"The only joy in the world is to begin...." Cesare Pavese

"The only joy in the world is to begin...." Cesare Pavese

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Stranger U.S. True Paranormal Stories from the United States

Stranger U.S. True Paranormal Stories from the United States 

Book four of the Stranger Bridgerland Book Series By John E Olsen (2020)

For the last three years my late-summer tradition has been to read the latest book by John Olsen.

My Stranger Bridgerland review is here.

Beyond Stranger Bridgerland, here.

Stranger West, here.

John's uniqueness is that his books only contain stories that he has found for himself via email, personal interviews, and site visits. Another appealing fact is that most of his stories (including those about his own youth) happen in the "Bridgerland" region of the Western US.

* * *

USS Lexington Ghost 

A girl scout troop spends a night in the bowels of the Lexington.

....I opened my eyes, and there was a thick feeling of dread in the room. The feeling hung in the air like a thick fog. The smell was so horrible I could taste it in my mouth. Suddenly there was a wall of energy in the room. It was passing through the compartment from one side to the other like a heavy curtain. As it passed through, I felt it move slowly through my body.  It started at my head and slowly moved through my torso and down through my toes. It's like I was being dipped head first in fear! I lay frozen in my bunk, unable to move anything but my eyes and head. Since I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, I listened intently....

Drowning Ghosts 

Two friends in Montana go snorkelling in a lake.

....I had been in the water for a while and made my way about 200 yards up the shore, I stopped and looked for Zac but couldn't see him. The sun had just gone down, and it was getting a little darker. I knew I didn't have more than 15 more minutes before I had to head back. I ducked back underwater when some movement caught my eye. Many times, you would see fish up close because they aren't afraid of you in the water, and I thought that is what I saw, however as I looked, I realized it was a large shadow just past where I could see. The lake is clear, and visibility is excellent, but at dusk, the light can play a trick on you. I stared in the direction of the movement, and I could see a large dark mass slowly coming my way. I came up to see if I could understand better from the surface, but I couldn't see anything. I went back now under to look, and the black mass had soon come close enough to see. There about 15 feet from me was the body of a woman....

Babysitting Bigfoot 

A young woman in rural Wyoming babysits, gets her charges to bed.

....I turned on the back-porch light and looked around through the window of the door, but I couldn't see anything. Just then heard heavy steps and the wood creek as something stepped on to the front porch. I turned off the light and made sure the door was locked. At this point, I still wasn't too afraid. Living out in Wyoming, you get used to all kinds of animals coming round your house at night, and I thought at worst it was a bear snooping around. I walked to the front room, and I could see the silhouette of an enormous creature standing on the porch through the big front window....

Time Traveling Dog 

A charming animal story. A girl in southeast Idaho loses her dog while on a family outing to gather firewood. It disappears, seemingly into thin air.

....Five years later, I was 15, and I again had to go help get wood for the winter. I had avoided it for most years because going into the mountains made me so sad.  But this year, my Dad had told me to suck it up because he needed my help.

     ....I turned around and looked up the road, and I could see a dog walking down towards the truck. Confused, I walked up to the truck. As the dog walked around the front of the truck with its tail wagging, I almost passed out. The dog looked just like I remembered Sammy. The dog bounced and wagged its tail as if it knew me. I looked more closely and realized the dog had the white S on its chest just like Sammy too.

     ....In shock, I called out, and she came running over. It was Sammy! But it couldn't be! Confused, I got down on her level and looked her over. She looked like I remembered, and I thought I must be dreaming. She was so happy to see me. I looked at her collar and saw her tag.  It was just as I remembered; her name and my name and address on it, and it was still brand new! I hugged her so tight and started crying....

UFO on Shasta 

A friend of mine at work, sober and serious, offered to show me snapshots of his Nothern California vacation. He pointed to a couple and half-joking said he thought they showed sealed "doorways" of flat rock on slopes of a trail.

     ....As I slowed down, the light came up on my left.  It was at this point I realized it wasn't a car at all. It was a craft floating above the road. It looked metallic, but it was also glowing bright! It was just bigger than my bug and staying right next to me, hovering above the roadway. I was mesmerized by the object. As I approached the next corner, the craft jetted up over my car and turned towards Mount Shasta. It got just above the trees, and then in a flash, it shot up and out of sight. I stopped and stared in disbelief! After a few minutes, I gained my senses and got back on the road.

Pawapicts - Water Baby 

A couple's disturbing experience camping in northern Utah.

