I will be traveling next week. Unfortunately, it will be down to my mom’s funeral. But I will have the pleasure of my daughter’s company as we drive from the Atlanta area down to the Orlando area. So, in honor of a road trip, I thought it would be “interesting” to investigate paranormal occurrences at rest stops.
This first story is from Reddit:
“I was driving across the country with my mom and sister when I was 16, and my sister was 20. It was late, but we were well-rested and alert. We were driving along an interstate and needed gas and a bathroom break, so we stopped at the only rest stop in 200 miles. There was a van full of teenagers on a road trip at the gas station and a small grey car parked at the pump in front of us with two young men standing still outside of it.
When we got there, everything felt wrong. We’d been on the road for days, seen many rest stops at night and had never been afraid until then. My mom and sister went inside, and I stayed in the car. I heard the teenagers say they were creeped out and couldn’t get the pump to work, and they left in a hurry. I watched the car in front of us, and the two men had not moved. Not an inch. They weren’t talking. They weren’t on phones. They were just standing there, still as stone.
My sister and mom came running back out to the car, and when they got in, the two men slowly turned to look at us while not moving or pivoting the rest of their bodies, and I swear, we all saw the same thing – they had eyes dark as pitch and empty. Truly empty. Not black, not reflecting any light at all, just a void.
We sped out of there and didn’t stop until we were in the next city. The worst thing about the entire experience? We couldn’t find the place on any map. We knew exactly which spot on the interstate to look, and we couldn’t find it on Google maps or any paper map we had. We even asked locals about the creepy gas station out on that stretch of road and got only confused looks. We’ve traveled on that interstate since, and there is no rest stop.”
Here’s another Reddit story from the “No Sleep” forum:
“Hey, nosleep. I wanted to take the time to describe a terrifying experience I recently had during my travels for work. To this day, logic still defies the events that transpired, and they have haunted me ever since. I am still afraid to stop my car at highway rest areas to this very day.
I recently landed a position in sales with a very solid company in the medical device industry. Being in my mid-twenties, I am thrilled to work for such an innovative company. The money is great, the job is fun, and they even gave me a company vehicle. That’s a great perk. The only downside to the job is that my sales territory is quite expansive and covers several states, and because of budget constraints, they expect me to drive to most of my customers. I could not complain, however. Not many people my age get these kinds of opportunities.
I finished my workday at a hospital in central Pennsylvania when I received a phone call from a clinic in western New York that wanted to place a buy for my products, but before they could do so, they wanted a product demo. Not wanting to lose the opportunity, I agreed to be there by 9 AM. My GPS showed the trip to be 5 hours if I took a highway that cut through the Allegheny Forest. Since it was now 5PM, I figured I could make the drive now since I had a bag packed with extra scrubs, toiletries, and product manuals from my current trip. I headed to a gas station, filled my SUV, purchased some snacks and two energy drinks, and hopped on the single-lane highway north towards New York State.
It was the middle of November and quite cold, with the sun setting early and giving way to darkness in the late afternoon. By the time I started my drive, it was already dark. Thick clouds were obscuring the moonlight. A wall of trees surrounded my vehicle on both sides, making it seem that I was driving my SUV through a tunnel of wood and darkness. The headlights from my vehicle illuminating the staggered white lines separating the lanes of the highway were the only source of light. The drive definitely took on an ominous feel. I thought nothing of it as I slugged back my energy drinks and listened to some comedy podcasts to pass the time.
When I was about two hours into my drive, the inevitable happened when one has had large amounts of caffeine and a belly full of gas station snacks. I had to find a restroom, which I was ok with since I wanted to get out of the car and stretch my legs anyway. I had passed a small town about 15 minutes back, and I knew I would need to find another one and pull off the highway or see if there was a rest stop anywhere ahead. Almost as if fate had heard me beckoning, I saw a sign that said, “Rest area 2 miles.”
“This is my lucky night,” I thought as I realized that I would not have to resort to relieving myself in the middle of the woods on a dark and creepy night.
I came upon the rest area, which was right off the side of the highway. It was nothing like the rest areas one is used to encountering on major highways. There were no restaurants or vending machines. There was a single, lonely picnic table, a garbage can on a patch of grass, and two separate brick buildings with brown metal roofs. A single overhead street lamp barely illuminated my oasis as it was flickering on and off, probably from neglect, considering how remote this place was and how little use it was getting.
The building to the left housed the ladies’ restrooms, while the one to my right housed the men’s restrooms. I placed my car in park in one of the ten available spots in front of the buildings and grabbed my phone to keep me entertained while I took care of business. As I walked on the narrow concrete walkway towards the restrooms, I caught a glimpse of something in the woods behind the rest area. It was still quite dark outside, and the overhead light provided too little illumination to discern what I was looking at. All I could see at that distance was an obscure black shape shifting through the thick trees. It could have simply been my eyes playing tricks on me since I had spent the better part of the day either in a brightly lit operating room or driving down a pitch-black highway. I shrugged my shoulders and made my way into the men’s room.
There were three stalls at the far end of the restroom, flanking three urinals. Two flimsy overhead lights with exposed bulbs were the only sources of light. One of the panels had a bulb completely out, and the other was flickering sporadically, making the entire room looks like it was lit by strobe lights in a nightclub.
“Just perfect,” I thought. “I’m stuck in the world’s creepiest bathroom and can barely see anything.”
