Mickelson Trail Haunting

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Mickelson Trail Haunting

Haynesville Woods


Doomsday at the Dunes


The Mickelson Trail is one of the largest, if not the largest, trails in South Dakota. It originally brought trains from Edgemont to the gold mines of Deadwood. It was built in nine months and twenty-two days. After the tracks were shut down it was transformed in to the trail it is now. Spanning more than one hundred and nine miles, with fifteen different trailheads or camping spots, it is the perfect destination for the adventuring type.

Thousands of people bike and walk this trail every year. Some try the whole trail while others just do portions. Camping around the Black Hills is quite the experience if you’re ever afforded the opportunity. Each of the trailhead that you can camp at bring immense beauty. Rushing streams, amazing views of the hills, trees towering above the paths and open fields with amazing views of the stars. These campsites bring more than just good times. Cold haunting winds blow through the Mickelson Trail. Whispers flow through camps and bring chills among the campers.

November 12th, 1987, was a cold blistering day that will forever be remembered on the Mickelson Trail. It brought a horrifying terror that shook the county. Two boys died that evening. Rory and Cory, were best friends, traveling along the trail. They gone around 57 or so miles and decided to set up camp for the evening. Once they pulled into the trailhead and got their tents set up it was almost ten o’clock. The fire was crackling and they knew snow was on the way. Hopefully it would hold off for one more day so they could gain some more ground by tomorrow night. However, tomorrow night was never going to come for them. Tonight was there last night on this earth. Well there last night as humans that is.

Getting ready to call it a night, Rory and Cory, headed to their tents. Each of the of them cracked open a beer, tossed up a cheers and zipped up each tent to get some shut eye. They were going to have to wake up early and get a start on the final stretch of the adventure. A few hours rolled by and the fire was still going, dwindling, but lit up the campsite enough to see decently. It had to of been around three in the morning they heard a whisper. Then they heard a rustle. Not being near any sort of trees or branches and yet they heard a cracking. Both boys unzipped their tents and shined a flashlight out into the dark night. The fire was almost out and they knew something was with them. They weren’t entirely sure what that something was but it frightened them none theless.

Stony Hollow Cliff


Jumping out of each of their tents they began looking in every direction. What was it that made that sound? It sounded to close to be safe. Mountain lions are abundant in this area. Maybe it was a fellow hiker coming through late and setting up camp. They couldn’t see anything. Suddenly they felt a rush of bitter cold wind blow right by them. Cory and Rory both looked at each other. Knowing they weren’t alone at this campsite. A branched snapped from a tall pine tree and landed on Cory’s tent. At this point they were both in complete fear. They gathered up all of their belongings and started off on their bikes. They hadn’t went but a hundred yards when something slammed against them both and pushed them into the ditch. Getting up and looking around, there was nothing in site, and certainly no presence of another human. It was growing on them both that this was more than human. This was a haunting, a ghost or even a demon. Why had it picked them? What had they done to provoke it?

Cory and Rory both gathered their thoughts, put themselves back together and continued back down the Mickelson Trail. They made it, maybe, another mile and again blasted off their bikes. Being tossed into the ditch again they knew this wasn’t a fluke. Something was coming after them. Cory stood up and was grabbed by something and thrown across the path on to the other side. Rory yelled, “Cory! Are you okay?!” He didn’t hear a word. Rushing over the bike bath to check on Cory he found him face down in the ditch. He pushed him back and forth to try and wake him up and nothing happened. Rory put his hand up to Cory’s neck to check for a pulse…and…there was nothing. No pulse. No life. Just stillness.

Big Ridge State Park

(images:[email protected]/flickr)
Big Ridge State Park

Rory was in shock. He couldn’t move and he could barely breath. Sitting there next to his best friend who was dead. How could this of happened? Rory stood up and yelled, “Who are you! What do you want! What have you done?” This meant nothing to the demon that was haunting them. Rory stood in the cold of night, alone, feeling nothing but useless. A fire of rage began to come over
him. It started at his toes and worked all the way up to his eyes. Everything felt like it was on fire. Pain that he had never known before was rushing through his body. He yelled and then dropped to the ground. Rory had joined his best friend in the after life…or so they thought. They weren’t anywhere near the heaven. They were stuck on earth in between life and death.

