With my immense affinity for all things Blair Witch, how is it possible that I’ve never gone camping before?
Well, for starters, I’m not the outdoorsy type.
Through the years, various friends have asked me if I wanted to go camping with them. Inevitably, they’d attempt to try and sweeten the deal. As if the luxurious amenities of public bathrooms and shower facilities would sway my decision. On a few occasions, a long time ago, when the incentives of girls and booze joining us were put on the table, even that failed to entice me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the woods. I especially love fall foliage, but I don’t feel that I have to prove that point by sleeping in it. In theory, camping sounds like a blast, but I prefer to leave that area as a home for the bears…and witches.
There are exceptions to the rule. Going back many years, my friend Paul has asked me almost annually to head up to a cabin with his family owned by their close friends for some birthdays. See, from my perspective, a cabin is like bucking the camping system. Screw camping…who needs it when you have a creepy ass cabin to hang out in? When I first heard his offer, I almost started to give it consideration. As it goes, life got in the way and I wound up never making it up there. You know how it is. You have commitments. You have to film you and your pile of sludge getting into predicaments. You know, normal run of the mill stuff.
Eventually, I started to give this cabin some actual consideration. It was around December 2015 at a Christmas party when Paul and his close family friend Brian attempted one last pitch as to why I should head out there with them. They made it seem like I’d be in a wonderland of Fall, a veritable Halloween hullabaloo. They described drinking, debauchery, and demonic decorations. All right, so maybe I was drunk at that moment, but right then and there I had an epiphany and thought to myself, “Why the hell have I not gone to this cabin in the woods!?” I swore that when October rolled around, I’d be there no matter what – as long as it was after I premiered The Halloween Special.
Time flew and all of a sudden it was October 2016. The Halloween Special was completed and uploaded to YouTube. I was in the midst of getting the address of this storied cabin that I’ve heard so much about over the years. It was really happening and I was in for a nearly 3 hour drive (feel free to sing it to the Gilligan’s Island theme: a 3 hour drive!) Was I making the right decision? One thing was for sure, I thought way too much about what might happen there, especially left to my own devices in the car. Would I even make it there alive? The element of not knowing what this experience would entail was cool. Really, anything could happen. Would we wind up in alternate dimension? Was I going to be cut up into pieces and fed to hideous mutated beasts that they keep in the basement? Was it actually going to be a surprise birthday party for me 6 months early? That might have been the scariest option. Whatever happens, it seemed like I was in the opening credits of a real life horror movie. Then, I simply shrugged it off as watching too much AHS.
I was flying solo. Miss Sexy Armpit had to work, so she was off the hook. Since I love to drive and savor alone time, to me there’s nothing better than a good fall road trip. I was getting pretty pumped about the whole scenario. In the middle of the day I got a text from Paul: “What time are you leaving? It’s really hard to find this place in the dark.” I laughed it off with the assuredness that I can pretty much find any destination because of this newfound technology we have…Google Maps. “How difficult could it be to find?” I wondered. I got a much later start than I intended, mostly because I procrastinated and thought that the trip would be a lot quicker than it actually was. After I eeked out one more episode of Vice Principals, I mustered up the motivation to get ready, I packed up a few essentials, tossed them in the car, got gas, and headed out on the highway Judas Priest style.
Swigging a can of Monster and my iPod shuffling through my Halloween playlist, I was a happy non-camper. Once I made it up to Northwestern New Jersey, I passed by a giant pumpkin and had to pull over for an Instagram. You can’t pass up an opportunity to photograph a giant inflatable pumpkin monster. So, that was Detour #1. Seeing that damn pumpkin made me feel like I was on track for an epic trip. It was merely the beginning and I encounter this? The only way it could’ve been better is if it came alive and started warning me that “WE’RE ALL DOOMED!”