I decided not to make a big deal about it; I’d be back on the road shortly. I took the stall in the middle. I had no reason why; I’d just randomly selected it. I sat down and nearly jumped back up from how cold the seat was. This was becoming quite an annoyance. I had no idea at that moment, but things were about to get a lot worse.
As I was in the midst of doing my business, the lights went out. Of all the times that this pathetic, single tubular bulb could have called it quits, it had to do so when I was using a restroom in one of the most isolated spots in the state.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I groaned out loud. At this point, the light from my phone was the only source of light cutting through the shroud of darkness that crept over the entire room. It was only then that I realized how quiet it had been this entire time. Aside from the sound of the slight breeze outside hitting the building, it was dead silent. I sat there silently, playing games on my phone when I first heard it.
At first, it sounded like a faint shuffling sound – the obscure noise of someone, or something, making its way toward the restroom entrance. I found this rather odd because I would have heard another vehicle pull up since the parking lot was right across from the two buildings. The shuffling then became more discernible; it was footsteps. Slow, trudging footsteps were making their way into the restroom. By how loud they were, whoever or whatever this was had entered the room. As the footsteps continued, I noticed that they were making a slapping sound against the tile floor. It was as if this person, or thing, was barefoot. The footsteps became heavier and louder, and I noticed they were moving toward the stalls. I locked my phone screen and sat there frozen with fear.
My heart was pounding out of my chest, and sweat started to creep across my brow despite the chill in the air. By this point, along with the heavy, slapping footsteps, I heard the breathing. This thing’s breathing was too otherworldly to be human. It took long, heavy, animal-like breaths and exhaled in a way that resembled an asthmatic with a faint whistle at the end. I had never heard such a thing. By this point, my bowels were completely voided from fear, and I was grateful that I had been sitting on a toilet because I would have gone in my pants had I not been.
This foreboding presence continued to trudge towards me until I heard its heavy breaths outside the stall door. In the pitch-black restroom, I could hear this thing breathing a mere few feet away, now certain that it was aware of my presence. My heart continued to pound as I heard it shuffle outside the stall. I had never felt so helpless in my life. I was trapped here at the mercy of this creature.
After what I imagine was several minutes, the breathing quieted down some. I had pulled my feet up and squatted on the toilet in fear of this thing seeing me. I knew that it was still there, but for whatever reason, call it curiosity or perhaps a fear-induced lack of judgment, I took out my phone, flicked up the flashlight app, and pointed it at the floor underneath the stall door entrance. I nearly dropped my phone in horror at what I saw.
Two massive feet were pointed straight at me. They were unbelievably large – too large to be human. Their tops were covered with matted brown and grey hair, while the toes were a pale purplish flesh with long, ragged, and yellow toenails. I barely had time to notice the grotesque feet of this creature when it took notice of the light and let out a monstrous growl that shattered the silence of the pitch-black room. It sounded like a growl that came straight from hell. It was a primal, guttural, inhuman voice. The noise was deafening. My terror had completely overtaken me as I fell onto the floor and prepared to meet my doom at the hands of this beast. I closed my eyes and heard it pound on the door, cracking noises indicating that it was getting closer on every strike to breaking the stall open and getting its probably equally grotesque hands on me.
Just when I thought that I was a dead man, the monster quieted down and ceased its assault on the stall door. I opened my eyes. I was still alive – for now. Then, I heard another familiar sound from the other side of the room – those heavy, slapping footsteps.
“Jesus Christ, there are two of them,” I thought as terror pierced every muscle in my body as I lay limp on the floor.
I heard the second set of footsteps grow closer.
As I prepared to meet my fate, where I’d no doubt be torn in half by two forest beasts, the faceoff happened. Both creatures began to growl at each other back and forth as if locked in some sort of display of alpha male aggression. After several exchanges, they made their move. I heard flesh hitting flesh and bodies slamming up against the walls. I flicked my flashlight app back on and pointed it toward the noise as I looked from under the stall.
The two creatures were locked in a life-and-death melee. They were growling inhumanly as they pushed each other back and forth, blood spilling onto the floor from what I imagined was them clawing and biting each other in this life-and-death struggle. As their battle continued, one began to back away from the men’s room entrance, and the other followed in a frantic sprint. I still heard their inhuman growls as their battle continued outside until their voices trailed off into a barely audible drone in the woods.
As terrified as I was, I got to my feet and exited the stall. I pointed the light from my phone against the floor. Dark red blood and tufts of grayish-brown fur were all over the floor. It looked like someone field-dressed an animal carcass in here. The stench was unbearable. It smelled like the inside of an animal cage at the zoo. What the hell were these things? I was not going to stick around and find out.
I sprinted back to my car, entered, slammed the door shut, and peeled out of the parking lot like I was in a street race against death. My truck tires screeched as I careened out of the entrance and back onto the highway. I was covered in sweat and hyperventilating, having narrowly escaped a horrible death at the hands of some primal beasts from a forgotten era.
I sped the rest of the way to my destination in New York. I arrived and checked into a hotel. I sat at the bar and downed several scotches before even dropping my bags in the room. My rattled nerves settled down eventually, and I made my way to my room.
I lay on the bed sleepless, sure of two things: I was not taking that route back home, and I was never stopping at a rest stop ever again.”
So…let’s just say, I don’t think I’ll be stopping at any rest stops on our way to Florida.