...."I'm going to see what it is. Do you want to come or stay here alone?"

     When he put it that way, I decided to go. I slipped on my boots and grabbed a jacket. We exited the tent, but my husband didn't turn on the flashlight. There was enough light from the stars and moon to see where we were walking. We slowly continued down the path and towards the sound. It sounded just like a baby crying, but in my mind knew there was no way this was a baby.

    I hung on to Jon's arm as we made our way around a corner where we could see what was causing the sound. As we made our way through the brush, it cleared to and opening. Right in front of us was a bunch of rocks half in and out of the water. Sitting on one of the rocks was a creature. I could just make out the outline and some dark features. It was about the size of a 4-year-old child. It had arms and hands like a child, but its skin was dark green. It had scraggly black hair covering its head. I couldn't make out any facial features because it was too dark....


A young woman recounts her grandmother's encounter.

     ....When she was around 12, she was out searching for the sheep at dusk, and an older woman emerged from nowhere. My Grandmother said the old woman asked her to help her home, but Grandma had a bad feeling about the woman, so she turned to go home. When she turned, the Bruja screamed and jumped at her. Grandma narrowly escaped because of her dog, who came to her rescue and bit the Bruja. When the Bruja screamed and kicked at the dog, grandma escaped.  On my last trip, grandma told me she had seen the same Bruja come to her door and knock. When grandma answered, she saw it was the Bruja from when she was 12. Grandma slammed the door, and she said the old woman cackled and screamed well into the night as grandma sat and prayed. The Bruja finally left, but my Grandmother wouldn't let me out of her sight....

Cabin Nightmare 


     ....The evening started with dinner and continued with a lovely discussion by the fireplace. We were planning out everything we wanted to do the next day.  All at once, Trina put her hand on my arm to silence me. Surprised, I stopped talking and listened carefully. I could hear the boards on the front porch creaking as if someone was walking on the front porch towards the door.

     I jumped up, grabbed the flashlight, and walked towards the door. As I faced the door, I could hear heavy boots moving from the right side of the porch towards the front door. I looked over at Trina; she was sitting on the old couch with her knees held to her chest; her eyes were as wide as saucers. I held up a hand, then put a finger to my lips to motion for her to keep quiet. I grabbed the doorknob with one hand and held the flashlight in the other. As the footsteps reached the door, I swung the door open and shined the light on the porch....

From Bad to Worse 

Salt Lake City

     When the medium arrived, she walked around the first floor and then went upstairs.  She stopped right in front of the extra bedroom. She turned around, quickly walked downstairs, out to the front step, and vomited over the side of the porch. She was shaking and pale as Ted and I walked her back into the kitchen.

Missing House 


     This missing house bothered me, so I gave my brother a call. I asked him what he remembered about the house. He told me we used to play in it before it got bought by the Nelsons. His next sentence made me even more confused. He said they tore the old home down to build a new one. I questioned him more, but he thought I was making it up. I told him I remembered it differently.  They didn't tear it down; they remodeled the old home into a beautiful house.  I reminded him that we had been in the remodeled home many times over the years.

Night of the Comet 

Logan Canyon, Utah

     I stood mesmerized by the ball of light as it made its way down the hill. I hadn't noticed when Clay stopped taking pictures.  He was standing next to me, also staring at the bright light. We watched as it got closer and closer to us. 

     Suddenly Clay's voice broke the silence. "We need to go now!" he said.

UFO over Wyoming 

Rock Springs, Wyoming

     My head had barely hit my pillow, and I was completely out. I was in a deep sleep when something rattled me awake.  I cleared my eyes, and It took a few moments to understand where I was. The inside of the truck was too bright to see. I tried to look out the window, but the same blinding light was there also. There was a humming sound, so deep I could feel in my chest, and the light was so bright I couldn't open my eyes completely. After a few moments of confusion suddenly, the light was off, and my truck was silent. I rubbed my eyes and got out of the truck.

Monster Wolf 

Black Hills of South Dakota

     We made camp around 5:00 pm and took a walk. We came across a shrine in the woods just to the west of camp. It had some old clothes tied in a bundle, some small animal bones, and an old knife with a bone handle. All the objects seemed to be old and worn down from the weather. As we stood looking over the objects, my husband bent down to grab the knife, and I stopped him. Just as he reached for it, I had the worst feeling of anxiety and fear come over me.  I couldn't explain it, but it felt like this feeling was somehow attached to the objects and the area. Alex told me I was overreacting, but I finally talked him into leaving it and heading back to camp. Even at camp, it took me an hour or more to get the creepy feeling from crawling up and down my spine.

