in a horrific massacre of seven loggers in 1923. Since then, several more mysterious disappearances had been linked to the place.

Cliff was now in sight of his intended first stop, the town’s warehouse. He had already arranged to meet with a contact he had met online, who told Cliff he would get him in touch with a local man who had extensive knowledge of the bog’s history. The warehouse was as derelict as the rest of the town. Cliff parked at the warehouse, and was immediately accosted by a middle aged man standing outside the warehouse.

“Are you Cliff?” The man asked.

“Yes”, Cliff responded.

The man motioned for Cliff to follow as he entered the warehouse. Men worked as the two walked through the warehouse and up a flight of stairs to the foreman’s office. The man knocked. After a few seconds, the door opened to reveal a decrepit old man.

“Cliff, this Everett. He’ll tell you all you want to know. I have to get back to work now.” The man said as he briskly walked back into the warehouse.

Cliff took a seat as Everett lit a cigarette and sat back in his chair.

“So, you want to know about the old Suicide Bog?” Everett wheezed out. It was clear his lungs were bad.

“Yes. Please I’m very interested in this legend.” Cliff replied

“I guess you are if you drove all the way from Arkansas. And it ain’t no legend. It’s very real.” Everett responded.

Cliff merely nodded and took out his notebook, ready to jot down what Everett told him.

Everett muttered under his breath about Cliff not believing him before beginning his narrative. In between coughs, he began about the bog’s use as a place for rituals and burials by the Native Americans.

“The local Indians used the bog for rites of passage.” Everett began. “It was a spiritual place. However, eventually the tribesmen began to feel the presence of a malevolent being. They ceased to enter the bog. They felt it was no longer their place to go and left it alone.”

“What sort of being?” Cliff asked.

“I’m getting to that,” Everett said as he took a drag on his cigarette.

“Avoiding the place wasn’t enough to keep the being, who would later be known to the tribe as the Mother of the Bog, at bay. The whispers and voices could be heard. The closer you got to the bog and the foggier it was, the more powerful and compelling the voices were.”

“That must be related to the disappearances and the murders in 1923,” Cliff said as he wrote down several notes.

Everett nodded. “Yes. The voices demanded sacrifice, to be fed flesh, blood and sinew. Some were able to resist the commands, others were not. Over the years, many tribesmen under the influence of the voices and fog wandered into the bog. They were never seen again.”

Cliff eyed Everett intently as his interest in the story grew. It was all b******t, it had to be, but it still succeeded in sending a chill down his spine.

“After a few years,” Everett continued, “the tribe reached an agreement with the Mother of the Bog. They would leave their dead in the bog as long as the voices stopped luring their people to their demise. The deal worked, at least until the tribe was displaced. The settlers who moved here did not bury their dead in the bog, and the voices gradually grew stronger. There were a few disappearances here and there, but people picked up and left frequently so nothing was really thought of it. Until 1923.”

“The murders happened then.” Cliff stated.

“Yep,” Everett stated. “A group of ten loggers began working in the bog and surrounding woodlands. My grandfather was the only one of the ten to come out unscathed.”

Cliff’s interest reached new heights as he heard this.

“The ten of them were creeped out from the start. Something wasn’t right and they knew it.” Everett said. “The men spoke of their concerns, but their concerns were not heeded. It grew hard for the men to keep track of reality, but one logger in particular grew increasingly disturbed.”

“What happened? How did your grandfather manage to survive all of this?” Cliff asked as he continued to write in his notebook.

“Christopher Ross was the logger who grew disturbed. One night he began chasing a figure that only he saw. He described the figure as a hazy, otherworldly woman. Immediately after that he began speaking of ‘feeding the Mother of the Bog’. He started bloodletting every night, to the alarm of the other men. Every night, while muttering about feeding the mother, Christopher would cut the palms of his hands and watch the blood drip into a nearby stream.”

“Jesus.” Cliff stated.

“Christopher was still a reliable worker so the men neglected to do anything other than cease any interaction with him that wasn’t necessary. Christopher’s mutilation reached new heights after a few days though.” Everett said. “Just days before the massacre, Christopher cut off his ears and nose. He threw them into the stream as a sacrifice to the mother. He was about to cut off his lips as well when he was stopped by the other loggers.”

Cliff was shocked. He had not heard such a disturbing account of the place online. He was beginning to have second thoughts about visiting the bog.

“I never heard of such a graphic account.” Cliff said. “All I heard of was ghostly figures and sounds.”

