Totally True, but Extremely Exaggerated Tales:
Clowns in the Woods
I have never spoke of this – until now.
It was an unusually warm morning in late November back in 1982. I know this because I remember wearing all camouflage as I rode my bike to the Cook County Forest Preserve located in Calumet City, Illinois. The forest was only a few blocks from my house; straight down State Line Road.
I’ve played in these woods for as long as I can remember. It never got old, even by myself I was able to occupy myself. Building tree swings, forts and even traps kept me busy for hours on end.
As I rode up onto the trail from State Line Road I looked for a spot where I could stash and hide my bike. The high grass and tall brush made it easy to conceal.
I had school the next day, so I better get as much in as possible.
Whatever that may have been was yet to be determined but I had all day to think about it.
However, I didn’t get to think that much about what I was going to do, because the oddest thing happened.
I saw three men walking about through the woods. The big guy was dressed in overalls without a shirt, the small skinny guy was dressed in black and wearing a hoodie. The third guy, and obviously the leader , was dressed in an arm-less suit. His arms were muscular and he carried a suitcase…but that’s not the odd part.
The odd part was that they all had clown heads.
Just having the head of a clown without the whole attire looks a little disturbing – to say the least.
This was so strange to me and yet, very scary at the same time. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Luckily, none of the three noticed me.
But then I saw a small boy. He wasn’t anybody that I knew, he couldn’t have been any older than me. Then I saw that the guy with the suitcase was holding his hand and leading him down the trail.
The small boy looked scared and very uncomfortable and was slowly followed by the other two men dressed as clowns. I could hear the guy with the suitcase talking to the little boy as he sternly looked forward, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying.
I wondered what they were doing with this little boy. Just before they walked out from my view, the little boy and I noticed each other. I have to admit that it did startle me at first and I thought about running away; but decided to stay where I was instead. I feared that the little boy would say something and give me away…but he didn’t.
He looked at me as if he hoped that I would say something…but I didn’t.
Honestly, I was scared. I was scared that these men(?) would do to me what they were going to do to that little boy.
I gave it a few minutes before I decided to crawl out of hiding and quietly drag my bike from the tangled weeds. As I slowly crept to the forest trail, I cautiously peeked out from a bush to see how far down the clowns were with the little boy.
I could see them.
They were way down the forest trail.
I didn’t think I’d get a better opportunity for an escape, so I jumped on my bike as fast as I could and rode out of there as fast as my legs could pedal.
I don’t know why, but something told me to turn around to see what they were doing.
When I did, it looked as though I brought attention to myself, because all I remember is seeing that hooded clown looking straight back at me causing me to wreck.
And let me tell you…when I noticed that hooded clown taking a few steps towards my direction, I swear, I’ve never gotten up and jumped on a bike so fast in my life – not like I did that day.
I took off. I didn’t stop pedaling like a maniac down State Line Road until I got to my block – good old Detroit Street in Hammond, Indiana. Well, that’s what I remember anyway.
I parked my bike in the garage and made sure I wasn’t followed. When I felt that the coast was clear I darted out for the house. When I got through the back door I quickly slammed the door shut. My heart rate was just starting to come down.
I stayed in the house for the rest of the day. I thought about what I saw and wondered if I should say something, but I never did.
I thought about all the next day as well, especially at school. Debating in my head, whether or not if I should tell someone, but again…I never did.
It really bothered me that day at school. I guess I seemed distant to my friends because some would come up and asked me if “everything was okay?”
I told them that I just wasn’t feeling well and that I’d be fine. But the truth was that I really wasn’t feeling well. The sense of guilt consumed me.
I felt ashamed. Ashamed that I didn’t speak up for that little boy or said anything to anybody.
I never found out what happened to that kid and nobody ever spoke of it – nobody said a word. Nothing on the news or the newspapers. It was like it never happened.
But it did.
I was there.
But now I can’t help but wonder…what if?
I have never spoke of this – until now.