Don’t get caught without your camping flashlight — or you’re sunk.
About 40 years ago,
A group was camping at an old campground near here, telling stories around the campfire.
When the coals settled, it was time for bed. There was one 10-year-old girl in the group who was so tired, she didn’t get ready for bed—she just climbed into her sleeping bag and conked out.
But the other campers went to the old Pit Toilet first, brushing their teeth at the water spigot nearby, before turning in for the night. They returned to find the girl sound asleep.
Hours later, the girl woke up to go to the bathroom, and was pretty scared. She was in a very dark tent, in a very dark campsite, in a very dark campground in a dark forest. She groped for her flashlight, but she couldn’t find it.
Carefully, she found her way out the tent and started following a dark road she believed led to the Pit Toilet. She tiptoed carefully, not wanting to wake the others—and not wanting to get scolded by her mother for not properly getting ready for bed.
Her heart beat faster as she heard the call of an owl and the wind in the trees.
The gravel crunched loudly beneath her feet.
Her heart beat a little faster and a little stronger as she moved down the road.
She jerked to a stop. In the bushes: another snap! She turned rigidly and listened: she could hear breathing in the bushes.
She started running blindly down the road. A deer? A badger? A fox? Different animals raced through her mind as she ran to distance herself from the unknown creature.
She heard a snorting sound from the bushes, and the rapid snapping of branches. It was following her.
She turned and tried to focus through the darkness. The snorting stopped.
There was pure silence. No hoot from an owl, no wind in the trees.
Her heart pounded with fear, nearly bursting from her chest. Suddenly, a shaft of moonlight from between the clouds let her see the Pit Toilet path just 50 steps away.
She sprinted for the path. She could hear twigs breaking and the creature’s breathing and snorting grew faster, closer.
Then she saw it. The Pit Toilet! She pawed at the door with her panicked fingers. She could hear the pounding of heavy feet racing toward her. Just in time, her hand found the latch.
She slammed the door shut and latched it just as the wet, gnarled fingers reached their claws through the door’s crack. The claws were long, lumpy and mangled. They dripped with a gooey, dark, stinky wetness. She kicked the door hard, slamming it firmly shut. The huge claws pulled back, and the creature cried out.
The claws scraped at the weathered door. The latch held and the door stood firm. Suddenly, it stopped and she heard the heavy footsteps disappear quickly into the forest.
She was safe. Between gasping breaths she told herself that she would never, ever leave the tent without a flashlight at night, and would never, ever not get properly ready for bed again!
Dazed, and exhausted, the girl carefully sat on the hole’s rim and went to the bathroom. Her heart was beating so loudly and her mind was preoccupied on having to walk back to the campsite that she did not hear the sloshing in the pit below.
A scream filled the campground, coming from the Pit Toilet.
Campers came running, flashlights in hand, to the sound of the scream. They stood in a half circle facing the Pit Toilet.
Several brave campers stepped forward, and shoved their bodies against the latched door. The door gave way to a gruesome scene. One of the campers looked down into the toilet in horror and heard sloshing below. He caught a brief glimpse of a hairy creature disappearing beneath the surface. Its long, hairy-clawed fingers were firmly grasped around something in the dark sludge.
The pit was checked thoroughly for the creature and the missing girl. But there was no trace. However, searchers discovered a peculiar tunnel in the nearby forest that led to the bottom of the Pit Toilet chamber. Was this the entrance and the escape path of the monster? Who knows?
So keep your flashlights handy if you have to use the Pit Toilet at night, and be sure to brush your teeth and get ready for bed long before darkness falls!