Things escalated within minutes. If I told you that out of the corner of my left eye I saw a raptor, would you believe me? I didn’t even believe myself so I had to bang a quick bat-turn to investigate. I thought I was taking crazy pills. First a mammoth pumpkin monster and now a Dinosaur? There you have Detour #2. Just a friggin’ dinosaur.
As I crossed the state line into PA, things started to seem more desolate. This was the ultimate leisurely fall drive since I kept passing huge stretches of nothingness. I saw creepy abandoned houses, dilapidated old farms, and ancient cemeteries. Sure, I was out of my element, but I was soaking up the vibe. Soon, I found myself driving through the center of a small town that looked like it was straight out of a horror movie.
Scanning around this ghost town, there was no one in sight. I was the only one on the road and apparently the only human for miles. That feeling came to an abrupt halt when I jammed on my brakes after a bear ran out into the street and almost into my car. The bear then jetted back onto someone’s lawn after he nearly hurled himself into my car. I swore I thought my poor car was going to get attacked by a bear. I was fascinated by all this though. Bears don’t live in our area so I was having flashbacks to being on the Six Flags Great Adventure Safari. The bear sprinted back over to a set of garbage cans where he continued to eat garbage that he previously attacked and clearly had been munching on earlier. This was where I nonchalantly zoomed in and took a photo for Detour #3. Saying that this ride was pretty interesting is a total understatement. I love that cliche “You can’t make this shit up!” because it usually applies to the whacked out trips I take.
Deeper into the town, I drove between a long stretch of small houses on the main road. I noticed that none of the houses had any lights on, except for one to my right. There was a house blazing with Halloween decorations. I slowed down so I could admire it for a second. What caught my eye were the vintage light up blow molds they had all over the place! I’ve been a sucker for blow molds ever since I was a kid. In fact, I used to beg my Dad to keep the ones we had, even though both my parents wanted to get rid of them after they had pretty much gone out of favor. After the ’80s, at least in our area, these wound up being looked at as tacky or cheap. Whatevs. To me, nothing beats those houses with a hundred blow molds set up all over their property for the holidays.
I was being a real creeper. I basically slowed down to a crawl and threw my car into park to snap a few photos of the house. This blazing blow mold house had a front porch that was large enough for several chairs and a dinette table. The older couple who lived there came out onto the porch with a couple of plates of food. I was so mesmerized by their blow molds that I didn’t even realize that they noticed me taking photos of their house. Luckily, this was a couple we should all aspire to be. To save myself from getting questioned by police, I did something I rarely do unless I’m seriously interested in something – I engaged them in conversation.
“HEY! YOUR BLOW MOLDS ARE BLOWING MY MIND!” Oh my God how embarrassing, what the hell did I just say? Did I actually just say those words out loud? F–k. Yes, I really did. But, what happened next was a pleasant surprise. The biggest smile came across both their faces and they walked down the steps of their porch. They started telling me how they’ve been collecting them for years and buy them from yard sales and flea markets anytime they see them. Not only was that anecdote so awesome, but, next, they delivered a little extra Halloween cheer that made my season. I asked them if they were big fans of Halloween and the gentleman said “Oh yeah, we LOVE Halloween and we’re just about to have Halloween dinner right here on the porch!” I thanked them and told them I just had to snap a photo. They actually thanked me for the compliment and we exchanged a goodbye. This trip kept getting more and more surreal.
Was I actually in a Halloween wonderland? This was like following the black and orange brick road. As you may have read here in the past, one of my favorite aspects of any road trip I go on are the random things that happen to me and the quirky things that I see. In both cases, they’re much cooler if you just happen to come across them by chance. There you have Detour #4. I was only halfway there and I felt like, if this was the best it got, then it was a successful trip.
To recap, there was an enormous pumpkin monster, a dinosaur, a giant garbage eating bear, and a blow mold couple eating Halloween dinner on their porch 3 weeks early. Seriously, was I in an episode of Eerie Indiana? Because that’s what I’ve always wanted out of life.
