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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Staircases To Nowhere

You're miles deep in the woods, no signs of civilization around you. Suddenly you enter a clearing and there stands a staircase. And nothing else. You start to approach and suddenly you feel such dread and terror you just want to run. Then you realize everything is silent. No birds, no wind, no sound but your panicked breathing. You turn and run.

Sounds like a great beginning for a scary movie, right? But people are saying this is real, not fiction. Isolated stairways to nowhere in the middle of the wilds.

Reports of these staircases started coming out around 2016. The first posting seems to have come from Reddit. The poster identified themselves as "searchandrescuewoods". They claimed to be a Search and Rescue Worker and stated that it is quite common to run across these things in the woods.

". . .  it's sort of an unspoken, regular thing we run into . . . We've been told not to talk about it by our supervisors . . . I asked about it the first time I saw some and the other officers just told me not to worry about it, that it was normal. Everyone I asked said the same thing. I wanted to go check them out, but I was told, very emphatically, that I should never go near any of them."

This poster also said that these stairs are often in areas where people go missing. [Hmmm. Move over David P. Maybe you should let go of the Bigfoot did it theory and check this one out!] [Found in the comments of an article is Vay Uccello's observation : The first one and all stories involving 'stairs in the woods' are from a creepypasta series called 'Search and Rescue Woods' {SARWoods} They're inspired by Missing 411/David Paulides' work but take liberties, mainly the aforementioned central focus of finding stairs in the woods. Paulides nor anyone else has actually claimed to find these in real life so it can be assumed all stories mentioning them are based on or from SARWoods.] Perhaps, Uccello, perhaps. But there are many who say that's not true. They are real.

Because, at first, this was considered a sort of creepy Internet Urban Legend. Then others stepped forward talking of their encounters with these staircases. They had kept silent for fear of ridicule. At first considered a U.S. National Parks phenomenon, people in other countries have also come out with their tales.

One witness talked about being out hiking with cousins when they came across a clearing with several of these stairways in it. They were all freestanding, not up against trees and looked like the stairways you would find in an older house. The older cousin went nearer to them, trying to see what was holding them up. Feeling "weirded out" he quickly retreated and told them all that they had to leave. The witness also said it appeared that no grass grew near the stairs.

Another witness was hiking with family members during a picnic. The party included a younger niece and nephew so they decided to play hide and seek in the woods while the adults relaxed. The witness and his nephew were the first to hide. They split up and the witness ran deep into the woods where he came upon this staircase. Deciding it was a good place to hide, he crouched down behind it. The stairs seemed to be made out of old concrete with rocks and pebbles in it. After just a few moments hiding, he got and backed away. He had a feeling of wrongness and that he needed to leave. He went back to the campsite and never went back to it. Even today, when thinking of the incident, he still feels that "wrongness".

One witness actually decided to climb the staircase they came across. Upon reaching the top, they heard a shrill, inhuman scream. They quickly retreated down those stairs. While running away, the witness claimed they felt a hand grab their shoulder but when they turned to look, there was no one there.

It is alleged that another woman climbed to the top of a staircase they had come across where she collapsed and later died from an aneurism.

Another witness, "case 9" said they came upon a stairway almost hidden by undergrowth and brambles. It appeared to be made of old cobbles and earth, like old masonry. He climbed up the stairs expecting to reach a landing. Instead it ended with the last crumbling step. He looked around, seeing tightly packed bushes and stumps of dead trees. Then from one of the sunken crater like wells around the trees, he saw someone looking at him. He clearly seen a "dark, lean face" and black "round eyes". As soon as he saw the face, it disappeared. Case 9 quickly descended the stairs and goes back out of the bushes and brambles.

Some witnesses claim to have "missing time".

One report talks of a Search and Rescue team out in the woods who came upon one of these staircases. Two of the team decided to climb the stairs. Upon reaching the top, a sudden silence surrounded them and a sense that something bad was going to happen to them.  Panicking, they fled down the stairs, only to find out that instead of only minutes passing, the two had been gone for hours.  When the supervisor was informed, he seemed to be aware of this type of story and cautioned them never to go up any stairs again.

Possible explanations for these alleged staircases are varied. Included are these theories: a. locations for secret rituals [a 'priest' or 'shaman' would stand at top of stairs and lead the worship], b. portals, c. aliens built them, d. they are interdimensional phenomena, e. secret government experiments.

It is also possible that the original story on Reddit [known as a source for sharing fictional stories] was a fictional account that ended up taking on a life of its own as a modern day Urban Legend.