Them being crossed over into the undead wasn’t a drawn out process, it was instant. One minute they were alive the next they were dead. Cory was even explaining to Rory, now a ghost with him, how he could see him. Cory was looking down at Rory, who was looking down at Cory’s body laying on the ground. It was a trippy experience to put it best. Now the question was being begged, how did they die? What was it that killed him? A black figure came over their lifeless bodies. It looked up at both Cory and Rory and its eyes turned yellow and red. Both of the boys immediately stood still, even as ghosts. They couldn’t move and they knew whatever this was that it had complete control over them. The figure started speaking in a foreign demonic tone. They weren’t sure what this thing was saying but they knew they were about to find out. The boys felt a heat wave come over them. Just like they did when they were humans right before they died. The “thing” began speaking again and only muttered one word that they could understand, hell. Once they heard this they knew what they were staring at in the afterlife was a demon. Were they in hell or was hell trying to take them. The devil has always been a crafty creature and they boys understood he was trying to take them.

The demon figured out the boys knew who he was. With that being so the demon pulled both the ghosts close and started talking in a foreign language again. Cory and Rory felt another heat wave roll over them and their eyes turned blood red. They couldn’t resist or leave. The two, turned ghosts, then turned into demons. Both of the boys clearly hadn’t seen their lives heading this direction, how could anyone for that matter. Cory headed down the Mickelson trail, taking the last sixty miles, and Rory headed up the path, taking the first sixty miles, being able to posses the whole path.

The Ruins Trail

The Ruins Trail

Taking over the entire path meant no one safe from their terror. If they were taken against their will, many more innocent lives would be taken on this same path, bringing a fear among everyone. The hauntings began in 1988 and continued on the same route for almost twenty-eight years until present day. Over the past twenty-eight years there had been exactly thirty killings. Almost one killing for every year. The only difference between the these kills and how Rory and Cory died, is these people didn’t become ghosts or demons, they simply died. It never was made clear why the two boys had been chosen to be demonized but they did. Each murder they committed was different. No two were the same. After so many years it was hard to try and be different. To bring a new sense of fear into people’s lives every year. Rory and Cory never killed during the day, it was far to tricky and they wanted nothing to do with such manipulation. The two friends just wanted to find a person and bring them to a quick and fast demise. Something about killing brought a joy to their dull demonic lives.

Cory and Rory didn’t have a type that they looked to kill. It was really whoever they saw and agreed on. Often times it was a single lone hiker. Some times it was one person from a couple. Man or woman, it made no difference to them. There was no body type, smell type, facial features, rich or poor.

Donkey Lady Bridge

(images:[email protected]/flickr)
Donkey Lady Bridge

Jill, Rob, Darren and Michelle were all friends. They were the most avid adventurers any couples could be. Jill and Rob had been together for almost two years, loving and caring for each other. These two were the hippie couple of the group. They had a Volkswagen Vanagon, that ran completely off of vegetable oil, and they lived in that almost the entire year. Believing in saving the planet and saving the trees. You know, that kind of couple, they were the centerpieces. Darren and Michelle were married. They’ve been together for eight years. Both of them were the adventuring-daredevil type. Marriage as any couple knows is anything but glamorous. It does indeed have its ups and its downs. There are high times and often times it seems there are even more lows. Love can do a number of things and make you see the best in someone even when they don’t see it in themselves.

Rory and Cory came upon a group who had been biking the trail for a couple days now. They weren’t going fast and taking their time. This group was making the most of their time and enjoying every campsite and sighting they came across. Using a lot of their time adventuring along paths that veered off of the Mickelson Trail. Most of these were walking paths and required a fair amount of steep hiking up hills. The views from the tops of these hills were worth every step. On their second day they had only traveled a mere forty miles. Rory and Cory had ways of signaling each other. They both came to look at this group. Something was different about them. They reminded the two boys of their journey on that cold night. Cory and Rory discussed it with each other. Never had they taken on so many people in one night. It was always only one. Wondering if it was even possible, they decided they were going to kill all of them and recreate their murder. This group of friends had the same fate that the two boys fell in to. Death was coming for them, faster then they could know, with exact same manner as Cory and Rory. It had been twenty-eight years and it was time to come full circle.

Jill, Rob, Darren and Michelle set up camp at the Mickelson head trail campsite. The group had traveled about forty-five miles on the path. Getting their bikes parked and back packs unloaded, they unpacked their tents, and started putting everything together. After the tents were up they moved on to getting a fire started. Fortunately is was rather easy with lighter fluid and a lighter. Sure some people would make the assumption that’s not real camping but in these modern times the saying, “work smarter not harder”, was a motto this group lived by.

