Night Visitor at Camp

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OCTOBER 2002 (APPROX.)

We were part of a sea kayaking group who left the mainland and paddled to the island for a one night camping overnight in late October, 2002. During the day we hiked the island. We visited the old buildings, the graveyard where enslaved people were buried, and dodged the wild horses that live there. That night was quiet. There was no breeze, some low-key lapping of water along the shore, and otherwise just thick, peaceful silence. We were in a two person tent, with the rain flap attached to one side of the tent and draped over and across to the ground on the other side of the tent. We were tucked away into the woods, pine needle and twig covered ground, and about half a football field length away from another tent of a kayaker couple. There was a rough walking path to one side (to my right when laying on my back), and the ocean to my left. About an hour after we settled in to our tent, a horse walked nearby, went into the water, then kept walking away from our campsite back into the island. Then awhile after the horse, now in the middle of the night, we heard someone walking nearby. Two-legged walking (not the four of the horse) about 50’ feet away and sounded like it was on the rough path. We whispered to each other it was probably a fellow camper going to go to the bathroom away from where we were camping. I wanted them to get a bit farther away to be polite. Still sounding like they were about 50’ away, over to my right, the footsteps completely stopped. Moments later, there was a split-second noise of movement to the left of our tent, right next to the tent. Then the rain cover was intensely, quickly, in one quick fluid motion was ripped up and over the tent and dropped to the left side of the tent. We were then staring straight up and out of the tent’s screen, up at the trees above us. No one was outside the tent. No movement. Just silence. I completely freaked out, scrunched down into my sleeping bag, covered my head and demanded my husband go deal with the flap. He exited the tent. Saw nothing, except the rain flap gathered on the ground next to the tent, as though it was yanked off, dropped, gathered next to the tent. No gust of wind happened. No accidental slipping of the rain flap. It was ripped up and over the tent. It was silent again. The next morning, we awoke before sunrise. We left our tent, followed the walking path to the main camp to share breakfast around the fire. As we turned a slight corner, up next to a water spigot, there was a woman standing in her nightgown. I wondered aloud which of the camping group of 7 of us would be wearing a nightgown still. We turned away from the spigot towards the fire. All of the other campers were around the fire already. The day before we were all a super chatty group. That morning we all ate in silence, quickly all packed up, and literally made the tour group company’s record for the fastest paddle back to the mainland.

Submitted by Sarah