My late start meant I’d be driving the latter part of my trip in the dark. This is indeed what happened and Paul called it. Darkness started to fall and I realized that I was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I still had about 45 minutes to go, yet I had to pee. I also realized that I had forgotten a couple of necessities and I also wanted to pick up some kind of goofy Halloween decoration. Paul mentioned that the whole exterior of the cabin is decorated for Halloween and I wanted to contribute something. Wal-Mart seemed like a perfect spot to hit for all of this. Problem was, it was 35 minutes away from the cabin in the opposite direction. Stopping at a store was imperative so I had to go off course. I was already running late, so what was another hour or four? I knew this was going to make me even later, but I figured everyone would be nice and toasted by time I got there.
During my trip to Wal-mart, I passed the Circle Drive-In Theater on my right. For a second I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be pretty badass if they were showing a horror marathon or something to that effect? That would’ve been another notch in my belt to make this excursion even more insane. I squinted as I zoomed passed the marquee to see the lineup. The beautifully beaming sign actually had a goblin face on top of it (difficult to see in the photo). Sure as shit, Blair Witch AND Sleepaway Camp were playing as part of the Circle of Screams Halloween theme, and I couldn’t contain myself! On my way back, I tried my best to snap a pic although it came out blurry. To think that Jersey was the birthplace of the Drive-in, yet I randomly witnessed this magnificence in PA. I looked this place up and it happens to also offer a Halloween Haunted Attraction that bills itself as America’s Only Haunted Drive-In Theater! If horror and drive-ins are your thing, it’s your dream come true. Detour #5.
Here’s the guy I picked up. He’ll come into play later.
I didn’t think I could run into any more giant monsters, but I did.
This is where I ran into…a Gorilla. I am not kidding you guys. This is 100% legit. He was the coolest muthaf*ckin’ Gorilla I’ve ever seen, and he worked at a car dealership. This whole experience so far was unfathomable, better yet, PREPOSTEROUS! I was driving to a cabin and NOT tripping on LSD! Imagine if I had been on some kind of hallucinogen? Holy shit, this post would be 23x more entertaining.
Finally, after spending way more money than intended, I started on the final stretch to the cabin. This is the part that included pitch darkness, dirt roads, and the feeling of dread that made me feel like I’d be encountering the Creeper from Jeepers Creepers at any moment. Were these streets even listed in the GPS? I couldn’t be sure, but they felt just like some of the famous scary roads we have back home that always get mentioned in Weird New Jersey.
Next thing I knew I was driving through some kind of campsite where tons of teenagers were running around wildly with masks on scaring everyone. I was so overstimulated by that point that this was not surprising me in the least. Screaming Masked Teenagers? PAR FOR THE COURSE. Nothing compared to what I’ve seen. I later found out that this was a nearby campsite that was hosting their annual haunted attraction…an attraction that I’d been illegally K-turning my way back out of. Minutes later, the GPS had me turn into someone’s dirt driveway that wasn’t my intended destination, but fittingly looked like I had just entered into the Wrong Turn franchise. I had a hell of a time backing out and nearly hit a tree. That’s when I caved and called Paul. He made it very clear that the cell service there is spotty and he was right. He hopped in his car to find me and I was literally down the hill from where I was supposed to be.
I drove up a big hill into an opening in the woods. Yup, it was a cabin…in the middle of nowhere! As I parked my car I was in awe of the huge bonfire they had going. This fire looked like it was big enough for 35 people to sit around it. I greeted everyone and went inside to make a drink. I brought Tequila of course and wasted no time cracking it open. Inside the cabin, the decor reminded me of my Uncle’s basement. There were animals that had been stuffed greeting me from all angles. Some of them even had Halloween masks on. This was going to be interesting. It couldn’t have been more Evil Dead/Cabin in the Woods if it tried!
