A relaxing camping trip turns into a “run for your life” ghosts experience. A child’s imaginary friend becomes a nightmare for the entire family. If you’re going to go camping, don’t forget to pack your running shoes!
We don’t have a lot of money, so when it comes to taking vacations, we usually go camping. We have a son named “Paul,” but we just call him PJ. Last year we decided to go to a place called Colt Creek State Park in Florida.
Colt Creek State Park is one of our favorite places to camp. We have been there many times. You can hike in and camp, plus they have several good fishing ponds.
Colt Creek is a place where they use to harvest limestone, so there were several pits that filled up with water, and they stocked them with fish.
Sorry, our campsite is full
When we reached the park, we went into the main office and a very old, creepy-looking forest ranger told us that all of their regular campsites were booked. He said there was a new section that was under development and didn’t have completed road access. We could stay there, but we would have to hike a little bit.
We talked it over and decided to go ahead and book the camping site. The forest ranger gave us a regular map, but it didn’t have the new sections printed on it yet, so he took a pencil and drew a path from the main road to show us how to get to the undeveloped area.
He said to ignore the keep out signs, and to look for camping site number LL-376
We followed the map and finally found the new undeveloped area. They still have a few tractors parked in a field, and you could tell where the new camping sites were being built.
We found our site LL-376 and started going back and forth from the site to the car, which was about 300 yards away. After several trips, we got our tent and gear at the campsite and started setting up our tent.
The first day pretty much wore us out. I was surprised that the rest of the campgrounds was booked solid, yet the old forest ranger let us camp in the undeveloped area. No one else seemed to be anywhere near us.
That night I told ghosts stories around the campfire. Something that I have always love to do. My wife Linda said, “maybe you shouldn’t tell these kinds of stories to PJ, remember he is only 5 years old.”
We have the entire camping area to ourselves.
The next day I took PJ exploring. We found a great place to fish. We went back to our campsite and got our fishing gear.
Linda stayed back at the campsite to read a book.
After fishing for about an hour, PJ wanted to go back and play with some toys that be brought.
I took PJ back to the campsite which was about 200 yards from the pond. I decided to go back by myself and do some more fishing.
Our plan was to stay at the campsite for an entire week. We considered it our annual vacation.
On the third day, I got up early and went to the fishing pond alone. I fished all morning long and caught a few fish. I came back to the campsite and I could hear PJ talking to himself in his tent. He had his own tent right next to our tent.
I poked my head into his tent and asked “who are you talking to?” PJ said “a ghost named Billy.” I said, “That’s nice have fun.” I know that PJ has a great imagination, I wasn’t too concerned that he had imaginary ghosts friends.
The next morning I asked PJ if we wanted to go on a hike. He asked: “Can I just stay here and play with Billy?” I went on a little hike alone, just me and my camera.
I enjoy wildlife photography and I was happy to get out on my own and take a few photos. After about two hours, I circled back into camp to check on PJ and Linda.
PJ was talking and playing with his imaginary ghost friend. I was getting concerned that he was spending too much time with his imaginary friend. I decided to sit with him for a few minutes and talk to him. What was going on in his head?
He said that Billy was one of his ghosts friends.
Linda said, “See, this is why you don’t tell ghosts stories to children.”
I asked PJ: “Tell more about this ghost named Billy” PJ started telling me things that made a chill go through my spine. He said, “Billy is hiding from his dad.” I said, “What?”
He said, “Billy’s dad is a ghost too, and he is really mean.” I said “ok, can I talk to Billy?” PJ said, “No he doesn’t like grownups.” I asked PJ why Billy didn’t like grownups. ” PJ said, “His dad killed him and he was a grownup.”
I told PJ “I don’t want you playing or talking to any more ghosts named billy or any other ghost anymore, do you understand?” PJ said, “Yes Sir.” PJ could tell that I was getting mad.
I talked to my wife about PJ and his imaginary ghost friend Billy. I asked her if she knew that PJ imagined that Billy said that his father had killed him? She was stunned, “What?” “Yes,” I said, and I think we need to get to the bottom of this right now.
We had a little family meeting in our tent to talk to PJ about Billy the ghost.
I told PJ that he shouldn’t make up things that were bad. I asked him where he got the idea that Billy had a bad father. PJ insisted that Billy was real and that Billy had told him about his father.
I asked PJ “How did you meet Billy?” PJ said, “I woke up and he was just sitting in my tent.” I asked. “what does Billy look like?” PJ said he’s a ghost, he’s brown and he has on really dirty clothes and dirty hair.
The more details that PJ gave me, the more upset I got. What I really wanted most of all is to understand why PJ would make up a ghost friend like Billy. I turned on the lantern and noticed that it seemed to be very cold in the tent. It was twenty degrees colder in our tent that it was outside.
PJ said, “We need to get out of here, Billy’s dad is coming”
PJ was on the verge of crying, he actually believed that Billy was real.
“This was just a bad dream.
I told PJ to just go back to sleep. PJ said, “Yes Sir” and he crawled back into his sleeping bag. I turned the lantern off. We tried to go back to sleep and we talked a little bit in the dark about ghosts.
Deep in the distance, I heard something that I will never forget. A scary voice in the forest was yelling, “Billy, where are you billy?”
His voice scared me to a new level of fright. All three of us heard this ghost man yelling. We flew out of our sleeping bags. We ran as fast as we could toward the car in total darkness. Running through briars, sticks, and small trees. We reached the car, started it up, and drove as fast as we could back to the main road.
We went straight home.
The next day I drove back to the campgrounds to retrieve my tents, camping and fishing gear, and most of all my camera.
My first stop was at the campground’s main office to let them know that I was driving back to get my stuff. They had all my stuff at the office.
The construction crew who was working on the new campsites found our stuff.
Why would someone leave all their stuff in the middle of the night?
I told them the old forest ranger gave us a map of the campsite and told us to camp at LL 376. He asked me to describe the forest ranger. I said, “he seemed to be pretty old, and a little creepy looking.”
The camp office manager said, “we don’t have anyone like that working here. There is no such thing as campsite LL 376. We don’t number our sites like that.”
I was glad to get my stuff back, my camera, and fishing gear. I didn’t care much about the tents and sleeping bags. We talked it over and made a decision. We were through camping with ghosts.