Bluff Mountain

Bluff Mountain

After a couple hours of shooting the shit between everyone they decided to call it a night. Darren and Michelle headed to their tent while Jill and Rob went over to theirs. The tents were right beside each other so incase anything ever happened the couples were right beside each other. Nothing has ever happened to them but animals roam the hills and you can never be to safe. The campfire had dwindled out and everyone was fast asleep. It was close to morning time and a loud snapped came outside their tents. Both of the couples woke up immediately and went outside. Looking around they couldn’t see anything. Grabbing some flashlights they shined them toward their bikes. There lay one bike snapped in half. It was lying there in two pieces. What in the world could of broke a metal framed bike in two? Each person grabbed a flashlight and went searching through the campsite. Trying to find something, any clue or trace, that could help them uncover what happened. After about ten minutes of looking around everyone came back to the camp. No foot prints or signs were found. Everyone decided it was time to pack up early and head out. They would swap between the four people with riding and walking on the path. It was going to take twice as long but they certainly weren’t staying at this site anymore.

Everyone had made it about ten miles and it was already late in the afternoon. At this rate their was no way they were going to finish the whole trail in the time they had set out for. A sign came up that said another campsite was five more miles up ahead. Jill and Rob asked the other two if they wanted to go another five miles and set up camp there. It was a unanimous yes. The last stretch felt like fifty miles but finally they came in. This camp was overlooking a the Black Hills. There was a drop off cliff that surrounded half of the camp. Staying here was going to be quite scary but there wasn’t much other choice left. Both of the tents were set up again and a fire was blazing in front. Tonight was seeming as though something was a different. A strange feeling fell over all of them. Something bad was looming around…

Mickelson Trail Haunting (Part 4)

Iron Goat Trail

Wooden bridge on Iron Goat Trail.

Jill, Rob, Darren and Michelle weren’t able to sleep. They sat in their chairs and were still scared over the other night. Trying to discuss with each other what they thought had happened. It wasn’t a couple minutes later when another loud snap happened. Looking back at their bikes, Darren and Rob ran over to them, another bike was snapped in half. Only this time half of the bike was missing. What in the world was going on. With only two bikes left there was no way they could finish the entire trail. Two were going to have to leave and go back and get the car or walk until they found a road and flag someone down. Rob and Darren started heading back towards the tents when they heard a crashing sound. It seemed like it was coming from the cliff. They ran over to the edge and looked down, there lied a half a bike, at the bottom of the cliff.

The two men looked at each other with a terror on their face. Racing back to the camp they told the girls what they had seen. This only stirred the feelings that something wasn’t right. There was a presence lurking about around them. They had to stick together now and not wander off. God forbid something happened to one of them. Jill and Michelle were freaking out. Asking what are we going to do. Sitting around the campfire discussing a plan.

Darren and Michelle’s tent flew up in to the air and slammed back down on the ground. A cold wind blew through the camp and made the hairs on everyone’s necks stand up. They all screamed and gathered in to a circle around the campfire looking at the tent, mangled in a giant mess, laying on the ground. The tent lit on fire and began to burn. This couldn’t be possible. It wasn’t anywhere near the fire.

Point Pleasant, West Virginia alien


Rory and Cory had only just began their terror on this frightful evening. It was time to step up their game and move on to the actual people. Not just the objects that surrounded them. They needed to make the couples aware that something evil was present. Rory decided to start speaking in a demonic tone to the campers. It almost sounded like a deep wind blowing through the camp. Jill, Rob, Michelle and Darren were all losing it. They heard something evil. It was growing more loud and prominent. Cory came up behind all four of them and slashed at all of their backs. A giant cut opened up on their backs. Screaming out in pain all of them fell on the ground. They jetted towards the only tent still up and jumped inside. Zipping the door shut everyone sat in silence, shaking.

Cory and Rory floated around the tent. They were playing the grim reapers tonight and everyone was on the chopping block list. They tore the top of the tent open and the couples looked up horrified. Beaming back in their direction were two sets of red eyes. The cuts on all four of their backs started to burn. Cory and Rory went away and the cuts stopped burning. Darren and Rob shouted out, “What are you?! What do you want from us?!” They heard one word back in return, “death”. Terror filled everyone’s thoughts.