Not My Cousin 2 

     ....I yelled furiously up the stairs, "Jill, we needed to LEAVE!"

     A disturbing laugher filled the air. At that moment, apprehension turned to terror, that was not her laugh.  I quickly turned on my heels and ran down the hallway.

     I ran out of the building and down the street.  I didn't stop running until I made it home, out of breath. I was still confused and scared when I got to my front door. I opened the door and stepped in.  The first thing I did was call out to my grandma."Grandma!" Then I froze in shock, my cousin Jill was sitting at the counter with a bowl of cereal....

     I'm not sure how many people out there followed too far and now aren't around to tell their story.

Green Canyon Ghost 

Cache Valley in Northern Utah

     I woke up in the middle of the night to a mumbling voice. At first, I laughed because I thought it was Jill talking in her sleep, but as I listened more closely, I could hear it was a deep male voice. I opened my eyes and rolled over to look at Jill. To my surprise, there was a dark figure in the corner of the large tent. The shadow loomed over Jill muttering indistinctively in a deep growling voice. All at once, it stopped and turned towards me. The dark shadow changed before my eyes; it turned from a dark shadow to a tall older man with dark, dirty pants, a brown shirt with big suspenders. I was in disbelief as he stepped over Jill and just came right up to my face. I could see his filthy face and long beard as he bent down to my level. I had a scream stuck in the back of my throat, and my body shook with fear as he screamed, "GET OFF MY CAMP!"

Missing Time 


     One minute I remember watching TV, and the next, I'm coming to my senses standing in the snow outside the house looking at the window from the back yard. I was shocked at my sudden location change.  I went from my warm and comfortable basement to the harsh cold yard in the snow at night. As I was standing there in shock, I also realized I was now down to just my boxers.

The Little Old Man 


     The little old man was all skin and bones and had wisps of gray hair on his mostly bald head. He looked dead, and I thought for a second, I was looking at a dead body. When I gasped out loud, he opened his eyes and looked at me. His clothes were old and shabby, and he had big bare feet that were black with dirt. When he looked up at me, his eyes were deep green that almost seemed to glow from behind his gray skin. He had a thin, ragged beard that framed his gaunt, pale white face.

The Hatchet Head 

Northern Utah

     I was just about to turn on the hall light for a better look when a figure stepped out from behind the door. I could see he was in buckskin pants and no shirt, and he had long tousled hair and a band on his arm. I was staring at a Native American! My breath caught in my throat, and I reached behind me, fumbling for the switch to flip on the hallway light. I looked back up as the light illuminated the hall, and he was gone, and all the sounds had stopped. I grabbed a bat from my room and walked down the hall.

A Vision of the Past


     I set up and started watching the hills for movement. It had been an hour, and I had seen a few doe and fawn but not much else. It was beginning to get late, and the sun was about to disappear behind the hill when some movement, just below me, caught my eye. About 100 yards to the left of me, in a patch of trees, I saw a horse coming out of the brush, and I cursed under my breath. I thought at first, that it was a fellow hunter.  He was going to scare all the deer away from the hill I was watching. As I looked more closely, I realized this was no ordinary horse. It was a painted horse, and its rider was a Native American, he was not wearing a shirt, and he had on buckskins and was riding bareback.


This is the most disturbing experience by far in Stranger US. A couple plan to spend three days on a hike in the Wind River.

     At noon we stopped for some water, a little bite to eat, and then we packed up and got ready to go again. It was at this point I had a creepy feeling sweep over me. I didn't want to tell Jill about it, but as we started walking, she turned to me and said, "Can you feel that?"

     I nodded and said, "It's a creepy feeling, isn't it?"

     I looked around but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. I did notice that all the normal sounds of the forest had stopped. I couldn't hear the birds or bugs, not even a breeze. As we kept hiking, I noticed some movement to my left in the trees about 50 yards off. Whenever I stopped to see what it was, it would also stop moving in the brush line. Jill had noticed it as well, and she stayed very close to me as we hiked. As we went on, I could see that it was two to three distinct "things" following us in the woods, but I couldn't pick out much other than a flash now and again. After about an hour of this, we stopped to get a drink and talk it over. We were standing in the shade and trying to decide what it was that was following us when Jill's face went white.

     Jill pointed over my shoulder, and I turned, there about 50 yards behind me was a man standing to look at us. My best explanation of him as he looked like a tall thin-looking Amish man....