“It gets worse.” Everett said grimly. “Christopher was restrained and taken back into town. He screamed angrily at them for interfering with his feeding of the mother. He was committed to a psychiatric facility. His delusions and self-harm stopped shortly after he left, but he maintained that the voices and hazy being were real. He was never released. He died in the mental hospital some twenty years later.”

“I’m guessing the murders happened next.” Cliff said.

“Yes. My grandfather was lucky. His wife-my grandmother-was pregnant with my father at the time. A day or two before the massacre, my grandfather came into town to be present when his wife gave birth. He was in town for three days. He returned to the loggers’ camp to find it a bloody mess. Seven of the loggers were horribly dismembered. None of them were completely recovered. Many of them had lost body parts that went unaccounted for. Some of the injuries were self-inflicted, others weren’t. The eighth logger, Jacob Bishop, was gone. They never found a trace of him. Some people think he killed the other seven, and others think he too was a victim. My grandfather was sure that whatever Christopher saw killed the others. He was also sure that Bishop also fell victim to the attacker.”

“My God. But wasn’t there another incident in the bog after that?” Cliff asked.

Everett nodded as he coughed several times.

Lighting a cigarette off the end of the old one, he continued. “Fifty six years ago, and thirty two years after the massacre, the daughter of the town’s sheriff disappeared in 1955. I was ten years old then, I remember it well. She had been playing near the bog when she heard the voices. At first her parents thought she had an imaginary friend, but it soon became clear something was wrong. She began acting strangely and had cuts on her arms. Before her parents could get help she wandered off, presumably into the bog.”

“I’m guessing no one saw her again.” Cliff said.

“Right.” Everett replied. “She probably met the same fate as the others who disappeared, whatever that may be. The sheriff became increasingly disturbed after she was gone. He began sitting by the stream in the bog, nearly catatonic. He would only give brief, terse answers. He believed he could hear her voice, and that she would return to him if he waited. Maybe he did hear her voice in the fog, maybe that damned thing out there is capable of that kind of manipulation,” Everett mused.

“What happened to him?” Cliff asked.

“He stopped taking care of himself. He basically stopped eating or maintaining himself. He was terribly pale and underweight by the time he killed himself. He left a note saying that the voice had told him that only by feeding the bog could he see his daughter again. He drowned himself in the stream.” Everett stated.

“His case sounds similar to one supposed ghost I read about the bog.” Cliff said.

“It is. A few people have reported such encounters. My grandfather, my father, and I all came to believe that the soul of anyone who died or was laid to rest in the bog was claimed by it. We’ve only had two disappearances since then as most people know to avoid the place. We can’t even be sure those two fell victim to the bog. On foggier nights the voices can be heard in town still. I think that thing uses the fog as its way of communicating with us.” Everett finished.

“That was quite a lot of information. Thank you for your time.” Cliff said as he went to leave.

“You aren’t going to go check out the bog now are you?” Everett asked. He had a worried look on his face.

“No.” Cliff lied.

“I’m serious Cliff. Don’t go. You’ll just be another disappearance. Mike, the man who showed you in, told me about you. The bog is way out of your league.” Everett warned.

“I won’t go. Thanks for your help.” Cliff said.

It was a lie of course. He hadn’t come all the way down just to interview one man. He was going to try to document the bog. Cliff made his way through the warehouse and out to his van. Cliff entered his van, and began going through the equipment he had brought. In addition to his camcorder, Cliff had packed a field recorder to capture sounds, a flashlight, a GPS, and a large pack of batteries. He had a mattress in the back of the van so he could sleep without paying for lodging.

Ignoring any hesitation that still remained, Cliff drove out to the road nearest to the bog. It wasn’t a long drive, and he had already looked up the route. The road was worn and in need of work, with the wilderness slowly but surely reclaiming the space. In a few minutes, the roadside was more spacious as Cliff came upon a clear area with a clear entry point to the bog. Just up ahead was a small bridge, which passed over a slow moving stream. After taking in his surroundings, Cliff entered the tree line and made his way into the wilderness. Tonight, he would simply set up his sound recording equipment as a sort of reconnaissance in hopes of recording the alleged whispers. Tomorrow, he would actually explore the bog at night.

Apart from the occasional bird, the bog was deathly silent. The vegetation was thick and impassible in many places. Many of trees, old and overgrown with other plants, hung eerily low. Cliff could hear the stream still, but he could not see it from where he was at. After walking for about thirty minutes, Cliff came upon some wetlands. Deciding this was a good place, Cliff went about setting up his recording gear and went back to his van. It was almost dark by now, so Cliff decided to settle down on the mattress in his van.