In the bathroom, I zeroed in on a random frame with a hologram of a demon faced girl. Always a fun Halloween gag. It was perfect.
The exterior of the cabin was being illuminated by the bonfire out front. All around the porch there was an eclectic mix of witches and skulls and demons hanging and eerily dancing in unison with the breeze. The air was crisp, a perfect October evening, hoodie mode=activated. I sat with Paul and his family and enjoyed my drink. I explained to them that I had a totally whacked out time driving up there.
Suddenly, the next thing I knew, I was being awoken by an incessantly spooky theremin sound. I swore the fact that now the sun was out and I was half asleep on a top bunk bed with a theremin playing meant that I had literally crossed over into the Twilight Zone. I hit my head on the ceiling as I tried to climb down from the bunk to figure out what the hell was going on.
I walked out into the living room area and everyone was up talking, laughing, and enjoying breakfast. I was being treated like a king and all I did was arrive, raise hell, and drink Tequila. A brisk, gray Sunday morning was being celebrated with good friends over some crispy bacon, eggs, English muffins, and Orange juice. What the hell did I do to deserve this? Did they secretly feed me mind altering drugs to go out and sacrifice one of those kids at the campground to Lucifer and they just knew the right smoke screen to distract me? Mmm breakfast. I’m like Homer Simpson. And, suuure get The Sexy Armpit drunk and make him do your bidding. I see. The plot thickened.
It wasn’t just me who was mystified, because it seemed as if none of us remembered what happened the night before. Legitimately, the last thing I remembered was playing Cards Against Humanity. The rest wasn’t even a blur. It just skipped from the card game to the spooky theremin waking me up. What happened in the meantime?
Something insane could’ve taken place the night before and I would’ve had no clue at all. My brain immediately went into deduction mode. Was it the Blair Witch? Did she possess the cabin to make us lose a gap of time?
After breakfast, Paul brought in the Halloween decoration guy that I bought. We’ll call him Simon for the hell of it. He had no idea where this dude came from and he was asking everyone if they happened to know his origin. I told him I bought him at Walmart, but I didn’t remember taking him out of my car at all. It felt like he mysteriously made his way onto the porch on his own volition. I needed to piece together the events in those missing witching hours.
Some of Paul’s friends had photos and videos on their phones. It was all there, although I had no recollection of any of these events. There was a video of us singing and dancing like idiots, nothing out of the ordinary when you hang out with me, but it was like seeing a clone of myself doing these things. I wasn’t even hung over at all, I actually felt great. That’s when I checked my phone to see if I had taken any pictures or video myself. Sure enough, I found a few photos that, for the life of me, I didn’t remember taking AT ALL! I had to believe there was something that overcame me while out in those woods so I couldn’t recall any of this. Was a I temporarily possessed by the Blair Witch?
There was also this blurry photo of a family of deer congregating on the lawn in front of the cabin. Finding this and not remembering taking it was quite amusing…and creepy! I headed home with the bizarre notion that I may never fully understand what happened at the cabin.
The next day, it all came together in a form of a text message from Paul and all it included was this photo:
In the middle of the previous night, in the wee hours, over a game of Cards Against Humanity, Paul’s sister thought it was a good idea for us to do shots of Jameson. Mystery solved. That’s one way to erase your memories and create a gap in your consciousness! The next time you suspect The Blair Witch is up to her old shenanigans, blame it on the Jameson.
It was more fun to believe that I may have been possessed by The Blair Witch, but there seemed to be enough evidence to the contrary. Buzzkilling it all even more, I found out later that I wasn’t actually in the Twilight Zone either 🙁 The spooky theremin that woke me up wasn’t my mind’s internal soundtrack, but actually Paul’s friend’s phone receiving non-stop text messages.
With that, my yearning for an actual Blair Witch experience of my own has been debunked, but there’s always next year.
If you enjoyed this insane trip, why not watch our 2016 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL on YouTube right now! Thanks for reading!