Both couples jumped out of the tent, grabbed their back packs and made their way back to the trail. Running as fast as they could hoping a road was up a head. Making their way down the trail everyone was running out of steam. Running went to jogging which ended up turning into walking. A giant whirlwind of dust was whipping up behind them. It looked like a tornado. The tornado was moving closer and closer. Jill and Rob jumped off to one side of the path and the other two moved off to the other side. The tornado came right in between both of the couples. Blowing dust and dirt all around and knocking trees over everywhere. As the tornado was passing by red eyes lit up from inside of it again. Everyone saw and ducked down hoping to avoid being seen. The whirlwind vanished just as fast at it appeared. Both couples made their way back up to the path and looked down in the dirt. They flashed a light over the top and saw a devil face with horns drawn into the dirt.

Mickelson Trail Haunting (Part 5)

Transept Trail

Transept Trail

Everyone started running again. There was obviously a demon that was haunting them. The devil was here. Rory and Cory knew morning was drawing in and this was going to have to be the time for everyone’s suffering. Rob was running, tripped and rolled down a hill. He yelled out in pain looking down at a broken ankle. The other three made their way down and helped carry him back up to the path. Keeping their flashlights on and shining all over. Trying to catch a glimpse if something was coming at them. Darren was under one arm and Jill was under the other. She switched on and off with Michelle every few hundred feet, so they weren’t getting burnt out.

Rory felt it was time to take a stab at another one. Each time had to be worst than the last. Putting a fear so strong in all of the friends they wouldn’t want to continue on. Unfortunately for the demons these friends weren’t quitters. They were survivors. Michelle was behind the other three watching them hobble along when she was yanked down. She fell into a puddle. Standing back up the puddle froze and trapped her hand in there. She was now stuck kneeling on the ground with her hand frozen. Darren ran back to her and grabbed a rock and started chipping away at the ice. He was finally able to get her hand free and when she pulled it out, it was completely black, covered in frost bite. Now there was one with a useless hand and one with a broken ankle. They were all terrified as to what was coming next.

Cory and Rory stirred up the skies and a blizzard began to come down on the four friends. They grabbed their jackets and hats out of their backpacks and continued moving forward. Off in the distance it sounded like cars were driving. Possibly a highway or at least a road of some sort where they could get some help. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel this made them all push on faster. Zero visibility was everywhere. Barely able to see each other they moved forward, looking at the ground, following the trail. The snow was building up around their feet at a fast rate. No one had boots just shoes. Their socks were getting soaked and was making it hard to walk.

Mickelson Trail Haunting


The sounds from the cars were getting louder. They all knew help was just around the corner and could escape this hell they’ve all been put into. Rory and Cory were watching the struggle just to walk a few feet and they heard a whisper from the head demon. “They all must die”. Rory and Cory made a tree snap and it crashed down on top of Michelle, Rob and Darren. Jill stood there looking at her lover and two friends who had just been killed. She screamed so loud it echoed off the mountains around her. She tried lifting up the tree and it didn’t budge even a centimeter. She started running towards the lights ahead she could see. Crying hysterically and falling down with each step she took. She was filled with rage and sadness. Her best friends were all laying dead in the middle of the trail. How was she going to explain this to anyone. She ran down a small hill and her feet finally hit pavement. A sense of small relief came over her for only a split second. She couldn’t see a car coming from either way. It was the blackest she had ever seen in both directions. No sounds filled the air. All she could hear was her heavy breathing from running away from the demons.  She fell down on to her knees. Not knowing what to do or where to go. She looked up and two headlights were starring her dead in the eyes. It was to late for the driver to see her. She screamed and waved her hands. The car hit her and she rolled off to the side of the road. Left there to join her friends in the afterlife…both of the demon’s work was complete. Rory and Cory lifted the storm and went their separate ways. Waiting until their next killing when they would meet again. One went to the beginning and the other went to the end of the trail. Awaiting their next victim, their next hunt and the next thrill.

The End

Keenan Angel
Keenan Angel
My name is Keenan Angel. I'm a photographer, writer and all things art related. I have my own style of writing which hopefully one day I can be known for. I enjoying inserting some of my pictures I take into my stories to bring everything to life. I feel if I can write a story and photograph the general idea of what I'm thinking it helps seal everything into a nice artistic package. I hope everyone enjoys my stories, my thoughts and art.

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