It was very quiet and peaceful as Cliff laid on the mattress, nearly asleep. He was about to drift off when he heard a voice. He was unable to understand a single word, but it sounded as if a heated conversation was taking place in the woods mere feet from his van. As he strained to listen, he could barely make out the words “among us” and “mother.” Suddenly, more voices from the other direction could be heard. These voices were much more calm but still unintelligible. Growing increasingly unnerved, Cliff realized these voices sounded as if they were right outside his van. Unsure of what to do, Cliff laid there in a sweat, hoping the voices would go away.

To his relief, the voices eventually subsided. However, Cliff could still hear voices in the distance every so often as he struggled to sleep. Cliff rose early and wasted no time fetching his recording equipment. He couldn’t help but think he was being watched as he ventured into the bog and retrieved his equipment.

Listening to the recordings, it was initially nothing more than typical wilderness sounds. That began to change as voices, harsh and menacing, could be heard with increasing intensity. Much of it was unintelligible whispering, but it was without a doubt highly discomforting.

Cliff thought about calling quits. This was more than enough to call it a successful trip. However, Cliff wanted more. He wanted to physically explore the bog at night. Cliff spent the hours idly waiting until the sun began to set. He set out into the bog with his camcorder, GPS, flashlight, and batteries. The bog was even more surreal and creepy at night, with the dying trees and thick vegetation casting menacing shadows. As nightfall came, Cliff noticed fog appearing at his feet. Worried he may trip, he began walking much more carefully.

The first hour or so was uneventful, although unnerving. As Cliff stepped over a fallen tree, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye.

“Snap out of it.” Cliff told himself. His eyes were playing tricks. They had to be.

The sound of the stream was getting stronger. Cliff decided to approach it, to see what sights the stream could offer. Keeping his camcorder up, he managed to get through a thick patch of brush. Cliff stopped dead in his tracks. Up ahead in the distance was a dark, hazy humanoid figure. Cliff’s heart skipped a beat, but just as quickly as he saw it, it disappeared.

“Come on Cliff, get a grip on yourself.” Cliff muttered.

Cliff was really starting to get freaked out. Every shadow made him do a double take. He mistook objects such as stumps for people. As if he wasn’t scared enough already, he could swear the whispers were back. All around him, low to ground, Cliff could hear garbled voices of varying volume. However, every time Cliff shined his light or otherwise checked where the voices should be coming from, he found nothing.
Every rational though in Cliff’s head was telling him to go back, but he wanted to capture more on camera first. As he continued to make his way towards the stream, he tripped on a root hidden by the fog. Cliff found himself face to face with a withered, anorexic corpse. Cliff flailed and screamed. As he got up though, the corpse was gone.

Cliff was rattled. As he hurriedly walked from the spot he had tripped, the path began to open considerably. In a few seconds he was upon the stream, as well as the most frightening sight of his life.

Just feet away from him, at the bank of the stream, sat a man. He didn’t seem to notice Cliff. The man was terribly pale and emaciated. He was balding, with just a few strands of hair on his scalp. Cliff trained his camcorder on him for a few seconds before backing away. As he backed away, the man whirled around. The man’s face was as emaciated as the rest of his body, with two sunken black orbs for eyes.

Cliff froze, paralyzed with fear as the man stood up. For several tense seconds, the man eyed him intently. Then he took a step toward Cliff. And another. And another. Cliff’s mind screamed at him to run but he was frozen in place, unable to move.

Without warning, the man cried out and lunged at Cliff. Reacting instinctively, Cliff raised his arms to defend himself. He caught both of the man’s arms.

“Please help! My daughter’s missing you have to help me! Make it stop!” The man wailed.

Utterly terrified, Cliff pushed with all his might, sending the ghostly man tumbling onto his back. The man cried out as he landed.

Finally finding his leg muscles, Cliff sprinted back the way he came, expecting the man to chase him. The man didn’t seem to follow but Cliff nonetheless sprinted, determined to escape this nightmare of a place and never come back. Cliff was frightfully aware that the whispers were becoming louder and more agitated. To his fear, he realized the fog was rising, and with it the voices were rising.

The fog was almost up to his waist now. Cliff had no choice but to press on, making his way back to the van as quickly as possible. Cliff stopped. In his path was another ghostly figure. This one paid no attention to him, passing right by him. It was still more than enough to send a shiver down his spine.

The fog was rising rapidly, it was up to his chest now. The whispers were becoming stronger as he began to run back to his van more desperately than before. As Cliff continued running, he stopped to catch his breath.

