This happened to my grandfather and me in El Salvador when I was eight years old. It was a Saturday night and we were coming back from visiting relatives who lived up the mountain from us (about an hour-and-a-half to a two-hour hike). During the day it is a beautiful hiking place, but at night is quite scary.
We ended up leaving my uncle's place later then we thought (at about 8 p.m.), but we were not worried since we had done this hike hundreds of times at all times of the day, but never after 10 p.m. (According to locals, it is not safe to be out there after 10 p.m. because of weird things that they have seen and heard.)
Thankfully, we were prepared for nightfall. We each had our own flashlight; grandpa had a huge flashlight that was as bright as a headlight on a car! And our backpack had bottles of water and snacks. Half way into our way back home was pretty scary. There was no moonlight, so it was really dark, and only trees all around and a few homes here and there. We heard noises and other weird things, but since we were in the middle of the mountains, we dismissed them and kept walking.
About a mile away from home, things got very weird and spooky. We couldn't even hear a cricket sound. Everything just went silent. At this point my grandfather grabbed my hand and told me to stay close. I remember getting scared and worried. I looked at my watch and it was 9:15 p.m. I told grandpa and he said not to worry, that we were almost home. I kept pointing my flashlight in front of me so I wouldn't step on something or trip.
Then about 20 feet from us was this huge tree and it had a bow on it, which I thought was strange and so did my grandpa. "Well, that's interesting," he said. "A bow on a tree."
Then, to our surprise, a woman wearing a gray or light blue dress was standing on the other side of the tree with her back to us. I asked my grandpa why would she be out at this time of the night by herself, and he said maybe she is lost or hurt, so we hurried to see if she needed help.
We were about 10 feet away from her when she started walking, so grandpa yelled, "Hey! Excuse me, miss. Are you ok? Are you lost?" No answer. "Do you need help?" Again, no answer. She just kept walking.
After we passed the tree with the bow, we went down the hill into an open space with a few trees here and there and pretty flowers everywhere with a walking trail next to it. Standing on the bottom of the hill in front of the trail, grandpa turned to me and said, "Come on, honey, we got to hurry. I don't think she's ok."
He only turned to me for about a second or two, and when we turned back, she had disappeared! We could not find her. We looked everywhere and no luck! There was no way she could have run that fast. The trail is pretty long with little trees scattered around; no where to hide even if she wanted to. Since grandpa had a big flashlight, we had a good view of the landscape all around us, but we saw nothing. We kept walking and still looking, hoping to find her and help her, but no luck.
Once we reached the town, I looked at my watch and it was 10:15 p.m. I told grandpa how happy I was that we had made it just in time out of the mountains, yet still worried about what had happened to that lady.
The next day, grandpa told a neighbor about our incident with the strange woman and he interrupt my grandfather and said, "Are you talking about the big tree right before you go down the hill?"
Grandpa answered, "Yes. Why?" Our neighbor called his wife Susan over and began to tell us about a murder that happened in that area: On the Thursday of that week, a lady was walking home at around 8 p.m. or so when she came across a man who tried to rob her. Since she fought back, he stabbed her four times, and she bled to death. She was found at the bottom of the hill the next morning. The killer was caught the next day, drunk with a bloody shirt and hands, and with a knife in his pocket. People at first thought he was hurt, but when they heard of the murder, they turned him in and he did confess.
My grandfather turned white and I didn't know what to say at all, but I felt so bad for her. The neighbor's wife Susan said that we were not the only ones to have seen her. A few locals have seen her walk from the tree to the bottom of the hill where her spirit always walks back and forth. The bow on the tree was put there on her behalf.
After that day, grandpa asked if I wanted to go with him to leave flowers for her. Though I was a little scared at first, I agreed. When we were walking up the hill to the tree, grandpa grabbed my hand and asked to pray for her. After leaving the flowers and sending our prayers for her, we returned home.
My grandparents say that to this day people still see her at times. I just hope that one day she's able to move on and cross over to be at peace.