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Incident on the Road to Sydney

Where time and reality distorted into a scene of terror

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There are many things that scare us. There's the fright we feel when our well-being is threatened. And there's the core-chilling fear that comes when we confront the unknown... or it confronts us. As we've seen in many stories in this column, ghost and haunting phenomena can unleash this fear. Then there are incidents that are just so strange, so far removed from everyday experience that they can cause us to question our sanity and work their way into the pit of our deepest fears. Michael experienced such an incident while traveling the interstate from the Australian Capital Territory to New South Wales in Australia. This is Michael's story.

There are two ways you can get from the Australian Capital Territory to Sydney in New South Wales: the fast way and the highway. The highway is bent around farmland that the government could not buy, so they built small roads around it instead, and the highway detours a minimum of three miles away from each farm. The fast way is a series of narrow roads that pass through beautiful countryside that is heavily forested - so forested that you can't see around bends.

I took the fast way, of course.

I was traveling along these roads at about 7-9 p.m. (I didn't check much). The terrain alternates between forest and plains every 10 to 20 minutes. So I passed through forest, then plain, then forest, then plain, then forest.... A journey through the fast track takes about two or three hours, depending on speed. Needless to say, I didn't mind the speed limits. Although I didn't keep track of time, I could have sworn I was traveling for far over two hours.

I stopped for a rest. It was a beautiful night. The moon shone rather brightly, light dancing upon the trees, illuminating dust particles and highlighting a nearby pond. The gum trees around there are bone-white and stood out starkly in the moonlight. If a bush or rock was in front of one, it was quite evident and made the tree look like it was floating on air.

Unusual lights

The moon seemed to get increasingly bright, which was very strange as it was also very low. I decided to step away from my car and venture through the forest to find a clearing so I could get a better view of the moon. I walked through the dense forest and finally came to a field of crops. They must have been planted recently because the dirt had sharp depressions all over it of varying shapes and sizes. I suddenly remembered what I was there for and looked up, only to be shocked at the fact that the bright moon I sought was actually a spotlight. Half blinded, I looked down and raised my hand instinctively to shade my eyes.

A moment later, my heart almost stopped. The spotlight switched off... and another was switched on, facing the opposite direction. I looked up, and as my eyes adjusted, I saw in the distance a scarecrow. It was, as far as I could tell, facing to my right. Then I swore I saw it move. Not violently; it just wobbled. In the wind, I said to myself. And there was a bit of wind.

Just as I was about to turn and walk back to my car, I sneezed. It echoed across the field. I looked back up to see the scarecrow still standing there - to my relief. So I started off back toward my car.

Next page > The man in the field

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