Sunday, December 30, 2007

West Branch State Park Witch Run 12-26-07

I traveled with my son Taylor to West Branch this evening to meet up with Brian and Jeff Musick along with Gombu for a night trail run. We met at 5:00 and it was just starting to get dark. Last year on this exact date Brian and Jeff encountered a haunting in these woods so we thought it would be a good idea to go see for ourselves. After Brian and Jeff's experience last year, they did a little research and found out that local folklore tells a tale of a witch that was killed by the locals in these woods by piling stones on her until she died. Many people believe that she still haunts these woods today. You can read Brian's account on his blog

When Brian and Jeff arrived Taylor and I were already playing Rob Zombie, "Dragula" which lyrics go something like "Dig through ditches, burn through the witches". He thought it was cool so I did a little witch dance for him. He filmed me and I thought I looked pretty good doing my witch dance.

Anyway, we had enough fun in the parking lot so we donned our headlights and warm clothes and set out for our night trail run. I had just purchased a headlamp (Princeton Tec Quad LED)and was eager to see how it worked on the trail. It did not take long for me to find out it worked real well. Even at the lower settings, it provided plenty of light for a night blind person like myself to be able to find his way down the trail.

We ran on the trails made by CAMBA which is a mountain bike association from the Cuyahoga Valley. They have done a real nice job making and maintaining these trails. We ran deep into the woods and made so many turns and creek crossings that I was truly unsure where I was at. Gombu continued to lead and gave us directions at the intersections as he seemed to know these trails well. After about an hour, we all stopped, turned off our headlamps, and enjoyed the night sky. On this particular night you could see Mars very clearly. It was shining amber with a brilliant luster to it. We also noticed all of the other star groupings, Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Orion etc. After a short while we continued on our run.

About 15 minutes later, Gombu said he was taking off and headed for the car. We decided we were going to go a little longer so we headed directly to the spot where Brian and Jeff had encountered the witch last year. Brian wears a GPS watch so it was real easy to get to the location right down to the exact spot. We got on a trail marked for "experts only" by CAMBA and Brian informed us that this was the spot. After not feeling anything weird at all, I called out to the witch. Nothing. We ran to the end of the trail and decided to double back as this is how they experienced her last year. On the way back we walked quite a bit as the trail was rocky and slippery from the water on the ground. We still did not see or hear any witch.

Once we got back to the main road, we decided to head back. We ran for about 20 minutes and returned to the car without incident. We laughed and talked a while in the parking lot and looked at the stars some more. After sharing some Christmas cookies, it was time to part ways and head home. We had a nice 2 hour 15 minute run in the woods at night, but no sign of the witch. Oh well, there is always next year.

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