The Apartment 

Charleston, South Carolina

     ....One night after getting home from work, I had just finished dinner and was sitting in the recliner chair when something caught my attention. As I watched TV once in a while, I would catch a glimpse of some movement in the kitchen. It looked like someone was peeking at me from behind the wall just inside the kitchen. As I would turn to look at the movement, it would duck back inside the kitchen. I got up and walked to the kitchen and found that nothing was there. I looked around and couldn't see what would have caused the movement. I went back to the chair and continued to watch TV. After a few minutes, the movement was back. Without looking directly at it, I tried to use my peripheral vision to see what it was. It seemed to be an older man, older with a little hair around the side of his head. He kept poking his head around the corner, watching me but staying very concealed.

I Skipped in Time 

Jefferson City, Missouri.

     I told my mother, "Ok.  I better get going." and walked down the hall and into the bathroom to grab my bag when suddenly I was in my car on the road driving. I quickly pulled to the side of the road and tried to come to my senses. I tried to remember what had happened between picking up my bag and where I was now. Looking at the scenery, I could see that I was 20 minutes from my house and only 10 min or so from work. But, I looked at my watch, and it said 8:51. I'd grabbed my bag only 1 minute ago…but I was 2/3 of the say to work?

The Stranger 


     A young man stood before me wearing a dark coat that went all the way to the ground. He wore dark pants and an off-white shirt underneath. He had short dark hair and pale skin. When I looked up to his eyes, adrenaline rushed through me, and fear froze in my throat. The young man's eyes were a pale blue-grey color that I had never seen before.  He stood very still and had a calm smile on his face. He lifted his left hand and pointed at me with his thumb index finger and middle finger raised.

Haunted Hotel 

Ben Lomond Hotel in Ogden, Utah.

     As I entered the main elevator, the first thing I noticed was that it had mirrors on both sides of the walls. It gave the illusion you were standing in a hallway that never ended with infinite images of yourself. As the doors closed, it was odd to see endless reflections of myself standing waiting there to get off the elevator. I pushed the button that would take me to the lobby and patiently waited. Halfway down, some movement to the right caught my attention.

     I looked again at my many reflections, but this time I noticed that one of the mirror images was different from the rest.  Three mirror images back, a man in a trench coat was standing next to me. I blinked a couple of times to try and clear up my confusion.  Then I focused on the reflected images again.  He wasn't in all of the mirror images, just the THIRD one.  He stood right next to me, and it appeared as though he was also waiting patiently to exit the elevator....


Cache Valley in Northern Utah.

     We sat for about an hour waiting for anyone to drive by, but the chances of help were slim at that time of night, and especially on that remote road. Out of options, we tried to decide whether we would walk back to the cabin or stay the night in the truck. After a bit of debate, my husband, who was in much better shape than me, said he would hike back to the cabin and get someone to drive back down to get me.

     My husband took the only flashlight we had and headed back up the road. I sat in the dark truck for quite a few minutes when I spotted some movement in the sagebrush on the front left of the road about 20 yards from me. I figured it was just some animals, and I sat quietly, starting to get a little nervous.

     I knew the wilderness, and I knew I was nowhere near anybody. Any animal that could hurt me couldn't get in the truck, but there was this feeling of fear I didn't quite understand. I chalked it up to being left alone in the dark, but the anxiety just kept getting worse. It wasn't a full moon, but I could see out through the sagebrush flats that surrounded me, and I could see movement all around me....

A Strange Occurrence


      There was a hallway with restrooms nearby.  I watched as she waddled down this hallway only to disappear out of sight. After about 5 seconds, I thought to myself, "OK, my son should be coming behind her…any time now…". So, I waited a couple more seconds, and when he didn't appear, I commented to my daughter how I was getting very alarmed. She said she hadn't seen her at all didn't seem to be too concerned about the situation.

     I was getting anxious, so I got up from the table and walked to the hallway.  I looked up and down to the very end, and I couldn't see my granddaughter at all! Now I was both alarmed and confused. I couldn't imagine that my son would have left her this long without supervision.  I got up and started looking around the mall for him. When I couldn't find him, I went back to the food court to see if they had returned.  They were still out looking around....

* * *

Whether or not these tales relate something that "really happened" or not, their direct style and brevity, their plain-spoken yet uncanny power, are effortless and very appealing.


24 August 2020


My only criticism of the book is that it needs a couple more passes by a proofreader.

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