Ever seen the Coleman camping commercial? That’s how our vacation at Lake Greeson, AR started out.
Families, tents, water sports, hiking, fun in the wilderness.
“Melody! Wake up!.”
“Mel, get up.”
“Melody!” a loud whispering comes from my husband.
The tent zipper is being pulled back down as I come to my senses at 2:00 in the middle of the night.
The daylight has been gone for hours. Adjusting to night vision when it was so dark took a minute.
It should have been very quiet, too.
But there was howling.
Jumping off my air mattress I get out of the tent fast, hearing gut-wrenching crying from a man, then a woman from nearby. The howling in the night were from people camping nearby us.
“WHAT is that?” I ask.
The last I remember hearing is our neighbors singing late into the night. There were families all over the place this 4th of July weekend, but our neighbors had a group of 30 or 40 of them.
“We don’t know. I think someone died. Maybe a kid drowned.” My husband and brother-in-law tried to find a reason for the soul deep, scary, spooky cry- howling in the night.
All I could think is: I need my phone, but it’s on the boat. Someone needs to call 911. That’s useless because there’s no reception in the mountains of Arkansas where we are. But I could swim out to the boat and get it. I am not swimming in the middle of the night. The phone wouldn’t work anyway because we can’t get a signal. Think of something else.
The crying continued loudly, a lady sobbing and sobbing. I was starting to get really worried. If someone drowned then surely the police would have shown up by now.
One crying person turned into two, then more, then I could hear kids crying. Groups of people were crying. They sounded heart broken and scared. I was baffled and scared myself. The previous night these same people were singing late into the night. They were also speaking a different language last night. My discomfort only grew.”
“What the heck is going on over there? Where are the park rangers?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but something’s not right. Get your stuff together and be prepared to get out of here if something happens. I’m going to get my gun.” replies my husband. And off he goes up the hill to prepare for our safety and defend us.
My brother-in-law wakes his son and orders him to get his shoes on fast! My girls are in another tent, but I want to be ready before I wake them, so I grab my pile of clothes, run up the hill and toss ‘em into the back of my car.
The cries aren’t stopping. It’s really freaking me out. I can’t see anyone moving around. My imagination is running wild. Are people going to start running through the woods and harming us?
“Try to record it on your phone, Tom.” I said to my brother-in-law because no one would understand or believe us. It was that eerie, spooky and wild.
“Do you think there is some kind of cult thing going on over there? Did someone die?” I asked my bother-in-law. I was really thinking, did a child get sacrificed? But I didn’t say that out loud.“I don’t know, but they were up really late last night. Tonight they were singing and carrying on until around 2:30. It got really quiet for a little while and then all of a sudden the crying started with one guy. REALLY loud crying.”
As my 10 year old nephew stands wrapped in his blanket and asking why his dad hasn’t woken his little sister up, my husband is pacing around listening to the crying, and my brother-in-law is explaining that if we need to run then my nephew needs to get to the truck super fast and his sister will be grabbed and carried, I am gathering only shoes & important things for our get-a-way.
My husband disappears again to my car and turns on the headlights, lighting up the woods where our camping neighbors are located. The crying seems to get quieter, but not much.
“Let’s get the heck out of here. Something is happening and it’s not right.” I’m prepared to leave immediately.
Reappearing from up the hill my husband announces “I found out what happened.”
He tells us, “A man came up by the cars and I asked him what was going on. The man said he was bringing his parking tag to put on his car in case the ranger showed up since they were being loud. I asked him if anyone died. He said, ‘ noh, noh… the Spirit of God was here. Right there!’ as he wiped a tear from his eye and sniffled. I asked if he’s sure no one died. He said ‘noh, noh, it was God. He was here. No one died.’ So I patted him on the back and said ‘Okay man.’”
We all agreed that we’ve never experienced or heard anything like that in our lives. It was very scary. But, we were thankful that no one died and the soul deep howling in the night was from a church group’s religious experience.
My nephew was given permission to go back to sleep. As if!
At least all the noise kept the raccoons from raiding our campsite. I couldn’t figure that one out from the previous night since the bread was still on the picnic table.
That morning we pack up and head towards our cabin that would be available later in the day at the Self Creek Resort Lodge & Marina on Lake Greeson. We’ll double think the option of arriving early and tent camping at Daisy State Park next time! But it won’t keep us away.
Wait! The story of our vacation doesn’t end there. An ambulance enters the picture next.
To be continued next week… (maybe even this week!)
PS The moral of this part of the story or the One Thing To-Do when camping is…have a place for everything just like you would at home. You’ll be able to grab your stuff in the dark, making a quick and efficient escape, if needed.
PSS It’s Hurricane season. Are you prepared? Pretend you’ll be camping outdoors for 2 weeks when you purchase supplies for hurricane season.