Almost instantly, the voices were louder and clearer than ever. As the voices assaulted him, the black hazy figure from before appeared in front of him. Cliff could see it much more clearly this time.

The figure was about seven feet tall and all black with the exception of its glowing red eyes.

“WH-what are you? What do you want?” Cliff stammered.

After eyeing him silently for a few seconds, the being spoke in a deep, thunderous voice.

“I am the Mother of the Bog. I want you to join me my child. Feed me and join the rest of my children.” The being boomed.

“No!” Cliff shouted.

The being extended an arm towards him, causing Cliff to run. This had to be a hallucination from the fog, Cliff thought. In a few seconds, he realized it wasn’t. The being was nowhere to be seen, but Cliff had run away and had gotten himself spun around.

As he looked around to get his bearings, he saw multiple figures. They were all around him, circling him. They were walking slowly, like a shark circling its prey in the ocean. He shined his light on them, revealing dozens if not hundreds of them. They all looked alike: Their faces ashen and their eyes sunken, emaciated with pale, waxy skin showing nearly every bone. Cliff screamed, and broke into a run. The beings shrieked in unison, shattering Cliff’s ears as he ran, the beings hot on his tail.

Worse, the fog was nearly nose level now. As Cliff ran, he inadvertently inhaled some of the fog.

“Stay here. Don’t be afraid. This is where you belong.” Said a voice in Cliff’s head.

“No!” Cliff shouted as the thought left his head.

He could hear the mob of beings chasing him; he didn’t dare look back.

The fog was still rising. He had to get out before the fog claimed and made him want to stay. He had to climb a tree. It was the only way. Hopefully he could wait it out until daylight and hopefully these fuckers can’t climb, Cliff thought to himself.

Cliff began climbing the first tree he could reach. He went up one branch. Then another. Then another. Suddenly, he felt a vice like grip grab his ankle. One of them had gotten him!

Cliff almost fell into the horde of monsters, but was able to wrap both arms around a strong branch. He cried in pain as nails from the hand dug into his skin, drawing blood. The fog was still rising. Cliff had no idea what time it was, he had to hope these things would vanish when the sun came up, if he could last that long.

Cliff looked down. The things had swarmed the tree. They were staring up at him ravenously. If he lost his grip he was a goner for sure.

The fog was almost at Cliff’s nose again. Cliff held his breath. The fog would drive him insane. He couldn’t breathe in it.

A minute passed. Cliff took a breath. He had to. His mind was immediately flooded.

“Don’t fight it Cliff. This is your home. This is where you belong.” The voice said.

“No! My home is in Arkansas!” Cliff screamed.

“I am your mother Cliff. I love all of my children. Stay with me and accept my love.” The voice boomed.

The voice was reassuring. He started to loosen his grip, only to immediately come to his senses and tighten his grip.

“You’re not my mother!” Cliff shouted.
He had to fight the urges. He couldn’t give in. He had to hold on until sunrise.

He held on for dear life. He could see the sun peaking over the horizon.

This place didn’t seem so bad. Surely there were reasons to accept this family, Cliff thought to himself.

“No! Snap out of it! The fog is getting to you! Just hold on a little longer.” Cliff told himself.

But the mother is so welcoming, Cliff thought. He had nothing but a lonely life back in Arkansas. He should join his new family.

“Yes. Yes. This is my home.” Cliff said to himself. He let go. He immediately screamed as he realized what he had done.

However, Cliff didn’t fall into the hands of a pack of demons. He fell onto the ground with a thud. The sun had risen enough to drive the things away. He laid there, sighing in relief.

As he laid there, relieved, something wasn’t right. To his horror, Cliff realized a cloud had covered the sun.

Cliff broke into a sprint as the beings reappeared, chasing him.

He tore through the brush and wilderness with vigor. He could see the clearing. He was almost at the van!
Cliff felt a hand brush against his back, but it didn’t succeed in grabbing him. Cliff burst through the tree line. He tripped but to his shock, the beings didn’t follow. He looked. They stood behind the trees, staring at him with angry snarls. It occurred to Cliff that they most likely couldn’t leave the bog. Not wasting any time, Cliff got into his van and drove back into town.

Needless to say, this was the last expedition Cliff ever undertook. He showed the footage to Everett, who called him a complete fool. Cliff posted his footage online, but it was ultimately dismissed as a hoax by many, much to his chagrin. Cliff just hoped his investigation wouldn’t inspire other people to seek out the bog.

Credit: Aaron C