Friday the 13th, Ouija boards, and a haunted night hike to remember.

In Honor of Friday the 13th this post is deliberately creepy. Also, 100% true.

Every Friday the 13th I make it a point to do something that scares me, or has the potential to scare me. Last year it was several haunted hikes. I got a Ouija board, a friend who were equally as crazy as me, and researched the most haunted places in California. After some digging, I found an old Indian burial site (200 years ago a small village was massacred by the Spanish and buried there) called Black Star Canyon that is supposedly one of the most reported paranormal activity sites in the United States, and the scene of many urban legends. We drove a couple hours into the sticks of Orange County and got there around 1am. The last part of the drive was all through isolated mountain roads, pitch black and cavernous, with massive trees on both sides of us. The deeper into the mountains we got, the more unsettled we both got.

Let me tell you a little more about Blackstar Canyon's weird happenings for a moment. People have been found murdered there, this is confirmed from police reports (though that could have more to do with unsavory locals than paranormal). In the 1970's a school bus that was traveling the mountain road lost control and went off a cliff, killing the driver, teacher, and all the students on board. People reported hearing screams and crying coming from the wreckage debris, it was removed in summer of last year (2012). There have been multiple reports of people seeing shadowy, hooded figures on the trail. There is also a homeless man said to live within the canyon and attack hikers for "trespassing". Cults are frequently known to congregate in the canyon at night and perform rituals and animal sacrifices, many reasons people are advised not to go at night.

So, of course we went at night. We wanted to be scared. We pulled up to the parking "lot" (more like parking dirt road) in front of the ominous looking signs at the trail head. There was one other car there, and another pulled up while we were getting the ouija board out of the car and taking shots of liquid courage. The people in the cars acted kind of weird though, as the inside lights were on but no one moved or got out the entire time we were messing around with the board. This was actually my first time playing with a Ouija board, and I had bought a glow-in-the-dark one especially for this haunted Friday the 13th excursion.

We set it on the ground, put our fingertips on the glass and I asked:

"Is there anybody out there?" ..... Nothing.

I tried again.

"Is there anybody out here, that can see us right now?" .

The glass shot over to the "yes".

I thought (from movies, admittedly) that it was supposed to move slowly. I immediately snatched my hand back and accused my friend of moving the glass. He swore that he didn't. I quickly put my hand back on the glass, remembering that if you use the board you are supposed to do a quick ritual of saying goodbye. From the manual: "Failure to close the Ouija board session by saying ‘goodbye’ may result in the contacted entity remaining present long after you have finished playing. Doing could result in the spirit escaping from the board, allowing it to terrorize you and the other players indefinitely."

So yeah, we said goodbye. We kept accusing each other of moving the glass as I packed up the Ouija board and stuck it in my backpack to take with us. We walked up to the entrance and beamed our flashlights toward the signs. I do have to say they are some of the least welcoming entrance signs to a trail I have ever seen. Here they are:

One of the groups got out of their car, went to the signs, stared at them for a long time, and then got back in their car and left. We decided to stick with the plan, and in we went.

The trail was eerie. The remains of burned down trees (or lightning struck trees) left jagged shadows on one side of the trail. We walked silently, alert, listening for anything strange...looking for creepy things. After about an hour of walking the trail uneventfully the trail got a bit more narrow, a sudden gust of wind blew over the canyon, and we decided to try the Ouija board again. We sat on the side of the trail and I dug the board out and set it up on the ground. We put our fingertips on the glass.

"Is anybody out there?" .... nothing.

"Can anyone see us?".... nada.

"Are you still watching us?".....absolutely nothing happened.

Now that we weren't walking we were starting to get cold. We packed up the board and continued to walk the trail. Then we heard something weird. Footsteps, hushed voices. We turned around and were surprised to see....more people. Out of nowhere, behind us on the trail a HUGE group of 20-30 people walked up. We figured they were also there to be spooked on Friday the 13th, cool. We stepped to the side to let them pass, and one of the guys broke off and walked menacingly up to my friend, staring him down.

"What's up?" my friend asked.

No response.

More staring, about an inch away from his face. The guy put his hands in his pockets, then wordlessly turned around and left.

Ohhhkay. I guess that was a signal we weren't welcome there. We shrugged it off and blazed some more as the group continued down the trail. Then started the long walk back to the car in the pitch darkness.

Happy Friday the 13th, people.

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