Here are four better known of the UL's.

The first one is "The Staircase of Missing Time" coming from the Philippines. It tells of a ranger called Torkik who often went into the local jungles to look for missing people. During on of those trips in, Torkik claimed he found two staircases deep in the forest. Being curious, and also to try to get a higher vantage point he decided to climb the stairs. The first staircase was made of stone with decorative carvings. The second one seemed to have been made of natural stones from the area. Although Torkik hadn't seen any signs of the missing hikers, a vicious stray dog was in the area, so he climbed up the stairs to get away from it. He was unable to find any signs of the hikers, so he came back down and made his way out of the jungle. When he got back to the Ranger Station, he was told he had been fired from his job. Although he swore he had only been gone for a few hours, they informed him he had been gone for five years. [Does anyone recall the story of Rip Van Winkle?]

Next we have "The Vanishing Staircase" from the 1940s.

This storyteller claimed to have worked with the CDC as an infectious disease specialist. It was in the 1940s after the Roswell UFO crash and people were reporting animal mutilations. The CDC was called in to help investigate. Although originally thought to last only a couple of weeks, the investigation went on for a good six months. Various investigators began to talk about finding weird stairs in the area that gave off some type of frequency. One group made their campsite about 100 feet from the stairs for the night. When they woke in the morning, the stairs were no longer there. There was a dark black spot that looked burnt where they had sat the day before. Said the witness : "Next 2 days, it [the staircase] re-appeared but 50 meters [164 feet] away. They decided to do some readings and tried to sample part of the staircase but the wood structure staircase was harder than steel. None of it could be chipped off for sampling." Even though they had determined that the stairs were giving off a frequency, they were never able to figure why, or even who was receiving it. The stairs vanished six days later.

Then we have our "Ghostly Staircase in Sweden". This one talks of two Swedish students out hiking. Axel and Isak, after hiking for some time, came across a clearing with a staircase in it. They were puzzled about this but disagreed on what to do. Axel just wanted to walk away, but Isak wanted to climb them and proceeded to just that. The minute he got to the top, both of the young men heard a bloodcurdling screen that made them both run from the clearing. Finally they stopped to catch their breath. Feeling a hand on his shoulder, Axel turned to see what Isak wanted. However, Isak stood nowhere near him, more than an arm's length away. [Now that sounds much like one of the other stories told as true.]

Our final Urban Legend talks of a park ranger who was training a young rookie. He talked about when he and another man had found a lone staircase in the woods. Although they both thought it weird, his companion climbed to the top of the stairs. When he put his hand out to grab a tree branch, something cut off his hand. It is said they never found his hand.

Stories continue to crop up on the internet. But oddly, not many stop to take pictures of their "find" to help prove that at least the staircase really did exist. Someone managed to find this photo on the internet. The person taking the picture made no paranormal claims about this one.

Photo taken by Reddit user TK622 in a forest clearing in Germany .

But putting our feet firmly on the ground, it actually would be quite normal to find parts of buildings and structures and stairs and walls in isolated areas. Wooden parts would have decayed and disappeared, or parts taken to build other structures. Some examples of this include the path made of stones in Cambodia on the Phnom Kulen mountain. No one is really sure what it's purpose was. It may have led to an ancient city or temple now buried in the jungle. Or perhaps it was a road built for the workers to use while quarrying stone for buildings in the valley. It is thought to have been built during the 9th to 13th centuries.

Curious set of stairs in the forest of Mount Kulen. Photo: JB Chevance, Im Sokrithy/Aspara Authority


Madame Sherri’s “castle” stairs lead to nowhere. Photo: CC2.0 Nicholas Erwin.
And then we have these famous stairs from Chesterfield, New Hampshire. In the 1920s, a Parisian music hall singer named Madame Antoinette Sherri built herself a summer retreat in the woods. It was built in the style of a rustic French chateau. She finished it off with a set of stairs leading to the second floor built of stone, complete with Roman arches. Eventually the lady lost all her money and abandoned the chateau to its fate in the woods. In 1962, the "castle" burned down, leaving only the stairs and a part of the foundation.

More stairways.







"I'll spark the thought; what you do with it is up to you."
 "Those that know, need no further proof. Those that don't, should not demand it from others, but seek it for themselves."

This Post By TCC Team Member Nancy Marietta. Nancy has had a lifelong interest in the paranormal and cryptids. Nancy is also a published author and her book, The Price of war, has been met with great reviews.

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